power tool voltage for cruising: 12V or 18.5V or 110V AC? - SailNet Community

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Old 03-19-2012
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power tool voltage for cruising: 12V or 18.5V or 110V AC?

What power tools are people recommending to keep aboard a cruising sailboat? The basic choice seems to be between battery-operated with either 12 or 18.5V DC. Or 110V AC.

Is 12V better suited because it could presumably be directly charged from the 12V battery bank? Or do the 110V AC tools have more bang and when charging them through an inverter does you don't loose that much power in the process? My inverter is rated at only 400W, so I assume I'd have to invest in a bigger one? And is there any reason to use 18.5V battery-operated tools at all on a cruising sailboat?

Thanks.
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Old 03-19-2012
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Re: power tool voltage for cruising: 12V or 18.5V or 110V AC?

I haven't had a working battery for my 12 volt drill in years. I run it directly off my 12 volt system, something which wouldn't be an option with an 18 volt drill. Go for the 12 volt and make up a cord for it. I use mine all the time.
When it is new, it's also a good idea to get rid of that screwball keyless chuck for a proper keyed chuck. Mine is frozen on , so can't be changed. Many use a standard left hand 3/8th inch fine thread. Wish I had changed mine , while it was new.
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Re: power tool voltage for cruising: 12V or 18.5V or 110V AC?

What Brent said. If you go 12 V For the wire look at heavy gauge speaker wire for an auto boom box.,alligator clips for direct to the bat. Internally, solder direct to terminals in the handle.I took this rig to Thailand and built a sailboat on the beach. Cat's butt!
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Re: power tool voltage for cruising: 12V or 18.5V or 110V AC?

If you have the room aboard the boat, I'd consider one of the 18 volt drill/sawzall kits. They're around $120 when on sale, that would give you 2 batteries. If you have an inverter on board, you could charge the batteries when motoring. Having a sawzall with some metal cutting blades on board could be pretty handy if mishaps with your standing rigging/mast should ever occur.

Bob
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Re: power tool voltage for cruising: 12V or 18.5V or 110V AC?

Ditto on the sawzall, after I bought one I don't remember how I ever lived without one.

with the right blade;I use it on wood, tiles, pipes, sheet metel, angle iron, fiberglass,....................
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Re: power tool voltage for cruising: 12V or 18.5V or 110V AC?

No point going the inverter charger route if you can avoid it. Keep it simple
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Re: power tool voltage for cruising: 12V or 18.5V or 110V AC?

We had 12 volt and they were GENERALLY fine . . . but there were a few times we had to go borrow a 110volt drill or saw because our 12v just didn't have the "oomph." I'd say we borrowed once every 2 years (full time cruising).
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Old 03-20-2012
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Re: power tool voltage for cruising: 12V or 18.5V or 110V AC?

The lithium ion 18 volt tools are fantastic, I carry a drill and impact driver on the boat all the time. Massive power and long battery life. My little Makita drill is as powerful as any 115v drill I have. The Lithium batteries don't seem to discharge while not being used like the other 18 volt batteries either. I also like how compact the tools are for getting into the convenient(?) spots where most repairs seem to take place on boats.
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Re: power tool voltage for cruising: 12V or 18.5V or 110V AC?

I keep this Dewalt cordless screwdriver aboard. It is very versatile, with any flat/phillips/allen/torx/etc driver bits and drill bits. It will work in a straight pisition like a screwdriver or bent like a drill. Any quick connect kit works. It just lies flat in my tool bag like any other tool in there. I use it very often.

DW920K-2 1/4" (6mm) 7.2V Cordless Two-Position Screwdriver Kit | DEWALT Tools

I also keep a cordless wet/dry shop vac, which will run on an 18v batt or can be plugged in. Incredibly helpful for everything from crumbs to getting that last bit of water out of a bilge. Small enough that it fits under a settee seat.

DC500 2 Gallon Cordless/Corded Wet/Dry Vac | DEWALT Tools

For more serious drilling I keep a plain old 110v power drill. I also have a Dremel.
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