Eye Diy

Milwaukee’s Fuel line

By Ryan Shervill July 11th, 2012

Brushless Milwaukee

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My tour of Milwaukee Tools started with a look at Fuel line of cordless tools, which also included an informative segment on lithium-ion (Li-ion) technology and why not all Li-ion tool batteries are created equally.

When Milwaukee entered into the lithium-ion era, they actually built their own battery cells so they could develop a battery system that worked better, faster and harder than if they had simply used one of the existing cells being produced. In fact, they still build their own battery packs today to ensure top performance and quality. After the battery seminar, we got into the top-secret stuff that’s coming soon. While I can’t go into details, I can say that very soon we will see a new technology in batteries that, in conjunction with the Fuel line, will change the way we look at cordless tools and what they can do. It is very exciting stuff!

So what is Fuel? It’s a system that combines Milwaukee’s Powerstate brushless-motor technology with their Red Lithium batteries, and uses computer technology they call Red Link to tie everything together. Can introducing a brain to your cordless tools actually improve performance? You bet! I did things with an 18-volt drill that even the big 24-volt drills of a couple years ago would have struggled with. And I couldn’t get that drill to burn out. (Believe me, I and other testers tried!)

Milwaukee is really pushing the limits with the 12-volt and 18-volt line. Can you imagine a rotary hammer (the granddaddy of the hammer drill, which is designed to own concrete absolutely) powered by a little 12-volt battery? Milwaukee has built one. Believe me, this tool is far from an under-powered toy. I had the opportunity to make more than my fair share of concrete dust with it and it just kept going and going.

Milwaukee dual charger

Charge 18-volt and 12-volt batteries, at the same time


The new multi-voltage charger allows you to charge an 18-volt and a 12-volt battery on the same charger at the same time. It seems I have more chargers than outlets in my shop, so this is going to be a handy addition.

Milwaukee thermal imager

Find the hot or cold spots with a thermal imager


After some quality hands-on time putting some Fuel impact drivers and drills through their paces (and burning up some competitors’ models), it was time to move to the testing and diagnostic tools area for a look at what’s new. I saw and used all manner of meters and gauges, sensors and readers, but the thing that blew me away was a cordless 12-volt thermal imager. When it comes to pure cool factor, this tool was off the scale. Just by pointing it at a breaker panel, I was able to identify a dangerous circuit breaker in seconds by “seeing” the hot area. This would also be fantastic for identifying heat loss from a building envelope (or cheating while playing hide and seek).

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