An electric forklift battery connector can come in various shapes, sizes and colours. This article covers the most common versions and the generic terms used to describe them.
These battery connectors are commonly used on electric forklift trucks as well as other types of electric vehicles such as material handling equipment, ground-support vehicles and golf-carts.
The connectors can broadly be split into 2 categories, flat connectors and Euro-DIN connectors.
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| Forklift Battery Connector – Flat
This type of electric forklift battery connector uses the “flat wiping technology” contacts. The original design was by Anderson Power Products, and the connectors are commonly referred to as “Anderson connectors”.
The battery, charger and vehicle use the same design of contact and connector. The assembly and use is simplified, as the connectors and contacts are considered “genderless”.
To connect 2 connectors together you simply rotate one 180 degrees to the other. The style of contact provides a large conducting surface area and has a sacrificial tip that allows for high current circuit interrupt, when connecting and disconnecting the connectors.
The mated connectors are held in position through stainless steel springs that create pressure and friction between the contacts. The design life of the contacts is 10,000 connections.
During assembly the contacts are typically crimped onto the forklift truck battery cable, less common is the practise of soldering the contacts to the battery cable.
Forklift Battery Connector – Flat, Colour and Voltage
The flat type of forklift battery connector housings come in different colours , which are used to denote the voltage and application they are used for. They have a mechanical key moulded in the connector housing that prevents accidental mating of 2 different colours.
The recommended connector colour codes and voltage are:
Forklift Battery Connector – Flat, Components
The flat connectors simple design means that there are only 2 primary components:
- Main contacts
- Connector Handle
Manufacturers of Flat Connectors
Anderson Flat Connector Dimensions
Anderson SB175 – 2 pole
Anderson SB175 – 3 pole
Anderson SBE160 – SBX175
Anderson SBE320 – SBX350
| Forklift Battery Connector – Euro-DIN
Euro style electric forklift battery and charger connectors, follow a modular design, allowing for adaptation to the applications requirements. This type of connector uses the “pin and socket technology”, the contact design is less prone to pitting damage from mating and unmating. The design is based on a female and male connector.
The male contact pin or female contact socket dictates the “gender” of the connector, not the plastic housing. On the battery the connector with the female socket is used. On the charger and vehicle side the connector with the male pin.
During assembly the contacts are typically crimped onto the forklift battery cable, less common is the practise of soldering the contacts to the battery cable.
Euro DIN standard 43589-1, EN 1175-1 and DINVDE 0623-589, govern the design and use of this type of electric forklift truck battery connector . Connectors from separate manufacturers, in principle, can be mated together.
The connectors follow an agreed innovative keying mechanism, the style and position of the key denotes the battery/charger voltage and battery type (wet or dry cell).
Once mated positive locking prevents the connectors from unmating due to shock and vibration.
Components of the Euro Din Forklift Battery Connector
The components that are available for the Euro-DIN battery, charger and vehicle connectors are:
- Voltage pins – usage prevents incorrect connection of given battery voltage to different voltage charger
- Main Contacts, male and female
- Auxiliary contacts, pilot contacts (can provide a data link for forklift battery monitoring and management systems) and reducing bushings
- Air tube adapters, for batteries with electrolyte circulation (used during charging to reduce the temperature of the forklift battery).
- Connector handle
- Adapters for water (topping of batteries).
They come in 3 primary sizes, each for a given maximum amperage.
- Euro 80amp
- Euro 160amp
- Euro 320amp
Main Manufacturers of Euro Din Connectors
Euro Din Moulded Connector – MRC
The “moulded” version of the Euro-DIN connector, known as the MRC, is used on some electric forklift trucks. The letters stand for Molded REMA Connector. The design and current manufacturer of the MRC cable is Rema Group. The design of this connector/cable assembly does not allow for it’s repair, if the connector and/or cable is damaged then the only feasible option is to replace it like-for-like or with a more standard connector cable assembly.
The MRC forklift battery connector has the advantage of being very simple to replace should it become damaged, only requiring the harness to be unbolted from the battery.
| Forklift Battery Connector Checks and Maintenance
Damage to your forklifts batteries connectors, contacts and cables can compromise its performance, usable life and safety. The following is a list of general checks that should be conducted at a suitable interval and inline with the battery and connector manufacturers guidelines.
Before starting any maintenance or repair activity always check the manufacturers and companies safety guidelines. Always be safe and report issues when you find them.
Dirty Connector Contacts
With the Anderson “flat” style of connector the contact surface is over wiped during engaging and disengaging, which helps to maintain a clean contact surface area. A visual inspection will show if any dirt is present and if so wipe the contact clean. Lubricating the connector with a grease suitable for metal to metal applications should as White Lithium.
For the Euro-DIN style of forklift connector check for any dirt in the female socket or on the male pins
The forklift battery connector contacts are, as standard, crimped onto the battery/charge cable. Visually inspect the crimp and check it is adequate and not loose.
Contact Surface Pitting
If the connectors become dirty, or frequently disconnected under load, then this could cause signs of pitting on the contacts. Once pitted it can cause pitting on other contacts during engaging/disengaging. If the contact is found to be pitted then it will need to be replaced.
A common cause of pitting is due to the battery being disconnected from the charger, whilst it is still being charged. This creates an electrical arc that pits the contact.
The connector plastic housing should be regularly checked for damage such as cracks, melting and discoloration.
Inspect the battery and charge cables for signs of damage, which could include exposed copper wiring and split or cracked cable.
Check battery and charger handles are secure and for signs of damage.
| Forklift Battery Connector Suppliers
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The connector suppliers we are working with are highly knowledgeable and keen to help. If you have any technical questions you need answering, or can’t find the product you need, then either post them at the end of this article or drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.