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.
*Many of us out here 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
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:
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
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!
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
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
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.
Have you ever had a charging unit fail?
Was it under warranty or did you have to cobble together a solution?
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