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View Full Version : Forklift Battery: Is it SUPPOSED to do that?!



Liger Zero
09-17-2010, 06:09 PM
Ok I have an electric forklift. Recently I replaced the battery package and charger.

This is your standard Champion digital control forklift charger, and your standard Big Forklift Battery.

Tech came out, set up the charger and put water in the cells of the battery and put it on the charger. This was about a week ago.


Tonight I put it on the charger. I connect the charger and the battery, and I hit START and the charger ROARS to life (massive fan).

I go into the office do my end of day paperwork, and realize I have to go back to the press and get a number off the screen.

I walk out into the shop and I here a bubbling sound... like the sound you get from a hot-tub at full-power. Urgle-bruble-bubbly-fiz. Except REALLY loud and coming from my forklift battery!

I hit the OH **** button on the charger, disconnect the forklift from the charger.


...I don't recall the previous battery and charger set doing that nor can I ever recall hearing a forklift battery gurgle and fizz quite to that extent.


Does this have something to do with advances in charging technology I just don't know about? Have I been blissfully unaware of How Things Are Supposed To Be? All the other batteries I've delt with have been WRONG and this one is RIGHT? Or did I just avert some sort of major disaster?

Naturally there is no one at the Dealer nor does the Tech Support for the charger pick up (friday, natch)... so that leaves ya'll to answer my question. :D

lane
09-17-2010, 06:22 PM
I dont know but it don`t sound good.

bob308
09-17-2010, 06:25 PM
i do the forklift batteries at work change them and charge them. yes the new ones make some noise and the chargers do sing.

oldtiffie
09-17-2010, 06:27 PM
Maybe you got it connected to your "moon-shine" still.

Less mash or more water?

Liger Zero
09-17-2010, 07:16 PM
Maybe you got it connected to your "moon-shine" still.

Less mash or more water?

Not sure the brew it's kind of acidic with metallic overtones and just a hint of ozone. :p

And I just got off the phone with the Tech Support people!

Apparently... I have to switch from HIGH RATE to RECHARGE mode via the wee little panel-control. High-rate is used to charge a battery for the first time, Recharge mode is what charges the battery in normal use. There is also an EQUALIZE mode, a MAINTAIN mode.

Equalize... is used if I have problems with individual cells and Maintain mode is a trickle charge mode if I'm going to park it for a long long time.

Good stuff to know! Wish the tech had gone over this with me. :mad:

On the other hand, they assure me that no permanent damage has been done, and if I should notice any problems in the next ten days call blah blah blah, use referral code blah blah blah and they will replace the battery with a new one no questions asked.

--

Battery is charging now, making a slight bubble sound (which I am assured is normal) and all is well. If I understand correctly it should shut off in four hours.

J Tiers
09-17-2010, 08:51 PM
A high charge rate, maintained into the range where the battery is already charged, will "gas" the battery quite a bit..... basically decompose water into hydrogen and oxygen, which bubbles out. it may, if severe, splash electrolyte out of some types of battery.

Gassing towards the end of charge is normal, so a little bubbling is fine.

Since you won't know if there is a "problem with individual cells", you can pick some interval and after that many charges, put it through an equalize cycle. The literature (the manual, nobody reads them) on the charger ought to suggest a suitable time.

otherwise, normal charge should do the job unless you have it down to where it barely moves......

Black_Moons
09-17-2010, 09:24 PM
Overcharging can and will damage the cells (plates) as well as split/boil off electrolyte. Seriously bad for them. Id double check the batterys electrolyte levels before resuming further charging.

danlb
09-17-2010, 10:11 PM
Time to check the electrolyte levels AND specific garvity. If they boiled for very long they converted a lot of water to gases.

Charging with insufficient water can damage the battery too.

Dan

JoeLee
09-17-2010, 10:25 PM
I would check the output of the charger.

JL............

Too_Many_Tools
09-17-2010, 10:36 PM
I would do all above ASAP...the clock on your ten days is running....

TMT

Liger Zero
09-17-2010, 11:10 PM
Charger shut off moments ago. I am checking the water level now. In hindsight I should have done that first. Hm.

As for the output of the charger, as I stated above it was initially set to HIGH RATE not RECHARGE so I don't think there is any further issue with the charger.

I'm finishing up here and going home, it's after 11pm on a Friday and I missed Clone Wars. Grumpy Brian Is Grumpy. (thank goodness for DVR)

J Tiers
09-17-2010, 11:43 PM
it takes a LONG time to gas off enough water to make a difference. Ditto for corroding inter-cell connections, etc. it's a LIFT battery, not a crappo car battery.

keep an eye on it and check gravity, but likely it did nothing bad. Nothing that you can tell at this point, anyway.

rdfeil
09-18-2010, 12:03 AM
Liger,

+1 on all of the above BUT.....

The battery has been subjected to overcharge conditions at NO FAULT of YOURS, period!!!! I would demand that the supplier of the charger either 1) replace the battery or 2) extend the warranty period on the battery. It was not your fault that the technician failed to instruct you on the proper use of the charger. In reality, check the electrolyte level, fill if needed and life is good ;), it is really hard to damage lift batteries in a week, however, the technician made a BIG mistake and the company needs to learn from this mistake and train the techs better. Many people will think that I am being way to harsh but think about it, That battery is expensive and if you hadn't walked back out to the press and heard it cooking how many more times would you have just plugged it in and hit the switch on the way out the door. Eventually the battery would have been destroyed or worst case, shorted out and caught fire and ......:eek: Now does anyone think I am being harsh?

Robin

PS: I work in industry as a control designer and if I screw up and don't instruct the operators properly guess who is on the other side of the liability suit?
R.

fixxit
09-18-2010, 12:56 AM
If you have to add water to the batteries DON'T USE TAP WATER.

Use distilled water.
Don't confuse distilled water with "bottled water", they are NOT the same.
Tap water and bottled water contain dissolved minerals. Distilled water contains no dissolved minerals.

These dissolved minerals cause a phenomenon known as "local action" which causes batteries to internally discharge over time.

It is worth the hassle and small expense.

fixxit

JoeLee
09-18-2010, 08:12 AM
Charger shut off moments ago. I am checking the water level now. In hindsight I should have done that first. Hm.

As for the output of the charger, as I stated above it was initially set to HIGH RATE not RECHARGE so I don't think there is any further issue with the charger.

I'm finishing up here and going home, it's after 11pm on a Friday and I missed Clone Wars. Grumpy Brian Is Grumpy. (thank goodness for DVR)

I had a walk behind Big Joe fork lift with the same ac charger deal. It shouild be trickel charge, not a high rate or rapid charge which will boil the battery in a short period of time. There may be a regulator problem which I had with mine.

JL...............

Liger Zero
09-18-2010, 09:09 AM
That battery is expensive and if you hadn't walked back out to the press and heard it cooking how many more times would you have just plugged it in and hit the switch on the way out the door. Eventually the battery would have been destroyed or worst case, shorted out and caught fire and ......:eek: Now does anyone think I am being harsh?

Robin



Absolutely not.

Monday I plan to talk to the company that sold me the equipment. I have a couple of days to think about it, but I'm thinking an extended warranty at minimum. No need to get greedy.

I'm just glad I got through to someone at Tech Support on a Friday Evening. That settled alot of questions right there.


Oh and thanks for repeating the tip about the distilled water, I have 20 gallons of DISTILLED WATER in the locker next to the charger for battery filling. :)

J Tiers
09-18-2010, 09:12 AM
perhaps it would be a good time to clarify..........

HOW LONG was it on high charge?

I get the impression that it may have been 15 or 20 min....... That is pretty unlikely to do anything to the battery innards, although it could have splashed out some acid.

If it was many hours, that could be different.

The battery normally gasses if it gets fully charged. Gassing at a high rate for a short time pretty much is the same as a number of normal end-of-charge gassing sessions.

While that un-needed high charge technically may remove a couple weeks from the end of battery life, that "life time" is not a precision time span...... don't think you did anything drastic unless there are things we have not been told, or it was on high charge for hours.

Now for the "we're all gonna die" crowd............

Did the technician do something stupid? Yes....... of course. Didn't instruct you, didn't leave it on a usable setting, etc.

Did you read the manual? Apparently NOT. Is that reasonable? NO.

Would the thing have caused a massive firestorm? NO. Not unless it has NO UL recognition, or UL are idiots... along with the manufacturer. A wrong setting and/or shorted battery are normal test conditions, in which the device shuts down by design.

Is it a good idea to depend on that fact? NO......

Should you yell at the supplier...... maybe..... the switches on the front of the charger are not there for decoration, they are for you to set according to the needs of the battery...... They are "user controls" and you are expected to "use" them.

BUT, evidently the tech didn't tell you HOW to use them (but of course the manual does). IMO you, or the designated person at your facility, should have been trained..... it takes maybe 5 min.

You have a certain amount of right to complain , IF you were not instructed in proper use...... and if the technician who installed it didn't at least hand you, or point out the location of, the user manual.

On the other hand, here is a new piece of technical equipment, which you apparently decided was simple enough to use without any reference to the manual for proper settings, etc. That switch could easily get re-set to any setting by stuff bumping it etc during the day, and it's a good idea to verify settings when you use the charger. Kinda like making sure the door is locked when you leave.

Is it all your fault? No.

Is it PARTLY your fault? YES IT IS.

Liger Zero
09-18-2010, 09:22 AM
About an hour all told.

J Tiers
09-18-2010, 09:31 AM
probably not a problem, as it would have had to re-charge the week's use, and THEN the over-charge started......

But, as per the above, you oughtta have been told how to use it..... manufacturers and suppliers KNOW nobody reads the manual..... But on the other hand, you SHOULD at least look at the controls, and if they do things you don't "get", ask or read.....

Liger Zero
10-17-2010, 11:47 PM
*bump* due to another thread about forklifts and batteries.

...and yes folks don't do what I did. READ THE FUC*ING MANUAL (RTFM). :D