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In my last post, I tried to answer the question, “Are Greenworks and Kobalt Batteries Interchangeable?” The answer is yes and no. Greenworks and Kobalt batteries are incompatible out of the box, but they can be made compatible with a few minor modifications. In this post, I am giving you a tutorial on how to use Greenworks batteries in Kobalt tools.
This tutorial will also work for Snapper, Victa, and Powerworks batteries. I will be demonstrating using Snapper and Greenworks 60V batteries.
Note: This post is provided for informational purposes only. If you decide to make any modifications to a battery, do so at your own risk. The author takes no responsibility for your personal choices. Warranties may be voided by modifying original equipment, and personal injury may occur through the use of power tools. Electrical equipment is dangerous. Fire or equipment failure can occur if attempting to use parts not certified by the manufacturer or if batteries are damaged. You have been warned.
Why Would I Want to Use a Different Brand of Battery?
Several situations can make using a different battery brand attractive. I was able to get a Snapper 60V battery recently that was just 1/4 the cost of the Greenworks version of that model! Unfortunately, that price cut may signal the the 60V Snapper line, which is Walmart exclusive, has been discontinued. It already appears Walmart started selling Powerworks 60V outdoor equipment to maintain an alternative. Victa also eliminated their 80V line, so owners of these tools cannot get new Victa batteries. Whether saving money, replacing parts no longer available, or receiving a weed eater as a gift that is a different brand than your mower there are several reasons to use a different brand battery.
Why Can’t I Use a Greenworks Battery in a Kobalt Tool?
Kobalt and Greenworks batteries have different slots or grooves on the side to match the tools from that brand. I took a picture of my 60V Greenworks battery next to a 60V Snapper battery to show the difference, and there are similar differences between 80V Greenworks and Kobalt batteries.
The guide rails the battery fits against are visible inside the mower’s battery cover.
How Can I Make a Different Brand of Battery Fit?
There are two possible solutions to this problem.
- Cut or grind the rails out of the mower.
- Cut the case on the battery to fit different rails.
I chose option 2 so that I could get more tools using the battery system without modifying each one. I have seen pictures of lawn mowers modified with option 1, and the battery bay plastic fits the battery exactly. It seems like removing each rail leaves a hole in the battery bay, exposing parts to moisture that are normally sealed. I didn’t want to risk damage by cutting permanent holes in my mower.
I modified a Snapper 60V battery to fit Greenworks equipment, but the method applies to the 80V batteries of this style. Double check everything for yourself before cutting! Fixing a mistake is much harder than preventing one.
Which Batteries are Potentially Compatible?
As I discussed in my previous post, batteries made by Global Tools using their design should be compatible with modifications. There is not an official list of these batteries, so I have gathered one below. It is possible more exist, so let me know if you spot one I missed.
These 60V batteries all appear to be compatible with case modifications:
These 80V and 82V batteries all appear to be compatible with case modifications:
What Tools Do I Need?
- Dremel, Saw, or other tool capable of cutting plastic
- Optional: Dremel Drill Press Work Station
- Silver Sharpie Marker or way to make visible marks
- Screwdriver with size 10 Torx (star) security bit
Procedure to Modify Battery To Fit Another Brand
Step 1: Measure & Mark
Every battery I could compare seemed to have the same upper slots, and both sides had the same slots. The easiest way to measure and mark where to cut is to use a battery that already works!
TIP: Be sure to match the battery cases top to top and bottom to bottom, because it is easy to accidentally flip one battery the wrong way.
I marked length and width of the slot against the Greenworks battery using a silver Sharpie and a metal ruler to create full guide lines on the Snapper battery.
Step 2: Remove the Cell Pack
Open the battery case before cutting anything to remove the cell pack. This step prevents accidentally cutting a cell, which is a fire hazard.
A size 10 Torx (star) security bit works best to remove the battery case screws. It is possible, with care and effort, to use a standard T-10 to remove the screws, but the security bit is handy for many projects. The security bit is worth having to save frustration. I recommend a set like this one.
Step 3: Cut the Case
Inside the battery case on both sides the plastic is thicker. The extra plastic allows more slots to be cut without leaving a hole in the case.
I used a Dremel in the Drill Press Workstation, router bit, and a clamped cutting jig, but cutting can be done several ways. A table saw with a guide also would work nicely. If you are very confident and don’t need it to look pretty it is possible to hand cut with a Dremel or other tool. An advantage with the Drill Press Workstation or table saw is the ability to set a consistent depth and maintain a smooth line.
I set the depth using existing slots, while the Dremel was off, and put the bit down in the slot. Whatever you choose, take it slow and careful for the best result.
I cut the upper slot first, because it required more attention. The existing slot on the Snapper case crossed where Greenworks needed a notch to the bottom. I was able to switch to a cutting wheel for the lower part. After resetting the depth to match the wheel, the bottom was easy to complete.
Step 4: Reassemble & Test
Here is a look at the Snapper battery after I finished and cleaned it up. It doesn’t exactly look factory fresh, but it doesn’t look too bad either.
I have used the new battery in my mower. It works exactly like the one that came with it. At 1/4 the cost, it definitely was worth the time and effort.
Is It Possible to Create a Universal Battery?
It may be possible to create a “universal” battery for devices within a voltage family. Because only the bottom slots seem to change, a single large notch in the whole lower section could work. For more information on why this is possible see my post, “Are Greenworks and Kobalt Batteries Interchangeable?”
One downside is that the battery charger uses the lower slot to guide the battery when charging vertically, so charging horizontally would be required. I think that is the only issue.
Have you tried to convert one battery to another brand? Have questions? Please comment below!