Forklift Battery FAQs

How do I know if my forklift battery is bad?

 

Physical damage is often easy to see however there are some other indicators such as strong smells, signs of excessive heat or damaged parts. Another one to look for is heavy positive cell post lifting.

 In terms of the unseen problems, the first question is how long is the battery lasting on the truck? Try and think about actual working hours as this is when the battery is being worked and using power. Does the truck Battery Discharge Indicator (BDI) drop suddenly after a short period of work?

How long do forklift batteries last on a full charge?

 

On average a battery should last around 5-10 hours, but this all depends on the specification. Adding specialist attachments or lifting heavy loads to big height can impact the run time. Batteries should always be specified on the application as there will usually be various options for the truck.

How do you charge a dead forklift battery?

 

If the forklift truck has indicated the battery should be charged and is still working, then this should be a case of taking it back to the charger and following the local charging procedure.

Sometimes batteries can be over discharged, and the truck may or may not drive, usually not. In this scenario you will normally need specialist help from a qualified technician. Some modern chargers do have a “low battery start” option so check out your charger manual before calling someone in (if you can find it).

What kind of battery does a forklift use?

There are few options for battery technology in forklift trucks and this has evolved rapidly in recent years.

 

A large proportion of the market will be using the good old lead acid battery. This technology is tried and tested and very reliable. Other forms of lead acid are also available that allow for different charging characteristics.

More recently we have seen Lithium entering the forklift market and is rapidly growing. There are various Lithium technologies available for the forklift market however LiFePO4 (Lithium Ion Phosphate) and NMC (Lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide) seem to be the most suitable and readily available at the moment.

Other options include FNC, Lead Crystal, CSM.

Can a forklift be left in the rain?

Some forklifts can work outdoors in the rain and other harsh weather environments however it’s important to check with the forklift supplier first. Your equipment should have an Index of Protection (IP) rating this will tell you what protection is in place.

Can a forklift battery explode? 

Lead acid batteries produce hydrogen gas, and this can cause an explosion if ignited. Correct use of the battery and good health and safety practices on site will minimise this risk.

 

Seek further advice from a qualified specialist who can assess your site in line with current health and safety regulations.

Can you overcharge a forklift battery?

 

Yes, it is possible with the incorrect charger to overcharge a battery. This can lead to permanent battery damage.

How often should a forklift battery be watered?

 

It is always important to check the manufactures guidance based on the battery and charger type you have as this can vary greatly. Standard lead acid batteries on a standard charger would generally be watered at least once a week. It’s important to only check and water the battery after a full charge due to electrolyte levels rising.

How much does it cost to charge a forklift battery?

 

This can vary depending on the type of solutions you have on site however as a rough guide the following can be used

48V 500Ah battery full charge – Cost per recharge

50Hz charger £4.20

Puls Charger £3.21

HF Air charger £2.89

How much does a forklift battery cost?

Prices can range from £500 for a small battery up to £10,000 + as there are many sizes and different trucks.

Can you charge a forklift overnight?

 

Yes, modern chargers are usually regulated and will control the charge cycle and shutting down the charge when complete. You should always carry out a local risk assessment on site.

How do you check the condition of a forklift battery?

 

Visual

-Check battery tank for damage or signs of corrosion

-Check DC harness for damage (tape on cable, damaged insulation or signs of heat)

-Intercell connections are present and not damaged. Check for corrosion around bolts.

-Check all bolts for corrosion.

-Are the cells lifting in the tank?

-Is there any electrolyte fluid around the top of the battery or in the tank?

-Are all parts and labels present?

 

Testing

This should be carried out by a suitably trained and competent person. Checks may include voltage on/off load and specific gravity. Further investigations may be required if any faults are discovered.

 

It’s important to also check the charger when checking a battery as this could be the source of any problem that exists.

How much do forklift batteries weigh?

 

The weight of a forklift battery can vary depending on the battery type it can be 200Kg up to 3000Kg plus. The type and weight are usually specified by the forklift truck manufacturer and acts as ballast for the truck so it’s very important to meet the minimum weight required.

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