Battery Test Equipment Co.
The why and how of Predictive Battery Maintenance
This website is offered as a simple guide to battery management. It contains basic know how together with some do’s and don’ts that will be an aid to persons involved in the maintenance of motive batteries that are used in battery operated lift trucks and towing vehicles.

It is an introduction to the use of automated battery testing equipment that has proven to be sufficiently cost effective to earn a payback in less than one year.

The nature of batteries is such that it is impossible to determine the exact physical condition inside a battery. However, batteries can be automatically tested to determine their capacity and functional limitations by use of computer technology.

This website will tell you how.



Testing batteries just twice annually, greatly improves operating efficiency, validates warranties, identifies faulty cells and reduces electricity comsumption... all with minimal labor.

All test parameters are preformed to meet BCI standards for testing motive industrial batteries.


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Battery Test Equipment Co., Ltd.
539 South Main Street
Nazareth, PA 18064

Battery Test Equipment
Company, Ltd. is part of a
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Designed to actuate or carry loads to a predetermined destination; or provide pressing, pushing, pulling or stamping power; this robust, air actuated, accurately guided, ball slide is superior in its durability and reliability. Driven by an internal double acting air cylinder(s) that advance and retract the upper mounting block on ball bearings; this unit will move or carry heavy top loaded or cantilevered loads.


Things you should know...
About lead-acid motive power batteries...
And their maintenance.
The cost of lead and other raw materials used in the construction of industrial batteries is increasing rapidly as China, India, and other evolving nations are shifting to market economies and increasing consumerism.

Well managed companies are focusing on cost reduction to offset their ever rising costs as these evolving nations compete for the limited supply of raw materials.

Skillful battery management can reduce the cost of warehouse operations by incorporating a well designed preventative maintenance program that will reduce down time and extend the life of motive batteries. The time required for routine maintenance can be reduced from hours to minutes per battery by the use of automated battery analyzers.

Preventative maintenance can be automated with an MCBA Battery Analyzer that accomplishes a detailed Capacity Test in 3 to 6 hours with less than 15 minutes of set-up time. All the rest is automatic, including retained records and a complete printed report.

  • Standard MCBA Analyzers will test 1 or 2 batteries at once. Larger analyzers will test up to four batteries at one time. This further reduces the cost of management and maintenance.
  • Batteries that are well maintained will run for a full shift thereby reducing mid-shift down time for battery change out.
  • Lift truck maintenance is reduced when batteries run at full rated voltage.
  • Battery inventory can be reduced as service life of batteries is extended by professional management.
  • Weak batteries can be identified for repair or replacement within the warranty period for furthercost reduction.

NOTE! Warranty claims may be difficult
to process unless adequate documentation
can be provided to support the claims.

  • Battery manufacturers provide a warranty that batteries will meet or exceed the capacity standards as established by the Battery Council International (BCI). MCBA Battery Analyzers produce a printed report that conforms to the requirements of BCI.
Standards have been established for the performance of industrial batteries by the Battery Council International (BCI).

BCI is an advisor group that is composed of the major industrial battery manufacturers to create and maintain standards for the manufacture and testing of batteries to be used in motive traction applications.

The BCI Standard specifies that a new motive battery shall deliver at least 90% of its rated ampere-hour capacity within the first three cycles of charging-discharging, and 100% of rated capacity by the tenth cycle when subjected to a Capacity Load Test. The “flooded”, deep-cycle, lead-acid batteries used in lift trucks, pallet jacks, aircraft ground equipment, railroads and automated guided vehicles are included in these standards.

In order to assure that new batteries meet this standard before acceptance, it is imperative that new batteries be Capacity Load Tested after the first three charging cycles, and again after ten cycles. Occassionally, some batteries will not pass the test.

BCI load test parameters require that a battery be measured at one sixth of its ampere-hour rating for a maximum of six hours. The standard also specifies that this type of battery shall deliver 80% of its ampere-hour capacity during the life of the warranty,typically 5 years.

Battery manufacturers provide warranties that batteries will meet or exceed the capacity standards as established by BCI. Even though a battery may pass the initial overall testing, it is possible that one or more cells may be substandard. A thorough test procedure will measure the capacity of each individual cell. Failure of any individual cell may justify a claim for repair or replacement under the terms of the warranty.

Batteries must be capacity tested semi-annually, or quarterly if subjected to “opportunity charging”, in order to determine if their capacity is within an acceptable range. Signs of premature aging may indicate the presence of defective cell(s).

In order to qualify for warranty coverage, evidence must be presented to verify that the battery performance is sub-standard. A precise Capacity Load Test report produced by an automated MCBA Battery Analyzer will be accepted as certified evidence for warranty claims because it confirms that all criteria of the BCI testing standards have been met.

Manual Capacity Load Testing is a time consuming, costly and arduous task. It takes several hours of a technician’s time and the data obtained is dependent upon the dedication of the technician charged with the task. The data recorded may not be sufficiently accurate to provide a sound basis for battery management or warranty claims. As a result, sub-standard batteries may be inadvertently accepted for continued use at a major cost of time and money because of sub-standard performance.

Many battery users simply expect to replace batteries within a year or two after the five-year warranty expires. If batteries are properly managed it is not unreasonable to expect that they will be serviceable for 20-30%, or more, useful life. Millions of warranty dollars are “flushed away” annually because batteries are not routinely Capacity Load Tested to evaluate the batteries and perform corrective cell maintenance that will prolong their life.

Many facilities have a large quantity of motive batteries, numbered in the hundreds. Maintaining records to monitor battery, age, performance, repairs, and warranty expiration date can be almost a full time job. Batteries cannot be properly maintained without routine record keeping. The cost and nuisance of record maintenance is simplified by the record keeping capability of an MCBA Battery Analyzer.

When a battery is first received its Identification Number together with its vital statistics are entered into the memory bank of the MCBA. The initial test results as well as all subsequent test results are automatically recorded and saved thus creating a total history of the battery’s performance during its lifetime. An up-to-date summary of any battery in the system can be displayed on the Battery Inventory Action Form.

The MCBA Inventory Action Form will act as a reminder that the warranty expiration date is approaching. Significant cost savings are available if it can be shown that a battery is sub-standard before the warranty expires.

Batteries are composed of many cells. Defective cells can substantially reduce a battery’s performance. It is often possible to have defective cells replaced at no cost during the warranty period to prolong the life of the battery. One can identify the faulty cell(s) in a timely, low cost, way using MCBA technology.

Motive batteries are usually “flooded” wet-cell deep cycle lead-acid batteries designed for applications where the batteries are regularly discharged, such as pallet jacks, fork lift trucks, AGV’s and towing vehicles. They are typically available with 24, 36, 48, and 80-volt output.

Lead-acid batteries are constructed with a number of cells. Each cell will produce a nominal voltage of 2 .1 volts when fully charged. When the cells are connected together in series the cell voltage outputs are added together. Therefore, a 24-volt battery is composed of 12 cells, whereas a 48-volt battery has 24 cells.

These batteries contain lead plate electrodes that are interleaved with non-conductive separators and they are filled with a diluted solution of sulfuric acid. Deep cycle batteries used in motive power applications are built with thick lead electrodes that maintain their voltage for prolonged periods and will withstand frequent charging and discharging.


When power is drawn from a battery the output voltage will gradually decay. Batteries will function well if they are not drawn down below 85% of their rated voltage. In the case of lead-acid batteries this would be 1.7 volts per cell.

When batteries are recharged the chemical process within the battery is reversed and potential voltage output is restored to its original rating.

When discharging batteries it is important that they are not discharged to a voltage below 80% of their nominal rating because the total battery life will be severely shortened.

Batteries have reached the end of their useful life when they can no longer hold a proper charge for a sustained period or when their output voltage cannot be raised above 85% of their original rating.

Depth of Discharge —
The life of a battery will be severely shortened if the battery is frequently drawn down below 80% of its rated voltage.

Age —
The acid within the battery causes slow deterioration of the battery plates. The life of batteries can be prolonged by maintaining them atfull charge.

Construction —
Batteries with thicker plates and more durable separators will last longer.

Sulfation — When batteries are not fully charged a layer of lead sulfate will form on the plates that will inhibit the chemical reaction between the lead and the sulfuric acid.

Defective Cells —
Not all battery cells have equal voltage output. Each cell in a battery has a life of its own. As the battery discharges, some cells will lose their charge faster than others. One defective cell can cause the total output voltage to drop much faster than normal. This will shorten run time between charging and reduce the total service life of the battery.

Weak Cells —
Weak cells can be the result of manufacturing defects, plate sulfation, poor charging or wateringpractices, and lack of cool-down time after charging. Individual cells that are weak will over-stress the good cells and result in poor overall battery performance.

Battery Repair —
It is very possible that any battery can have one or more faulty cells. An MCBA analyzer can identify these cells. Defective cells can then be replaced and the battery can be restored to service.

Battery Cleaning —
Weak batteries can sometimes be partially improved. Accumulated sludge together with sulfation can sometimes be removed to restore cells to near normal activity. Deep discharging/recharging cycles may also aid in restoring cell performance.

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