Buyers Guide to Lead Acid Forklift Battery Chargers

How To Find the Right Forklift Charger

Identifying which charger your forklift battery needs can be done a couple of different ways.

Information From a Charger Data Tag

When replacing a forklift charger, you can look at the data tag on the charger to find the information you need to get a replacement.  

There are four main items on the charger data tag to identify. 1. Input phase. 2. Input Voltage 3. Output voltage 4. Output amps or amp hours

In the example below you can see all the information is clearly listed. On the left side is the input information. The inputs are what the charger is getting from your facility. So in this example you can see this charger requires 480 volts three phase power from the wall. The output information is what the charger is sending to the battery.  You can see that this charger outputs 36 volts of direct current at 151 amps. 

forklift charger data tag

Getting the Information From Your Lead Acid Battery

Using the Data Tag

All lead acids batteries have a data tag on the side. Sometimes this tag has been removed, but if your battery still has the tag here's how to read it.

Data tags vary so it may not tell you exactly what the voltage is, but once you know what to look for, determining your battery voltage and amp hour capacity becomes a snap.

In the example below this data tag gives the full battery model in the "Type" field. This battery is a 12-125S-13.  12 is for the number of cells in the battery. You can multiply this number by 2 to get the voltage.  So this battery is 24 volts. The capacity field shows the amp hour capacity, which is 750 AH.

forklift battery data tag

So now you know that you need a 24 volt charger with an amp hour output around 750. Some chargers will be advertised with an amp hour rating and others will just show amp out, which will be the amps per hour.  Standard chargers charge at a 6 hour rate, so you can divide the amp hours on your battery by six to get the amp output your charger should have.  In this example you will want to find a charger that has an output of 120-125 amps.

Data Tag Missing or Illegible

If you can't find a data tag on the battery you can usually find the model on one of the cell connectors near the positive terminal.

Here's a picture of battery cell connector with the plastic cover removed. 

forklift battery cell connector

You can see the model is a 24-85-21. 24 cells, 85 amps, 21 plates. Using what we learned above we can figure that this battery is 48V (24 x 2). To figure out the amp hours we need to to do a little more arithmetic. 

Take the last number in the model, subtract 1, divide by 2, and multiply by the middle number.  So here's what that looks like: 21-1 = 20  |  20/2 = 10   |   10X85 = 850 amp hours.

So now you know that this is a 48V battery that has 850 amp hour capacity.

Your Facility's Power - The Final Step

The last thing you need to do is identify what power your facility has.

Industrial battery chargers typically require at least 208V input from either single phase or three phase power. A 120V standard outlet will be too small.

If that all sounds intimidating, don't worry too much because you can usually look at your electric meter to identify what input power you have. Here's an example to help.

electric meter

In the green area you can see that this facility has voltage from 120 to 480.

Next to that in the green area is 4W(Y/D).  Without getting into the details this identifies this power source as three phase.

This website has 6 different ways to identify single phase or three phase.

If you are unsure about your facility's power supply it is best to contact an electrician to help.

Forklift Charger Buying Guide Summary

When you're looking to purchase a forklift battery charger here are four main items you need to know.

1. Battery voltage

2. Battery amp hours

3. Supply voltage

4. Supply phase

Once you know these four items you will be able to find the right charger for your forklift battery and facility.

Shop for new forklift battery chargers.



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