The following guide provides you with an overview of the main parts of a forklift battery. Forklift batteries are a significant investment for any company, so having a better understanding of the names of each of the components will allow you to better maintain and repair the battery. It will also allow you to more cost effectively source replacement parts.
| Forklift Battery Connector
| Battery Connector Harness
The battery connector harness includes the battery connector, cable and take-offs from the positive and negative terminals.
Many batteries used on modern forklifts are now supplied with a cable harness that is moulded as 1 piece and includes the connector, these are called Moulded REMA Connectors, or MRC for short.
| Forklift Battery Cells
A forklift battery is made up of 2v cells. A 24v battery will have 12 cells and a 48v battery will have 24 cells. The cells are joined in series with inter-cell connectors to make the total voltage of the battery. Often when a battery fails it is due to a single cell, so cell replacement is possible.
| Intercell Connectors and Bolts
Intercell connectors join the battery cells in series to make the full voltage of the battery. In the US the intercell connectors are predominantly rigid and welded to the cell posts. In Europe and most of the rest of the world, the connectors are flexible and are bolted to the cell posts. The bolted version makes replacement of the connector or cell a simple process without the need of specialist equipment.
| Battery Tray or Tank
The battery cells are contained within a tray or tank. The tank is made from metal which has paint applied on the inside and out. Most trays are coated with a plastic paint that is acid resistant. Many trays fail due to battery acid getting into the tray, so having it painted in an acid resistant paint is very beneficial.
In the US most trays have drain holes, designed to drain off any water from the tray which has accumulated from cleaning or topping of the battery. In Europe and most of the rest of the world the trays do not have holes. Any liquid that has spilt in the tray would need to be removed with a suction drainage pump.
Monitors are available to help detect if there is liquid in the tray, helping to prevent failure in the future.
The tray will normally have lifting holes on either side, where lifting hooks can be placed.
| Packing Material
Packing material in the batteries is used between the cells and tank to ensure the tight fitting of the cells into the tray. This prevents the cells moving during operation which could cause damage of the cells, tray or connectors.
| Battery Electrolyte Monitor
Most new batteries now come complete with a battery electrolyte monitor. Forklift batteries lose water during operation and charging, the electrolyte monitors inform you when it is time to top a battery and help to ensure against battery dry out. Monitors are either a basic version, which only have a green LED to inform you when all is good, or smart and have a green LED for OK and red LED to inform you when water needs to be added. Some modern smart monitors also have an audible alarm.
| Vent Cap or Battery Filling System
The water lost during use and charging needs to be replaced, so the cells vent caps are designed to enable water to be added. The water can be added to each cell individually or a “plumbed” in battery filling system can be added which enables the cells to be filled at the same time, which saves time and is safer for the operator.