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Date: 2 February 2016. Electric Drill Repair.


I am looking forward to the day when I can start a project and work right straight through to the end without a something else coming up. This time the drill shorted out. It was definitely time to fix this thing properly. Replacement is not in the budget.

Because it was already broken I could not make it worse by trying to fix it.

First, I removed all the screws I could see. There were six.


I did what most new boaters do when starting out. I bought battery powered tools. The theory was they would work even if I wasn't tied to a dock. Of course I totally discounted the use of an inverter. Honestly, I don't know what I was thinking.

The problem is this: I did not use power tools frequently enough. It seemed the batt always required recharging whenever I wanted to use the tool.

That is why a while back I switched over to electric tools. They work better for me.


Because my needs are less than a professional I opted for the least expensive electric drill I could find. Mine was sold by Harbor Freight. It was $12 and came with a three month warranty.

For my infrequent use cheap works best, until it breaks. Then
it's time to pull out my screwdriver and fix the blasted thing.

Before it broke I did one thing you might consider too. I took the drill apart and applied GREASE to the gear.

Near the head of the drill is a gear. By liberally applying lubricating grease to the gear the motor will work easier.



Lubricating Grease


The container is so old the lid has a crack.
Aluminum foil keeps it sealed. →


This container is from our 40'er. It's old. Not as old as me, but close enough! A little brush fits inside so applying the stuff is easy.


If I didn't have this stuff on hand I would add it to my Thrift Store list. It's not a retail item though you will find a use for it once in a while. Or ask a mechanic to give you some in a little glass jar. Mine is at least thirty years old and I've used a bit maybe four or five times since I bought Seaweed.

But I digress. Again! Thanks for being patient with me as I ramble...

The problem is my drill made a pop sound then quit. I saw a bit of smoke near where the cord enters the drill.

First Task: Unplug the drill.

In examining the drill I could see where a bit of the wire looked like it had shorted out. The cord was softer at that point so I suspected the damage was centered there. After unplugging the drill I opened her up.

The wires as they entered the drill had shorted out. I cut off the bad part and stripped off the black cord cover. What I discovered is this: Though the Harbor Freight drill has the same diameter cord as the more costly drills, the guts in there are not so large.

The wires are 18 gauge. That's about the size of a pencil lead. It also works. Any time I can save lots of money I'm all for that.

At first I pulled out my spiffy waterproof butt connectors then realized I did not need to use the expensive ones for this. The cheap spade connectors I have in the locker will be perfectly a-okay in this application.




When wiring, something to consider:


Positive and ground wires FROM THE DRILL
and the matching ones FROM THE CORD.

I was concerned that at some point I'd have to take this apart again. I wanted to ensure that I could not accidentally connect the wires improperly. This is what I did:

I took a male spade connector (TOP GREEN ARROW) and put it on the ground wire inside the drill. Then I took a female spade connector (BOTTOM GREEN ARROW) and attached it on the white wire inside the drill.


Next I did the reverse to the cord wires. I took the white wire inside the cord and attached a male spade connector to it. Now the white (positive) wires will join.

For the Ground wire in the cord (that skinny black one near the RED ARROW) I attached a female. Now the male spade will fit nicely in the slot.

Voila: I cannot mess it up later on down the waterways...


Of course I wanted to make sure the metal in those spades could never touched each other. The solution was a bit of heat shrink tubing and a lighter. First I slid the heat shrink tubing on the wires, then connected the spades. Sliding the heat heat shrink over the spade connectors protects the wires. It also helps keep the spades together.

By going back and forth with a lighter the heat shrink squeezed in and everything is Good Enough.

Making it all fit back in the drill case was a bit of a challenge. It took me a couple of tries before the cover closed properly. Once it snapped together it was a simple matter to replace the six screws. Voila. If only all repairs were so easy.

For a bit of time I once again have a drill that will work and hopefully for a long time. And now I can get back to more boat projects.

You know every job has a divergent. The drill was just one of mine. More later... and thanks for reading.

Are you familiar with any other tricks to keep tools working well?
Have you used lubricating grease in other power tools or applications? What did you do?



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