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July 5, 2020 | Rob Hirschberg

How Does Temperature Affect a Forklift Battery?

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Most motive power batteries are designed to operate between 60 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Operating and charging the battery outside of this temperature range can negatively affect the long-term health of your batteries. A cold battery (less than 60 F) is most common in locations with cold storage applications. These locations pose a higher risk for premature battery failure due to the colder temperatures. When below 60 degrees, the battery does not fully charge which decreases fork truck availability. Never leave a battery in cold storage while it is not in use. This causes sulfation to quickly build within the battery, preventing the battery from fully charging.

A hot battery (greater than 110 Fahrenheit) typically occurs after charging and within facilities with no air-conditioning. Although a hot battery performs better in the short term, this permanently damages the battery and significantly reduces the its life and run time. To manage your batteries’ temperature, properly cycle your batteries, use visual indicators such as temperature blinkies or laser thermometers and use a rotating battery schedule. A proper operating cycle for a conventionally charged battery is to: discharge for 8 hours, charge for 8 hours, and rest for 8 hours. A complete resting cycle prevents the battery from overheating when returned to operation. You can use a laser thermometer, or other visual indicators, to monitor your batteries temperature.

If the temperature is less than 60 degrees, or greater than 110 degrees, rest the battery until it’s internal temperature is within the proper range. Do not begin charging a battery outside the proper temperature range. For locations with dry and cold applications, alternate batteries between dry and cold storage daily. This will help stabilize the internal temperature of the batteries. Properly managing the temperature of your batteries, will increase truck availability and extend the overall life of your batteries.

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