Is My Golf Cart Battery Charger Over Charging My Batteries?
This question was asked by a customer of our the other day and Pete wanted to share this information with you as well because it is a question Pete has found himself explaining over and over again over the years.
Question: From Rick in Florida.
”I have a new links charger and it seems to be over charging the batteries. The batteries were bubbling and the charger was still running. Charging at about 5 amps. 2 hours after I disconnected the charger batteries read 12.94
V Batteries are new Trojan 1275 Any suggestions ”
The Lester Electric Golf Cart Battery Charger you purchased is a transformer style charger that is designed to apply amperage and voltage for a length of time that replaces the energy used from last discharge. This is fairly old technology but very effective to charge your golf cart batteries. Depending on the battery chargers output (Amperage), the batteries size (Capacity), and DOD(depth of discharge), all this will determine the amount of time required to fully charge the battery bank in question. In the process as they reach maximum capacity the more electricity that is forced into the batteries the more it excites the electrolyte and gets electrons moving in the battery itself…(That is the boiling sound you hear)
This is common… especially with NEW batteries…. this process actually needs to happen to positively charge and electrify the lead plates and cure the new lead…. any new battery pulled off the line at the manufacture will only test out at about 80% advertised Ah rating because the lead hasn’t been cured (still to soft). Something that is really impossible for the manufacturer to do in house because of the process involved. It takes on average 15-20 cycles at 50% DOD “Depth of Discharge”, to completely cure the new lead plates in a new lead acid battery and allow the battery to reach full capacity (That will be the advertised Ah rating at the 20hr rate.) So no worries as the charger is just doing its thing… Trojan batteries actually like to get hit harder ( More Amperage applied) than others thru the bulk phase and finishing phase of a charge cycle because the lead plates are thicker than most competitors. You will most likely add more water than ever over the period of time we will call breaking in phase. This is from the charger forcing electrons into the lead, once the lead is cured electrons cannot pass thru as easily. At which point the batteries will not be as excited (loud boiling sounds) when charging/complete charge. Make no mistake lead acid batteries will always make noise in the charge process and finishing phase because of the specific chemistry and design that make a lead acid battery. It is also an important part to insure good battery health as well. Without this boiling the lead plates sulfate rapidly and severely hinder battery life per charge and cycle life. This process actually helps to clean the lead plates and keep them clean to better react to the electrolyte in the cells to create electricity. AGM and Gel style batteries are even more picky than traditional lead acid batteries because they like more voltage and amperage to complete the same process.
Hopefully this was helpful and insightful to ease your worries about your golf cart batteries and the golf cart battery charger.
Rick – response
Thanks for your response. So I understand the bubbling and sulfur smell are normal and I should not disconnect the charger. What should the Voltage be when fully charged? Should I charge even when reading about 12.5 volts after 9 holes?
Pete – response
No worries … I have seen 48v systems run as high as 58-60v when charging, but it is normal to see voltages around 50v-52v when sitting static for several days after a fresh charge cycle. Most common size lead acid batteries will be from .6 volts to .8 volts over advertised voltage on battery when fully charged. Always good to re-charge cart at the end of the day, never let it sit 1/2 -3/4 charged. re-charge then store when not in use.
How To Reset The OBC On My Club Car Golf Cart
All Club Car golf carts newer than 1995 have an OBC or ” On Board Computer ” in the charge circuit to monitor and control several functions on the golf cart. It functions like the on off switch on your wall to control the lighting. But in this case it controls the charging and drive system. If the OBC detects a problem in either the charging or drive system, it will shut that feature off. When the fault clears, the OBC is supposed to turn that system back on. Sometimes, the OBC does not clear the fault. When this happens, it can cause your charge circuit to not work and allow the charger to charge the batteries, or even the controller not power up or the solenoid will not engage.
The reset process is easy to do, but can take a fair amount of time.
Resetting the OBC
To reset the OBC the following must be done in this order:
• Key Switch to Off
• Forward/Reverse to Neutral
• Tow/Run Switch to Tow
• Disconnect the Battery NEGATIVE (–) wire from the Battery Minus terminal on the battery pack.
• Put the Tow/Run to Run
• Forward/Reverse Switch to Reverse
• Key Switch to On
• Lock the throttle pedal down
The reverse buzzer will then sound and shut off in roughly 30 seconds. Leave the cart for 5 min or so to allow the OBC to reset.
To reconnect the OBC back into the system:
• Key Switch to Off
• Forward/Reverse Switch to Neutral
• Tow/Run switch to Tow
• Reconnect the negative battery wire to the battery minus terminal on the battery pack. Once the OBC has been reset, you can trouble shoot the golf cart. There is always a chance the OBC has completely failed and the reset process will not fix the problem. Consult your Club Car manuals or call your local dealer.
Things To Know Before Buying A New Golf Cart Battery Charger
We get phone calls and messages all the time from prospective customers wanting to know what is the best golf cart battery charger and how can they determine which one will work in their golf cart. So Pete asked me to write this short but informative guide and why I have titled it – Things To Know Before Buying A New Golf Cart Battery Charger.
Basically the key features of a golf cart charger are they need to re-charge the batteries in your golf cart. So in order to be able to plug in a charger to do so it will need to be of the same operating voltage and the connector style must be the same. Depending on what brand of golf cart you own will determine the style connector you will need. For example – An Ezgo Golf Cart uses either a Crowsfoot connector on its older 36 volt carts, or the D36(TxT Style) connector which is rectangular shaped on the end, rounded on one short side with two pins inside two square holes. Newer 48v Ezgo carts use the triangular shaped 3 pin RXV connector. Yamaha golf carts use either a two pin Nabson style connector which looks kinda like a toy pair of binoculars , the Newer Style Yamaha carts have a three pin connector with people can say it looks like a triangle shape, or three leaf clover because the corners are formed by a radius. Then we come to the all and ever popular Club Car.
Club Car Golf Carts older than 2000 can be 36v or 48v systems and will have either a crowsfoot connector or a round three pin connector. All club cars newer than 2000 usually have the round one. Though two different types of chargers use the round three pin connector. You will need to determine the year and model of your club car golf cart. You can look at the vin# on the cart. Usually found above the pedal assembly below the dash on a white sticker with a bar code or on the passenger side floor post facing the drivers seat. The first 5 or 6 letter/numbers will determine the year. Example A9905 = a 1999 Club Car DS manufactured in the 5th week of production that year. Club Car golf carts newer than 1995 have what is known as an OBC “Onboard Computer” and if this is still functional in your golf carts charging circuit you will require one style charger that uses the three pin connector and if you club car is older than 1995 or if someone bypassed the OBC you will need a different one. If you ever need some technical direction to determine the correct charger for your application you can give Pete’s team a jingle at 772-247-GOLF and they will be more than happy to help guide you in the right direction in purchasing the correct charger. Pete’s team is always standing by to help you. Follow this thread to shop all our Golf Cart Battery Chargers.