My forklift battery smells a lot like rotten eggs – Why?
We hate to be the bearer of bad news but the smell of rotten eggs
coming from your forklift battery is not a good thing. The unpleasant smell resembling that of expired eggs is actually sulfur. Forklift batteries are made from lead plates that are covered in a lead oxide paste. This then sits in a pool of sulfuric acid. Almost every vehicular battery, regardless of the application, will at some point get a bad cell. When one of these battery cells stop taking a charge, the battery charger will throw everything it’s got at it to try and bring up the voltage. This causes the cell to get very hot and will boil the sulfuric acid stored inside the battery. When sulfuric acid gets cooked, you’re left with the rotten egg smell. Now if you’ve got an internal combustion forklift, the alternator could be overcharging your battery also resulting in the funky smell.
First thing’s first: Turn that charger off and let the battery cool down. No one likes boiling sulfuric acid. For safety reasons, place a tag on the battery to make sure no one uses it. Get in contact with a professional to check out your battery and charger. Have the professional replace the bad cell. If you can’t replace the cell, replace the battery. Following the replacement of the battery or the battery cell, check to see if your charger is working properly. No one wants to buy a new battery only to have it ruined by a bad battery charger.
What caused my battery to fail?
Assuming that it wasn’t your battery charger that was the problem, there are a few things that may have caused your battery to fail.
- Water – If the water that you add to the battery is full of dissolved minerals, the minerals can accumulate making it rather difficult for the battery to take a charge. This can cause the cell to overheat.
- Warehouse Floor – Working on an uneven floor can jar the forklift battery, knocking the oxide paste off of the plates causing them to short out.
- Manufacturer’s Defect – Every now and then a battery may flat out under-perform. This can be due to a defect in the battery. Check with the manufacturer of the battery in regards to warranty information as many times they will be covered for a certain number of years.
Thinking your forklift battery charger is the problem?
Here are some helpful links: