Making the Most of a Minimal Budget. Contact me at: or on Twitter: @skintsailor

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Boat Drill

No, nothing to do with lifeboats!

I was given a non-working cordless drill this week. Yeah, I have a reputation for bringing things back to life or repairing them, as you can imagine.

This drill was a Sainbury's own make and the battery pack had expired. Either through over charging or under charging. Anyway, the terminals on the battery were covered in the usual fur you get when rechargeable batteries go bad.

Normally you buy a new battery pack, job done. But I've already got a DeWalt cordless drill and this being a Sainsbury's cheap Chinese special, the battery packs aren't readily available.

Instead of throwing it away I decided that since the Sainsbury's drill was a 14v drill, I could use it on a 12v car (or boat) battery. So I set to converting it into a boat drill by fitting a lead and 12v lighter plug.

Et Voila! I now have a drill/powered screwdriver  that I can use on the boat just by plugging it into a 12v socket.

The lead is a couple of metres long so it covers most of the boat. Any further away from a socket and I just use my hand drill. Plus the lead goes into the battery pack. Should I ever find a replacement battery pack the drill will still be able to work.

For a freebie (I already had the wire and 12v socket) its a nice re-use of a knackered object.

Plus the boat batteries get charged by solar panels so the elecrtricity is free too!


  1. Might have to try that as my cheap and cheerful is not holding much of a charge...

  2. Very clever. This kind of attitude is what our throw away, designed obsolescence society needs.

  3. Thanks, I just thought as it was a 14v drill that's not far away from 12v and it might run off a car (or boat) battery. And it did.

    It was the only option really for a drill with a non-standard battery pack. Now I have a battery pack that won't run out. lol.

    Just make sure you keep the polarity correct if you do this mod otherwise the electronics in the drill won't be happy. :-)

  4. Thanks Mark for the warning but I know my limitations - I did do all the wiring for the lights in my yacht but I left the engine electrics and main switch board bits to the experts.

  5. To be honest it was easy. The wiring in the battery pack was already colour coded read and black, the twin wire I used was read and black and all I needed to think about was solder red to the centre pin and black to the outer connector of the cigar lighter connector.

  6. 14.4V is the fully charged voltage of a 12V car battery. The NiCd battery pack is rubbish and in any case now banned by the EU.