Avoid the cordless drill blues

By Dave Helgeson

If you are like me, you carry a cordless drill in your RV. They come in handy for a bunch of things including small repairs and campsite improvements. Many RVers even find them useful for raising and lowering the stabilizing jacks on travel trailer and fifth wheels, even though jack manufacturers don’t recommend doing so.

Inevitably, the battery seems to go dead at the most inconvenient place and time, like when you are in the middle of a job and you are dry camping without shore power to recharge the battery. I used to tell myself I will get out the charger for the drill at the next stop or when I start the generator, but I typically forgot. The other problem was even when I did have shore power, where do I set up the charger that isn’t in the way in the interior of the RV. Plugging it in outside wasn’t an option as it might be stolen. Furthermore, each time we moved, the charger had to be stowed away before travel.

To solve these problems, I purchased a second battery and charger and mounted it on the wall inside the exterior storage compartment of the RV where the drill is stored. Power was obtained by drilling a hole into the sidewall and tapping a 120 V wall outlet on the interior of the RV. Now, whenever I start the generator or am plugged into shore power, I know the spare battery is charging and I will always have a fresh drill battery ready to go.

Note: New-style lithium batteries charge in as little as a half hour compared to Ni-Cd batteries found in older drills, that take 6-8 hours to charge. If you are a boondocker like me and run a generator for just short periods each day, a drill with lithium batteries assures you will always have a fully charged spare battery standing by.

Editor’s note: Some RVers are “touchy” about electrical equipment inside basement storage compartments. Here’s something you might consider: Use remote-reporting smoke detectors in your rig. These detectors are “linked” so that if one alerts, all others do the same. Mount one in your storage compartment.