The Benefits Of Using A Forklift Battery for Solar Power

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The Benefits Of Using A Forklift Battery for Solar Power

The Benefits Of Using A Forklift Battery for Solar Power Nov. 11, 2023

The Benefits Of Using A Forklift Battery for Solar Power

Living off-grid is a very interesting lifestyle that catches a lot of attention nowadays. It is a sustainable way of life that has a huge positive impact on our environment. But it also presents a fair share of challenges. Power is one of the main concerns that you have to address when deciding to live off-grid.

Since you won’t have any support from an electrical grid, you have to rely on stand-alone power systems for electricity. One of the most popular options that you have is a solar panel system. Some off-grid experts recommend using a forklift battery for solar panel power systems.

In this article, i am going to talk about the best battery types that you can use on an off-grid power system or solar system. It will also provide you information that shows why a lot of experts recommend the use of industrial batteries.

The Top 3 Choices Of Batteries For Off-Grid Systems

When it comes choosing the battery that you will use for an off-grid or renewable power system there several aspects that you have to consider. If you want a stable power grid that can handle a lot of electrical loads and last for years.

You have to use a battery that can keep up or better yet exceed your demands. Power cells that can store massive amounts of energy and has the toughness and durability withstand the test of time. Just to give you an idea, the idea is to look for a lead-acid battery that has deep cycle capabilities, extremely durable and as much as possible a flooded type of battery.

Like the three types of batteries listed below.

● Golf Cart Batteries – These power cells are deep cycle batteries and considered to be one of the most manufactured types of batteries. Golf cart batteries are also the most commonly used battery for various renewable energy power systems worldwide. These batteries are also available everywhere, and they are easy to find, making them very convenient for a user to replace. Although they can only offer a maximum of six years life expectancy, golf cart batteries are cheap and very reliable.
● The L16 Power Cells – An L16 power cell is a type of battery specially designed to offer more power storage. Compared to golf cart batteries, they have higher amp rating and them last longer that can reach up to eight years. However, these batteries are more pricey, and most of their 6V units are a lot heavier compared to their golf cart battery counterparts.
● Forklift or Industrial Batteries – Finally, the most recommended by off-grid experts, industrial batteries or forklift batteries. This is a type of battery features a hefty and bulky build that makes it heavy. However, a single forklift battery can be equivalent to a string of multiple golf cart batteries when it comes to electrical storage capacity. These batteries also offer extreme toughness and exceptional durability that can offer a service life up to two decades. However, a new battery unit of this kind is really expensive, but there are a lot of ways of getting an old one for a cheap price.

Forklift Battery for Off-grid Systems

12 Volt Fully Refurbished Forklift Battery w/Warranty 800AH Capacity for Solar Applications    These ship to the contiguous United States ONLY WE OFFER FREE SHIPPING TO COMMERCIAL ADDRESS ONLY. THERE IS A RESIDENTIAL & LIFT GATE FEE OF...

RV.Net Open Roads Forum: Tech Issues: Forklift batteries for a solar trailer?

Topic: Forklift batteries for a solar trailer? Posted By: ctilsie242 on 09/22/17 01:34pm

A few months ago, I mentioned a design for a solar trailer, which I'm gathering ideas on, and if I find a decent base for, may start with.

A friend of mine has pointed me to a source of reconditioned forklift batteries. With a trailer that has the GVWR to handle the two tons of weight (at least two axles, and the batteries positioned between the axles for best weight distribution), those seem to be a very nice candidate for a battery bank for this project.

Has anyone used forklift batteries? 1000 amp-hours at 48 volts means I can use relatively skinny wiring, and this won't be a slouch for weekend capacity. The downside is weight, but with a double-axle trailer and a TV, with their weight ratings well over what is being carried, this shouldn't be much of an issue, since this trailer only would be moved four times a year. They also require watering as well, another downside.

This trailer's main function is to sit with a bunch of solar panels for weekdays, then get used on weekends. Obviously this isn't going to power an A/C without a 3000 watt or more generator, but a battery bank like this could handle a microwave, fans, televisions, and other relatively light loads for a camp of 5-6 people.

Posted By: 2oldman on 09/22/17 01:41pm

What is your plan for the solar? It's going to take a lot to recharge batteries that big.

I power an A/c with a 100ah 48 Li battery and a Cotek 4kw inverter for hours.

Posted By: time2roll on 09/22/17 01:50pm

Posted By: John / Angela on 09/22/17 01:50pm

It sounds like a fun project but in my mind 48 KWH of battery capacity is overkill. Two tons is also a lot of weight. Have you considered looking at a wrecked electric smart car or Nissan Leaf and harvesting the Lithium ion battery. The weight would be a fraction and you would still be looking at 18 to 30 Kwh of power. Higher voltages though. Literally decades of life though.

2003 Revolution 40C Class A. Electric smart car as a Toad on a smart car trailer
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but rather by the moments that take our breath away.

Posted By: kerrlakeRoo on 09/22/17 01:54pm

If you are going to look at something like that you may want to also look at the industrial scrubber or sweeper batteries,
Batteries plus sells the Duracell units 228 a/hr for about $270 I think. Similar footprint to a group 31 but taller.

Posted By: pianotuna on 09/22/17 02:11pm

If you intend to run a roof air conditioner, 48 volts is the "way to go". The 12 volt needs can be met by using the converter and the OEM house battery. Or a 48 volt DC to 12 volt DC converter may be used. Each one of the fork lift jars has a capacity of 48,000 watts of which 24,000 may be used.

That would power my roof air conditioner in HOT ambient temperatures for over 12 hours with no energy coming from the panels, without going below 50% state of charge.

As someone else suggested, recharging may be an issue, particularly if you wish to equalize the bank on solar.

I suspect that fork lift jars need a fair bit of power to prevent progressive capacity loss. It might cost more for a proper charger than for the batteries.

Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp-hours of Telcom jars, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

Posted By: ctilsie242 on 09/22/17 03:12pm

I have not considered running an A/C with it, as this is more of a campsite item, where multiple people in a camp would be using this, not just me. Where this will come in handy will be in cooler weather to power things like Keurig coffee makers, microwaves, and cooking appliances, this will provide the ability to actually cook on electric without the need for a noisy generator, and with enough panel capacity, especially with five days sitting unused in Texas.

Forklift batteries have not been mentioned, just because of the bulk. However, with my use for a camp at festivals where this is a static item, it just might be my ideal for what I'm looking for. Eventually, when I can get some acreage, it also might be able to handle power for a cabin with ease.

Posted By: 2oldman on 09/22/17 03:22pm

ctilsie242 wrote:

with enough panel capacity, especially with five days sitting unused in Texas.

with enough panel capacity, especially with five days sitting unused in Texas.



That might work over 5 sunny days.

Posted By: MrWizard on 09/22/17 03:35pm

How much do these batteries weigh, what happens when it's time to replace them
How much money is a 48v charger cable of bringing them to full charge
Your talking about 60v for an equalize charger at how many amps

How much money for the project ?

Not saying this can't be done, you Can build this thing, but is it the best way to go

I would be inclined to use surplus Telco 12v agm batteries, instead of forklift batteries
Just put four in series 48v 132 amp hrs, they tend to be hardly used, instead of worked hard and reconditioned

I can explain it to you.
But I Can Not understand it for you !


....

Connected using T-Mobile Home internet and Visible Phone service


1997 F53 Bounder 36s


Posted By: pianotuna on 09/22/17 03:48pm

A much cheaper solution would be a generator and some long cords. If all the folks have hybrid inverter chargers then overload is probably not an issue. I would choose a 7000 watt inverter generator.

BTW I prefer to run my RV 100% electrically including heating, cooking, and water heating. Since I got my generator replaced (the last one grew wings) I've run it for 18.5 hours (July 20, 2017 to Sept 22, 2017).


ctilsie242 wrote:

I have not considered running an A/C with it, as this is more of a campsite item, where multiple people in a camp would be using this, not just me. Where this will come in handy will be in cooler weather to power things like Keurig coffee makers, microwaves, and cooking appliances, this will provide the ability to actually cook on electric without the need for a noisy generator, and with enough panel capacity, especially with five days sitting unused in Texas.

Forklift batteries have not been mentioned, just because of the bulk. However, with my use for a camp at festivals where this is a static item, it just might be my ideal for what I'm looking for. Eventually, when I can get some acreage, it also might be able to handle power for a cabin with ease.

I have not considered running an A/C with it, as this is more of a campsite item, where multiple people in a camp would be using this, not just me. Where this will come in handy will be in cooler weather to power things like Keurig coffee makers, microwaves, and cooking appliances, this will provide the ability to actually cook on electric without the need for a noisy generator, and with enough panel capacity, especially with five days sitting unused in Texas.Forklift batteries have not been mentioned, just because of the bulk. However, with my use for a camp at festivals where this is a static item, it just might be my ideal for what I'm looking for. Eventually, when I can get some acreage, it also might be able to handle power for a cabin with ease.



Posted By: wa8yxm on 09/22/17 04:44pm

I would stick with 12 volt designs, and yes, they make those for Fork LIfts as well.. Why 12 volts? Well a lot of stuff used in RV's is designed for 12's so why waste energy converting?

Now.... I have indeed used a fork lift battery. the one I used was 12 volt, and I can't tell you the capacity or the weight.. It was a Flooded Wet Cell type (Like the golf car batteries) I have also seen Sealed types and AGM's used on Fork Lifts but those were not ones I used.

The Reconditioning company charged it and loaded it on the trailer I rented.. I towed it to the site where my ham club was running Field Day We ran everything off the batteries. 3 2-way Radios, Rotors for one or 2 antennas (3rd was fixed) Lights for 24 hours Shop said the battery was down about 10% the following day

IT WAS NICE. .no generator noise. NO "AC-Line noise" NO AC-Hum. ANd we placed top in the state (In the battery class) of course.

Home was where I park it. but alas the.
2005 Damon Intruder 377 Alas declared a total loss
after a semi "nicked" it. Still have the radios
Kenwood TS-2000, ICOM ID-5100, ID-51A+2, ID-880 REF030C most times


Posted By: midnightsadie on 09/22/17 06:08pm

seen this couple years back at roosevelt lake in arizona ,guy said it worked great.

Posted By: 2oldman on 09/22/17 06:13pm

wa8yxm wrote:

. Why 12 volts? Well a lot of stuff used in RV's is designed for 12's so why waste energy converting?.

. Why 12 volts? Well a lot of stuff used in RV's is designed for 12's so why waste energy converting?.



Posted By: coolmom42 on 09/22/17 08:45pm

kerrlakeRoo wrote:

If you are going to look at something like that you may want to also look at the industrial scrubber or sweeper batteries,
Batteries plus sells the Duracell units 228 a/hr for about $270 I think. Similar footprint to a group 31 but taller.

If you are going to look at something like that you may want to also look at the industrial scrubber or sweeper batteries,Batteries plus sells the Duracell units 228 a/hr for about $270 I think. Similar footprint to a group 31 but taller.



My son's in-laws have one of these big floor scrubber things on their RV. They love it. It's referred to as a 8D battery. Only disadvantage is the weight in a single battery.

Single empty-nester in Middle TN, sometimes with a friend or grandchild on board

Posted By: MEXICOWANDERER on 09/22/17 09:39pm

Don, those batteries do not like to see hundreds of sharp jolts. It would be wise to avoid a buckboard ride. My system trades volts for amps. 12 cells in series, 1625 x 2 amp hours paralleled batteries in a 12-cell string.

Food for thought: Exactly how do you plan to run an equalization on these cells? See if these batteries are "Tar Top" with over the cell connectors.

Let's imagine they are 600 amp hour cells. Five percent of 600 is 30.00 which means you need to configure a 30 ampere current all the way up to 2.666 volts per cell end point. Don't feel picked on. My 3250 cells at 5% = 162 amperes constant current to 2.666 volts per cell. Thank god for a hundred sixteen pound 240 vac transformer. Equalization performed, paired cells, by paired cells.

Large cells emit large amounts of H2S, SO2, and H2SO4 vapor. Vapor dissolves wood, and assaults all but exotic metal. You may avoid grief by getting the interior of the trailer coated with non asphaltic pickup truck bed liner coating. The inside of my gen shed was painted with light gray Sears two part epoxy paint. Ventilate the enclosure with fans pushing air from outside to inside, exit vent high and as opposite as feasible. My gen shed has over 240 watts of forced air intake. The fan needs to run for 1/2 hour after charger shut down. That means using a battery voltage fan or fans.

Many utility motive batteries have .250" plates.

Posted By: pianotuna on 09/22/17 10:10pm

Hi Mex,

Plate warping in tubular cells from the jolts (i.e. high demand)? Or do you mean mechanical vibration?

My favorite bank is still 800 amp hour two volt cells in series (Surrette). At 48 volts the jolts are not so bad for a 1200 watt load. Unfortunately I have a beer budget, so this may remain a dream until I win a lottery.

Is corrosion the reason for pushing air rather than sucking it?

The gasses you mention are why I don't approve of unvented battery boxes for AGM jars. They tend to be pretty deadly with even short exposure times.

Posted By: MEXICOWANDERER on 09/22/17 11:28pm

Make your fillings fall out potholes, speed bumps etc. All the forklifts I have ever seen complained when passing over so much as a concrete expansion strip.

Fan sucking clean air is safe. Fan sucking battery fumes ties hashimaki around forehead and commits seppuku.

The problem is decent shape forklift batteries are not easy to come across. One from one lift, two from another, and...

The different batteries hate each other. They die, you pay.

Posted By: eHoefler on 09/23/17 03:47am

Have you considered the cost of the battery?? When I replaced the 36 volt battery in my forklift, it was $4,200.00 with my old battery. I think the 6 or 12 volt battery is the more economical way to go.

2021 Ram Limited, 3500, Crew Cab, 1075FTPD of Torque!, Max Tow, Long bed, 4 x 4, Dually,
2006 40' Landmark Mt. Rushmore

Posted By: kerrlakeRoo on 09/23/17 08:49am

I'm curious, how large is the trailer you are looking at?
Since the charge rate is roughly c10, or amps at 10% of total amp hour rating, if your panels can provide 10 amps @12 volts for each 8 sqft panel, your looking at anywhere from 360-400 sqft in panels needed to recharge to a high rate. Trailer roof and some type of extensions would be needed, maybe a large set of slides like drawer slides so they can retract for travel. Just curious what your looking at.
Maybe my math is wrong, but it seems a little large.

* This post was edited 09/23/17 08:57am by kerrlakeRoo *

Posted By: ctilsie242 on 09/25/17 12:36pm

MrWizard wrote:

How much do these batteries weigh, what happens when it's time to replace them
How much money is a 48v charger cable of bringing them to full charge
Your talking about 60v for an equalize charger at how many amps

How much money for the project ?

Not saying this can't be done, you Can build this thing, but is it the best way to go

I would be inclined to use surplus Telco 12v agm batteries, instead of forklift batteries
Just put four in series 48v 132 amp hrs, they tend to be hardly used, instead of worked hard and reconditioned

How much do these batteries weigh, what happens when it's time to replace themHow much money is a 48v charger cable of bringing them to full chargeYour talking about 60v for an equalize charger at how many ampsHow much money for the project ?Not saying this can't be done, you Can build this thing, but is it the best way to goI would be inclined to use surplus Telco 12v agm batteries, instead of forklift batteriesJust put four in series 48v 132 amp hrs, they tend to be hardly used, instead of worked hard and reconditioned



Mr Wizard is very wise here.

That probably is a better option, because telcos tend to be very conservative on battery life, so the batteries powering the NEBS stuff tend to be changed often.

There is also another downside of the huge forklift battery that I didn't realize until I looked at one in person recently. They are huge, and unwieldy. If something really bad happened to the trailer (which wouldn't be enclosed due the off-gassing), I'd have to have someone come out and deal with the two tons of potentially hazardous mass. With the above telco batteries, I am able to at least sling them somewhere in case of emergency, like my pickup truck bed.

Ah well. I'm glad I ran this up the flagpole, because it seemed like a good idea, but physics and Murphy are merciless beasts, and I don't want to risk being on the wrong side of either.

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