GB Battery Co. Opinions?

backroad Solar Expert Posts: 185 ✭✭
I've almost reached the 59 and a half age where I can pretty much do to my 401 account what I want without the major penalties. So it's time to upgrade my severely undersized interim system by 2400 watts and a bunch of batteries.

NAWS tells me that Crown does not make the 48 volt industrial batteries and I'ts way too costly to double up on the 24 volt models for my 48 volt Magnum Inverter.

I've come across a battery company from Chicago. GB Battery that has the industrial type batteries for a very competitive price. I can actually buy an almost 1200 AH Industrial battery for a bunch less than it would cost me to go with 3 banks of the L16's or AGM's and the AGM's would come up a bit short of the 1200 ah rating @ 900ah.

I am very open to all opinions on this GB Battery Co. as the industrial batteries should last 3-4 times as long as the others considered.

OK, hit me hard.........


  • stephendv
    stephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: GB Battery Co. Opinions?

    I ordered my forklift battery 2 weeks ago mainly because it was so well priced when compared to the "stationary" batteries they tend to use around here (Spain) for renewable energy applications. And checking the prices of GB battery co, it came out at a very similar price, slightly cheaper.
    Around here, they mostly use Rolls or OPzS 2v cells for solar. The rolls cost about 1.5x and the OPzS almost 2x the price of the equivalent forklifts. And when I say "equivalent", it really is equivalent, same amount of plate material, same AH rating, in fact it's even the same plate design in the case of the OPzS.

    There are 2 differences that I'm aware of:
    1. There isn't much spare electrolyte above the plates because of the height restrictions in forklifts. This means that you might need to water the batts more frequently than you would the stationary batteries. Other users of forklift batts say that they water about once every 2 months.

    2. The exterior casing is a thinner material than the stationaries, and the batts tend to rely on being packed close together and supported by a large metal case that holds them all together. I've heard from some users that if you remove them from this case that the cell's individual cases can start to bulge when charging.

    If I had to guess, I would say the price discrepancy is purely down to market forces and volume of production. The number of electric forklifts in operation surely dwarfs the number of renewable energy setups out there and this could have an effect on the price. When I was shopping for the forklift batt, one of the first things the sales person asked was which physical size it was - and then went on to explain that the same capacity battery could be priced differently depending on whether it was for a widely used model of forklift, or whether it was a bit esoteric in size - seems to confirm the effects of volume on price.
  • backroad
    backroad Solar Expert Posts: 185 ✭✭
    Re: GB Battery Co. Opinions?

    Did they tell you what the delivery time might be?

    I'm wondering about a comparison of the GB's with the Crown Industrial batteries. The Crown's are touted to last in the range of 20 to 25 years in a solar application.

    Are you going with the battery watering system?
  • SCharles
    SCharles Solar Expert Posts: 123 ✭✭
    Re: GB Battery Co. Opinions?

    I am not familiar with GB. However, you are right about the relatively less costly "forklift" batteries. I have a set of C & D I purchased new in 1993, 1860 amp hr. We are still using the set. [in our off-grid home with PV charging] I don't recall the prices of other batteries back then, but ours were way less pricey than the batteries marketed for off-grid systems.

    "Forklift" batteries are, it seems, built for more abuse than some of the more expensive "solar" batteries, though that is just my impression and not a technical absolute. The co. selling them to me said that, typically, the batteries are run pretty much all the way down to near full discharge, then recharged back to 14.4 volts during the following 8 hr. shift. Used this way, they said their customers planned on replacing the full battery set about every 5 to 6 years, on average.

    Ours are now 17 years old and until a year or so ago I did not fully understand the periodic "EQ" needed for health of lead acid batteries. I just let my pv system recharge every day [MPPT controllers]. Now the batteries are weakening, and I do wonder whether I'd have been looking at many more yr. had I understood better about charging.

    They do need to be set into a container which provides support, physical support. They are not constructed to be stand-alone, as a car battery is. I have the recombinant caps on ours and have to add water maybe three times a year, and at that not much water.

    I am quite interested in Nickel-Iron batteries and am keeping an open mind regarding them for replacement of my current bank. If I decide to stick with lead-acid, I will be getting another set of these forklift batteries. I only have two neighbors within a mile or so, and both are using a popular brand of "solar" batteries [am I allowed to say the name, Trojan, here??]. One of them replaced his bank after four years, the other after five years. Now, I cannot speak to how carefully their banks were treated, of course, so that in itself is not a reason to look elsewhere. However, as I stated above, I did not care for mine entirely properly and they've lasted almost two decades.
  • mikeo
    mikeo Solar Expert Posts: 386 ✭✭✭
    Re: GB Battery Co. Opinions?
    NAWS tells me that Crown does not make the 48 volt industrial batteries and I'ts way too costly to double up on the 24 volt models for my 48 volt Magnum Inverter.
    To get 1200 amp hours in a fork lift battery, you are look at a 1300+ pound battery. Can you handle a battery this heavy.? I have a 24 volt system 900 amp hours and split it in to two cases each weighing over 600 lbs. Even moving these off the truck to the barn where the batterys are was not an easy task. We used my FL on my tractor to get them to the front door of the barn, then made 2x4 sliders to slide them into place. The only other comment I have is that due to fork lift battery construction, they use more water and have a higher self discharge rate. GB is a major provider of industrial batteries. They also have reconditioned batteries available at about 1/2 the cost of new.
  • myhouse07
    myhouse07 Registered Users Posts: 17
    Re: GB Battery Co. Opinions?

    GD batterys are good batterys I have 24-85-13 they are only 810 ah @ 48volts. It is 2200lbs but one really nice battery they droped it off on the drive way too. I used a palit jack to move it .
  • backroad
    backroad Solar Expert Posts: 185 ✭✭
    Re: GB Battery Co. Opinions?

    I'm really appreciating the comments. THX...

    They are, without a doubt, VERY heavy. I'm looking at a 1206ah and a 1608ah that weigh in @ 3026lbs and 3864lbs respectively. I have access to a very large stingerboom to place it.

    I'm starting to think that the GB's, being an industrial battery are probably as good as any of the other industrials.

    A reconditioned battery is a great price, but one never knows how much life is still left and I have given this much thought.
    I'm hoping that this might be the last battery purchase I will make, maybe...