*** EXCLUSIVE – 10/19/2016 @ 12:33PM ***
Milwaukee is innovating in a way that has yet-to-be-seen…..
The design stages are complete for a new propane-powered inverter charger, which will be able to charge 6 of the M18 batteries (2 at a time) without having to plug it into the wall. This will be powered solely from disposable propane cylinders, and will give the user the ultimate in portability.
Basically this will be a 6-port charger & propane inverter/generator all in one. It will NOT be able to power corded tools, but the power output will go exclusively into the built-in charging ports.
A total of 6 ports (all M18) + 2 USB ports will surround the base. Internally these are split into two distinct “banks”. The 3-port left & 3-port right. One battery per side can be charged at the same time — meaning you will be able to load it up & charge two batteries at once. The two USB ports are installed separately, meaning you will be also able to charger your phone anytime the unit is running.
Here is a quick “how it works” flowchart & wiring diagram….
Since the unit will utilize standard 1-lb disposable propane cylinders — which are the same variety you would buy at your local store to power a small propane grill — you will most likely be able to use a standard adapter & hose in order to power the unit off of the much larger 20lb+ tanks (like your regular gas grill will use).
Why not just use a regular inverter or generator, plug regular chargers into it, and have the option to use it for things other than charging batteries?
We can think of a few reasons….and here is a rundown of the good/bad that sticks out already…..
- Weight (vs Inverter + Charger separately)
- Simply design
- No need for external power source
- Fast charging
- Quiet operation
- Price (if priced BELOW the cost of a typical inverter/generator)
- Outdoor use only
- Fire risk
- Weight (vs standard wall charger)
- Maintenance costs
- Propane costs
- Lifespan (wont last forever….)
- Price (if priced near/at/above the cost of a typical inverter/generator)
- New “untested” design
What does this mean?
Well….it means that Milwaukee is thinking outside the box. They are continuing to pursue new ideas that will eventually make the job-site completely cordless — including chargers. Time will tell if this actually makes it to production, but it looks promising.
Our fears would be job-site accidents resulting from people using the unit indoors (carbon monoxide poisoning), fire risks (hot exhaust near flammable materials), and the unit lifespan/reliability.
Since you must run generators & inverters outside in order to properly/safely dissipate the exhaust — that means you would also need to leave your very expensive propane charger & very expensive battery packs outside also. Theft & weather will be the two biggest enemies of this setup & either will cost you a lot of money.
Stay tuned as we learn of more developments from Milwaukee!