Forklift Batteries | Vancouver, BC, Canada
- New & Used Forklift Batteries For All Forklift Makes & Models
- A Reference Guide
An Introduction to Forklift Batteries
Choosing the right forklift battery isn’t as straightforward as choosing a battery for a child’s play toy.
When it comes to toys and other electronic devices, once you know the size of battery you need,
you simply buy the battery, pop it in and you’re done. That isn’t the case with forklift trucks.
Below you will find a variety of information on how to choose and maintain a forklift battery
for optimum life and performance.
The Most Popular Forklift Battery Sizes
|Voltage||Model Number||Ampere Hour|
( A.H. )
( KWH )
The Top 10 Issues To Consider When Choosing A Forklift Battery
- The weight of the battery is considered part of the counterweight of the forklift. If you choose a battery that is too small, it may not meet the minimum battery weight required to maintain the lift truck’s capacity rating.
- Forklift batteries tend to lose their ability to deliver power over time due to age, poor maintenance, abuse and so on. It is highly recommended that you buy the largest battery possible when the forklift is new to maximize the battery’s utility over time.
- Make sure you choose the right forklift battery to match up with how the battery will be expected to deliver power between periods of recharging. In multi shift applications, for example, where there sometimes isn’t enough time to properly charge the battery over the course of a day, it may be that a fast charge battery and charging system is the best solution if a business is to keep up with production without damaging the battery. A thorough on site study, conducted by a qualified forklift battery professional, is the only way to determine which solution will provide optimum results.
- Make sure the size of the battery tray is large enough to fill the battery compartment, otherwise you will need to shim or block the battery properly so that it doesn’t slide around during normal operation. Batteries are very heavy and will easily slide which will cause damage to the battery over time. Take the time to confirm the battery compartment dimensions with the lift truck supplier and make sure that the actual battery size is less than these dimensions.
- Make sure that the battery is properly matched to the charger to avoid damaging the battery by either undercharging or overcharging.
- The voltage of the battery needs to be correctly matched to the forklift electrical system and the output of the charger. You can’t install a 48 volt battery in a 36 volt truck, for example.
- It is important to have a proper forklift battery charging, watering and cleaning program in place before you install a new battery to protect your investment. Forklift batteries are expensive to replace. Without a proper charging, watering and cleaning program, these batteries may last less than a year instead of 5 to 10 years. An automatic watering system is highly recommended for all forklift batteries, particularly in stand up models, due to the difficultly involved in accessing these batteries during the filling process. A “blinking” light system, mounted on the battery is also a very important accessory to add so that you know when the battery needs water without having to actually check the battery water levels physically.
- Source a reputable, local battery reseller that offers local service and warranty support in the event the battery is found to be defective somewhere down the road.
- When the forklift is new, make sure you source the battery and charger from the same company so that if you are having a problem with the battery, the battery company can’t easily point fingers at the charger company for being the problem.
- One of the most overlooked items is the battery connector. Make sure the battery connector matches the plug-in on the forklift and the plug-in on the charger.
How To Evaluate Reconditioned Forklift Batteries aka Used Forklift Batteries
A reconditioned forklift battery is not the same as a rebuilt forklift battery and, just like buying a used car, everyone’s definition of "reconditioned" has a lot of room for interpretation. Generally, the prices of reconditioned forklift batteries are about half of new, give or take. It’s important to make sure you understand exactly what was done to the battery during the reconditioning process and what the warranty will be after you pay their invoice. The good thing about reconditioned forklift batteries is that you have another option when it comes to finding a working battery for a used lift truck. Make sure the battery meets the minimum battery weight requirements, fills the battery compartment fully and matches the input voltage of the forklift and output voltage of the charger.
How To Locate Forklift Battery Make, Model & Serial Number Information
Not everyone is aware that the forklift battery data plate information is usually stamped on the lead post connector that joins two battery cells together on the top of the battery. Sometimes the data location is marked on the plastic cap that covers the lead connector but too often it isn’t easy to find. Most of us in the forklift business have had many experiences lifting almost all the plastic caps before finally locating the one with all the information.
Forklift Battery Voltages
The most common forklift battery voltages are 12 volt, 24 volt, 36 volt, 48 volt, 72 volt & 80 volt. There are a few obscure exceptions that have existed in the past but these are the most common ones.
Forklift Battery Ampere Hour ( A.H. ) Capacity
Given a specific battery voltage, a battery with a larger ampere hour capacity will deliver the same level of energy for a longer period of time. Therefore a 800 A.H. capacity battery will need to be charged sooner than a 1,000 A.H. capacity battery.
Forklift Battery Kilowatt Hour ( K.W.H. ) Capacity
Let's say you have two forklift batteries that have equal ampere hour capacities but different voltages. Is their ability to deliver energy over a given period of time the same? The answer is, no. Converting ampere hour capacity to kilowatt hour capacity allows you to compare batteries of different voltages to see which one is larger. As an example, a 700 ampere hour capacity battery that is 36 volt has a kilowatt hour capacity of 25.2 ( 700 times 36 divided by 1,000 ). A 600 ampere hour capacity battery that is 48 volt has a kilowatt hour capacity of 28.8. So, you can see that the 600 ampere hour capacity battery is actually larger and able to deliver more power than the 700 ampere hour battery. In a sense, it has a larger “fuel” tank.
How To Clean A Forklift Battery
Use a solution of baking soda and water ( percentage mixture to be supplied by the battery manufacturer ) and begin to clean the top of the battery being very careful not to allow any of the baking soda and water mixture to touch the fill caps or go inside of the fill caps as this will likely damage the battery. Battery cleaning is important to reduce the gradual discharge of the battery between cells. This discharge process is possible because the acid ( that also conducts electricity ) connects the posts of neighbouring cells and the battery case in a way that allows the battery to discharge even when the lift truck is not in use. Think of it as a leak in your electrical system and the by - product of this leak is white, corrosive mushroom looking material that usually forms near the steel tray around the perimeter of the battery.
Forklift Battery Care Instructions
FORKLIFT BATTERY CARE INSTRUCTIONS downloadable (1) page PDF.
How A Forklift’s Electrical System Can Be Affected By An Overly Discharged Battery
When a forklift battery has been allowed to discharge past roughly 20% of its’ original fully charged state, the voltage of each battery cell drops. When this happens, the battery attempts to deliver higher amperage to compensate. When it does that, the lift truck’s electrical components begin to heat up beyond their normal operating temperate, putting unnecessary strain on these components which, over time, will cause them to fail prematurely. Making sure that your lift truck is properly equipped with a lift interrupt device that is accurately adjusted ( many aren’t ) will ensure that the electrical components in the lift truck are protected from higher current levels usually caused by an overly discharged battery. Most electric trucks today have a lift interrupt, however it may be worth checking to make sure it has been set correctly. A lift interrupt feature will lock out the lifting function of the forklift when the battery charge level falls below a set state of charge forcing the operator to drive the lift truck back to the charging station as a means of protecting the lift truck’s electrical system.
How To Charge A Forklift Battery
It is very important to have a forklift battery charger properly adjusted to match the battery that is being charged. Most forklift battery chargers come pre-set from the factory but they are tunable for a wide range of different battery types and situations. Only a forklift battery and charger specialist should be involved in making these adjustments as they are critical to the performance of any forklift battery and they are also critical when it comes to maximizing the life of the battery. A common rule in battery charging is to charge the battery as little as possible, meaning you should discharge the battery, by using the lift truck, down to a 20% state of charge before charging the battery back to full capacity ( fast charge systems are an exception ). You should also make sure the battery is placed on an equalize charge at least once a week ( depending on how the battery is used ) to keep the battery fresh. Obviously there will be times when you don’t have this luxury because, for example, you have a busy day the next day, there is only a 50% charge remaining in the battery and it is the only forklift you have to unload trucks the next day. Even though this scenario might happen every once in a while, try to make it the exception rather that the rule. If you do that it will lengthen the life of your battery significantly. Also, make sure you charge the battery before filling the battery with clean tap water or distilled water, otherwise the battery will overflow during the charging process covering the top of the battery with corrosive acid.
Four Frequent Mistakes Made By Owners Of Forklift Batteries
- Adding too much water to a lead acid battery will excessively dilute the electrolyte resulting in reduced battery performance. Only add water to the battery after it has been fully charged, not when it is fully discharged or partially charged.
- Not adding enough water will expose the top of the battery plates to air which will reduce the battery’s ability to deliver power. It may also permanently damage the part of the plate that was exposed in such a way that regeneration of the plate may not be possible.
- Overcharging over time will cause accelerated corrosion of the positive plates, excessive battery water consumption and overall deterioration of the battery.
- Undercharging, either because of an inadequate battery charger arrangement or from battery neglect, will cause unnecessary sulfation of the battery plates reducing the performance of the battery in addition to increasing the chance of premature battery failure.
Explosion Proof Rated Electric Forklift Batteries
Explosion proof rated electric forklifts are manufactured in such a manner that they will not produce a spark during normal operation. Forklifts manufactured to this standard are very expensive and usually used in facilities where creating a spark could cause an explosion such as an oil refinery, chemical plant, fireworks or ammunition manufacturing facility. It is very important to install an explosion proof rated battery into an explosion proof rated electric forklift otherwise the explosion proof rating of the forklift will no longer be valid. The same applies to the forklift battery charger.
EE Rated Electric Forklift Batteries
EE rated electric forklifts are manufactured to a standard which will reduce the likelihood that the forklift will produce a spark during normal operation but it won't totally eliminate it. As with explosion proof rated electric forklifts, it is also very important to install a "EE" rated battery into a "EE" rated electric forklift otherwise the "EE" rating of the forklift will no longer be valid.
For more information on how to choose the right battery for your lift truck or if you are looking for a price quote on a new or reconditioned forklift battery, please contact Scott McLeod, President of Fleetman Consulting Inc. by calling (604)614-3530.