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Sunday, September 15, 2002

Technology

Drill/radio: Charge your drill's batteries with rhythm
Gizmos

By JAMES CUMMINGS
Cox News Service

DAYTON, Ohio -- People who work on big building and remodeling projects will tell you that it's important to arrive first on the work site in the morning so you can plug in your radio and crank it up before any of the other crews arrive.

If you get to the work site after the first crew has arrived, you might be doomed to spending the day listening to operatic arias or polkas or whatever other musical genre sets your teeth on edge.

Now you can feel like a professional contractor while hanging curtain rods around the house. Ryobi has introduced a variable-speed drill kit with an AMFM radio that doubles as a battery charger -- the way some professional work-site radios do.

The Ryobi 9.6-volt drill/radio kit comes with two rechargeable batteries. You can use one battery while plugging the extra one into the radio to charge. If the first battery starts to give out, you can swap it for the charged battery and keep working.

The drill is a basic do-it-yourselfer model that spins from zero to 550 revolutions per minute, depending on the pressure the user applies to the trigger. It has a 24-position clutch that can be set for driving screws into various materials without stripping the screws.

The drill has a keyless chuck, a built-in level for drilling straight holes and nonslip texturing over the whole drill body to provide a firm grip.

The charger in the radio can recharge one of the batteries in three to six hours. When it's not in use, the radio has a storage compartment for the drill and the extra battery.

You can sit the radio on a workbench or other flat surface, or you can attach it to the wall using hardware that comes with the kit.

According to Ryobi, the drill/radio kit is sold exclusively at Home Depot stores for $49.97.

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