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This golf cart battery charging guide provides detailed information on Club Car, Ez Go and Yamaha golf cart chargers and, the golf cart battery charging steps you need to know so that you get the most out of your batteries.
Frequently asked important questions like how long will my batteries last, how often do I need to charge my batteries and what are the safety considerations and other golf cart battery charging questions are also answered here on the website.
If you’re new to electric golf carts then it’s essential that you learn the proper use and care of your golf cart deep cycle batteries as they are expensive and are a finite resource.
The most important maintenance on an electric golf cart is battery care.
One way of thinking about your battery pack is to think of it as a fuel tank. Proper use and care when charging golf cart batteries can easily influence how much service you get from your batteries and, to prolong their life your lead acid, deep cycle batteries require maintenance.
Before golf cart battery charging you will need to check a few things….
- You should turn the ignition key to the “off” position. Even though there is no draw on the battery pack, it’s a good safe practice.
- Examine the outside appearance of the battery and ensure that the tops of the batteries and terminal connections are clean, free of dirt and corrosion, and dry.
- If fluids are on the top of a flooded/wet battery this may mean that the battery is being over-watered. If fluid is on the top of a gel or AGM battery this means that the battery is being overcharged and the performance and life will be reduced.
- During normal operation and lead acid battery charging, the batteries “gas”. The result is that acid will accumulate on the battery tops. This will cause corroded terminal connections and eventually frame damage.
- Clean the top of the battery, terminals and connections with a cloth or brush and a solution of baking soda and water. Do not allow the cleaning solution to get inside the battery. Rinse with water and dry with a clean cloth. It is highly recommended you use a 50/50 solution of baking soda and water to neutralize and clean the acid from the battery compartment. Once a month is recommended.
- Make sure that you check the battery cables and connections to ensure they are tight, clean, and free of corrosion. If the terminal connection is corroded it may cause a voltage drop between batteries and less golf cart battery life. It may also cause the cable to eventually fail due to heat caused by high resistance. Replace badly corroded cables with new ones. Make sure you apply a good coating of terminal protector after cleaning and before charging.
- Make sure that all the vent caps are secured properly on the battery.
- Apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly or battery terminal protector Keep the area around batteries clean and dry.
- Proper deep cycle battery maintenance is imperative to maximize battery performance. Both under- or over-charging batteries can significantly reduce golf cart battery life. For proper charging, refer to the instructions that came with your equipment. Most chargers are automatic and pre-programmed.
Battery Cell Electrolyte Levels:
Before charging make sure each cell has the proper electrolyte level. Never charge a deep cycle battery if the electrolyte level is below the tops of the battery plates. Always keep the water at ¼” to ½” above the lead metal plates and only use distilled water. Never use Tap water, it has chemicals that can hurt the batteries. This will cause irreversible damage to the battery and shorten the capacity and life expectancy. If you discover this condition, simply add enough water to cover the plates before charging. Also, always check for proper electrolyte levels after charging your lead acid batteries.
During the charge process the electrolyte levels rise and, if you add too much it will be forced out of the cap vents causing a real mess on your golf cart floor and possibly cause corrosion in the battery tray. Battery manufacturers recommend distilled water or you may use your tap water if it tests below 200 parts per million of total dissolved solids.
Golf Cart Battery Charging:
Once you have the correct battery cell fluid levels and battery cables are clean and tight, its time to undertake your golf cart battery charging. Charge the batteries completely allowing the charger to shut off once full charge is met to enable good golf cart battery life.
The Battery Charger is designed to fully charge your battery set. If the batteries are severely deep cycled,
some automatic battery chargers contain an electronic module that may not activate and the battery
charger will not function. Automatic chargers will determine the correct duration of the charge of the
battery set and will shut off when the battery set is fully charged.
Never discharge a cart’s deep cycle batteries to the point that the vehicle will no longer run. This will shorten the life cycle of the batteries considerably, and may permanently damage the batteries. It is possible that the batteries will not accept a recharge if they are completely discharged. The deeper the discharge, the harder it is on the batteries.
Some golf cart owners believe that when it comes to golf cart battery charging you should not charge your batteries all the time, This is wrong..
You should start your golf cart battery charging even if the batteries have been used for only a short period (9 holes of golf or 10 Minutes). The charger is automatic and will turn off when batteries are fully charged. If the charger does seem to operate properly, of if the batteries seem weak, seek a service professional.It is important to keep your batteries charged. A golf cart that has seen extended use (batteries used to half charge) and then left to sit for weeks or months with out re-charging can permanently damage your batteries as lead acid batteries will self discharge. Lead Acid batteries discharge even faster in cold weather during the winter months so it’s important when golf cart battery charging to keep your cart on the charger during the winter.
When Parked keep it Plugged-In: Do not leave your cart off of the charger for long periods. For example if you cart is fully charged, and you drive to the supermarket and back, plug it right back in when you get home. Keep in mind the more discharged your batteries are, the longer they will take to charge. Do not be surprised if they are charging for several hours (up to 16hrs). All charges should automatically shut off, if it does not then there is a problem that needs to be serviced.
Golf cart battery charging Do’s and Don’ts:
- Always disconnect the charger cord from the golf car after the car has been fully charged and the charger has shut off.
- Do not leave a cart unattended with the charger still plugged in for any extended period of time.Do not add acid to a cell. Trying to add acid to a battery with water in the cells is dangerous.Pouring sulfuric acid into a wet cell is not wise and can cause serious injury.
- Hot summer weather causes golf cart batteries to self-discharge at a much higher rate than in cold weather. For example, a healthy, fully charged set of batteries will go from 100% capacity to 50% capacity in just 9 weeks if left sitting idle at a temperature of 86 degrees. Imagine what happens at 95 or 100 degrees. Batteries are most vulnerable to sulfation when they are sitting idle and partially discharged.
- Do not buy auto parts store brand batteries or you’ll be quickly disappointed. These are car batteries which are made differently and will not perform the same as deep-cycle batteries that are specifically designed for golf cars.
Golf Cart Battery Charging Safety Precautions:
Always wear safety glasses and a face shield when working on or near batteries, particularly when golf cart battery charging.
All batteries generate explosive hydrogen gas. Keep sparks, flames and cigarettes away from batteries at all times.
Do not connect or disconnect “live” circuits. To avoid creating sparks, always turn charging and testing equipment off before attaching or removing clamps.
Perform all work in a well ventilated area. Never lean directly over a battery while boosting, testing or charging it.Batteries contain corrosive sulfuric acid that can destroy clothing and burn the skin. Neutralize acid spills with paste made of baking soda and water or large quantities of water.
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