Many times, when it comes to golf cart charger repair jobs,
the stories are usually the same
When it comes to golf cart charger repair, owners start out along the lines of not having used the golf cart for some lengthy period of time and then coming back to dead golf cart batteries.
Believe it or not, if the charger worked okay before, but now simply refuses to do its job, the charger is usually not to blame.
In the overwhelming majority of golf cart charger repair cases it’s the batteries and, therefore, a golf cart charger repair is not required.
It’s important to note that in order for the charging process to begin, most automatic chargers have to detect a certain level of charge within the battery pack. This is referred to as the nominal voltage. In other words, if your batteries have not been used for quite a while and, are completely discharged, the charger can’t detect them and, is unable to do its job.
One of the things you can do, if you have a voltmeter or a multi-meter, is to do a quick check to confirm this. For example, if your 8-volts are sitting at 4-volts or lower, or your 6-volts are at 3-volts or lower, you are more than likely having a nominal voltage issue.
Newer ‘automatic’ chargers employ a solid-state circuit board that MUST detect a certain amount of voltage from the battery pack to even turn on in the first place. If your battery pack voltage is too low the charger WILL NOT come on ! This usually leads one to think the charger is bad. But this is not the case !
You need to rectify the battery problem, before concluding you need to undertake a golf cart charger repair job..
However, if your batteries are reading at their proper levels, then you may well have a golf cart charger repair problem.
How to avoid a golf cart battery charger repair:
It’s important to realize that you should do your very best to avoid the situation from happening in the first place.
To avoid having to undertake a golf cart charger repair job Do Not let your batteries sit and die. Batteries should be used and charged and then used again.
Allowing batteries to sit without charging causes irreversible damage particularly in extreme temperatures. This cannot be overstated and there’s a real possibility that your batteries are goners.
The point is to be sure the batteries are fully charged routinely, as partially charged batteries are subject to sulphation, which can be a big problem over time.
Golf cart battery charger repair troubleshooting
What can go wrong with your golf cart charger ?
Chargers are reasonably simple devices but there are several common failures that can be inexpensively and easily fixed.
Other failures, such as a burned up transformer, or a bad circuit board, can get expensive.
Any golf cart charger repair job may include some of the following parts:
· Ammeters and Capacitors
· Circuit Boards, Relays, and Timers
· Cords, Plugs, and Receptacles
· Diodes, Fuses, and More
First of all, test the outlet the golf cart charger is plugged into and examine the charger connections. You should check for signs of corrosion or frayed wires.
Also, the circuit breaker could trip or the diodes inside the charger fail due to a power surge. If you suspect a power surge has occurred, check these components.
A DC plug and/or charger receptacle is usually visible so carefully look at the plug and receptacle. They should interconnect firmly and have good clean contact faces. If either looks like it has been hot or is melting then something is wrong. A faulty DC plug will sometimes charge intermittently, cutting on then cutting off.
A bad plug can be a fire hazard because the contacts get very hot when they do not make a good connection.
Remember, when undertaking golf cart charger repair the receptacle can be, as much at fault as the DC plug and, both may need replacement to fully correct the problem.
Any 36-volt battery charger should initially start by providing at least 15+ amps to the batteries. The amps may drop down very quickly if the batteries are fully charged but the ammeter should show at least 15 amps to start off. If you know that the batteries need charging and the ammeter will NOT go above 15 amps, then you probably have a faulty charger and it is in need of a golf cart charger repair.
When considering golf cart charger repairs, timer units, diodes and bad DC charger plugs are the most common failures:
Timer Control Units:
There are two basic type of timers commonly used in golf cart battery chargers:
Ø Manual Timers – feature a knob that you must turn to a desired amount of time
Ø Automatic Timers – there’s no actual knob, but electronically “senses” battery voltage and chargers accordingly with the programmed algorithm.
A bad timer unit usually will not allow the charger to cut off. If the timer unit is incorporated into a solid state circuit board which has gone bad, then the charger may not even cut on at all and, a charger that runs continually will hurt the batteries by overcharging them.
When a diode goes bad the charger will cut on and hum but not show any amps going to the batteries. When doing your golf cart charger repair you’ll find that many times the charger will suddenly hum louder when a diode fails and the external fuse blows.
Please don’t replace the fuse until you check the diodes, it will just blow again if a diode is bad.
Some diodes must be replaced as a pair – others may be purchased individually.
Always keep in mind that a diode is a one-way gate for electricity. When testing diodes, continuity should be read one way but not the other. If you have continuity both ways or neither, then your diode is bad.
Be sure that before doing any golf cart charger repair testing that the golf cart battery charger is not only unplugged from the wall, but from the cart as well. Also, be sure to connect the wires leading to the diode before testing as these could skew your results.
The internal AC fuses of the charger do not typically give problems but a simple continuity test will show them to be good or bad.
Find the charger fuses in the service panel on the back fender of the golf cart. If the battery charger fuse is blown the battery won’t get a charge.
You should be sure that you’ve checked everything else in the charger (fuses, diodes, timer, capacitor, circuitry, etc.)before replacing the transformer.
Transformers are the most dependable piece of equipment inside the charger, and usually don’t go bad. However, they are very expensive. As the name implies, charger transformers, transform the AC power supply from your home into DC power to send into the golf cart battery bank for recharge.
As part of your golf cart charger repair checklist you can check the battery charger transformer by listening for a humming sound. Also check to see if the AC power cord is plugged in to a working outlet. If the battery is getting electrical current then you should hear the transformer humming.
To test a suspected bad transformer replace it with a known good one. But we suspect that’s not so simple.
Here’s one way to get your golf cart charger back on its feet !
One of the easiest ways to get your charger back on its feet is to give your batteries a little kick from a standard automotive-type battery charger.
Depending on the voltage of your batteries and the type of automotive charger you have this can be easy or somewhat of a hassle.
Before you get started with golf cart charger repair, check your water levels but do not fill up the individual cells. You should make sure the plates inside are covered and not much more. If you overlook this you stand the chance of boiling out the electrolyte and seriously compounding the golf cart charger repair problem.
Assuming your charger is the typical 12-volt automotive type and you have a 48-volt system that utilizes four 12-volt batteries all you’d need to do is simply disconnect the batteries from each other and charge each one individually for about 20-30 minutes or so.
Your golf cart battery charger should be able to then take over and, a multi-meter will come in very handy throughout this process.
If your golf cart uses 6-volt batteries (in either a 36 or 48-volt system) the process is almost as easy. Just charge two batteries at a time rather than individually. When trying to revive 8-volt batteries things get a bit hairy as you’re pumping 12-volts into an 8-volt container which is something you shouldn’t do for more than 15-20 minutes maximum.
Keep a close eye on the batteries when do this and never leave them unattended. Again, be sure to take all the precautions and contact a professional if you’re at all uncomfortable with this process.
Once your batteries have absorbed a small charge your automatic charger should be able to take over, which is ideal. Today’s chargers use a multi-stage algorithm to efficiently charge your batteries, which prolongs their lifespan.
Once the charging cycle has finished unplug the cord, let it sit for about 15-20 minutes or so, and then plug it back in again. This is called an ‘equalization charge’ and, helps to maintain equal charge levels across all of the batteries.
What has been your experience with golf cart charger repair ?
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