I am trying to mount a 23" monitor to a wall. I located the stud and used a bit to drill through the drywall into the stud. I went as far as I could before it started to smell and smoke. I then attempted to drill the large screw into the new hole. The screw got so far, then stopped. I tried to push through as much torque as I could but the drill died on the spot.

I've seen a drill battery died before, usually it wines, slows and dies. This went from full power to dead instantly. I plan on using a hammer drill tonight to try the same thing with better results.

Before I do:

Can you think of a reason I couldn't get through the stud? I have a 12 volt drill (hardly heavy duty). Is this too weak to do the job? Any comments or thoughts are appreciated.

  • 6
    Were you using a sharp bit, and periodically pulling it back to clear the chips? Usually you only smell burning if there is copious friction. Did you see wood chips coming out, or just drywall? Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 21:01
  • 3
    Newer drills with lithium batteries have a battery management system. If the power from the batteries goes above or below a safe threshold, the drill shuts off. Second, what kind of building do you live in? Is it an apartment which might have metal studs or concrete? What year was it built? And how did you find the stud from another room?
    – Mister Tea
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 21:01
  • 3
    Hammer drills are for masonry, not drywall & studs. You're going to break something ...
    – brhans
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 22:05
  • I canned the studs because the adjacent room is unfinished. Its definitely the 2x4 Commented Nov 15, 2016 at 0:26
  • 1
    Are you sure you didn't hit a nail guard plate for a pipe or wire? Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 16:39

3 Answers 3


I think two things happened:

  1. You didn't periodically back the drill out to clear the bit's grooves (flutes). Not doing so results in wood filings being packed tightly into the fluting. It then becomes impossible to proceed, heat builds up, and the wood burns.

  2. Your drill may have a Lithium ion battery. They have built-in circuitry to prevent over-discharge, which can prevent future charging. They stop suddenly when remaining voltage reaches a prescribed threshold. Even if you have an older NiCad battery, the strain of this situation could bring the drill to a sudden stop as the wood heats and binds.


Without knowing anything about the building, I would first suspect you drilled (partially) into a steel pipe

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or a nail plate enter image description here which is protecting wire, tubing, or conduit.

In my 1950s house which uses 2x4s from a bygone era (dense Douglas-fir), I have to predrill any stud into which I intend to drive a screw or nail. Yes, a nail. Otherwise the nail will bend or curl or the screw will snap. I use a sharp 1/8 inch drill bit for pre-drilling.


It could be possible you hit a knot in the stud. I have found those to be very tough to work through.

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