Vicki Hall, Director of Technical Solutions, Trojan Battery Co., LLC
The last thing your floor maintenance staff needs to worry about is the performance of the battery powering your floor machines. While facilities maintenance management teams today are faced with tons of responsibilities, it’s important that you ensure that the batteries powering your equipment are kept in proper working order, which means performing regular maintenance. I’ve found that many customers are completely unaware that the batteries that power their equipment actually do have a finite lifespan, and the better the maintenance of the battery the longer that battery will last, enhancing the overall battery investment.
Here are a few things to keep in mind about deep-cycle batteries:
1) I’m always surprised that customers don’t realise that flooded batteries must be watered on a regular basis. I’ve seen ‘bone dry’ batteries after 18 months in use because the customer didn’t even know they had to water the batteries. These batteries lose water during the charge cycle, so it is important to replenish the water that is lost. The frequency of watering depends on your use, it’s important that you monitor the electrolyte (water) levels in your batteries every two weeks to determine the ideal frequency for your application.
Distilled water is recommended because it doesn’t contain any impurities that may impact the life and performance of the battery. Since manually watering batteries can be messy and difficult, singlepoint watering systems have been developed make it easy.
2) Mixing battery sizes or brands is a big ‘no-no’ due to different capacities, internal resistance, etc. Batteries are manufactured specifically to work in a certain type/size of equipment and manufacturers engineer their batteries to work in conjunction with each other, not with other battery brands.
If a system needs four 6-volt batteries, they should all be the same brand and size. Mixing sizes or brands makes it tough to properly charge all the batteries in the system, which eventually leads to early battery failure.
3) Batteries are often never fully recharged on a daily basis, which, again, shortens the life of the batteries, not to mention performance.
Charging the batteries for short periods of time throughout the day, does not count as fully charging the batteries. Some people think they don't need to charge at the end of the day or shift if the batteries have been ‘opportunity charged’ during use. This is not a good idea and will impact the overall health of the batteries.
Some people think the batteries need to be run all the way down before they need to be recharged - even if it takes several days of use to get to that point. This is harder than necessary on the batteries.
Regardless of which battery technology you select to operate equipment, proper maintenance of batteries is critical to providing maximum performance and long life of a battery investment. To support proper battery maintenance, we have developed ‘Trojan Tips’, a series of video tutorials addressing a wide variety of battery maintenance, charging and safety topics. These videos are designed to assist users to operate their equipment at optimum levels day in and day out on the Trojan website.