The switch to battery-powered aerial platforms, scissor lifts, and boom lifts allowed these vehicles to be smaller, more maneuverable, and safer. Most use deep-cycle FLA batteries because they offer the lowest operation cost if you maintain and replenish water in the battery cells. That’s where the difficulty often lies. Busy schedules and long work hours often leave batteries improperly maintained in this critical area resulting in a loss of performance and life.
Addressing this issue results in two options: replace your vehicle(s) batteries with more expensive lithium or maintenance-free lead batteries, or make watering simpler to assure your batteries are watered properly so they can last longer and provide optimum performance. With the availability of a variety of battery watering monitors and single-point watering systems, there’s no reason that your batteries’ maintenance should be neglected.
A battery watering monitor replaces one vent cap on a single battery of a battery pack and indicates the battery pack’s water level. Since batteries are usually connected in series in a pack and charge and discharge together as a pack, you typically only need one monitor per vehicle to indicate the condition of the battery pack. Vehicles with multiple packs in parallel will need one for each series pack. Watering monitors use a built-in probe and processor that triggers an LED indicator light to signal when the pack needs water. The indicator light can be mounted in the battery compartment for easy access by maintenance personnel or in a more convenient location that the operator can easily monitor.
Combined with one of several types of single-point watering systems on the market, watering batteries can be made very simple. Watering systems are designed to work on just about any battery model. Most are very simple to install with many kits available pre-assembled for your specific vehicle, battery manufacture, and battery configuration. When batteries need watering, attach the inlet connection of the watering system to the kit’s siphon valve and a hand pump that supplies water from an appropriate source (most often a large container of distilled water). After a few pumps to start the siphon, all of the batteries in your pack are filled to the correct level without the fear of overfilling.
The advantages of maintaining the electrolyte levels more frequently and reliably results in battery packs lasting much longer – as much as 7 – 10 years in many instances, especially when battery packs are not discharged more than 50% as recommended by most manufacturers. Combine this with charging your batteries at every opportunity and performing an equalizing charge at least once per month. You’ll see a dramatic increase in the life and overall performance of your batteries.
In addition to saving money over the long run and making your batteries last longer, the drudgery of battery watering can be reduced to a quick and simple procedure.