Electrical contacts break down and can cause fires and other problems. If left unchecked, it can be damaging and costly. The corrosion ruins the battery, clamps and cables, and the spillover not only damages the finish it can actually "eat" through the case. The acid spilled can irritate skin and cause chemical burns. For years of safe use of your batteries, it is important to understand the cause and effect of corrosion, and ways to keep corrosion in check.
What is corrosion?
For a forklift battery, corrosion happens when sulfuric acid comes in contact with the metal components. Lead acid batteries are filled with an electrolyte solution that contains a chemical called sulfuric acid. During the battery charging process, gasses are released. These vapors gather and create a residue around the vent cap area. Over time, the acid left on top of the battery corrodes the terminals (and other components) and forms a powdery white residue.
These things can contribute to that accumulation:
- Incorrect charging procedures
- Not cleaning the battery and components on a regular basis
How can I reduce the effects of corrosion?
Maintain the correct water level.
Over filling with water can cause electrolyte to spill over. If you need to add water to the battery, do so after a complete charge, and add only enough water to cover the element protector by about a quarter inch.
Avoid Over Discharge.
This means charging when a battery reaches the near end of it's charge, after about 80% discharge, (the 'red zone' on most discharge meters).
Pay attention to operating temperatures.
Allow cooling before charge or operation if the battery is above 115°F. Keep the truck compartment and battery cover open during charging to minimize increased temperature. In hot work areas, use fans to keep battery cool.
Avoid Over Charge.
Like over discharging, over charging reduces battery life and it can also lead to a potentially hazardous situation - excessive gassing. Some gassing occurs during normal charging but if a battery is over charged, the electrolyte mix can overheat and spill over, leaving an acidic residue on top of the battery.
Keep the battery top clean and dry.
Clean with a neutralizer on a regular basis. Acid is highly corrosive and if left on the battery it can damage components, including the case, cables, inner-cell connectors and cell caps. This damage is often visible with the formation of white powder. The white powdery substance can form conductive paths to the battery case and produce electrical grounds, which shorten the life of the battery and cause unnecessary maintenance bills.
Tired of dealing with acid and corrosion covered batteries?
We recommend that batteries be rinsed every spring and fall (or as needed), to remove the acid residue from the battery. Cisco Inc. can clean and neutralize your batteries at your location with our portable, self-contained battery cleaning station.
We take the contaminated wash water away with us, so your facility is kept clean and dry, and your company is not exposed to risks from the contaminated wash water run off.