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Here’s some answers to questions we frequently hear from our customers.

Every electric forklift application is different, however. So if you have any doubts, please give us a call. We’re here to help you with all your industrial battery and charger needs! Call 1-888-538-4490 or contact us!


A lead-acid motive power battery is a portable energy source for supplying direct electrical current (DC) to electric vehicles. It usually consists of six or more cells connected in series to provide the necessary voltage, and ampere-hour (Ah) capacity. Each cell has a nominal voltage of 2 volts, thus a 6-cell battery is referred to as a 12-volt battery, and an 18-cell battery as a 36-volt battery, etc.

The vehicle configuration, application, and type of operation to be performed determine the battery voltage and Ah capacity selected. A battery is rated by its capacity to deliver or discharge electrical energy over a period of time, and the capacity is expressed in amps per hour. For example, a battery rated at 600 Ah at a six-hour rate can deliver 100 amperes continuously for six hours before it reaches a fully discharged condition. The six-hour rate is the standard used by the North American battery industry when measuring capacity for motive power batteries.

  1. ALWAYS complete one full discharge and charge cycle when battery is placed in service for the first time. Only after this initial first cycle is completed, check and add approved water if needed. NEVER add acid.
  2. NEVER discharge battery beyond 80%, and do not operate battery if the specific gravity is below 1.150 sg for Powerline™, Waterless®, and Top Power®, and 1.175 sg for Energy-Plus™.
  3. If the battery is above 115○ F, allow battery to cool before charging or operating. Contact your Wilson Barrett sale rep for fast charge applications.
  4. Keep electrolytes levels above separator protector and 1/4” below the vent well.
  5. Keep battery top dry and clean.
  6. Keep vent caps tightly in place. Before removing a vent cap, make sure personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn.
  7. Keep open flame and metal objects away from battery top. NEVER wear jewelry on hands or wrists when handling batteries.
  8. Calibrate or adjust truck lift interrupt for correct voltage cutoff. This should be determined by 80% depth of discharge of the battery.
  9. Use only approved chargers of correct voltage and current output.
  10. Keep battery cover or truck compartment open and well ventilated during charging.
  11. When in doubt, call Wilson Barrett Battery Power Systems 1-888-538-4490.

Industrial batteries manufactured today are usually warranted to deliver a total of 1,500 cycles. A cycle is normally considered to be one discharge and one recharge. At a frequency of one cycle per day, a five year life is expected. Many factors can alter the life achieved by the user. Battery life may increase if the user focuses on these areas:

  1. Proper watering
  2. Regular cleaning and neutralizing
  3. Maintaining batteries at a proper temperature
  4. Discharging to as near 80% of capacity as possible prior to recharging.

Electric-powered lift trucks used in hazardous locations must, by law, be equipped with special construction to allow them to operate safely in the hazardous environment, which is classified either “EE” (Spark proof) or “EX” (Explosion resistant). These location use, manufacture, or process combustible gasses or vapors, explosive mixtures, or other hazardous materials. Once the location has been defined as “EE” or “EX,” special battery construction may be required. Always check with the truck manufacturer to determine if your particular truck requires an “EE” or “EX” special battery.

If the location is defined as “EE,” the forklift may require an “EE” battery. As a general rule, a truck with an enclosed battery compartment and an “EE” designation on its factory nameplate does not always require an “EE” battery. If the battery compartment is exposed, a battery with “EE” construction is mandatory. ONLY THE TRUCK MANUFACTURER CAN ABSOLUTELY DETERMINE THE NEED FOR AN “EE” BATTERY.

“EX” truck compartments have varied designs. Many different battery assemblies are possible. “EX” batteries always require a cover and have the charging connector (Anderson Type “N” 150-amp receptacle) mounted in the fuse box compartment. All “EX” type battery chargers require an Anderson Type “N” 150-amp plug. The battery’s charging connector should be mounted within the steel tray and should only be accessible by locking or unlocking the cover hasp.

Battery Watering Questions:

Every flooded lead acid industrial battery requires the addition of water at regular intervals to maintain the proper electrolyte level and concentration.

Battery cells can be watered individually with a manual watering “gun”, or automatically with a single point watering system. Contact your Wilson Barrett representative for advice as to which system best fits your needs.

Well...yes. Technically, any method you use from a bucket and a funnel to a high pressure, single point injector system, can be classified as a watering “system”. It all comes down to how safe and cost effective you want to be.

Battery Changing Questions

If you run a multi shift operation, and have conventional chargers, you probably need to have spare batteries to change in to your forklifts.

You may need a simple lifting beam or you may need a multi-level, operator aboard battery extractor system. Contact your Wilson Barrett representative for advice as to which system best fits your needs.

80 Volt Forklift Battery Questions

80 volt trucks require a charger which operates on 480 volt AC input. That is about the only special requirement.

As with any other forklift, it all depends on how much you use it. Pound for pound, an 80 volt system has shown a significant increase in run time over a similar truck of lower voltage.


When a forklift battery is connected to a charger, DC current is distributed through the battery in a direction opposite to that which occurred during the discharge process. If a forklift battery is to be charged on a conventional charger, it is important to ensure that the capacity of the charger is correctly matched to that of the battery. Failure to do so will result in permanent damage to the battery, charger or both.

You need to charge the battery when it reaches 80% depth of discharge (DoD).

This depends on how long it takes to reach 80% DoD. A healthy battery in a properly sized forklift, should ideally last a full eight hour shift.

Typical standard industrial battery chargers require 208/240/or480 VAC. A small 110 volt input charger may be used temporarily, but will take upwards of 12 hours to fully recharge the battery. Extended use (over one week) will cause battery damage.

Depends on the charger model. The Hawker LIFEPLUS® TC3-W charger has Plug ‘n Play flexibility that responds dynamically to a wide range of battery voltages and capacities without user intervention. The Hawker Powertech™ will charge a wide range of AH capacity, as long as it is the same voltage. For other models, check with the manufacturer specifications.

A standard high quality conventional charger, properly matched to the battery, should fully charge it within eight hours. The Hawker LIFEPLUS® TC3-W charger or the Hawker Powertech™ charger are high frequency chargers which employ the patented Ionic™ charge profile. These chargers can significantly reduce charge times.

Yes. A well maintained older charger can do the job. The operative word here is “maintained”. Older technology chargers can appear to be working properly but be delivering only a fraction of their rated capacity. Have them inspected and serviced regularly by a trained charger technician

A smart charger is able to diagnose the forklift battery, obtaining pertinent information for the charge. The Hawker Life Plus charger can determine the precise amount of recharge needed, regardless of voltage, AH capacity, age of the battery or state of discharge. So there is no chance of a mismatch between the charger and the battery as the charger. Other benefits of a “smart charger” include less heat generated and less watering needed. The Hawker Powertech™ is also a smart charger that will charge a wide range of AH capacity, as long as it is the same voltage. For other models, check with the manufacturer specifications.

Opportunity charging is fast becoming the industry standard for two-shift operation. By using a Hawker LIFEPLUS® TC3-W charger or the Hawker Powertech™ Opportunity (PTO) charger, a user can eliminate the need for changing batteries. Simply plug the battery in to the “smart charger” at opportune times such as breaks and lunch to extend the operating time of the forklift to cover the entire work day. Contact your Wilson Barrett representative to schedule a test to see if your operation qualifies for opportunity charging.

Fast charging is opportunity charging on steroids. Fast chargers recharge forklift batteries 3-5 times faster than conventional chargers. The Hawker LifeSpeed™ 3000 can charge lift truck batteries to 100% from an 80% DoD in just 2 to 3 hours. This type of charger is good for heavy duty, three-shift applications. Contact your Wilson Barrett representative to see if this is a good option for your operation.

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