A few months ago, Dewalt teased us with an announcement that they would be coming out with new Dewalt Connect Tools which featured integrated Bluetooth technology.
We haven’t heard a peep out of Dewalt since then, at least about anything Tool Connect related, but a few new products popped up on Dewalt.com. There’s quite a bit of information there.
To start, the initial launch will focus on drills and drivers, but we already knew that. The listings on Dewalt.com are for the drills, with no new information about the Dewalt Tool Connect impact driver.
Please keep in mind that some of this information is subject to change as the launch nears.
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- DCD792 compact brushless drill
- DCD797 compact brushless hammer drill
- DCD997 premium brushless hamer drill
There are listings for several purchasing options – bare tools (e.g. DCD792B), compact battery kits (e.g. DCD792D2), and the premium hammer drill will be available as a bare tool or in a kit with Tool Connect battery packs (DCD997P2BT). There might be other options or bundles as well.
Following are 5 things we just learned about Dewalt Tool Connect tools and tech, and then a few lesser things that have become clearer since the original teaser announcement.
1. Tool Customizations: Speed and LEDs
On the drills, users will be able to program in 3 customized RPM settings. There’s no mention about whether you can set any torque limits.
Users will also be able to customize the brightness and “afterglow” delay of the built-in LED worklights.
2. Tool Connect Connector is a Permanent Attachment
As mentioned in our Dewalt Tool Connect preview, there will be a new Connector, which allows you to “connect” any 20V Max tool.
It allows for several enhanced features:
- Convert any Dewalt Cordless 20V Max Tool to a BLUETOOTH enabled device
- Can be set to disable the tools once they are out of range
- Allows you to track and manage your tools
- Integrated battery allows for tracking when 20V Max battery is not attached
- IP68 dust and waterproof rating
They say this about the Connector:
The Connector permanently attaches onto the foot of the tool to prevent removal. Then, your current 20V MAX* battery simply slide into the Connector. The ultra-slim design does not interfere with the tool’s ease of use and adds virtually no additional weight.
Okay, so the Connector permanently attaches to the foot of your 20V Max tool. It presumably has a coin cells, similar to those in the new Tool Connect tools to allow for tracking even when a 20V Max battery pack is not connected.
It will also send you tool diagnostics. Unfortunately, there’s no mention of being able to customize your existing tools. Bummer. I’d love to disable the red light on my Dewalt 20V Max LED spotlight sample, which I reach for more than others.
3. “Last Seen” Feature
The Tool Connect Last Seen feature: helps reduce wasted time and money by providing the street address of where your [Tool Connect tool] was last in range of your Tool Connect enabled device.
One of the features listed for the Connector is that you can set to disable the tools once they are out of range. That’s perhaps why the Connector is a permanent attachment.
This seems like a good feature, and if anyone disagrees, consider that it’s better to have it and not want it than to want it and not have it. If it’s not something you want to use, simply don’t enable that feature.
I’m guessing that the “3 new ways to connect” means:
- Directly by the tool
- Tag attachment
- Connector attachment
There’s also the battery packs, which I guess would be an existing way to connect.
4. Some Will Be Built in the USA
The little sticker right next to the trigger switch says it all.
5. Coil Cell Batteries
As with Milwaukee’s One-Key tools and Tick tracker, the Tool Connect tools will have coin cell batteries, so that tracking is enabled even when a battery pack is not connected.
There Will be Tool and Bluetooth Battery Kits
2 years ago, Dewalt announced new 20V Max Bluetooth battery packs, which offered some remote monitoring and control features.
It looks like there’s a new breed of Tool Connect battery packs that are fully compatible with the new system’s features. Well, maybe not new battery packs, but at least new features.
It is unclear as to whether the 4.0Ah batteries – the first Bluetooth-equipped batteries – will be fully compatible with the new app.
The new Dewalt Tool Connect premium hammer drill kit, DCD997P2BT, comes with (2) DCB205BT battery packs, which are already on the market. One of the features for these batteries is track and manage, and so the battery packs might be trackable as are the new tools.
There’s no new information about the Dewalt Tool Connect TAG tracking accessory. I presume it will function in the same way as Milwaukee’s One-Key Tick tracker.
Easily and quickly assign tools to jobsites and users on the Tool Connect Inventory Manager software, increasing accountability and reducing lost tools.
This is something that will be nice to have as a web app that can also be accessed from tablets, laptops, or desktop computers.
We already knew inventory management was coming to the app, so this really isn’t anything new.
The app will tell you things like internal coin cell battery life, temperature (of the motor or battery pack?), number of trigger pulls, and how long the tool has been running.
Is the number of trigger pulls something that users will be interested in knowing?
I’m still hoping that the Connector will allow for customizations of existing Dewalt tools, but that’s probably too tall of a wish.
I also find myself hoping for a little more, but this looks to be a great start.
Many of these new Dewalt features and products seem to do the same thing – or similar – as Milwaukee One-Key counterparts. It’s not appropriate to jump to the conclusion that Milwaukee is the leader and Dewalt the follower, even though it certainly appears that way.
My best guess is that Dewalt had some of their Tool Connect products and features already on their roadmap, with perhaps some being influenced by Milwaukee One-Key. But if so, that would have helped to make them potentially better.
For instance, their tracking feature is called Last Seen. That, and its description, is a lot clearer to me. I too had been seeing Milwaukee’s Tick as a potential theft recovery aid, and mentions of it helping in recovering stolen tools didn’t do much to convince me otherwise. It took seeing what the Tick can do and NOT do for me to realize its limitations and user network dependency.
The benefit in being “later” with tech like this is that Dewalt had more time to learn and refine their products.
Hopefully the tools will be reasonably priced. Right now, there’s no pricing info. More details will be available as the tools get closer to an official launch, or at least an official announcement.
Part of me is always wooed by new tools and tech, but the calm side of me is growing increasingly enthusiastic as well.
So now there are 3 professional tool brands offering customizable and connectable tools, and tracking technology. Milwaukee, Dewalt, and oh yeah – Bosch, if they ever get around to releasing their customizable tools and TrackTag tracking device in the USA.
There’s no word yet as to whether the Dewalt tracking technology will require a subscription or not, but I anticipate that it will be free.