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23' mini-trawler
by Schucker

Janice aboard Seaweed,
living the good life afloat...

Trawler cruising on $10 per day is possible.
I'm doing it and you can too.

Janice Marois, accredited member of Boat Writers International.

It's been suggested I share my views on living aboard a boat with very limited resources. Hopefully my successes will help others achieve the life. And yes, I'll share the things I did wrong too -- though not everything 'cause a girl's got to have her secrets!


29 July 2014. DeWalt Drill Fix.

All of us have tools aboard our boats. That comes with the territory.  One of my favorites was gifted to me by Oremae* and it's a DeWalt 12-volt rechargeable drill. I especially appreciate 12 volts as I know that if I had to, I could make it work right off my batteries.

*Most of us out here tend to refer to each other by the names of our boats. Oremae is the Morgan41 belonging to friends of mine.  When you name your boat, try for something that's easy to spell, understandable over the VHF radio and definitely nothing crude. 

Master Baiter is crude and says a lot about the boat's owner. Who in their right mind thinks that's a good name for a fishing boat?!? Sigh.

On the other hand, this is a boat I
spotted on it's way to the fishing grounds:

She's nice, and no trashy name. The folks on this Boy Toy have class, or at least very nice taste in their go-fast boats.

Any of us with boats though have need of a drill at some point. A rechargeable makes life easier -- no power cord to deal with. The drill Oremae gave me one came with a Rapid Charger. That's an especially nice upgrade from the standard one because from dead to fully charged takes just an hour. Of course this requires the use of A/C power and fortunately I have an inverter.

In any event the last time I tried to recharge the battery I noticed the light was not coming on. That flashing red light indicates charging and I wasn't sure if it was the light or the charger that wasn't cooperative.

Clue #1: The drill turned about as fast as a turtle walks through molasses in the Artic. 

Guts of my DeWalt rapid charger


A bit of online exploration told me that one of the DeWalt chargers had been recalled. But not mine.

Since the one I have is broken there's nothing I can do to make it worse at this point. That means I can open it up and see what is in there and possibly fix it. I got out my fancy set of screwdrivers and had at it.


 I took it apart. This is what I found:


At the Green Circle I spotted the attachment points for the battery. It's clearly marked (Red and Yellow) for positive and ground so I knew where to put my multi-meter probes.

And yes, as a matter of fact, you do need a digital multi-meter. They all come with instruction booklets. I know I use mine at least once per week. Because I'm not an expert at this stuff, the bottom of the line least expensive model works a-okay for me.

When I attached my probes to the Red and Yellow tabs there was no power. Thus I knew the charger was not functional. I didn't see any obvious problems and needed a solution.


Buying a new drill does not work for a budget cruiser like me. In a world of disposable items, sometimes with a bit of thinking an option will surface. My favorites are free, and the one I came up with was the perfect price. Zero!

Determining Polarity


I didn't know which side was the positive to on the battery pack for my DeWalt drill.  The multi-meter helped figure that part out. I put the red probe on one side and the black on the other. The number registered as a negative [-11.7] so I switched the red to the other side. Voila: 11.7 without the minus sign.

I've painted a red dot on the Positive side with some nail polish for future reference.

The next thing I got out of my box of tricks is my alligator clips that have a 12-volt male cigarette plug at the business end. What those wires actually are is the part you'd connect to a battery from an ancient battery charger. It's rough, it's not pretty, the wires are icky, but it's free. And it works.

I wasn't sure if my fix would take and so after a couple of hours I checked the voltage for that battery. This is what it showed:

12.71 is fully charged. Actually that's the same level as the batteries on Seaweed so I'm not so much charging as equalizing with my system. And that's good enough.

Voila! It worked, and now I can get rid of the old charger base. It's trash. And my drill again works just as it should. I saved the cost of a new charger ($40+ online) and don't need a new drill either. I'd say for the cost of the multi-meter (less than $10) and the cords off a broken auto battery charger... well, I did well today.

And if I can do it, so too can you.

Comments welcome and encouraged on the DeWalt Drill Fix page.

Categories: Boats, Gear, Money, Recommendations

Skipper, First Mate extraordinaire

Of course every boat needs a Deck Swabbie. Mine, born in 2008, is a papillon mix who weighs in at 4 pounds 3 ounces.


Coming soon ...

Making friends three miles from shore.


The Archive holds a running list with synopsis of published articles, and links to same.

Topics of Interest:
You can achieve a simple satisfying life

Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak enough food for a week.
But I'm darned if I know how the helican.
(Poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1879-1972.)


For years I've been collecting short pithy statements otherwise known as aphorisms. If you're like me and enjoy the weird, go ahead and CLICK!

These are previously posted at the bottom of each article -- for new, you'll have to come visit again.

Seaweed is being repaired in Carrabelle right now.

The above chart (#411) can be a wish book of sorts as you look over your domain and wonder where to go next. And yes, I do have the originals (sans red arrow) as jpeg's for download should you desire your own for closer perusal. Enjoy!

The Writer's Block

It's my belief that other folks who boat are some of the most interesting in the world, and inside every boater is a story. Well, let yours out! I'd love to post short stories, vignettes, or even longer articles that focus on some aspect of our life on or near the water. Suggested topics include:

1. I Remember When...
2. My First Boat
3. Who inspired you to be a boater?
4. Fishing Trips or Tricks
5. Or another subject of your choosing

Life has changed so much on the water since I was born aboard, and personally I'd love to hear your memories of life when you were younger. Boats were smaller, narrower, and much slower, but kids, well, kids were kids. Here are my two aboard the tow boat my dad ran for a time:

Your pictures would be wonderful too. I posted one of Boot Key Harbor taken in 2001 that has gotten quite a few downloads and really, that's not so terribly long ago... Do you have any photos to share? Email me.


23' Schucker mini-trawler, circa 1983.

Thanks for visiting. If you happen to see my boat along the waterways, give a call on Channel 16. I'm always listening.

click picture to enlarge

My home is not fancy by any means, however you cannot imagine how wonderful it is to come back to her after an expedition on shore.

If I can live this life, why not you too?

Skipper, First Mate

Aphorism Alert: Begin doing what you want to now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake. Marie Beyon Ray.

Contributions to my Cruising Kitty
are always appreciated.

Every gift helps.

The Cruising Kitty is what boaters refer to as spending money. There's never enough aboard Seaweed!

I am also an Amazon Affiliate.


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