Forklift Battery, Maintaining and Extending Its Life

The battery serves as the heart of a forklift. It is constantly churning energy so that the forklift can operate. In order to get the most out of a battery, you need to properly maintain it and do the things that are necessary to extend its life.

There are two things to keep in mind as you go about maintaining the battery. First, a new battery has 1500 cycles in its lifetime. Second, a battery charged once each working day will last for five years. So don’t charge unless you are absolutely sure that the battery

It is essential to properly maintain the forklift battery. (courtesy: Charles Green)

It is essential to properly maintain the forklift battery.
(courtesy: Charles Green)

needs it.

Maintaining the battery involves charging or re-charging it and monitoring its fluid levels.

Things you should do when charging or re-charging the battery include:

· Selecting the equalize/weekend charge option every five to ten charge cycles. This assures that the cell voltage stays in balance and in line.
· Re-charge the battery after each eight-hour shift or when it is more than 30 percent expelled.

Things you don’t do when charging or re-charging a battery include:

· Don’t discharge more than 80 percent of the battery. If you do, then you will be adversely affecting its run time and lifetime.
· Don’t neglect a discharged battery for an extended period of time. If you do, hard sulfur will develop and the run time and battery life will be significantly reduced.
· Do not charge the battery during lunch or coffee breaks. As explained above, each time you charge a battery you are losing a cycle. So if you charge twice a day, you will reduce the life of a new battery from five years down to 2.5 years.
· Never interrupt a charge cycle. Let it finish.

Simple monitoring of the fluid levels of the battery will help assure increased lifetime. Keep these things in mind when considering the fluid levels:

· Top the level every 10 or so charges for the first few years. If the battery has been reconditioned, you may have to do this every five charges.
· If fluid level needs to be topped off, add only enough to cover the plastic element protector about a quarter of an inch.
· Top off the liquid level of batteries fitted with single point watering kits at the end of a charge, never before a charge.
· Top fluid levels with clean water after charging. Never top before starting a charge.
· Check two or three pilot cells every five charges to be sure that the fluid is above the perforated plastic element protector.
· Never overfill fluid or you will experience overflow during the next charge. This could cause acid loss, shorten running time, and cause overheating.

Clean the battery regularly.

· Wash out overspills immediately with water and a little baking soda. This will stop corrosion on top of and beneath the battery casing and prevent the deterioration of battery life.
· Rinse the battery as needed to remove acid residue and vapors.

Consider these points when charging.

· Don’t discharge a battery that has only been lightly discharged.
· Make certain that the cycle is finished before disconnecting from the charger.
· Regularly check the condition of the charger’s plug and socket.

Finally, electric batteries produce gas mixtures that can become explosive. So always proceed with caution when dealing with battery installation and charging.

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