Golf cart batteries are generally lead-acid batteries, similar to your car or truck battery. The difference is that the battery in a golf cart is a 6-volt battery, while the battery in your car or truck is a 12-volt battery.
There is another important difference; Your car or truck battery is constantly recharging while you drive, but your golf cart battery can be almost completely drained at the end of the day, depending on how much it has been used.
Draining a battery can reduce battery life, so it is important to properly recharge your golf cart batteries on a daily basis.
In this guide, learning how to charge golf cart batteries requires you to learn a little more about how to do it correctly. I will tell you the complete steps you need to take when charging 36 volt and 48-volt batteries.
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What battery type does your cart use?
You’re in luck – there are only two types of batteries made for golf carts, so identifying the right power source is your first job.
Your vehicle can be designed for a 36-volt system (that is, six 6-volt batteries) up to a 48-volt system that runs on six 8-volt batteries or four 12-volt batteries, all of which belong in what is known. called the deep cycle lead-acid battery family.
The former is based on the levels of electrolytes that are maintained within each cell, while the latter, lithium-ion, offers unlimited benefits through conductive cells that drive energy and rely on on-ion production to maintain these. batteries generating power at an efficient rate.
Since lithium batteries do not rely on liquid electrolytes, you will not be overwhelmed by constant fuel level monitoring or refilling if your golf cart is powered by energy efficient-lithium.
How to Charge a Golf Cart Battery
Both lead-acid and lithium-ion golf cart batteries need to be charged regularly to function effectively, whether your cart has a 36-volt system or a 48-volt system. Both batteries have their advantages and disadvantages.
Regardless of the battery, you have placed in your golf cart, you should first read the instructions that came with it when you purchased the battery.
Charging lead-acid batteries in a golf cart
- Keep the cart where there is good ventilation to prevent gases from accumulating during the charging process.
- Check if the ambient temperature is too high. If so, you will have to wait until it becomes normal.
- Confirm that the voltage settings are as specified in the instructions and perform the required compensation for temperatures above 80° F.
- Check the water level in all batteries.
- Tighten the vent caps after performing the above check.
It is good practice to charge the batteries after using the cart each time so you don’t get disappointed. The charging process is not complicated, and by doing it correctly, you can extend the life of your lead-acid car batteries.
Charging lithium-ion batteries in a golf cart
- Check the temperature of the area where you have stored your golf cart. Postpone the charging process if the temperature is too high or too low.
- Make sure the cart is turned off before starting to load. This helps the battery reach an ideal saturation point.
- Avoid fully charging the batteries. It is recommended that lithium-ion batteries be charged slightly less than their maximum limit.
- Be careful of batteries that get hot when charging. If you find this to happen, please stop charging for a while and resume once the batteries have cooled down.
How to Choose the Best Golf Cart Battery Charger
You should choose a battery charger according to the voltage of your cart to avoid the possibility of damaging your batteries.
There are about 8 different types of charger plugs that you can find on various models of golf carts. While some of the plugs are exclusively for 36-volt or 48-volt cars, others will work on both voltages.
Battery Charging Voltage
The optimal battery charging voltage depends on the type of batteries you use in your golf cart.
- A typical wet-cell lead-acid battery should be charged above 14 volts. Some battery manufacturers allow their batteries to support a maximum charging voltage of 14.3 volts.
- Generally, a battery sealed like a gel battery should not charge above 14.1 volts. You may want to check if the manufacturer offers a variation.
The above values are applicable only when the charger is disconnected after recharging. When the battery voltage drops between 12.6 volts and 13.3 volts, charging resumes with an automatic regulator or manually.
Tips for Charging Your Golf Cart Battery
Charging your golf cart batteries is not as difficult as it sounds. The following tips can help you charge your batteries:
- Turn the golf cart ignition key to the OFF position. Although there is no battery drain when the key is left on, doing so is considered a safe practice.
- Check for accumulation of liquid on the batteries. If the top is wet, the battery has been overwatered.
- Gel or AGM cells indicate overcharging and can affect battery performance and life. If you use lead-acid batteries, be aware that they tend to drain, causing acid to build up on top of the batteries and corrode the terminals. This is also a sign of impending damage.
- Examine the external appearance of the batteries. Make sure the top and terminal conditions are clean and dry, as well as free from corrosion and dirt. If the terminals look messy, clean the tops and remove debris and dirt from the terminals.
- You can use a cleaning solution of baking soda and water along with a brush and cloth to remove accumulated dirt. Make sure the solution does not get into the batteries. Follow with a clean water rinse. Dry the terminals well and cover well. Go through the cleaning process once a month.
- Check the electrolyte levels in all batteries. Do not charge the battery if the level is between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch above the battery plates. Use only distilled water to recharge the battery. Overcharging or undercharging batteries and charging when the electrolyte is not at desired levels can reduce battery life and life expectancy.
- Make sure battery and cable connections are tight, corrosion-free, and clean. Corroded connections can result in a voltage drop between the batteries, causing poor life. Cables can also overheat and fail due to high resistance.
- Replace the affected cables with new ones and apply a protective layer of terminals after cleaning the corrosion and before starting the charge. You can also opt for a thin layer of petroleum jelly.
- Check that all vent caps are secure and apply some petroleum jelly or terminal protector around the batteries.
Also, do not turn on electrical parts like radios and lights on your cart when the cart is off.
If you notice that the batteries are expanding or bulging or cracking, replace them as soon as possible.
How to Charge a Golf Cart Battery that is Completely Dead
You can charge your golf cart batteries that are completely drained in a number of ways.
The best method depends on the size of the battery and the battery bank to recover the juice. Ideally, the batteries should be adjusted to their actual voltages before activating the golf cart battery charger.
You can use a golf cart battery recovery unit to help you recover the desired volts in your depleted batteries.
The charger is very easy to use and can be activated with the push of a button. This action applies a huge voltage to the golf cart’s battery bank. This, in turn, will help activate the charger and turn it on to resume charging.
These battery recovery units are often available at pro shops. The Super Charger Battery Bank Recovery Unit is a trusted brand that you may consider investing in for emergency use.
How to Charge A Deep Cycle Battery Properly
The following tips give an idea of the effective charging of a deep cycle battery.
- Fully charge the deep cycle battery between two consecutive uses of the golf cart. The battery must complete at least one full cycle before use.
- Check the water level periodically. Old batteries consume more water in the same way that batteries dry faster in hot weather. Use only distilled water to replace.
- Keep the battery clean and dry all the time.
- Replace all batteries at the same time, even when replacing only a single battery.
- Pull the plug and not the cable of the charger when you need to unplug it after the charging process.
- Make sure the carriage is in the neutral position and the ignition is OFF before charging begins.
How Long Does it Take to Charge a Golf Cart Battery?
A new golf cart battery that is completely discharged will take 2-4 hours to fully charge. On the other hand, a 5-year battery can take up to 10 hours to fully charge.
With a good charger, you should be able to get your cart on the go with just a few hours of charging. Charging time depends on a number of factors and taking the correct steps can help you get the most out of your battery.
Some of these factors are the level of discharge and the quality of the battery, as well as the quality of the charger. Weather is another factor that affects the slower charging process in cold weather.
An older golf cart battery that is 55 percent discharged will charge faster than a new one with a full discharge.
How Long Do Golf Cart Batteries Last On One Charge
A new golf cart battery will last up to 25-50 miles on a single charge. This means that the battery will last for approximately 1 hour of continuous golf cart use if you are traveling an average of 35 miles per hour.
This distance is also dependent on the voltage and model of the golf cart, along with the configuration, age, and condition of the battery. Some of them also go up to 50 miles, but this is not recommended as you can get stranded.
Golf carts with AC drive motors travel more than their DC counterparts. Similarly, two-seater cars travel more distance than four-seater cars due to the lower weight of luggage and passengers.
Depth of discharge is another important factor. 6 and 8-volt batteries have less discharge and last longer than 12-volt batteries.