Replacement of NiCd Battery With External Power Supply

About: I got my education and initial job experience in Ukraine, but in 1998 moved to California. I work as software engineer in one of Bay Area companies. Whenever I have a time I like to program micro controlle...

I paid $3 for this Black-Decker Firestorm drill on the local garage sale. The owner told me that the drill is OK, but the battery is dead (as expected for NiCd power source). I decided to bring it back to life with external power. It is not easy to find the exact 14.4 V supply, but 12V supplies are ubiquitous. I found one powerful enough AC-DC adapter (Belkin, 12 V, 6 A output) in e-waste bin at the office where I work. Would drill work with it? Make a sense to try. Apart from drill and adapter, I needed 2.1 mm barrel jack, which I bought online.

Step 1: Detaching the Battery

First I detached the battery. Disassembling was easy. I unscrewed four long crews, took off the battery housing top, and removed the battery itself.

Step 2: Removing the Battery

The battery has no value and must be recycled, but electrical terminals I saved to use later in the project.

Step 3: Making Plywood Insert

I made plywood insert to fit battery housing top. On the picture above you can see it with electrical terminals connected by wire to a barrel jack (soldering worked for both ends: terminals and jack contacts). Hole in the side of the top allows inserting adapter terminal into the jack.

Step 4: Assembling the Terminal Unit

Putting the top with insert back on the housing and screwing it was a trivial job.

Step 5: Usage

And here is the test. The drill works OK but not without the glitch. I have to turn it on slow enough, otherwise, it will not start properly. That acceptable tradeoff: for less than five dollars I got the workable and useful tool.

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    6 Discussions

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    MikeL17

    13 days ago on Step 5

    Good job. I also found a Black & Decker 14.4 volt drill at a garage sale. Bought it for a couple of dollars. Since I have Li-ion batteries at home in my workshop; I converted by using 4 Li-ion battery cells and a cheap DC female plug-in. I have cheap charging boards already so it powered up right away. Works very well and it only cost me about $4.00. Fun job.

    1 reply
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    jumbleviewMikeL17

    Reply 13 days ago

    Right, and thanks for comment. I explored replacement with Li-ion, but price to buy made it economically not feasible. And sometimes corded has an advantage: always ready,

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    Uncle Kudzu

    14 days ago

    Thanks for sharing your project!
    I recently wondered if an old (but perfectly useful) ni-cad hand vacuum could be given a new lease on life in a similar way.

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    jumbleviewUncle Kudzu

    Reply 13 days ago

    Thanks for the comment, Uncle Kudzu. You should do it. Giving a new life to an old device is more rewarding than buying the new one (at least that's how I feel).

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    Alex in NZ

    15 days ago

    I did this with a different drill, but the psu didn't have the current capacity to deliver useful torque and i ended up chucking it. I wish I'd held onto it now. Well done :-)

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    jumbleviewAlex in NZ

    Reply 15 days ago

    Thanks for comment, Alex. As video shows, if I push the switch fast drill does not start. But when I make it slowly it works. There are two things helpful (I believe): 1) adapter provides enough current (6 A); 2) this drill (as most of modern drills) has variable speed trigger. There is no need in much torque to start slow speed rotation, with gradual speed increase there is corresponding increase in torque.