ProStaff Reviews

Screwdrivers are screwdrivers, right? In as many years on the job as I’ve had I’ve personally used or seen screwdrivers used for any number of purposes beyond their original intent. I’m not proud of that but sometimes you do what you have to do. Then one day you realize the value of a nicely designed Read More

Screwdrivers are screwdrivers, right? In as many years on the job as I’ve had I’ve personally used or seen screwdrivers used for any number of purposes beyond their original intent. I’m not proud of that but sometimes you do what you have to do. Then one day you realize the value of a nicely designed tool and would in no way misuse it like the many tha came before it.

This is one of those tools. Take one a look at its compact design, fine machining and ergonomic design and its easy to see why we chose to do a review on something as simple as a screwdriver. I’ve heard others affectionately call this the “James Bond” of screwdrivers and for good reason. Take a look at the video, its only one minute long and I’ll show you all the features of this cool tool. If you’re interested in purchasing it visit our friends over at KC Tool.

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Dewalt’s Flexvolt 60V Stud & Joist Drill may look familiar, I mean without the battery and add a cord, paint it red and you might be reminded of an old industry mainstay. But let’s forget about that old drill, made by another manufacturer and focus on what I might call the most powerful cordless tool Read More

Dewalt’s Flexvolt 60V Stud & Joist Drill may look familiar, I mean without the battery and add a cord, paint it red and you might be reminded of an old industry mainstay. But let’s forget about that old drill, made by another manufacturer and focus on what I might call the most powerful cordless tool I have ever used.

The two variable speed settings (forward, with single speed reverse) coupled with the ” E-Clutch® System” make for a high performance machine ready to handle probably anything you throw at it. I must remain honest and admit that I entered this review thinking I already knew how it would perform but not only that but how I would be sure to point out a huge flaw in the overall design. After using the drill on multiple projects, large and small, I can not say I have found a definitive job task this drill should be able to perform but cannot. Because it can and will, and it will do it faster and safer than any other drill before.

The E-Clutch system senses reactionary torque caused by a bind-up or stall and reduces speed to a manageable level until control is regained. This is a significant technology and the first in any large pattern, full-sized rough-in drill I have used. All right-angle drills I have used, owned or tested have had mechanical clutches. Mechanical clutches are sufficient only that they will save your knuckles, face or knuckles and face sometimes but the problem is they will not always prevent a hard stop or throw from a ladder. In fact most of the time when a mechanical clutch engages on large right angle drills the user is thrown or pinned up against a nearby object and almost always materials are damaged. The E-Clutch is sensitive but will allow you to get the job done without excessive engagement and stopping. Its so smooth it will take a few engagements before you’re completely aware of why the drill stopped and what exactly is going on, I know I felt this way at first and drilling with a right angle drill is nothing new for me this long into my plumbing career.

For the video review I loaded the drill with a 3.0Ah Flexvolt (9Ah 20V equivalent) battery,fully charged. The battery had been used multiple times before on other Flexvolt and 20V MAX tools. After drilling every hole needed to complete the drain, waste and venting rough-in on a three bath house, 40 holes 2-9/16″ & 3-5/8″ diameter, the battery had used 1/3 of the total capacity as indicated by illuminating 2 of the three LED lights on the battery when finished. The whole house was drilled using nothing but cordless and not more than one battery. What a time to be alive.

The weight of the drill and its balance seem comfortable although the d-handle protruding off the backside of the head is less useful for actually drilling than it is useful for carrying and pulling the drill and bit from a completed hole. I have not used the side handle bar for any holes to date but it is included in the kit and would be useful for added control while drilling or mixing various materials like small batches of concrete or drywall compound etc.

Overall I was thoroughly impressed, I could not find any detail that stood out as a flaw or that I would consider suggesting to change. It provides more than enough power needed to complete a plumbing, hvac or electrical rough-in with ease. Its fast and efficient in its use of battery power; evident by the battery capacity used to drill all the needed holes in the video. As the Flexvolt system continues to grow and remains backwards compatible with all the 20V MAX tools I can without a doubt recommend taking a close look at this tool if you’re thinking of trying a new tool line or already on the 20V MAX platform and need to add a high performance right angle drill to your tool arsenal.

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    Cordless outdoor power equipment [OPE] is not entirely new but the application of today’s battery technology coupled with the performance of highly efficient and powerful brushless motors has created a whole new level of tools for both residential and commercial use. Although Dewalt’s DCCS670X1 FLEXVOLT 60V MAX brushless chainsaw is considered the homeowner’s Read More

 

 

Cordless outdoor power equipment [OPE] is not entirely new but the application of today’s battery technology coupled with the performance of highly efficient and powerful brushless motors has created a whole new level of tools for both residential and commercial use.

Although Dewalt’s DCCS670X1 FLEXVOLT 60V MAX brushless chainsaw is considered the homeowner’s tool, separate from the 40V MAX commercial lineup, this chainsaw further expands the usefulness and value of investing into the FLEXVOLT tool platform. Arguably more agile than the 40V MAX chainsaw given the more compact battery pack [60V, 3Ah] it weighs in a full pound lighter [12.2lbs]. As one of three 60V MAX OPE tools this model is equipped with a low kickback 16” Oregon brand bar. Chain break, auto oiling and tool-free chain tensioning round out the saw’s main features.

Ratings from the Dewalt engineering team have it set at approximately 70 cuts per charge on 6”x6” pressure treated pine. Our tests shown in the video included various diameter log and stump cutting ranging from 5” to 14” oak. Our time in the woods allowed for 100 cuts, requiring one battery change at cut number 64. In total the saw consumed 1 & 2/3 batteries.

This isn’t plumbing related…

A few of our friends on social media have asked why we’ve been showing the cordless OPE so much this spring, noting it isn’t plumbing or hvac related. While I’d totally agree these tools are a bit off our scope of product and trade focus I’d offer up the fact that most people have a use for these tools at home AND on the job site. The blowers for example are a huge time saver over a push broom, the chainsaws could prove useful as well but overall I find them truly exciting because of how well thought out and powerful they are. Given I already have invested heavily into cordless tools for my business, expanding the utility of my own batteries into helping me get some work done around the yard is attractive. Besides, who wants to deal with the incessantly fickle 2-stroke motor with its annual carburetor issues? With these battery tools you just insert a battery off the truck, pull the trigger and go. Very cool indeed plus tools like the chainsaw ans trimmer are extremely quiet allowing for that one last pass thru trimming up the yard at 9:30pm, likely without your neighbors even knowing it!

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The saw performed flawlessly in everything we threw at it. Honestly I was impressed over and over at the power available as I pushed the saw searching for it’s limitations. The oak hardwood was fell earlier this spring but only cleared to make way for a future building site, no rot was present which made these tree trunks prime for challenging the saw.

So you may be wondering if the newest generation of battery operated outdoor power equipment is worthy for the pro jobsite and to that I’d have to honest and say these tools will not completely replace a gas engine model in all instances but as you can see in the video Dewalt’s chainsaw has packs some power and provides a considerable runtime overall. I own other Flexvolt batteries and will consider this my new chainsaw of choice because of the power and agility it offers. Add to that the fact that this electric motor comes complete without a 2-stroke carburetor and the hassle of annual starting issues. As the battery OPE offering continues to expand by all major tool brands we are looking forward to testing out additional tools as they come to market so please watch for those reviews soon.

Dewalt’s OPE warranty as stated on their website is as follows: 3yr Limited, 1yr Free Service, 90day Money Back Guarantee.

Local retail pricing (Minnesota): $329.00

Available online and in stores now. Check out @acmetools or Home Depot for this and other FLEXVOLT tools by Dewalt.

Not paid content. This review is one of many performed by the mechanical-hub.com ProStaff, a team of skilled trade professionals who love tools and sharing info with our industry friends. A special thank you to Heather Aune, my lovely wife for helping with not only the camera work for this review but also testing out the saw herself, a significant task given she’s never even touched a chainsaw in her life before this test!

The ProStaff team moves to the Pacific Northwest as Bend Radiant Heating Inc., Bend, Ore., installs a Noritz CB180 combi boiler for a residential remodel in Madras, Ore. In business for 12 years, Bend Radiant Heating performs hydronic heating and tankless water heater systems work, which includes radiant floor in several applications, radiators, air coil Read More

The ProStaff team moves to the Pacific Northwest as Bend Radiant Heating Inc., Bend, Ore., installs a Noritz CB180 combi boiler for a residential remodel in Madras, Ore.

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Steve Zettle, owner/operator of Bend Radiant Heating Inc., after installing the Noritz CB180 combi unit.

In business for 12 years, Bend Radiant Heating performs hydronic heating and tankless water heater systems work, which includes radiant floor in several applications, radiators, air coil hot water, snow melt systems and tankless water heaters for both residential and commercial installations.

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This is pre-DHW connection with the hydronic piping. Zettle used the Noritz supplied primary loop, Grundfos Alpha pump, controls via Honeywell AQ w/ floor sensors, manifolds (one shown and another in a remote closet) were Uponor EP w/actuators for zone controls, a single switching relay (S/R) to the air unit in the garage (not shown here yet but connected to the manifold in this photo). They opted to run the water temp to the air unit at the same temp as the floors just to simplify things; the garage is really small and the load was met using the heater at a lower temp.

The retrofit for the 1,500-sq.-ft. Madras home features a 3-zone hydronic and domestic hot water system powered by a Noritz CB180 combi boiler, with a hydronic fan coil in the garage to heat that space. The benefits of the hydronic fan coil are that it allows for a separate zone, and it is a less expensive option than running in-floor radiant heat in the garage. Bend Radiant Heating techs insulated the existing slab floor, installed PEX tubing and had the gyp-crete poured for the in-floor radiant heat.

The unit allows different temperature settings for the domestic hot water heating and space heating applications. For domestic hot water, temperatures range from 90 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. On the space heating side, the range is 100 to 180 degrees F.

Installing the Noritz CB180 combi boiler made sense due to its space savings, productivity, efficiency and reliability. The unit delivers hot water at a 95% efficiency—95% of the fuel consumed goes to heating the water to the preset temperature, as opposed to being lost up the flue into the atmosphere. This fuel-saving performance earns it the highest Energy Star rating, allowing homeowners to qualify for state energy rebates.

Weighing only 85 pounds, the wall-hung CB Combi is also significantly lighter than a traditional boiler, requiring only one installer to do the job instead of two. In fact, its compact size allows it to take up as much as 80% less space than a traditional floor-standing boiler and water heater.

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Laying the PEX tubing for in-floor radiant heat.

Bend Radiant Heating has installed Noritz products for years, and has had good results. “Our confidence in the product and its reliability and its ease of installation make it a trusted boiler unit,” says Steve Zettle owner/operator, Bend Radiant Heating Inc.

The combi model contains three superior-grade stainless steel heat exchangers as well as scald prevention for domestic hot water safety. Venting can be accomplished using PVC, CPVC or PP piping through a sealed combustion direct vent or single vent. According to Zettle, “The piping was very simple, the internal pump is really nice, venting is super easy with all the options available, and the control setup was very straightforward, allowing for a lot of flexibility.”

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According to Zettle, the Noritz unit features intuitive, straightforward controls.

The customer reports that the house is very comfortable, and the hot water production is seamless. “After I did a detailed explanation of how the system would work and educated the customer on the need to have the pump run at a very minimal time frame, the homeowner set up a recirc system,” says Zettle.

According to Zettle’s overall ProStaff assessment, this is the third project using the Noritz combi. “I think there is a huge market for the combi boiler, and I see our installation of these units becoming more frequent. I am using them on small snow melt jobs where we would typically install a separate boiler, now we are combining a new appliance that does both—so the customer gets a new water heater, tankless style, with a new snowmelt system—no additional appliances to do separate jobs,” says Zettle.

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The unit allows different temperature settings for the domestic hot water heating and space heating applications. For domestic hot water, temperatures range from 90 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. On the space heating side, the range is 100 to 180 degrees F.

Same situation on radiant heat systems. We have a job doing a floor warming in combination with a forced air furnace, using a combi was an easy sell. If they have recirc, we are trying to set up a 40 – 50-gallon electric water heater off the combi so no flow issues, and so the recirc does not interfere with the space heating. “Pre-heat the water at 95% efficient and let the tank just trickle in a little extra to accommodate for recirc or for high volume use when applicable,” says Zettle.

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Weighing only 85 pounds, the wall-hung CB Combi is also significantly lighter than a traditional boiler, and its compact size allows it to take up as much as 80% less space than a traditional floor-standing boiler and water heater.

The CB Combi delivers up to 9.2 gallons per minute of domestic hot water and can be used on a whole host of applications including radiator, baseboard or in-floor radiant hydronic heating; as well as HVAC systems using water-to-air heat exchange with an air handler, and pavement snow melting.

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The DEWALT  XP™ Tape Measure (DWHT36225) is re-engineered from the inside out. The result is a compact, professional-duty ergonomic tape with a case designed for a better fit in the user’s hand. I got my hands on the new XP tape this week, a couple months before it will be available for sale and I Read More

The DEWALT  XP™ Tape Measure (DWHT36225) is re-engineered from the inside out. The result is a compact, professional-duty ergonomic tape with a case designed for a better fit in the user’s hand.

I got my hands on the new XP tape this week, a couple months before it will be available for sale and I have to say Dewalt may have hit it out of the park with this one. Here are some highlights:

  • Impact-resistant PC/ABS and rubber case is engineered to survive drops up to 60 feet.
  • 9″ of heavy-duty thermoplastic coating at the beginning of the blade to provide 3X more blade protection, reduces blade breakage near the hook.
  • Three-rivet fastened, extra large end hook grabs construction material from all four sides making grabbing objects while taking measurements easy.
  • “Dual-Core Technology” internal return spring [dual springs that are more compact and powerful]
  • Availability: Canada- May, US- July 2017
  • Retail price: $29.95 US

I have a thing for tough, well made tape measures. There are a lot of poorly made, poorly engineered tapes out there but the new XP has zero traits in common with any of those tape measures in my opinion. From the moment I picked it up and felt the heft in my hand to the last time I threw it in my tool bag for the day I could feel the quality and engineering built into the XP.

Dewalt XP Tape Measure Mechanical Hub

The large hook end is designed to grab from all four sides, this type of design has long been an area of contention for many. Some people prefer a smaller hook to fit inside pipe or smaller openings, others like that a large hook will grab the end of material easily with the blade extended. I understand both arguments but in the end I guess I prefer the convenience of the large end and being able to easily hook the end of a pipe quickly. For insertion measurement I’ll just stick to grabbing my folding ruler, I feel more comfortable with that in the situation.

Inside the rugged exterior are two internal recoil springs. Dewalt is calling the new compact return spring system “Dual Core Technology”. The more compact design allows for a more powerful return of the tape from longer extensions but allows for a smaller design overall compared to other tapes already in the marketplace. The snap back as the tape returns for 10′ extension is enough to jolt your hand a little, the power is noticeable.

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This closeup shows the end of the thermoplastic coating applied to the top of the blade. The coating is engineered and place there to extend the life of the highest wear-point of the blade. Its hardly noticeable except for the slight gloss added. Time will reveal whether this coating will mar with use but no visible distortion is present otherwise.

DWHT36225 Mechanical Hub Pro Staff

Overall I really do like the feel of the tape in my hand. The rubber and plastic exterior had just the right amount of grip in my bare or gloved hand. The steel belt clip seems more than adequate, though it is the straight metal design that tends to tear clothing if used regularly.

As a Stanley Black & Decker brand, DEWALT has created a rival to the longtime industry champion Stanley FATMAX tape with the new XP. If I’m honest I admit that the MADE IN THE USA labeling excites me. Dewalt could easily have manufactured this overseas, no matter where the materials were sourced, but they aren’t and ultimately that means jobs for our neighbors. Nice work, Dewalt.

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