Makita Portable Backpack Power

Makita PDC01 4x18v Portable Battery Power Backpack Review

When I first heard about the Makita Portable Backpack Power supply, I immediately had two reactions:

  • First, would anyone really want to make a cordless tool corded?

  • Second, what a great way to extend the efficiency of and useful runtime for a tool.

These two thoughts are in conflict with each other, aren’t they?

After using the PDC01 for a while, I think my initial reaction was correct. Folks will either buy or not buy, this tool on the basis of how they fall into either of these two camps.

Makita Portable Backpack Power – What is it?

The Makita Portable Backpack Power Supply is a portable power supply system that contains (4) 18v LXT batteries to run Makita cordless tools. It will provide 4x the run time when used with Makita 18V LXT Cordless Products and double the run time when used with Makita 18V X2 LXT Cordless Products.

Makita designed in the flexibility to change between 18v and 36v tools by using either the 18V LXT Adapter or 18V X2 LXT Adapter (191A53-7 and 191A52-9, respectively).

So a user can power up a wide variety of compatible cordless Makita tools. Current compatible tools include select Makita Chain saws, Pole saws, Blowers, Grass trimmers, String trimmers, Garden multi-tools, Hedge trimmers, Grass shears, Pole hedge trimmers, Angle grinders, Job lights and Rotary hammers (DHR400 only).

Makita Portable Backpack Power Features

  • Backpack utilizes (4) Lithium-Ion batteries to provide longer run time for LXT and LXT X2 (36V) tools

  • Provides up to 4X the run time when used with Makita LXT 18V products

  • Provides up to 2X the run time when used with Makita LXT 18V X2 (36V) products

  • Includes 18V X2 (36V) adapter

  • Connector cord compatible with 18V adapter or 18V X2 (36V) adapter (sold separately)

  • Adjustable ergonomic harness for operator comfort

  • Battery box can be detached from the harness for use as a stationary power supply

  • Integrated LED battery charge level indicator allows monitoring of battery charge on all 4 batteries individually

  • Durable housing with base allows the product to stand upright

  • Integrated carry handle for operator convenience

  • 7 meter supply cord

  • Length – 15.75 in.

  • Width – 7.625 in.

  • Height – 5.1875 in.

  • Weight – 15 ½ lbs with batteries

Makita Portable Backpack Power – What’s Included

  • 18V LXT X2 Adapter (191J51-5) – PDC01

  • Adjustable Harness Assembly for PDC01 – 127347-8

  • Adapter Pouch for storing the adapter

  • Includes NO Batteries

  • Includes NO Charger

PDC01 Use in the Site and Back Yard

I used the PDC01 on my Makita XLS01 drywall sander. In my experience, this tool goes for 30-35 min of runtime on its 5.0 amp-hr battery. We used the sander for over 2 hours continuously and still had some charge left in the pack.

One reason we might have gotten this amount of runtime from 4 5.0 Amp-hr batteries is that Makita designed a load monitoring and load shifting capability into the PDC01, for improved tool performance and extended battery life.

Makita created what they term, “Star Protection Computer Controls”. Star Protection is communication technology that allows the Star Protection-equipped tool and battery to exchange data in real-time and monitor conditions during use to protect against overloading, over-discharging, and overheating. Each time the trigger is released and then reactivated, the Star Protection queries the batteries and chooses the optimal pairing (the most-charged paired with the least-charged) between the four batteries in the pack to power the tool during the next cycle.

In the case of an 18v tool, the Star Protection chooses the most-charged battery to use in the next cycle

Shifting from the interior work to the exterior work, we paired the PDC01 to a Makita blower. Again, we extended the typical time for running back to the truck for an additional recharged battery. It is very evident that the PDC01 greatly increases the work efficiency by reducing the downtime in a workflow.

It is worth noting that you do not need to be overly sensitive about getting the PDC01 wet. Makita designed the tool with protection against water intrusion (IPX4). Do not immerse it in water, but don’t worry about it getting caught in the rain.

It is not hard to see why the PDC01 can pay for itself when thinking about using cordless tools when out in a remote part of a site, deep in the woods, or on a high-lift on the side of a building.

Wearing and Using the PDC01

Putting stress on the human body by hanging weight from the shoulders is a recipe for fatigue and a sore back and shoulders. Backpackers and others know the benefits of transferring the weight to the hips when wearing a backpack.

The Makita Portable Backpack Power weighs 15 ½ pounds with four 5.0 Amp-hr batteries installed. That is enough weight to cause issues when wearing the battery pack for extended amounts of time.

For the DPC01, Makita designed a system that gives the user the flexibility to adjust the waist and shoulder straps to shift the load onto the hips. In addition, they provide a chest strap to keep the backpack aligned with the user’s back.

We found the PDC01 is comfortable once you adjust it to your frame. Makita put a lot of care in the design because the excess strap material (for those on the thinner or smaller side of the scales) has Velcro straps to hold the excess length of straps.

The final nice feature of the backpack is the ability to route the power cord to the tool over the user’s shoulder and secure it in place with a snap-in clip on the shoulder strap.

Battery Pack Detachable From the Shoulder Harness

One feature I liked is that you can detach the power supply housing from the harness and use it as a standalone unit. However, the 1.7-meter cord length becomes the limiting factor in usability. For stationary tools that do not require much movement, the PDC01 can be set to the side and used. For such tools as miter saws, job lights, or a vacuum, this is a very useful feature.

LED Indicators

The PDC01 has a series of LED indicators inside the battery compartment door that show you the charge level for each inserted battery. Makita provides for only two LED indicator lights for each battery, but it certainly shows you if the packs are full or indicate the current status for each battery.

What’s Not To Like About The Makita Portable Backpack Power Supply?

The answer to this question depends upon how the user feels about turning a cordless tool into a corded one? After that, the answer is simple. Many craftspersons would not want to do that because of how they work and how they use their tools. Those folks may not wish to buy the PDC01.

But, if they have work requirements that favor long runtimes, they may need the benefits of owning the PDC01.

This is a case of a great device serving the needs of a specific group of users. The PDC01 is not for everyone that works with cordless Makita tools. But it really helps those that need it.

There is so much to like about the PDC01. I found nothing to dislike of the features/capabilities that it already has. But I know I want more features.

While using the PDC01, I thought of a few enhancements that would make the PDC01 better for the way I work.

First, I would like to see a 500 – 600-watt inverter built into the battery pack. That way, I could use it as a short-duration/modest-load source of 120volt a/c power – a mini generator.  I would also like to see a couple of USB charging ports in the PDC01. Those are always useful to have available.

Finally, I would improve the product by adding an integral charger that lets me plug the PDC01 into the wall and give me a set of 4 freshly charged batteries in the morning.  As it is, I will need to use both of my DC18RD dual-port chargers to give me four charged batteries. I am fortunate to have these two chargers. Some users will need an additional set of batteries to rotate through the charging cycle. Others will need a lot of time to manually change their 4 batteries using a single charger or chargers.