Introduction: Cordless Drill Crank Charge Batteries

Use any cordless drill as a crank charger for batteries! The basic idea is to use the drill as a crank charge generator, and regulate the voltage to charge 1.2-1.5 volt batteries.

I don't hold this as the be all, end all idea, only as a starting point for discussion and development of better ideas. I'm just showing you what I was able to do using the parts mentioned, but I'm pretty happy with the results, especially as we're about to get an ice storm here that will no doubt knock out our power for a bit.

A couple of notes: The trigger MUST be held down for this to work. The drill is in reverse setting and cranked in reverse.


russ_hensel (author)2015-02-06

Just a note to let you know I have added this to the collection: Cordless Drills Hacking for Other Uses !


Take a look at a bunch of project involving odd uses of drills.

and for even more drill info


Jr Hacking kid (author)2008-01-01

can you charge a 9v battery?

Whoa NO! Only if it is a rechargeable battery can you charge it. Recharging a disposable battery can cause it to explode, leaving alkaline acid splattered everywhere. DO NOT attempt to charge a disposable battery for any reason.

manicmonday (author)Prometheus2013-10-26

Whoa. Too funny. There is no such thing as alkaline acid!!!!!!!!! The two words Alkaline and Acid are polar opposites, and if you put them together they cancel each other out!!!!

Replace the word Acid with Corrosive, and your statement is true as both acids and alkalies can be corrosive.

babblin5 (author)Jr Hacking kid2008-01-03

Not without a 9V regulator. Plenty of amps, so it should work if you did that =)

Treknology (author)2010-04-06

Excellent idea, but make sure it's a direct-power drill, not an electronic speed controlled one.

joinaqd (author)2008-12-30

does it work with AC drills?then i could use my AC to DC diode bridge and charge batteries!!the instructable below is made by me.

AC to DC converter=Diode Bridge

n0ukf (author)joinaqd2009-05-10

DC drills have a permanent magnet motor, AC drills don't. you need a magnetic field to begin with for an AC drill to produce a current like this.

!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-12-10

what!? this can charge alkaline batteries!? :-D?

babblin5 (author)!Andrew_Modder!2007-12-11

Yes! As a matter of fact, Rayovac actually had a rechargeable Alkaline Battery charger at one time. The downside is you could only recharge about 20 times, and each time you got a little less than before.

Derin (author)babblin52008-04-19

the clock in my class has a rechargeable alkaline

2 stroke (author)Derin2009-05-02

dude u changed your profile pic

!Andrew_Modder! (author)babblin52007-12-11

lol sweet :-P .... like you could buy that charger, and use ANY alkaline battery in it?? heh

Never attempt to recharge a disposable alkaline, or even these fad "rechargeable" alkalines. Boycott alkaline for the real deal, and catch up to the modern era. Alkaline batteries are 19th-century tech, and offensively-obsolete. NiMH and Lithium batteries are offensively superior in every category.

babblin5 (author)!Andrew_Modder!2007-12-11

Yep... they had branded Reusable Alkaline batteries, which is what they banked on making money on, and no one bought!

Prometheus (author)babblin52008-08-20

Rechargeable alkalines are a scam, invest in the real thing and get 1000+ charges from the same battery.

burntbob (author)2008-06-24

Interesting " reverse engineering" idea Anybody try connecting it to a small windmill, waterwheel etc to turn the crank? The regulator would keep it from overcharging I think if you were careful. I wonder if it'd work as a bike generator.....

Prometheus (author)burntbob2008-08-20

The motor alone, maybe, not the gearing for the drill. at 10mph, you would be spinning that motor at over 45,000 rpm with the chuck just rammed into the tire, which would burn the motor. The brushless generator is still the best option unless your power demand is that high.....remember that you have to pedal that power back into the system too, no energy is free...

bigt4616 (author)2008-05-27

does this damage the cordless drill in any way because if im "borrowing my dads", i need to know he didnt know i was screwing arround with it.

Prometheus (author)bigt46162008-08-20

This won't damage a cordless drill, especially the "one-speed" type. You will not get any output from a variable speed, because the circuit will block voltage in reverse. The only damage in most, if not all cases, is wear and tear. Cordless single-speed drills are ideal emergency generators when turned in the same direction as their commonly-used direction (usually backwards with your right hand, if it were a bicycle crank), just remember that the polarity will be reversed. To power the drill in a CW direction puts battery-terminal A as positive, to crank the drill like a generator in the same direction makes the same terminal negative for recharging or general power. A double-ended allen-wrench (or S-wrench) is an ideal crank, and the chuck is all but made for the job. Keep this in mind should some cosmic holocaust befall humanity....Simple motors will not be damaged by the EMP blast, and can still generate power...

babblin5 (author)bigt46162008-06-30

You could always play it safe and just pick one p for next to nothing at a garage sale. A lot of people don't bother buying new battery packs when they run out... they just sell them for a few bucks and buy a new drill. But to answer your question, it "shouldn't" do any damage whatsoever, but then, I haven't tested many drills, and there are literally thousands out there...

animes25 (author)2007-12-15

this would work better if you attach the drill to a bicycle and you charge car batteries, then you could get energy for your tv, laptop or even the fridge :D

babblin5 (author)animes252007-12-16

I've actually considered that! I'm working out the details of what would be required component-wise for proper voltage/amperage regulation and a method of preventing overcharging. I've actually looked at converting a spinner exercise bike to do this... =)

PRIOS (author)babblin52008-07-05

please let me know where can i find that voltage/amperage generator please and how much it cost? and how supose to be conected? a 12 to 1.5 voltage regulator will be perfect?

Prometheus (author)PRIOS2008-08-20

A simple part (NE-7812) will suffice as a 12v regulator. Connection diagrams can be found...

Maybe THIS will help...Alleged to handle up to 4 amps...

kricketone (author)babblin52008-06-30

use a charge controller like they use on solor panels then hook it to where you would hook the solor cell and your good to go

V-Man737 (author)animes252008-07-05

I actually hooked an 18-v drill up to my bike (hand-cranking it never broke 8 volts, and averaged 5 for the most part). As you can see, the way I hooked it up is a little unorthodox - not directly to the wheel (that would give me about 9 volts at a heart-wrenching 25 mph, in addition to sticking out a mile). I used a 6" wheel to take more advantage of the torque, transferring it somewhat efficiently from the bike tire. I was able to get a good 18v out of it that way (and bursts up to 21 volts, but I'm pretty sure that hurts the drill), but the drill motor provided a surprising amount of drag. It felt like the drill added an extra virtual weight of 40 pounds to my riding load (This changes depending on what the leads are connected to). I wouldn't recommend using a bike as a reliable method of charging batteries unless you are a serious biker with some serious thighs. Note the wall socket added for sheer geek chic. This took about two weeks' worth of spare time for me to cook up using materials lying around. I'm thinking about making an instructable for it, but it's a really intense bunch of detail that I don't have a ton of time for at the present. After biking for about a mile and a half, producing an average of twelve volts at around 1 amp into some rechargeable batteries, I produced some awful sore thighs and hot, quarter-charged NiMH AA goodness. I am looking to convert this system into solar, let the sun do all the work for me. The drill is a reliable emergency method of charging things. If you use a voltage regulator and/or a zener diode, you can charge your cell phone a tiny bit. But jeez your muscles get tired.

joeofloath (author)2008-06-27

I can't see any reference to drills with speed controls here. does this instructable assume a drill that just uses a switch? I spent ages hacking my drill apart to fit a speed control too.

babblin5 (author)joeofloath2008-06-30

The actual drill I used had variable speed based upon how far in you squeezed the trigger. When using it as a generator/recharger, I held the trigger in fully.

ScaryTrout (author)2008-05-04

A Few Questions: Are all electric motors suitable for generating electricity, if not what criteria indicate which motors are suitable? Could I recharge the batteries in my cordless drill by cranking it with a hand crank? I like this because so much is already done because cordless powertools are already manufactured in nice housings.

ichipoodle (author)2007-12-11

i actually hate this song but for this instructable......... ohhhhhh, geeky man up in it. oh! watch him crank it watch him ROLL! watch him crank that d cell batteries yeah oh! o.O anyway....great instructable!

babblin5 (author)ichipoodle2007-12-16

hehe! Thanks =)

liamjford (author)2007-12-11

Excellent mate, I'll be trrying this one day.

Weissensteinburg (author)2007-12-10

Great way to save the environment!

jtobako (author)Weissensteinburg2007-12-10

With the losses in the system, no. You take electricity generated elsewhere, convert to chemical (charge battery), convert to mechanical (drill), convert to electrical (generator), convert to chemical (battery), loosing at least 50% along the way. Why not just use a charger direct to the end battery?

liamjford (author)jtobako2007-12-11

jtobako, I take you haven't watched the video? You are hand cranking the drill, and using that as a dynamo/generator.

babblin5 (author)jtobako2007-12-11

No no! You are hand cranking... not using the drill battery at all =)

bleachworthy (author)2007-12-11

crank powered ipod charger, here I come! (after a voltage regulating circuit of course)

babblin5 (author)bleachworthy2007-12-11

Exactly! =)<br/>

theRIAA (author)2007-12-10

...can you charge the cordless drill battery just by cranking it?

babblin5 (author)theRIAA2007-12-10

Unfortunately, no. The max output tops at around 5-6 volts, even when using another drill to turn the cordless.

Weissensteinburg (author)theRIAA2007-12-10

I was wondering that, too =]

About This Instructable



Bio: I've had many different jobs in my life, but I've discovered my passion: Mental Health Counseling. However, that doesn't keep me from ... More »
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