How to Jump Start a Dead Forklift Battery

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How to Jump Start a Dead Forklift Battery

How to Jump Start a Dead Forklift Battery Dec. 05, 2023

How to Jump Start a Dead Forklift Battery

A forklift battery can wear down for any number of reasons. The vehicle could have been used too long before being recharged. The truck may have been left parked with its lights on. Even extremely cold weather can sap the charge from a battery.

Forklift batteries are too heavy to remove and replace with a fresh one. So if your forklift loses its charge, rather than towing it back to the garage, another option is so simply jump start it.

Step-by-Step Jump Starting Instructions

Here are steps to jump start a forklift battery using a fully charged booster battery in another truck. Keep in mind that jump starting a forklift battery can be potentially dangerous — both to the vehicle and to yourself — so follow these steps carefully. If you are unsure, call for a tow.

1. Only use a 12-volt negative ground battery to jump start your forklift. (Use a 12-volt battery X 1 for 12-volt models.) If you aren’t sure of your battery’s voltage or if it has a different ground, don’t try to jump start it because you could hurt yourself or damage your forklift’s electrical system, which may not be covered under warranty.

2. Check the fluid level of the dead battery. If it’s low, add distilled water until it reaches the proper level. Put the caps back on before jump starting your battery.

3. Bring the booster battery as close to the dead forklift as possible so that the jumper cables reach. But make sure the trucks aren’t touching each other. Be careful when connecting a booster battery so that it doesn’t spark.

4. Engage the parking brake on both trucks. Both should be in neutral and have their ignition switched off. Turn off all accessories, including the headlamps and leave them off until the battery has been jump started.

Connecting the Jumper Cables

5. Now you want to connect the jumper cable, following this exact sequence:

A. Connect the red jumper cable from the positive (+) terminal on the live battery to the positive (+) terminal of the dead battery. Never connect a positive (+) to a negative (-) or a negative (-) to a positive (+) because  this can damage your alternator. Make sure the clamps aren’t touching any other metal.

B. Connect one end of the black cable to the ground (-) terminal of the forklift with the live battery.

C. Finally, connect  the other end of the black jumper cable to a stationary, solid metal point on the engine of the dead forklift. Make sure you don’t connect it to the negative (-) terminal of the battery! This connection should be a minimum of 18 inches away from the battery. Don’t connect it to pulleys, fans or other moving parts of the motor.

6. Start the engine of the live forklift and run the engine at a moderate speed for a few moments.

7. Start the engine of the dead battery, following your normal starting procedures. It may take a moment for the engine to catch. Once the engine has started, let it idle for at least two minutes before disconnecting the jumper cables using the exact reverse sequence — in other words, remove the black jumper cable from the engine block of the (formerly) dead forklift then remove the other end of the negative (-) lead from the live truck. Then remove both ends of the red jumper cable.

Incidentally, this same sequence works for jump starting a dead car battery!

Forklift Batteries in a Pickup Conversion?

Forklift Batteries in a Pickup Conversion?

by Josh
(fargo, ND)



I am doing research on the possible conversion of 1980s to 1990s pickup truck. I pan to power with a ac motor but the main question I have is would one forklift battery supply adequate power.

I know forklift batteries are heavier but I would be removing a 460 v8 which roughly weighs 700lbs by itself. I have been looking on reconditioned battery sites and they would be cheaper than buying a bunch of 6 volts.

I found one 12 volt that weights 550lbs and has a rating of 6-100-13 and has 600 amp hrs. Also some of these batteries are rated for 6hrs or 20 hr use. Would this be a possible battery. I know its only 12 volts but its capacity and size is much larger and the vehicle could handle the weight easily. If this size battery is too small would a larger forklift battery work out if it weighted under 800lbs.

Hi, Josh -
You can use these batteries if you want. Where you'll run into problems is getting your voltage up to something useful. For example, if you need 96 volts to run your car, you'll need 8 of those 12 volt batteries at 550 pounds each. There's nothing wrong with them (well, there might be - check out the video above for what to do with bad cells), but they are just flooded lead acid or sometimes AGM or even Ni-Cad cells. I haven't seen lithium forklift batteries coming out in salvage yet.

I don't know what your budget will allow, but instead of forklift batteries, I'd be tempted to go this way instead:

This company, Greentec Auto, is selling reconditioned Nissan LEAF packs for 2800 USD. That's their 24 kwh lithium pack. The whole thing weighs about 700 pounds.

There's a company in Namie, Japan which does nothing but rebuild old LEAF packs. You can read more about them here, if you're interested.

Best of luck with your project!

- Lynne

I am doing research on the possible conversion of 1980s to 1990s pickup truck. I pan to power with a ac motor but the main question I have is would one forklift battery supply adequate power.I know forklift batteries are heavier but I would be removing a 460 v8 which roughly weighs 700lbs by itself. I have been looking on reconditioned battery sites and they would be cheaper than buying a bunch of 6 volts.I found one 12 volt that weights 550lbs and has a rating of 6-100-13 and has 600 amp hrs. Also some of these batteries are rated for 6hrs or 20 hr use. Would this be a possible battery. I know its only 12 volts but its capacity and size is much larger and the vehicle could handle the weight easily. If this size battery is too small would a larger forklift battery work out if it weighted under 800lbs.

Overlook the Dangers of Forklift Batteries at Your Own Peril

Battery-powered forklifts—ranging from small pallet forklifts to high-lift trucks—have become increasingly common as technology has advanced. Batteries now run longer, can be recharged more quickly, and produce less emissions.

However, both types of batteries commonly used in forklifts—lead acid and nickel-iron— pose serious hazards. To safely charge and change batteries in forklifts, you must systematically guard against those hazards through proper training, the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), and sound procedural policies supported by safety checklists used during the process.

PPE

Batteries used in forklifts are heavy—some weighing more than a ton. Inside the batteries are corrosive chemicals, and as they’re being charged, they can release volatile gases. To protect against drops and contact with harmful chemicals or gases, PPE must be used.

Safety footwear (e.g., steel-toed boots) should be worn to prevent injuries from dropped batteries. Chemical-resistant gloves, acid aprons, safety goggles, and face protection are essential to protect against acid splashes when adding sulfuric acid to batteries to charge them.

The Charging/Changing Station

Battery removal, charging, and replacement should occur in an area set aside for that purpose. Because batteries release oxygen and hydrogen gases when they are charging, the areas should be well-ventilated with a fume hood or an exhaust fan to prevent explosions due to build-up of those gases.

Because they are so heavy, batteries should only be removed and replaced using a forklift or battery cart specifically designed for transporting batteries. Using the proper tools and procedures, personnel can ensure the battery is stable during movement and doesn’t fall.

To put batteries in place for charging, a conveyor belt, overhead hoist, or other suitable material-handling equipment should be used.

If batteries are charged in the forklift, the trucks must be properly positioned and securely braked (in a properly ventilated area!). The battery vent caps should be inspected to make sure they’re working, and the battery cover should be open to allow heat to escape.

A fundamental rule of thumb is that acid should be poured into water, but water should never be poured into acid.

Other considerations include:

  • An  eye/face wash shower should be installed and be reachable in 10 seconds or less from the charging/changing station.
  • For handling electrolytes, provide a carboy tilter or siphon.
  • Smoking should be completely forbidden in the charging area.
  • Open flames, sparks, or electric arcs should be avoided in the charging area.
  • Anything metallic (e.g., tools) must be kept away from the top of uncovered batteries.
  • Moisture on top of the battery  can lead to corrosion and cause the battery to become electrically conductive; it is a sign of a problem (overfilling, excessive out-gassing, or leaky seals) that needs to be corrected immediately.
  • Have neutralizing agents on hand at all times in case of an acid spill.

The Role of Checklists

With so many potential safety hazards involved, it’s impractical to expect personnel to adhere to all safety procedures without a checklist to guide them. At the Checker, we have such a checklist, which has been proven to help companies keep their battery charging stations safe.

Whether you use The Checker or another checklist, you need to be using something. Handling and charging forklift batteries is a dangerous activity—there’s no room for complacency, and the potential for human error must be minimized. Checklists that personnel must complete are the best way to ensure that critical safety steps aren’t overlooked.

Takeaway

Battery-charged forklifts offer many advantages, but steps must be taken to ensure safety while servicing them, such as using PPE, ensuring the charging station is suitably set up, and using checklists. 

 

Image courtesy of U.S. Air Force, Master Sgt. Scott MacKay, via Wikimedia Commons.

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