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Tough saw and can be repaired DIY
on October 8, 2014
These reviews can be a bit confusing because there are several versions of several tools with all the reviews together. Most are for the older version of the saw (still sold) which was NiCad. Some are for the newer version which appears to be almost the same except the new Lithium batteries are physically incompatible with the old NiCads. (This is an issue if you have accumulated a number of spare NiCad batteries).
Older versions of the saw had a gravity bar oil feed, and invariably leaked unless you stored the saw upside down. More recently B&D has junked that and instead include a little plastic squeeze bottle which stores on the blade sheath and you just hand oil the chain directly now and then. This is quite an improvement and solved a big problem.
I've gone through 4 of the NiCad saws. I use them for firewood and work them hard. You can cut 14inch hardwood logs if you can access from both sides of the cut. The NiCad batteries run out pretty quickly so I have a slew of them; when I'm going out into the woods I carry a backpack full of charged batteries. If you sharpen the blade, like any chainsaw, this is quite a powerful tool, but with less torque and speed and noise than a gas or full length blade plug in electric saw, so rather safer and easier to carry and use. The low noise is very nice as I'm often cutting up wind falls on public land and don't really want to be driving the neighbors nuts.
These saws do have limited life - a couple years of heavy use. I had one replaced under warranty. One of the other three failures was probably burnout of a motor coil, as it still turns but just not fast enough to do much damage. The other two both ended up with broken wires, inside the saw, where they attach to the motor. One of these showed some evidence of heat damage, suggesting overheating from being used too much without a rest (not surprising, given what I cut and my pile of batteries). Both of these were out of warranty but I repaired them. A screwdriver with a somewhat thin blade can take the whole saw to bits, though it is useful to have a tiny screwdriver to pry off a gear retainer ring - you have to do this to get into the gearbox and the motor itself. I soldered the broken wires back on and those two saws are good to go.
The main issue with the one replaced under warranty was that the chain tensioning bolt somehow bent, so it wobbled as I turned it, meaning it could not get good stable tension in the chain.
At this point I have invested much more in my collection of 8 or so NiCads that the cost of a saw, so for now I am sticking to the NiCad model and will probably buy another one as a spare before they are taken out of the product line. I'm betting the Lithium battery is far superior and that's what I would go for if buying my first saw.