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Frayed or corroded battery cables and terminals may be the cause of poor performance on many battery powered cleaning machines. Here’s what to do.

One of the leading causes of poor performance from battery powered floor cleaning machines is corroded or damaged battery cables. Working under harsh conditions where exposure to moisture, heat, and wear, your cleaning machine’s battery cables, and battery terminals can become less conductive. In addition, poor connectivity can also be a result of over tightening, and constant vibrations. Therefore, it’s often best to check the condition of the cables every-time you perform routine maintenance on your vehicle’s batteries.

Topping the list for poor battery cable connectivity is over-tightening of the battery terminals. Battery posts are made from lead which can crack and break if the hardware connecting the cables to the posts are over tightened beyond the recommended torque specifications. If your cleaning vehicle’s batteries have been recently replaced or removed for any kind of maintenance, make sure the cables are attached using the specified torque recommendations from the battery manufacturer. Here’s an example of a battery data sheet indicating proper torque for one of U.S. Battery Manufacturing’s popular batteries for cleaning machines. 

Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 9.20.15 AMCorroded cable connectors and terminals are another reason why your floor cleaning machine’s performance may be limited. The terminals and connectors can be easily cleaned by first spraying them with a solution of baking soda and water. Remove the cables from the battery terminals and use a small stainless steel brush with a wooden or plastic handle (to avoid any potential of arching). Gently clean the terminals and cable connectors before re-attaching them.

Improper connector assemblies can also be hindering your vehicle’s performance. Some cable connectors are crimped to the cable end, which can create a point of high resistance. If you notice some melting of the cable sleeve around that area, switch to a cable that has a mechanical connection (bolt attachment) or ones that are soldered together.

Undersized cables can also cause problems if they are not large enough to handle the vehicle’s amperage loads. If your cables are old and need replacing, check the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure that you’re using the correct gauge cables. The correct sized cable allows maximum flow of amperage from the battery to the motor and will also avoid meltdowns of the cables and terminals under heavy use.

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