Metabo USA announced – only via social media – that they’ve come out with a new BS 18 LTX BL I cordless drill/driver that features new anti-kickback safety measures.
Note: It seems that Metabo uses the same model number for different generations of cordless drills. For this new model, search for order no. 602358520 instead of the model number.
Metabo USA’s video touted the new drill’s locking side handle, and they showed off the gyroscope-based anti-kickback tech, which has activates with both audible and visual indicators.
Digging deeper, we see that the max torque spec is 1151 in-lbs (hard torque), which is a little lower than the preceding model, which delivered up to 1300 in-lbs of max torque. This might be the first time a tool brand has stepped back from a max torque rating. It’s unclear why they did this, but 1151 in-lbs still reflects a great deal of power for a cordless drill.
Features & Specs
- 18V platform
- 1/2″ drill chuck
- Electronic torque control (electronic clutch)
- LED worklight
- 1151 in-lbs max hard torque
- 0-550/0-2000 RPM (no-load)
- Weighs 3.7 lbs without battery
- Weighs 5.3 lbs with 5.2Ah battery
Metabo Anti-Kickback Claims
Metabo claims that the gyroscope anti-kickback sensor they use, instead of an accelerometer, is more accurate and faster than their competition. However, they have not provided any information to back up this claim.
Different things can cause kickback in a cordless drill, such as when a large drill bit binds and the tool counter-rotates in response. Basically, if the motor is still turning, and the bit is stuck, the drill will move. When this happens, the drill will continue to rotate hard until power is cut to the motor. As kickback often results in a hard and fast motion, a user can suffer an injury before they can remove their finger from the trigger switch.
Anti-kickback tech detects these sudden counter-rotational movements and automatically cuts power to the motor. The key is for the anti-kickback tech to do this fast enough to avoid injuries to the user.
Accelerometers and gyroscopes typically detect movement in very different ways.
Accelerometers detect changes in velocity. Basically, this type of sensor detects the movement of a drill.
Gyroscopes measure changes in orientation. Basically, this type of sensor detects positional changes.
I am guessing that Bosch is “the competition” here, as they are Metabo’s only peer tool brand among the few to offer cordless drills with anti-kickback tech.
But here’s the thing – why would a gyroscope be faster at anti-kickback tech? Is the sensor faster? The response time? What justifies Metabo’s claims of their methods being “more accurate” and “faster?”
Can this potentially lead to greater instances of false-positive deactivations?
You might already be aware that Bosch Tools is part of a much larger company, but what you might not know not is that one of their sibling brands is Bosch Sensortec, a company that makes both types of MEMS sensors. Bosch should know a thing or two about accurately detecting kickback motion.
Speed and accuracy is important in anti-kickback tech, but I’m sure there are reasons for companies to use accelerometers instead of gyroscopes. We’ve never really questioned this before, as it made perfect sense, but now that Metabo is claiming their use of gyroscopes makes their anti-kickback feature faster and more accurate, it’s time to ask more questions.