There are some battery repair tasks that you can do yourself, while others are best left to professionals. The key is to know when it’s worth doing it yourself and when to call a professional. Forklift batteries may be expensive; therefore, maintaining them in excellent condition is crucial for their dependability. The following battery maintenance checklist will help you determine when to care for them or hire a professional.
Check the Voltage
When you’re checking your forklift battery, check the voltage. This test can be done using a volt meter and a pair of probes clipped to the cables.
The voltage should be equal for every cell. If the overall voltage is lower than the rated voltage, it’s time to perform maintenance on the battery cells.
A charge helps restore active materials to the battery cells, and it also helps balance the electrolyte concentration for each cell. The charging process also removes built-up sulfate crystals that affect each cell’s ability to hold a charge.
You should conduct an equalization charge on your forklift batteries every five to ten charging cycles. It charges the battery at a higher voltage than average and re-balances each cell’s voltage.
This charge can also help prevent a boil-over when charging the battery. A boil-over can evaporate some of the battery’s water and eat away at its plates, shortening its lifespan.
Performing routine maintenance on your forklift batteries can extend their useful life and decrease downtime, saving you money and increasing productivity. Establish regular service intervals for your batteries and chargers to keep them operating at their best performance. Finding a complete forklift repair before it worsens would save you some slack in case of issues.
Check the Specific Gravity
A substance’s specific gravity (SG) is the ratio of its weight in water to its weight in the air. It is a critical measurement that can help determine whether your battery needs servicing.
A hydrometer can be purchased at an auto parts store to help take these readings and keep track of your battery’s electrochemical health. When the battery is ultimately charged, taking these measurements once a month may assist in detecting cells that are deviating from the battery’s everyday chemistry and indicate that it’s time for a replacement.
This reading will also help you spot signs of sulfation that can shorten the battery’s lifespan. It can also help you determine if any corrosion issues with the battery’s connections or terminals might be a cause for concern.
Each month, a technician should use a hydrometer to check the specific gravity of each lead-acid battery, cell by cell. Fully charged, standard forklift batteries typically indicate an ideal specific gravity of 1.285. But that number will vary depending on the model and manufacturer, so refer to the owner’s manual. Read about how to jump a car.
Clean the Terminals
One of the essential parts of forklift battery repair is cleaning the terminals. A corroded terminal can cause many issues, including poor performance and charging problems.
You will need a small amount of baking soda and water to perform this task. Using this solution, you will be able to remove any corrosion that is on the terminals.
It will help you keep your battery in good condition and improve its lifespan. The baking soda will also neutralize any acid collected on the battery.
The battery should be inspected and cleaned at least once every month. This light cleaning routine is necessary for any maintenance plan and helps prevent buildup from accumulating.
You should also check the water levels of your forklift batteries. It will ensure enough fluid in the battery cells to cover the lead plates.
Aside from this, it is essential to charge your batteries appropriately. Overcharging can shorten their lifespan, and undercharging can damage the cells.
Check the Connectors
Battery connectors are a vital part of the entire battery and forklift system. A loose connection can lead to severe problems in the form of reduced power output, decreased run time, and even safety risks. Connectors should be adequately crimped to the charging cable to ensure that it does not come loose during operation or from age. They also need to be nicely lubricated to keep them in good condition.
Most forklift batteries have a liquid electrolyte solution that helps to conduct electricity within the cells. The correct water and sulfuric acid levels should be maintained to keep the cells working properly and prolong the battery’s life.
Batteries should be topped off with water at least every five to ten charges. It will prevent a boil-over.
It is also essential to know which type of battery you have and what voltage it can handle. The highest-rated amp-hour battery you can afford is always a good choice.
Forklift batteries should be charged with a charger for the specific voltage and ampere-hour battery rating. It will help maximize the forklift’s performance and reduce maintenance costs.