Properly charging a battery is all about doing it at the right time, for the right amount of time. Use these tips when charging your forklift battery:
- Designate an area specifically for battery charging. This is an OSHA-recommended best practice.
- Remember that lead acid batteries should be charged at 80 percent depth of discharge. Charging prior to 80 percent can result in reduced battery life depending on the type of battery. Discharging the battery past 80 percent depth of discharge can also be detrimental.
- If your battery overflows, take time to rinse it. Rinsing your battery after an overflow will help prevent corrosion.
- Ensure compatibility between the battery and the charger. The charger that is being used should match the voltage/amperage of the battery. Color coding the connectors and clearly labeling the chargers can help to prevent accidentally connecting a battery to the wrong charger. Proper training is also imperative.
- Avoid overcharging the battery. Some batteries have battery management systems that can prevent overcharging. If yours doesn’t, take precautions not to overcharge it, which can reduce the battery’s life.
- Charge and operate the batteries at the proper temperature. Charging a battery in extreme cold or heat can cause reduced service life. Since battery types and specifications may vary, contact the battery manufacturer for their recommended charging temperature range.
- Add water when needed after the charging cycle. Adding water to a wet-cell battery prior to charging the battery is a common mistake. Pure or distilled water should be used and the watering should occur after a full charge cycle to bring the electrolytes to the proper level.
- Ensure the charger is turned off before connecting or disconnecting the battery.
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