I got my hands on an old Top Horse manlift. It looks pretty much just like this one. I tried plugging it in and turning it on and nothing happened. I think the batteries are long dead.

My question is: Can I recharge the batteries (it looks like there are 3 of them next to each other) using my car battery and car charging cables?

If yes, what would be the safe steps to charge all 3 batteries.

If no, what else can I do to get the manlift working again?

  • 3
    even if you got them recharged, I don't know if I'd trust them. It'd be no fun being stuck up in the air. I'd consider replacing the batteries. – DA01 Jan 27 '16 at 5:15
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    For that matter, I wouldn't trust an old manlift I happened upon unless someone who knows what he's doing looked it over to ensure it's safe. The only thing less fun than being stuck up in the air, is suddenly dropping 30 feet to the ground when a hydraulic hose bursts or a broken pin lets a support beam slip out of its pivot. – Johnny Jan 27 '16 at 6:13

Much obliged to those who gave answers and comments. They were all very useful.

I ended up getting the manlift to work just fine by recharging its battery (there was only 1, it turns out) as if it were a car battery. It ended up working just fine.

Thanks again for all your suggestions.

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It could be the charger is broke or one or more of the batteries has a dead cell(s).

You could remove each battery and try to charge them one at a time. If any of them are seriously degraded they will fail to charge or not hold a charge. They may never get to more than 10 volts if they have a dead cell.

Then you could replace the batteries and repair the charger if it needs it.

Also follow the commenters advice and inspect it thoroughly for damage or wear to vital components. Or have it inspected by someone with more experience with these.

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First, are they wet cell lead-acid batteries? Most (but not all) lead-acid batteries in common use are either 6 volts or 12 volts. You can recharge a 12 volt battery in all the conventional ways you'd recharge a car battery. For 6 volt batteries, place 2 in series.

You can also clean up the batteries and check electrolyte levels in the usual way.

Now, brace yourself: most likely, all 3 batteries are shot. Lead-acid batteries last only 5 to 10 years at most. So you'll want to positively identify the battery from whatever labeling may remain intact, and shop for replacements.

Here, be warned: having gotten a suprisingly favorable deal on many a machine, there is usually a ...reason... for that. Usually a lingering difficult-to-find glitch that makes the machine difficult to use, or a high-dollar repair which is unavoidable. Cost of battery replacement might explain it, but just the same, watch for -other- reasons the machine might be sidelined.

The batteries serve two purposes: their weight counter-balances the machine to make it stable, and of course electrical power. The batteries are large to give long run-time, not high amps. Simply for testing, car batteries of the same voltage will suffice, since car batteries have very high amps for their size. Beware that the machine will be tipsy with batteries missing or the wrong weight.

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