I reviewed Milwaukee’s Six Pack M18 battery charger when it first came out, and really liked its convenience. But despite its practicality, the Six Pack only charged batteries sequentially, meaning one at a time. Wouldn’t it be better if it could charge more than one battery at a time?
Others liked the idea of the M18 Six Pack, but a common desire kept popping up – where’s the M12 charging port?
Well, Milwaukee listened, and has come out with the new 48-59-1807 Rapid Charge Station.
The new charging station has 3 M18 battery positions, and 3 M12 battery positions. Plus, it can charge up to 3 batteries simultaneously.
AND… it can charge each battery FASTER. That’s where the Rapid part of the Rapid Charge Station comes into play.
Battery charge capacities are getting bigger, and so charging times are taking longer. With the new Milwaukee M18 and M12 Rapid Charge Station, individual packs can charge up to 40% faster!
Features & Specs
- Built-in carrying handle
- Pass-thru plug (as with the Six Pack)
- Green LED indicators for each charging position that flash when a battery pack reaches 80% charging capacity
- Can charge (3) M18 XC battery packs in 37 minutes
- Pencil guides for easier measurement-free wall mounting
Milwaukee says that the new charger can charge 1, 2, or 3 M18 XC battery packs in 37 minutes. On previous chargers, each battery would take 60 minutes to fully recharge.
We’re still waiting to hear back about the full charging times for more of Milwaukee’s current M18 and M12 battery packs.
We asked Milwaukee about how the “charge up to 3 batteries simultaneously” functionality works.
Basically, this rapid charger has three separate charging systems that are split into “sets.” Each set consists of an M18 battery charging port, and an M12 port.
What this means is that you can charge any combination of 3 M18 and M12 batteries, as long as there’s just one battery per set of charging ports.
There are three things to keep in mind:
- Each SET charges one M18 or M12 battery at a time.
- The charger automatically charges the next battery in SET when first battery is fully charged.
- As you can see in the picture, one side accepts up three M18 battery packs and the other side accepts up to three M12 batteries.
If you want to charge 2 or 3 batteries simultaneously, make sure you don’t plug any of them into the same set.
Released: Feb 2015
Buy Now(via Acme Tool)
Buy Now(via Home Depot)
Here are the 3 main highlights about the new Milwaukee rapid charger:
- It has M18 AND M12 charging ports
- It can charge up to 3 batteries simultaneously
- It can charge batteries quicker than with Milwaukee’s standard chargers
I know what you must be thinking, because I’m thinking it too. When and where can I buy one?! The answer to that is next month for $169, presumably at all authorized Milwaukee dealers.
Milwaukee is calling this the fastest charging station in the industry, and that certainly seems to be the case. Bosch has also announced a rapid charger, along with a 6Ah battery pack, and it seems like other manufacturers might follow suit.
With 5.0Ah currently now available and 6.0Ah battery packs on the horizon, rapid battery chargers definitely make sense.
I think that Milwaukee’s M18 and M12 rapid charging station will be immensely popular with multi-battery users and at jobsites. Heck, it would probably be popular even if it was designed with just 2 out of the 3 main features.
Some users will probably now pine for an M18-only 6-port rapid charger, or maybe an M12-only 6-port charger. Those users who want 6 M18 or M12 charging ports might get what they want by buying two of these and daisy chaining them together. Remember, the power plug has a pass-thru connection, and so you only need one outlet for two rapid charger stations. And with two units, you have the ability to charge 6 batteries at once.
There’s somewhat of a waste if you don’t have need for M18 and M12 charging ports, but it seems unlikely that Milwaukee will come out with dedicated rapid chargers for both platforms.
Very nice and would replace 5 individual chargers (and the power strip they all plug into) on my bench. My question is, are there disadvantages to rapid charging the batteries? Does the charge hold as long when rapid charged vs. slow charged? Will rapid charging every time ultimately reduce battery capacity and/or lifespan?
My camera gear charges the batteries rapidly up to a point (about 90%), then goes to a slow charge to optimize the batteries. That optimization period adds considerable battery life in actual use, so I always try to wait until it reaches what it calls “Full” charge, which takes almost another hour after it had initially indicated “charged”.
Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks, Steve
I’m fairly certain almost all lithium ion chargers use a Constant Current/Constant Voltage charge algorithm which means that the charger applies a fixed current until a peak voltage is achieved (4.2v/cell) and then switches to constant voltage to complete the charge. Some chargers ‘balance’ cells which means that the charger individually monitors and adjusts the state of charge on each cell in a pack to ensure that all the cells have the same voltage within 0.01v or so.
I would guess that the ‘optimization’ is actually balancing of the pack which depending on the power handling capability of the balancing circuit can take a bit of time with poorly matched cells.
Good question. In the past I asked a number of power tool brands if they would share details about power curves for their chargers, but nobody wanted to get into it. This is something I could determine myself, but I haven’t had a free couple of hours to do it yet.
In order to increase the charging rate beyond that of standard chargers, controlling heat is probably the biggest hurdle.
Since there are multiple cells in each battery pack, I agree with Dave that charging is probably balanced. I believe the same, that most chargers work on a constant current basis, except for the individual cells when balancing.
Bosch and Makita have fans in their chargers and the batteries are designed with an internal ducting system that allows the air being pumped through the packs to carry away heat from charging as well as heat from previous use. Milwaukee never “baked in” such a feature in their pack designs. All brands are able to identify which battery type and power range ks being charged and can adjust the rate accordingly. It seem these new high power cells are able to be charged with greater current as well compared to earlier designs. There is plenty of thermal monitoring and protection in all brands’ offerings, of course.
All this being said, my birthday is next month and I need one of these. I have a few DeWalt double chargers from the 18V days, and they were handy because they charge two packs independently at the same time. Now if Bosch would come up with a multi charger like this, life will be good.
From my R/C experience, if you’re in a hurry, you can stop a charge around 95% and even without complete balancing with no ill effects but a full charge and balance cycle is needed roughly every 5 or so charge cycles.
So, if you’re cycling your batteries a few times a day, it might be a good practice to let the ‘optimize’ cycle complete over night each day.
I think one M12 and one M18 forms a “bank.” Whichever of those is put on first charges. Then move to the left or right and whatever you first put on there charges, regardless of voltage. It’s just 3 combo charges in one plastic body. I don’t have documentation of this however.
that’s exactly what I thought – they combined 3 of the current M12/M18 combo chargers in one unit.
It’s the only thing that makes sense or it would be disengenuous to claim it can charge 3 at a time. With any other logic pattern a single M12 would mean it could ONLY charge M12’s until they are ALL fully charged and then it can think about M18, or vise-versa. But what if your customer only owns 1 or 2 batteries of a specific voltage, eg you only have one M12 but a dozen M18.
However if it works as we suspect, it truly will charge ANY three batteries simultaneously, provided the user understands the “bank” concept (plus the lights should help indicate what is charging & what is not).
It does work as you describe. At least that’s how the prototypes and pre-production models worked that I saw at the symposium last August. There are arrows on the case (between the green lights) of the above picture that further the bank idea.
That’s exactly how it’s designed, and this should have been clear to me as well, but I completely missed it.
This is a good balance for a bulk charger and it would seem most pro contractors would have a mix of 12v and 18v tools anyway. Carrying around 18v stuff all day is overkill, especially with 4Ah 12v packs making the 12v tools quite capable.
I just sold my Triple Ni-cad and V18-28 charger (in prep for buying the 6-pack charger) which served me well and got the most out of my Ni-cads, which performed far better than the V18’s which were always junk and now sitting on Milwaukee’s repair bench waiting to be scrapped like I should have done with them the day I bought them and found out they were junk.
It is a great idea but where is the 12v dc version so we can charge from our work vehicles without having to use an inverter?
Good point. I’ve got the M12 for this and have been eyeing the M18. I’m not sold on inverters, would rather just plug into a power port/cigarette lighter directly even though the cost is greater for the charger.
Now just slip a USB or two on there and it’d be perfect.
Any idea on how many amps this will draw at full capacity? Will 2 of these daisy chained together be able to run on one outlet?
I thought about this before suggesting that 2 chargers could be daisy chained together. Let’s say it charges 6Ah batteries in 1 hour. Doesn’t seem to be a bad assumption if 3Ah (or did they mean 4Ah) can charge in 37 minutes, and I figure over-estimating is better than under.
So 6Ah in 1 hr x 3 x 18V = 324W-hr, unless my math is wrong or I’m making a bad assumption. That would draw nearly 3A from a 110V outlet.
That’s not bad at all. I’ll take 2
It’s about time someone did this! Contractors will LOVE this. Very minor but very useful innovations like this increase user satisfaction and vendor lock-in, but sadly most manufacturers treat an annoying slow charger as a necessary bundle throw-in and a fast Single charger as some grand premium for buying a set or an $85 (or more) luxury item. Double chargers run over $100 and are still too limited for a real worksite. I guess it’s a pure profit item. I fear $169 will be the street price, but at least it is cheaper than the sum total of individual chargers.
I’ve heard that charger functionality missing in the marketplace has been due to some silly, overly simplistic patents, like combining a radio and a charger. D’oh. Shades of Apple Swipe to Unlock.
On a similar topic I’ve seen deWalt 12VMax and 20V Max can share the same charger… not every Max charger they make, but one or some that are made to do both.
Years later they come out with what Ryobi (same manufacturer, after all) has already been offering. Granted this charges 3 at a time instead of sequentially, but it’s still VERY similar at more than twice the price. I hate that. I’m trying to switch over to Milwaukee, but this kind of thing makes me hesitate. The red label costs so much more.
What are the demensions of this charger. The M12 and M18 all in 1 charger?