Run a Cordless 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 Milwaukee drill 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.

Soldering iron
Electrical solder
Wire stripper

Drill with dead or missing battery pack
Landscape low-voltage 16/2 wire

Note: If you have a dead battery pack with your drill you can remove the old cells and run the wire to the contacts of the Paslode drill batteries. This may be a lot easier than trying to get up in the drill handle to solder directly to the contacts there.

I didn’t have the battery so I wired directly to the contacts in the base of the drill.

Decide on how long you want your cord to be. I have found a 10′ length of wire is a good general-use length. If you want to be able to reach any place around the opposite end of your car or boat then measure out what you need to reach back to the battery.

– Drill two side-by-side 3/16″ holes for wire to enter the base.

– Run the wire through oval hole into the battery pack or the drill base.

– Strip the ends of wire and tin them.

– Clean and tin the contacts in the drill base where the wires will attach.

– Solder the wires to the contacts.

– Tape over the base or reassemble the old battery case.

– Separate the free ends of the wire for about 6″.

– Tie an electrician’s knot (Pic 2) at the end of the split.

– Strip and tin the wire ends.

– Solder on the Dyson battery clips.

Note: It really doesn’t matter which wire is red and which wire is black. You will just change the direction switch on the drill to go forward or reverse.

In a car: buffer polish pad, drill mounting holes for switches and accessories, an electric screw driver.

In a truck: socket wrench with quick connect drill adapter, fence repair out in the field, portable paint stirrer.

In a boat: All kinds of drilling and polishing without any shock hazard from shore power and no battery to keep charged.

Now you have a drill that is easy to store, light and never has a dead battery!

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