Instructables
Picture of Run A Drill Off A Car Battery
Here is a quick way to recycle and reuse that old battery-powered drill with the dead or missing battery. Just wire it up to work off a car battery.

I seem to have portable drills that have battery packs that eventually fail. Sometimes I can get replacement battery packs but sometimes I can't. I have seen workable drills with bad batteries at yard sales for just a few dollars. Recycle and reuse them.

In the example I show here I actually bought these cheap drills for the battery packs and chargers so I had the drills but no batteries.

Almost any drill powered by 9 VDC to 18 VDC battery packs can run off a car battery. Just add a convenient length of low voltage wire and a couple of battery clips and you have a handy recycled drill to use anywhere there is a 12 volt battery. I carry one in my car and have another one in my boat.

Some soldering is required but the whole project shouldn't take more than about 30 minutes.

Obviously I should have searched Instructables before I published this. There are already a number of IBLs you can find by searching "12 volt drill". So now there is one more. (:

Step 1: Tools and Parts

Picture of Tools and Parts
Soldering iron
Electrical solder
Drill
Wire stripper

Drill with dead or missing battery pack
Landscape low-voltage 16/2 wire (Lowes #210913, 50', enough for 2-5 drills) $13
Battery clips (Lowes #29745) $3
 
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dentinas24 days ago

that was easy to make, thanks for the instructable ;)

Kes

jimmyf1 year ago
Great idea. My guess is that you would need the appropriate voltage converter as your drill specifies. Also you need to make sure you get higher amperage converters in order to get the required torque. That's why a 12V car battery would be ideal for a 12 volt drill, however, the low voltage running through a long wire causes problems with voltage drop, hence the need for beefier wire. When using a wall wart power supply, You can mitigate this problem of voltage drop from low voltage by having the wall wart in the drill handle or tied to it and connecting an extension cord from the wall wart to your electrical outlet (120/240 volts )
rotemoss1 year ago
Nice!
What is the typical effect from a drill? I will connect my drill via a fuse, so I need to know if 15A would be enough.
That would be very handy! Good project! :)
omnibot2 years ago
Nice instructable. I've done this many times and as Li-Ion powered tools become more common I've done it to those as well. Li-Ion tools are different as they have a circuitboard between battery and speedregulator. That circuitboard must be removed and bypassed which includes opening the tool up. Not a lot of extra work or even very difficult but I thought I'd mention it.
I posted the question of how to bypass my lithium ion drills need for the extra third signal in the questions section. I have many 12 volt ridgid tools three drills one impact gun three flashlights two job max heads and more to come. I prefer not to manipulate all of these tools to get this to work. Do you have any ideas on how I can replicate the signal that the stock battery gives off so when I am running it on a different 12 volt battery tool will turn on. This is very important to me as I bought all of these tools for my mobile business with the intention of this from the beginning as I have done for many years now on my old cordless tools. justinrizzo@gmail.com
http://www.instructables.com/answers/I-want-to-run-my-12-volt-power-tools-ridgid-us/C4KZHUIH9T4IGFG
I posted the question of how to bypass my lithium ion drills need for the extra third signal in the questions section. I have many 12 volt ridgid tools three drills one impact gun three flashlights two job max heads and more to come. I prefer not to manipulate all of these tools to get this to work. Do you have any ideas on how I can replicate the signal that the stock battery gives off so when I am running it on a different 12 volt battery tool will turn on. This is very important to me as I bought all of these tools for my mobile business with the intention of this from the beginning as I have done for many years now on my old cordless tools. justinrizzo@gmail.com
http://www.instructables.com/answers/I-want-to-run-my-12-volt-power-tools-ridgid-us/C4KZHUIH9T4IGFG
slotdoc2 years ago
I have done just the opposite. I have used a cordless drill battery and some wire to recharge a dead car battery when I was stuck out in the middle of nowhere. Just be sure to remove the cordless battery before trying to start the car or it will melt the small wires.
ruanbosman2 years ago
Nice. I have done the same thing. I had to strip some paint of my pickup's chasis so I used those whire brush wheel things you put in the drill chuck. Then I had an even better idea to connect the drill to my car battery charger. It was working like a bomb, except 20 minutes later the pwm trigger switch on the drill has burnt out. I suspect it was overcurrent and it everually failed. So good idea but don't run the moror for too long - like stripping paint! At least I had then the excuse of buying a new cordless drill. (The price on the pwm trigger was slightly less of the price of a new cordless I was eying.......
Bill WW2 years ago
Nice project, Bkeframe.
Yep, I keep a 12V battery in my shop, also drills w/o battery packs under the workbench. Will power them up today!

Bill
pinhead19842 years ago
I have actually modified for the same setup. I built a gator clip to cig adapter and converted my 12v to be powered from the cig plug. I also installed an inline fuse; however, I discovered that when the drill is at full load (securing screws or bolts) it would blow a 15amp fuse pretty quick. When I selected my power cord I chose #12 to reduce the resistance of the length wire. To achieve equal torque to the original battery pack with a ~12ft cord, I had to use a 30 amp fuse.

A small note regarding your voltage range on drills that you can do this mod to: 12v would over power a 9v drill and under power an 18v drill.
I also tried this mod on my 18v and was disappointed in the large loss of torque (torque output was equal to a 6-9v drill, pretty gutless).

Beyond that, nice 'ible.
blkhawk2 years ago
Great project! Do you know how to adapt a car lighter plug to a similar cable? An idea for your next project.
bikeframe (author)  blkhawk2 years ago
Hi Bikhawk,

Thanks for comment. I debated whether to mention a cig plug as an option. I am pretty sure the drill would draw less current than the cig lighter coil so it should work OK.

You could use a two-wire flat connector and make a battery clip ending like I showed and a cig plug ending like you suggest. That would cover all situations.

Fred