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Posted: 9/6/2010 11:54:08 AM EDT
I read a few days ago that forklift batteries make for excellent deep-cycle replacements due to sheer capacity.

I've been looking at a few for sale on ebay and other websites, they're EXTREMELY heavy (3000-4000lbs) however most have a 30kwh-50kwh range for capacity , which is quite good considering most are $1,000 to $2,000.

Have any of you by chance ran a system with these? The only major issue I see is the fact that they're 36 or 48 volt batteries as compared to 12v , but that shouldn't be too difficult to deal with.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 1:38:54 PM EDT
Look at golf cart batteries, they are 6v, but depending on how you hook them up, you can get 12 or 24 easy.

What would they be used for? They won't run a refrigerator. I live in the hurricane prone south, I have a small gas generator that can run a refrig or small a/c. I keep propane for cooking and little solar yard lights for in the house night lights. Also,, you can't recharge them w/o electricity.......
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 1:47:53 PM EDT
I serviced them when I worked for Exide. The form factor is vertical.
They are very heavy but are enclosed in a hoistable steel case.
Like most batteries, each cell is 2v, so you can wire them any way you want.
It's way more amps than you need for anything but motive power.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 4:42:09 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ColonelHurtz:
I serviced them when I worked for Exide. The form factor is vertical.
They are very heavy but are enclosed in a hoistable steel case.
Like most batteries, each cell is 2v, so you can wire them any way you want.
It's way more amps than you need for anything but motive power.

The prices I'm looking at for used & refurbished Exide forklift batteries (36v 1050ah batteries) is only around $1200 or so which is pretty good for a price for KWH.

I was curious if they were 2v cells (the pictures I've seen make it look like they were individual cells) so this is good to know.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 5:16:58 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/6/2010 5:27:04 PM EDT by ColonelHurtz]
Originally Posted By Shockergd:

Originally Posted By ColonelHurtz:
I serviced them when I worked for Exide. The form factor is vertical.
They are very heavy but are enclosed in a hoistable steel case.
Like most batteries, each cell is 2v, so you can wire them any way you want.
It's way more amps than you need for anything but motive power.

The prices I'm looking at for used & refurbished Exide forklift batteries (36v 1050ah batteries) is only around $1200 or so which is pretty good for a price for KWH.

I was curious if they were 2v cells (the pictures I've seen make it look like they were individual cells) so this is good to know.


A battery by definition is composed of two or more individual cells.
That's the nomenclature.
One 105mm howitzer is a gun.
Three 105mm howitzers is a battery of guns.

The battery is positioned amidships and usually slides out on rollers. Sometimes they're just greased.
Most forks are charged with the battery in the truck but in high volume production places they are swapped out to a charging station and a freshly charged battery is slid in.
An incidental advantage of lead acid batteries for lift trucks is that the weight of the battery is usually figured in as part of the counter balance ballast for the lift.

Lead acid batteries are a pain in the ass to maintain.
They gas a lot, spray acid and have to be cleaned and watered.
Two men cannot lift a forklift battery, a strong man can barely lift a single cell.
When we'd have to do it in the field, we always tried to use another forklift to pull the bad cell out.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 8:06:28 PM EDT
hard to move, may be more expensive in back surgery than to just get some Trojan or Costco golf cart batts
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 10:35:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/6/2010 10:36:51 PM EDT by Skibane]
Originally Posted By Shockergd:
The prices I'm looking at for used & refurbished Exide forklift batteries (36v 1050ah batteries) is only around $1200 or so which is pretty good for a price for KWH.


36 volts at 1050 AH would be 37.8 KWH - or around $31.75 per KWH.

By comparison, a 6 volt 220 AH golf cart battery that sells for $80 would be around $65.10 per KWH - roughly 2 times as much as the forklift batteries you described.

So - In order to have the same cost over their lifetime, brand-new golf cart batteries would need to last around twice as long as used/reconditioned fork lift batteries.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 7:44:32 AM EDT
If I had a permanent place to keep these and I had a good means to move them around and deal with them easily, and this includes me buying them and transporting them home and transporting them to where ever theya re going to live, I still don't know if I would mess with such a large battery.

One thing about the little 6 volt golf cart batteries is that if one fails I can remove it easily and while it is not good for the rest of the batteries to replace just one battery I would do so if I had to do that in order to get my voltage to work out.

To me this is a bit like the deuce and half trucks. They actually don't weigh that much for their footprint on the ground, compared to a big dually diesel one ton truck. The duece makes a lot of sense when you consider cost to buy and what all the multi fuel engine can run on.

But if your life changes in a major way it is easier to unload the dually one ton truck than to unload the duece.

Just my thinking on the subject and all I have done is think about batteries for solar setups because I have not gotten anywhere on buying stuff lately.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 9:44:12 AM EDT
The problem with [most?] forklift batteries is the cells aren't jumpered with cables and bolts but use a lead 'jumper' that is 'melted' to the cell post.

If this weren't so a forklift battery would be great to make up several 12 volt banks for backup or other systems.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 10:32:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2010 10:38:06 AM EDT by ColonelHurtz]
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
The problem with [most?] forklift batteries is the cells aren't jumpered with cables and bolts but use a lead 'jumper' that is 'melted' to the cell post.

If this weren't so a forklift battery would be great to make up several 12 volt banks for backup or other systems.


You use a special bit that has a central cavity to form the post to drill them off.
Then the new connector gets leaded on with nothing more than a propane torch.
You muddle the existing post with the new lead to get a good bond.
It's a solid no resistance connection that doesn't allow sulphation to build up and resists vibration.

UPS battery cells are bolted together with lead plated copper bus bars.
They are only cabled at the ends or somewhere there needs to be a span or a bend in the line.
The whole idea is to reduce resistance, which is a big deal in a battery.
A big part of maintenance is using an Ohmmeter on every connection and fixing the ones that show high resistance.
Link Posted: 9/7/2010 8:26:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2010 8:34:34 PM EDT by EXPY37]
Originally Posted By ColonelHurtz:
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
The problem with [most?] forklift batteries is the cells aren't jumpered with cables and bolts but use a lead 'jumper' that is 'melted' to the cell post.

If this weren't so a forklift battery would be great to make up several 12 volt banks for backup or other systems.


You use a special bit that has a central cavity to form the post to drill them off.
Then the new connector gets leaded on with nothing more than a propane torch.
You muddle the existing post with the new lead to get a good bond.
It's a solid no resistance connection that doesn't allow sulphation to build up and resists vibration.

UPS battery cells are bolted together with lead plated copper bus bars.
They are only cabled at the ends or somewhere there needs to be a span or a bend in the line.
The whole idea is to reduce resistance, which is a big deal in a battery.
A big part of maintenance is using an Ohmmeter on every connection and fixing the ones that show high resistance.



Thanks for the info Colonel.

I was having a problem abt a month ago with a Xantrex 1800 watt ProSine tripping out with a "DC TO DC CONV" error.

It was feeding a freezer and frequently failed in the wee hrs of the morning.
'
Finally discovered the problem when I was trying to run a Hilti TE-90 breaker hammer, and I couldn't do it with the ProSine.

I put a big shopvac on the inverter and started measuring voltage across every connection and found two bad ones.

Link Posted: 9/7/2010 9:24:20 PM EDT
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
Originally Posted By ColonelHurtz:
Originally Posted By EXPY37:
The problem with [most?] forklift batteries is the cells aren't jumpered with cables and bolts but use a lead 'jumper' that is 'melted' to the cell post.

If this weren't so a forklift battery would be great to make up several 12 volt banks for backup or other systems.


You use a special bit that has a central cavity to form the post to drill them off.
Then the new connector gets leaded on with nothing more than a propane torch.
You muddle the existing post with the new lead to get a good bond.
It's a solid no resistance connection that doesn't allow sulphation to build up and resists vibration.

UPS battery cells are bolted together with lead plated copper bus bars.
They are only cabled at the ends or somewhere there needs to be a span or a bend in the line.
The whole idea is to reduce resistance, which is a big deal in a battery.
A big part of maintenance is using an Ohmmeter on every connection and fixing the ones that show high resistance.



Thanks for the info Colonel.

I was having a problem abt a month ago with a Xantrex 1800 watt ProSine tripping out with a "DC TO DC CONV" error.

It was feeding a freezer and frequently failed in the wee hrs of the morning.
'
Finally discovered the problem when I was trying to run a Hilti TE-90 breaker hammer, and I couldn't do it with the ProSine.

I put a big shopvac on the inverter and started measuring voltage across every connection and found two bad ones.



We had dedicated micro-Ohmmeter, the thing looked like a Hollywood bomb.
The guy at NSA wouldn't let us bring it in. Had to go upstairs for permission.

It was a zany job.

I installed the UPS battery that backs up the lift that lowers the Constitution and DOI case down from the gallery at the Archives into a big Mosler bank vault two stories below.
Replaced the old one, c. 1940's, that had asphalt topped jars and the little gas cocks they used before plastic vents.
They're really simple systems and they'll last a long time if properly maintained.
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 6:09:13 AM EDT
My Gawd Col, In 30 years I've never heard of another guy who repaired forklift batteries. I did that in 79-80 in a shop outside Detroit.

I still have the scars from lead pops and molten tar. It was nasty, hot, dirty work. Whenever I had a bad day at my later police job, I'd go back to thinking about sticking my hands in acid or beating a cell out of some old POS 36 cell.

It was fun though when a cell would explode and embed the top cap in the ceiling––-
Link Posted: 9/8/2010 8:30:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/8/2010 8:31:44 AM EDT by ColonelHurtz]
We didn't do a huge amount of motive power in our shop, it was mostly UPS.
There are a lot of mainframe computers in the D.C. metro area, I mean a lot.
The technician I worked with had a pretty plum service region.
He said that when he first joined the company, they sent him to the Warminster, PA shop which serviced a lot of mine gear but he hated going down into the mines to service coal cars and stuff like that.

Our big shop contract was with B&O Railroad servicing diesel locomotive batteries.
One guy was pretty busy just doing those every day.
Any time I wanted some extra work, I could always come in and help him.

But the rest of the time I was on the road with the tech doing location services.
Those service contracts are very lucrative.
Some of the .gov agencies have very critical batteries and we'd do monthly's.
The Cold War hadn't ended yet in 1985.

It was a dirty and hazardous job, I had no intention of going full time but I extracted a lot of knowledge out of the experience.
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