Why How to Replace Coin Cell Batteries on One-Key Compatible Tools
At Milwaukee Tool, we build advanced Bluetooth® tool tracking functionality into our compatible Smart tools, enabling you to assign tools to geofences at jobsites, lock them out remotely, and more. One-Key compatible tools contain an internal coin cell battery that will periodically need to be changed. But what does this coin cell battery even do? And why, and how, do you need to replace it?
In this article, we’ll cover what you need to know about coin cell batteries in One-Key compatible power tools.
You can select any of the below bulleted items to be taken to the corresponding section of this article where we discuss each of them:
Context: What Is a Coin Cell Battery in a One-Key Compatible Smart Tool For?
When you’re in the details page of a One-Key compatible tool, you’ll be able to see its coin cell battery health displayed as 1 of 5 statuses—“Great, “Good,” “Fair,” “Poor,” and “Dead”—and you may see an alert that your tool’s coin cell battery is running low and needs to be replaced soon.
You might be wondering what these battery health messages mean, considering that it’s your M12™, M18™, or MX FUEL™ battery pack that powers your tool’s internal motor. Assuming that you’ve added your One-Key compatible tool to inventory and enabled tool tracking, you can track and manage it even if it’s not hooked up to a fully charged battery. In instances where tools start to wander outside—whether in error or in the hands of bad actors—being able to maintain visibility to your tool’s whereabouts and location history is critical.
While your battery pack is what powers the motor in your tool and makes it functional to perform a task, the coin cell battery embedded in One-Key compatible tools serves as a backup power source that enables critical tool tracking functionality. Coin cell batteries, which consume relatively low power, enable them to run in the background—and when the tool’s battery pack has been removed or died, the coin cell battery enables that tool to be seen by our network and update its location.
Should you encounter a wayward tool, you’re able to mark it missing or stolen, or proactively lock it out remotely.
Now that you know what the coin cell battery in your One-Key compatible does, it’s critical to change them out prior to them dying on you. The One-Key app provides coin cell battery health statuses so that you know to proactively replace them. If you see the status of your tool’s coin cell battery move from “fair” to “poor,” for example, it’s crucial to prioritize replacing it as soon as possible and prior to it registering “dead” to ensure your ability to track your tool is not disrupted.
Note: If you send your tool to one of our service teams to address a coin cell battery replacement, it may be sent back unless the coin cell battery is completely dead. Replacing your tool’s coin cell battery yourself, however, is pretty straightforward, and we’ll discuss that process below.
How to Find and Replace Your Coin Cell Battery on Most One-Key Compatible Tools
You now know what the coin cell battery in your One-Key compatible tool does, and why it’s important to replace it in a timely manner. Now, we’ll show you how to replace it.
To do so, you’ll first need locate where the coin cell battery module is on your tool.
Where can you find the coin cell battery on a One-Key compatible tool?
The coin cell battery on a One-Key compatible tool is typically embedded within the battery bay section the tool. This low-surface area ensures the battery module can be inserted where it doesn’t interfere with the tool’s motor, while also being securely kept in place and safe from the damages inflicted by external forces.
To remove and replace your tool’s coin cell battery:
- Find the battery bay on your One-Key compatible tool and locate the coin cell battery module, beneath a fine strip of plastic punctuated by two black Philips’ head screws.
- Using a Philips’ head screwdriver, carefully unscrew each of the screws keeping your tool’s coin cell battery module securely in place.
- Once removed, place these two small screws in a safe place, then carefully pull this plastic strip out of your tool. You may find tweezers helpful in grasping onto this plastic strip.
- Like the screws, place this plastic strip in a safe place. You’ll see within this hidden recess a green computer chip with an embedded coin cell battery. Carefully pull this module out of your tool. You may find tweezers helpful in grasping onto and freeing this battery module from its compartment, but proceed with caution to prevent damage to the battery module. Be careful not to damage the wire attached to the battery module, which connects it to the tool and enables it to function.
- Once the battery module has been carefully pulled from its compartment, locate and pull the circular coin cell battery from its metal housing, and replenish it with your new coin cell battery.
- Reinsert the coin cell battery module with its fresh coin cell battery into its compartment, then reinsert the plastic strip that covers it up, and screw this plastic strip back into place.
You now know what the coin cell battery in your One-Key compatible tool does, why it’s critical to replace it in a timely manner, and how to replace it.
Tile Mate vs Apple Air Tags Teardown
Comparison Table summarizing the major differences between the AirTag and Tile Mate:
|Apple AirTag||Tile Mate (2020)|
|Cost||29 or 99 for 4||25 or 69 for 4|
|Design Complexity||High: 9 main components, double-sided PCBA with 10 ICs, soldered voice coil and magnet assembly||Low: 6 main components, singlesided PCBA with 2 ICs, adhered Piezo speaker|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, UWB, NFC||Bluetooth|
|Replaceable Battery||Yes: CR 2032 but a little difficult to remove||Yes: CR 1632|
|Size/Volume||Diameter: 31.9mm, height: 8mm, volume: 6400 mm^3||Length: 35mm, Width: 35mm, Height: 6mm, Volume: 7350 mm^3|
|Key Ring Hole||No – accessory required||Yes|
Tile was one of the first companies to mass-produce a high-quality tracking device launching a crowdfunding campaign in mid-2013. However, after years of dominating this market segment and creating different form factors for their products, Tile is facing its first real competition as Apple has recently introduced their own product, the AirTag, in April 2021. In this teardown blog, we dive deeper into how these products were designed and built and what we can learn about the companies that made them.
The Tile Mate
front and back of Tile Mate
It is really hard to survive as a hardware startup. From development costs to tooling to inventory, it takes a lot to just stay afloat let alone thrive. Despite all these challenges, Tile has managed to not just survive but thrive in the hardware world first as a startup and now as one of the premier tracking devices and apps. Without multiple business lines that can support new development, the best way to get started is to build something quickly with as much profit margin as possible. As a smaller company, they would not have received the preferential pricing that established companies get on electrical components or injection molding. Tile needed to do all it could to reduce the number of parts and simplify their assemblies and they have followed this playbook to a tee. Their trackers are designed with the bare minimum of major components while still achieving a small, tidy package and expanding and improving their product line over time.
The Tile Mate is a thin rounded square with a simple 2 part plastic construction. A white front casing and a gray back case meet to create a uniform reveal midway up the sides. The keyring hole is made by bringing the gray plastic from the bottom housing to the front surface creating both a pleasing pop of color and reinforcement in the area that experiences the most wear and tear. The front also has the chromed name badge which doubles as a physical button. The back of the product sports the removable battery door, an etched QR serial number, and 3 small speaker holes. Using the product is pretty simple with bluetooth connectivity, the product is easy to connect and pair to the Tile App whether you use an Android or iOS phone.
While this version of the Tile Mate has a replaceable battery, earlier versions made use of a non-replaceable soldered battery. While that likely saved them money up front, it caused some headaches for customers who wanted to extend the life of their products and as customers requested refunds or trade-ins to newer models. To address this, they added the removable door which allows users to access and replace the CR1632 coin cell battery. While the door is held on securely with several plastic snaps, the molded grip lines make it easy and intuitive to remove. However, once the battery is removed, opening up the product further requires more destructive force.
Held together by a bead of glue around the perimeter, the main housings of the tracker can be pried apart with a small flat-head screwdriver. Continuous glue beads are a common source of challenges in development, and an area that Instrumental’s customers often need help. Once separated, the only major component sandwiched inside is the PCBA. Both housings are labeled as being made from a PC-ABS plastic blend. The white casing is a straight core-cavity design while the tooling for the gray part required some moving slides to hold the battery door hooks in place.
Aside from 4 springs soldered to the board (2 for the battery and 2 for the speaker), there is not much else to remark on. There are only 2 integrated circuits and a small number of passive components. One chip is the arm controller with integrated bluetooth processing and the other is the speaker driver. The antenna is designed into the PCB itself, and a lone dome switch is taped to the center of the back side.
The last component in this device is a small piezo speaker which is taped into place. Two springs drive a voltage differential on the two different metal materials sandwiching the piezo electric material which causes it to vibrate and produce the range of alert tones.
As one of the top consumer hardware brands, Apple approached the challenge of creating a tracking device from a different perspective. Putting top engineers on the project, they created one of the smallest Apple products ever, but one that packs in plenty of embedded technology.
With a relentless FOCUS on Industrial Design, Apple is known for driving the size and shape to be as small as possible. In a call back to some of the earliest iPod designs, the result is a product that looks like a perfectly round polished white stone. The back is an elegantly formed stainless steel cap that also serves as its removable battery door. As many reviewers have pointed out, however, this battery door is quite challenging to remove because there are few places to grip on the round slippery surfaces.
The AirTag comes packed with technology including clear sound, an accelerometer, ultra wideband and NFC support. Apple spent quite some time thinking about the feature set and use cases for their new tracker. The accelerometer allows Apple to determine if the device has been moved recently. If it hasn’t, the device can go into a low power mode until it is moved again. Adding in ultra wideband support improves the location accuracy over bluetooth by a few percentage points going the extra mile for their customers. In addition, Apple can take advantage of the vast network of iOS devices that support ultra wideband creating an instant network for locating lost devices. Using NFC to interact with the device also unlocks new ways of using the product such as triggering actions on your phone or other connected applications.
Twisting the cap in a counterclockwise manner reveals the CR2032 battery and underneath, the regulatory information. Three silver spring contacts poke through the plastic and touch off on the battery. The steel battery door looks to be made from 2 components – a polished machined steel cap and a thin leaf spring with the etched “” symbol glued or welded in place.
AirTags with battery removed
To get a closer look at the insides, there are 3 snaps which hold the light gray plastic midframe to the polished white casing. It is almost impossible to get to the insides without breaking a snap because they are glued in place. This was likely done to prevent the parts from separating during a drop, squeeze, or twist event. Running a thin flat-head screwdriver or dental pick along the edge while gently squeezing the outer casing allows just enough room to pry the insides apart.
The main white plastic housing is a prime example of Apple’s design and manufacturing prowess. As a product designer, I am impressed by the lack of flash or witness lines of any kind on the plastic surface. The continuous curve which wraps around and under the product signifies a spare-no-expense post-processing step like machining or polishing to remove unwanted parting lines. Also, this part that is no more than an inch in diameter has undercut ribs along the entire circumference of the interior. This means that the tooling would have been quite complicated as the tiny lifters would need to move out of the way of each other as the part is ejected from the molding machine. No ejector pin or tooling markings indicate that the part was machined on the inside as well.
Once we get past the gray midframe, we find an annular printed circuit board with a lot of big components neatly stacked on the perimeter. These large components fit snugly in the recesses of the plastic midframe taking advantage of every last square millimeter of space. The battery contacts are revealed to be 3 small springs attached to a small plastic housing. Filling up the hole in the center of the board is a small magnet and copper coil with thin slivers of wire soldered to the ends of the board. Audio quality was clearly important for Apple because instead of a cheap and simple piezo, they have created their own speaker at the cost of making the assembly and disassembly process quite challenging.
Overall, these products reflect the approach their respective brands take to design and manufacturing. Tile, the plucky startup, saw a market opportunity to create a new category of tracking devices. Over time, they have refined their products and built up a loyal following that supports iOS and Android users. The product, though simple, is reliable and good at what it does. Apple has come a little late to the party but with a clear vision for what a tracker should be. They put the full weight of their engineering and supply chain expertise to bear cramming their device full of technology at a competitive price. Ultimately, consumers will decide whether to use Tile or AirTag but the fact that there is competition should only lead to newer and better products from both companies in the future.
On October 12th, 2021, Tile launched a refresh of all their product lines. They added water resistance at the expense of the replaceable battery. With QR codes prominently featured on the back, they are making it easier for anyone to identify a lost Tile without significantly increasing the BOM costs. Finally, they announced a new device, the Tile Ultra, which will be the first tracker with ultra wideband to be supported by both Android and iOS phones.
Chris Li is a former Amazon Product Design Engineering Manager and current teardown lead for Instrumental. He brought multiple generations of the Kindle to market and advised on the first Echo and Fire TV products. He also worked as the VP of Product Design at the health tech startup, PillDrill, which shipped an award-winning medication tracking system.
Tile Mate vs Sport vs Style
All three Bluetooth trackers by Tile include the following features.
Bluetooth technology – this is how you find your stuff. Your phone connects to Tile via Bluetooth, sounding the alarm when items go missing.
Works within the Community Lost and Found, which uses “crowd GPS” to ping you when someone with a Tile walks past your device. This notifies you of the general vicinity, then you can ring the device to find its exact spot. It’s an important feature for when your device is out of Bluetooth range from your phone.
Works with the Tile iOS and Android apps for easy tracking
Come with an adhesive to stick to your stuff
Have a keyhole in the device
Can ring your phone for a reverse search – just double tap the button on the Tile to buzz your phone instantly
Work on a battery. These are not rechargeable or replaceable, so you will need to buy a new Tile device (or replace it using the reTile program) once its battery goes out. This is certainly a negative of the Tile devices, as we compare in our Tile vs Trackr article.
Tile Sport Tile Style
Since these two were released together and are part of the Pro Series, they have nearly the exact same specs. The only difference between the two is their look. Tile Sport is a dark slate color, while Tile Style is white.
Tile Sport is barely larger at 40mm compared to Tile Style’s 37.5mm. The Tile website describes their Sport as used for gym bags or cameras, while the Style is more for purses.
Other than design differences, the two have the same upgraded features over Tile Mate.
Expanded Bluetooth radius up to 200 ft
Higher waterproof rating: IP68
Price is slightly increased: currently 10 more than Tile Mate. While this may not seem like much, it certainly adds up if you are replacing it whenever the battery dies.
If you’re already a user of the Tile Mate and it has a sufficient siren and signal for your everyday use, then there’s no reason to worry about the other two options. Of course, when the battery goes out, you could always upgrade to the Pro Series. I currently have the Tile Mate, and will likely upgrade to Tile Style upon trade-in, mainly because an improved Bluetooth range will only help me find my stuff faster. Reed’s choice will probably be the Tile Sport.
All three of these trackers have the same core features of Bluetooth tracking. Clearly, the Tile Pro, including Tile Sport and Tile Style, offer a few upgrades to those features, with improved Bluetooth range, waterproof rating, and a louder siren. But Tile Mate is still a great option, especially if you don’t want to spend the extra money on the Pro series.
What’s your pick between Tile Mate vs Sport vs Style? Let us know in the Комментарии и мнения владельцев below.
Tile Sticker review: Performance
As before, you pair the Tile Sticker to your smartphone using either the Android or iOS version of the Tile app. From that app, you can tap a button to sound an alarm that will help you pinpoint the location of whatever misplaced item you’ve attached the Tile Sticker to.
Tile says that this version of the Sticker has a range of up to 250 feet, the same listed range for the Tile Mate and Tile Slim. In my testing, the Sticker didn’t reach quite that far, but I was able to get a signal from up to 150 feet away when testing the tracker in a public park. The Sticker usually dropped out of range anywhere between 150 and 170 feet in this testing area.
That’s definitely an improvement on the old Tile Sticker, which was reliable for up to 40 feet at best and rarely stayed connected past 70 feet. You can definitely expect more reliable performance from this year’s Sticker.
The Tile Pro continues to boast the loudest alarm in the Tile lineup, but the alarm on this year’s Sticker is loud enough to hear from 120 feet away. That’s about equal to the Tile Mate’s performance.
Tile offers a 5000.99/month Tile Premium service that adds extra features like alerts when you leave your home without whatever item is stuck to the Tile Sticker, plus the ability to share your Tile with an unlimited number of users. I haven’t found Tile Premium to be so essential that it’s a must-have, but of all the Tile key finders, it’s the one most suited for Tile Premium’s Smart alerts feature.
Tile Sticker review: Verdict
The tile Sticker serves a very specific purpose — it can attach to valuables with smooth surfaces that aren’t particularly accommodating to conventional key finders. While the first Tile Sticker felt like a work in progress, this 2022 edition is a more polished product that delivers what Tile promises.
Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide. He’s been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He’s been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he’s been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.
“Lost and Found” feature
Let’s take a look at the “lost and found” QR code on the back of each Tile tracker.
I found scanning the QR codes to be rather difficult. I tried multiple times and had to get the QR code at the precise angle and distance and with no glare, as shown in the left image above.
Once my phone’s camera recognized the QR code, it produced a link that sent me to the site show in second to right image above. Tapping on the “Learn ” link then brought e to the Tile “Lost and Found” pages with instructions on how to get your Tile tracker back if someone has found it.
If someone were to find one of my Tile trackers attached to an item that I lost—which in this case would be my keyring—I hope they would notice the QR code on the Tile Pro and be able to scan it without as much effort as it took me.
The last Tile feature I’ll cover here is their subscription plans. All of the Tile features that I’ve described above are free to use. However, Tile also offers two subscription plans, Premium for 29.99 per year (5000.99 per month) and Premium Protect for 99.99 per year (8.33 per month) with feature comparisons listed below.
What I like
I must admit I was somewhat skeptical of Tile at first—I just plain didn’t think it would work. I was glad to have been proven wrong. The Tile trackers and Tile app are like the Dynamic Duo of finding lost items. Not only are they easy to install and use, but the Tile Network’s functionality is also innovative and a great backbone to Tile’s true functionality. If you are prone to losing your keys, wallet, phone, or any of your critical EDC or around-the-house items, give Tile’s products a serious look.
Where to buy: thetileapp.com or Amazon.com Source: The sample of this product was provided by Tile.
Catholic, husband, father, engineer. Purdue Boilermaker. Dad of pugs. Collector of Star Wars. Practicioner of fitness. Drinker of beers.
8 thoughts on “Tile tracker products review”
A word of warning about buying directly from Tile. First, they don’t allow you to return one item from an order. If you order one too many Tiles as I did, you have to return the entire order in unopened packaging, and then reorder just the items you want. Second, though the website says you are buying a tracker with a year’s Premium subscription included, they only give you one subscription per email address. In spite of a great deal of time chatting with customer support, I have been unable to convince them that since I paid for 2 trackers with a year’s premium subscription I should receive 2 premium subscriptions, one for me and one for my spouse, who I bought the additional subscription for. My advice is not to buy directly from Tile, and to place separate orders for each individual who will be using the Tiles.
I find offensive that Tile makes products that are intended to be tossed away when the battery wears out. How freaking wasteful can we get? And just how hard would it be to allow the battery to be switched.
The old tile slim white square products are utter garbage and do not work at all, I would highly suggest against buying tile products. My grandmother purchased 4 last year and they don’t even notify her phone when clicking the button. Waste of money and waste of a product.
Someone posted on LinkedIn that they found a small Tile device slipped into their daughter’s backpack! People always find a way to pervert everything. Beware.
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Absolutely THE WORST customer experience I’ve ever had. I purchased a tile device to keep on my son while at school for peace of mind. Unfortunately, it fell off of him one day and he couldn’t find it. Since it was at school, a trusted location, Tile couldn’t do anything to give me a more precise location of the device. They told me to walk around the school with my phone to connect to the device via bluetooth because that was the only way to locate it. Of course, if my son was stuck in a ditch and I couldn’t find him, their response would have been absolutely ridiculous, but that was their system and the only security they were actually able to offer. After walking the school multiple times, unable to connect via bluetooth, yet watching on the app day after day as the battery drained, they were unable to help me locate my costly device. If it was still attached to my child and he was missing, they clearly showed me they couldn’t help me locate him. This is one of their emails they sent to me “I understand your concern and I wish there was more we were able to do. Please keep in mind that the 3G cell signals behave differently from 5G. 5G is a low power Band and is easily disrupted by metal, thick building materials, Etc. This means that if the device is pressed up against the wall of a bus, facing the seat, or under a seat, the bit has to work harder to find a strong cell signal.” Basically saying that if my son was trapped against a wall, or kidnapped and placed under a seat, they wouldn’t be able to locate him. Their customer support didn’t seem to care and when escalated to higher up, they admitted there was nothing they could do. In an event when a product is clearly flawed you would expect a refund, but I was simply offered a 20 discount on a replacement. As things were obviously made clear to them that they have a defective product which wouldn’t be able to save my lost child, or pet, or anything else that is precious, they eventually offered me a free replacement. An email from a lead tech stated “Of course, we most likely could have found the device in a timely manner if the appropriate information would have been shared with you. Alas, we have failed you and that does not bode well with me”. Even then, after admitting fault and a lack of care, I wasn’t issued a refund and merely a replacement. A replacement obviously didn’t make sense because I didn’t want to get another device that would leave me with zero security. In the end, I wasted money but I’m thankful it was just a costly faulty device that I lost and not my son.