Batteries are essential to keeping machines running smoothly and running (period). To keep your mobile elevating work platform functioning at peak performance, it is vital to maintain the battery (batteries) associated with your machine. Maintaining equipment can be complex and far-reaching with many steps involved in the inspecting, maintenance, repairing and operating cycle, so here are some tips on how to better maintain your equipment’s batteries. Whether it be equipment that you own or are renting, following these steps will keep you equipped for success and will reduce avoidable downtime.
- Replace when needed
It’s standard practice, and important, to regularly test batteries to ensure they are charging and functioning properly. Testing regularly, and especially before use on a new project, is an effective way of avoiding unfortunate job site situations stemming from ineffective batteries. Always remember to test the charge on your batteries and replace bad batteries when needed and especially prior to important work dates.
A poorly maintained battery may need to be replaced within one year, whereas the well maintained battery can last as long as three years, according to an article published by Genie’s Aerial Pros. When a lead acid battery needs to be replaced, they can be locally sourced from a variety of retail outlets for fast and simple replacement, provided the replacement battery is on the same amperage rating and weight, as the batteries are part of the counterweighting of the unit.
- Top-off battery fluid
Battery fluid (a mix of acid and water) levels will naturally drop with each use and charge and low fluid levels can negatively affect battery performance and persistence. Batteries which are not consistently maintained with battery fluid top-offs, perform worse and with shorter lengths of operation. Always check your battery’s water levels after charging and add any additional water as needed. Remember to only use distilled water and never to substitute with tap water. It’s also a conscientious idea to check acid levels after each charge, as well. This can be accomplished with a hydrometer.
- Performance test
It’s important to conduct testing on your batteries using a digital or carbon pile battery tester to make sure that batteries are operating at their optimal performance. The quality of the tester is important because average testers will not be able to pull the correct number of amps for even the smaller MEWP types.
- Check for corrosion, cleanliness and security
Remember to check your batteries for any corrosion and make sure that it’s clean and there are no barriers to a firm, safe connection. Any obscurities to the connection can reduce a battery’s performance and your machine’s functionality.
- Keep it tidy
It’s very important that batteries remain dry and clean. Dirty and moist surfaces can create discharge resulting in less efficient batteries. Batteries which are not properly cleaned and stored in adequate/dry storage areas, will result in batteries that struggle to maintain adequate charge thus reducing potential operating times. This can be devastating for productivity, particularly projects which must be completed on a time-sensitive schedule.
Read more tips on how best to charge your batteries in one of our previous blog posts.