A forklift battery is similar to a car's lead acid battery. However, it is larger, heavier, and more difficult to refurbish. These are also deep-cycle batteries, which users can discharge to lower levels than car batteries without damaging them. Users can take several steps to revive forklift batteries, but they should leave extensive refurbishment to professionals if they do not have the experienced or equipment required to perform the task themselves. Learn how to revive these batteries by cleaning them, replacing fluids, and removing sulfation. Users can find the equipment they need at electronics and hardware stores, as well as online from retailers and marketplaces, such as eBay.
Preparing the Forklift Battery for Refurbishment
A forklift battery can weigh several thousand pounds, and a person may need a forklift to remove it. Users should check the faulty forklift's user manual for specific instructions on battery removal and maintenance. Upon removal, the user should place the battery in a well-ventilated concrete wash. Record the voltage readings, using a voltmeter. Check the battery label for an indication of the battery's voltage. Discharge the battery to 80 percent of its labeled voltage.
Cleaning the Forklift Battery
Once the user has discharged the battery to the appropriate level, it is time to clean the battery terminals. Sprinkle the top of the battery and the terminals with baking soda. Wet the baking soda with clean water and scrub the battery with a soft- to medium-bristle brush. The baking soda neutralizes any traces of acid on top of the battery, but the user should wear protective clothing, such asgoggles,gloves, and an apron while working with the battery as battery acid is highly corrosive. If baking soda fails to remove all the dirt from the top of the battery, use dish detergent to remove additional grime.
Measuring the Acidity of the Battery Water
The user needs to remove the cell caps to access the battery water. Battery water should contain 30 percent sulfuric acid and 70 percent water. Use a hydrometer to measure and record the acidity for each cell. This information indicates how much water or acid the user should add to each cell.
Refreshing a Forklift Battery
The user must add battery acid or distilled water to individual cells to restore the required water to acid ratio. Do not use tap water to top up battery fluid, as tap water contains minerals and contaminants that could damage the battery further. The user should check the acid concentration during this process to guide the addition of water and acid. Once each cell contains the ideal ratio of acid to water, the user should replace the cell caps and connect the battery to the charger. Eight hours of charging should be enough to charge the battery fully.
If the battery does not attain the expected voltage, the user should recheck the water to acid ratios in the cells, make any adjustments necessary, and charge the battery again. Users should discharge batteries before each new charge cycle to avoid overcharging and permanently damaging them. It may be necessary to repeat this process a number of times. If the water to acid ratio is correct, it could indicate damaged cells. Measure the voltage of individual cells to identify damaged or faulty units by attaching one probe of a voltmeter to a terminal and immersing the other probe in the cell liquid. Users should replace faulty cells or have the batteries refurbished by professionals.
Removing Sulfation from a Forklift Battery
Sulfation is one of the most common causes of lead acid battery failure. While a battery is in use, small sulfate crystals form. Usually, these are not harmful, but when a battery does not charge properly or fully, this lead sulfate converts to a crystalline form that deposit on the battery's negative plates, forming large crystals. These reduce the battery's active material responsible for low resistance and high capacity and lowers charge acceptance. Charging takes longer due to higher internal resistance.
Users can reverse some types of sulfation. An anti-sulfation or desulfation device applies pulses to the battery terminals to prevent and reverse the process. These devices tend to lower sulfation on healthy batteries, but may not be capable of fully reversing the condition in damaged batteries. As a preventative measure, use a special desulfation charger to reduce the likelihood of damage to new or healthy batteries.
How to Buy Forklift Battery Refurbishment Supplies
eBay sellers offer a variety of forklift battery refurbishment supplies at competitive prices. To find what you need, type a key phrase (for example " forklift battery charger") into the search field, which you can access from every page. Refine your search by choosing the most suitable category and item specifications.
Forklift battery refurbishment is more complex than regular lead acid battery refurbishment. However, you can refresh the battery by adjusting the water to acid ratio in the cells. Desulfation can improve its charge holding capabilities and charging speeds. For more serious problems, consider having the battery refurbished by professionals or replacing the battery entirely.