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10 important things to know when using your forklift charger
1. The ampere hour rating should be within 10% of the forklift battery that is being charged.
To be sure, find the model number of the forklift battery. This will help determine the ampere rating. The battery model number is comprised of three things: Cells, amps per cell, and plates, listed in that order.
To come up with the total amps you first subtract 1 from the number of plates (the 3rd number in the batteries model number) and divide that by 2. Then, multiply that by the amp per cell, or the 2nd number in the battery model number. This is the ampere hour rating. In other words, (P – 1)/2 * A = ampere hour rating.
2. Inspect the battery charger cables before connecting the forklift battery.
Ensure the battery charger cables do not show any heat damage or damage of any other kind. Heat damage on cables can be an indication of a mismatched charger or that the forklift battery is not performing as it should. In addition, if you see that the cables are frayed, it is very important to have them repaired.
3. Ensure the charger is the correct size for the battery you are trying to charge.
This is pretty easy to remember. For example, a 24 volt pallet truck charger is made to charge a 24 volt battery. If you are unsure of the voltage of your forklift battery, count the cells or the squares on the top of the battery and multiply that number by 2.
If you have multiple chargers of different voltages, use different connectors for each voltage of charger so that you can easily pick the correct charger in a hurry. In general, a red connector is used for 24 volts, a grey one is used for 36 volts, and a blue one is used for 48 volts.
4. Never charge your forklift battery if it’s too hot or cold.
If your forklift battery is too hot to touch, you should wait until it cools to hook it up to a battery charger. Use the same rule of thumb if the battery seems too cold, waiting until it warms up to room temperature before you charge it.
5. Water your forklift battery on a regular basis.
Make sure to use distilled water to cover the plates in the cells. The plates inside the cells should be fully submerged. If they are not, the cells will quickly lose their ability to hold a charge.
6. Keep a log every time you water your battery.
This way, if you ever have to make a claim while your battery is still under warranty, you will have the log to support that you took proper care of the forklift battery.
7. Don’t water your forklift battery before charging it.
Never water the battery before you charge it. If you overfill the battery, it can spill sulfuric acid during the charging process. Always fill your battery after it has been charged.
8. Allow the forklift battery to charge fully.
Make sure your battery undergoes regular full charging. Partial charges will only reduce the standard capacity of your battery.
9. Charge the battery in a well ventilated area.
Charging a forklift battery can produce hydrogen and oxygen gas, and you do not want this mixture to become concentrated in a poorly ventilated room. Such a mixture is an extreme explosive hazard that must be avoided.
10. Charge your forklift battery after each shift.
Never store your forklift battery on a low charge. This could cause the battery to sulfate. If charged and watered correctly, a forklift battery should last you for many years.