If you’ve decided to invest in Ryobi cordless tools (or have been given some as a gift), you’ve officially entered a land of game changers.  You may not think so at first.  After all, tools are tools.  The only thing that’s changed is the leash in the form of an electrical cord is a thing of the past.

That’s right.  You’re no longer on a tether restricting your mobility.  You’ve achieved tool-wielding electrical cord freedom.

Yes, rechargeable batteries provide that amount of freedom and convenience.  The only cord you have to worry about is the one for your battery charger.

But with that charger come Light Emitting Diodes.  You know them better as LEDs.  They’re the indicator lights on your charger (and batteries) that tell you that status of your equipment and if there’s something wrong with them.

So, what do they mean, especially if you have a flashing green LED on your Ryobi charger?  And if it’s flashing green, is there anything you need to do about it?

1.  The LEDs on Your Ryobi Charger and What They Mean

Before getting into the flashing green LED on your Ryobi charger and what it means, let’s first take a look at all the LEDs on your charger and what they’re meant to tell you.

Yes, before singling out one indicator let’s map out all of them.  The LED colors include:

  • RED
  • GREEN
  • ORANGE (or AMBER)

Note: not all Ryobi chargers may have an ORANGE LED.  All of them, though, should have RED and GREEN ones.

Okay, now what do they mean, right?

Well, a solid RED means you’ve got power to the charger without a battery pack on it.  A solid RED light should always been on when there isn’t a battery present.  If you don’t have a solid RED light when you plug in the charger, you need to…

Three Ryobi Chargers With Lights ON
Keep in mind that not all Ryobi chargers include an ORANGE LED. However, they should all have RED and GREEN ones.

2.  Is Your Ryobi Charger Getting Power?

See, you thought you were only going to be concerned about a flashing GREEN light.  But now, you’re not getting any lights.  So, you need to check the electrical cord first.

Why?

Well, if you’ve got a cord problem, you’ve got a power receiving problem.  This can not only affect how your LEDs work and when they illuminate, it can also affect if your battery’s ability to recharge.

With the cord, look for any cuts or abrasions that may impact the functionality of the charger.  If you find damage, don’t use the charger.  Using a charger with a bad cord, even if your LEDs are working, could lead to more damage to the charger and any batteries on it.

Instead, replace the cord if you can.

If the cord looks good, check the prongs on the plug.  Make sure they’re clean and free of rust.  If there’s dirt or grime, clean them with a cloth and some rubbing alcohol.  If there’s some rust, hit the spots with a little sandpaper.

Lastly, check the outlet.  Make sure the outlet’s getting sufficient power.  You can do this by plugging something else into the outlet and seeing if it get’s electricity or use a multimeter.

You can also use a multimeter at the charger when it’s plugged in.  While you’re at it, clean the contacts on the charger end the same way you would the prongs on your cord.

If you’re satisfied the outlet and cord are all good and the charger has good voltage as indicated with a multimeter, you should have a solid RED light.  If you don’t, you may have a defective charger that either needs repair or, likely, replacement.

3.  When GREEN is Good on Your Ryobi Charger

Okay, the charger is getting power and the RED light is solid.  Now, it’s time to put the battery on.  This is where the other LEDs will come into play.

Once you put the battery on the charger, you’re primarily looking for a:

FLASHING GREEN LED.  If you get this flashing GREEN light and the RED light is still solid, you officially have a battery that’s charging.

SOLID GREEN LED.  If you’ve got a solid GREEN light, congratulations.  Your battery is fully charged and ready to be put to work.

You might be wondering if that’s it.  All that for a flashing GREEN light that only means the battery is charging?

Not quite.

Notice it’s a flashing GREEN light with a solid RED light.  That’s means the battery’s charging.

“Oh, so there’s another condition where there’s a flashing GREEN light and it’s not completely awesome?”

Yes, but first, let’s take a look at the ORANGE LED.

4.  What about that ORANGE LED?

Yes, what about the ORANGE LED?  As stated earlier, not all Ryobi battery chargers have an ORANGE light.  Those that do have an ORANGE LED have a specific reason for it.  It’s to indicate that your battery is either too hot or too cold.

If your battery is too hot or too cold, it won’t start charging until it reaches an appropriate temperature.  At which point, it should start flashing GREEN.

Ryobi Charger With Orange Led Light ON
ORANGE LED are used for a special purpose. It’s to let you know if your battery is too hot or too cold.

5.  Flashing RED on Your Ryobi Charger, Now What?

If you don’t have an ORANGE LED, then your charger will probably flash RED when the battery is too hot or too cold.  You shouldn’t have any GREEN lights if this is the case.  As with the ORANGE light, once your battery reaches a normal temperature, the flashing RED will stop and the flashing GREEN will start.

Another time you can have a flashing RED light is if your charger is in Evaluation mode.  If this is the case, your battery may be in a state where it doesn’t have sufficient charge to charge normally.  So, the charger gives it a little juice until it reaches a charge where the battery can handle more juice.  At this point, it should stop flashing RED and shift to flashing GREEN.

6.  Is it Flashing GREEN or Fading GREEN?

Sometimes what you think is a flashing GREEN isn’t. If the LED appears to fade in and out slowly compared to a rapid flash, that’s the Ryobi charger letting you know it’s officially in Power Save mode.

Basically, it’s hibernating but the moment the battery needs a charge, it’ll turn back on and get back to work.

The nice thing about this feature is it also helps preserve the life of the battery.  Batteries do have a service life.  They don’t last forever.  Part of the thing that factors into the lifespan of a battery is how long they remain on a charger and how dead they are before attempting to charge.

If a battery is very dead, there may be no coming back from it.  If a battery is constantly charging, it may burn out faster over time.

Power Save modes preserve the battery by shutting down when no charge is needed.  However, when charging is needed, it does it automatically.

7.  When GREEN is Bad on Your Ryobi Charger

Okay, but wasn’t there something mentioned about a flashing GREEN light and things not being completely awesome?

Yes, and the time when you see a flashing green light that you need to be concerned about is when you see a flashing RED light with it.

Why should you be concerned?

Because it often means there’s something defective.  It could be the battery or the charger.  Either way, something isn’t working the way it should.

Now some Ryobi chargers will have a fading RED light indicating a defective battery or charger.  Like the ORANGE light, not all Ryobi chargers are the same.  In some cases, you’ll get a flashing RED and flashing GREEN.  If you’re getting both of those at the same time, you’re not charging and it isn’t a power problem at the cord or outlet.

So, how do you tell if it’s the charger or the battery that’s defective?

Easy.  Put a different battery on the charger.  If you get a flashing GREEN light and a solid RED, the other battery is defective and should be discarded.

If, however, you get the flashing GREEN and flashing RED light with a different battery, the charger is probably defective.  At this point, you probably need to take the charger in to get looked at by a professional or replace it altogether.

Conclusion

With a Ryobi battery charger comes the promise of more freedom and convenience to operate your tools and equipment without having to worry about extension cords and power outlets all over the place.

It also comes with a few LED lights that tell you everything from if your battery’s charging to whether there’s a big problem you need to address.

A flashing GREEN light is almost always positive and nothing needs to be done about it.  However, there may be a case where you may need to deal with a defective charger or battery problem if there’s more than the color GREEN flashing.