How to get your golf cart battery charger to charge dead batteries
This is a scenario that happens a lot more than you might think. In the world of golf carts and our daily lives golf carts get left behind or neglected on a regular basis. When this happens the lead acid batteries in your vehicle drain down over months of neglect to the point the golf cart will not move or operate any longer because the voltage is so low in the system. So being we get calls all the time like ” How do I get my golf cart battery charger to charge my golf cart? The golf cart is completely dead…
The Issue – Old Style Golf Cart Battery Chargers Vs New Style Chargers
In the world of Golf Cart Battery Chargers only recently have the manufacturers come up with a solution to this issue. Old style chargers will only charge once then shut off. So if you leave for months unattended and do not unplug and then plug in again the charger will not charge the batteries again and over time these type of batteries drain down just naturally. ( At a rate of approx. 10% a month) Even faster if the golf cart batteries have a parasitic load on them from say a new golf cart light kit not installed correctly or a sound system like a golf cart Bluetooth sound bar. Though due to recent advances in charging technology you can now purchase a Smart charger for your golf cart that will basically baby sit your batteries while you are away on vacation for the summer or whenever. Just keep a new style golf cart battery charger like the new Lester Summit II Chargers plugged into your golf cart and it will do it’s thing. It will automatically kick on every 10 days to top off your golf cart batteries or if the voltage ever drops below a set number. ( Technically – I think that number is like 2.08 volts per cell. ) If you want to avoid this whole process I am about to explain in the future. Learn More About These Awesome Golf Cart Battery Chargers here
How To Make Electric Golf Cart Ownership Easy
Learn even more here with this great article on how to make life easier for the average electric golf cart owner. These are just a few basic tips and tricks I thought would be helpful for the new golf cart owner to consider and keep in mind.
Why Is Your Golf Cart Battery Charger Not Working
Ok… So the first guess or main reason why your golf cart battery charger is not working right now is because the batteries in your golf cart are completely dead. ( Not always but usually 90% of the time) This is because the federal government years ago made it mandatory that all manufacturers of these types of charging systems but a few safe guards into the device to avoid injury to you or another, electrocution or fire hazard.
Example – Your grandson ( AKA Dennis ) Finds grandpa’s battery charger in the garage and your grand daughter is bothering him somehow so he decides to start chasing her around the garage and shocking her by touching the connector on the end of the cord ( designed to be plugged into the golf cart ) to her skin causing harm.
Charger Manufacturers Mandate – All charging devices with an external connection will only be activated when connection is confirmed and a load or voltage is present to avoid possible electrocution or injury. ALL GOLF CART BATTERY CHARGERS MUST SENSE VOLTAGE BEFORE THEY WILL APPLY AMPERAGE!
So basically if the batteries in your golf cart are dead then the charger does not know it is plugged into a golf cart because it does not sense any voltage.
How To Get Some Electricity Back Into Dead Golf Cart Batteries
There are a few options in this process. The basic objective is to just get some energy back into the batteries so the golf cart battery charger can sense the voltage present at the charger receptacle and turn itself on again to charge the golf cart and the batteries completely. I recommend getting the batteries charged back up to their advertised voltage prior to plugging in the golf cart battery charger again. Depending on the size of the battery bank and the batteries. 6 volt, 8 volt or 12 volt batteries will determine how best to get that required energy back into them. Please note this process is a bit of a pain in the you know what but a valuable lesson to take better care of your electric golf cart. As letting the batteries go completely dead is very bad for the batteries and will definitely cut the life expectancy short.
In the golf cart business we use a golf cart battery recovery unit like BatteryPete’s Super Charger to jump start the golf cart in seconds or minutes to get the customers golf cart battery charger to kick on… It is kinda like a AED you would find in the airport or hospital to shock someone back to life after having a heart attack. At the push of a button you can apply a massive amount of voltage to a golf carts battery bank. Hence tricking the charger to turning on. Otherwise you can use a regular 12 volt or 24 volt battery charger for a car, boat or Rv to get some energy back into those dead batteries. More realistic as well because you or neighbor probably have one handy. The Heavy Duty Recovery Unit like the Super Charger run several hundred dollars but for the Golf Cart Guy it is a bargain because time is money and on average a service call will cost you $65-75 bucks… This device will allow him to put that money in his pocket in minutes and move on to the next service call or issue.
Most older style golf cart battery chargers require approx 75% of the chargers operating voltage present to activate. Others require a little less. So for example a 36 volt battery charger would require approx. 25-30 volts to activate, whereas a 48 volt charger would require 30-35 or even 40 volts present to activate. I recommend getting a digital volt meter out to start testing and checking voltage across the battery bank and the system in general. If you do not have one they can be purchased at any parts store, Home Depot or Harbor Freight for a few bucks… A volt meter is a valuable tool for anyone who owns a electric vehicle to check and test basic systems or doing basic diagnostics like this.
How To Check The Voltage In Your Golf Cart Batteries
These Images will show you the positive and negative most terminals in basic golf cart battery bank configurations. Almost all golf cart battery banks are comprised of multiple batteries ran in a series circuit. Meaning they are attached like Christmas lights one to another. So being if the golf cart battery cable lug connector or connection between two batteries is bad the cart will usually not work, drive or charge. So check all the connections and cables for signs of corrosion or wear or completely broken off battery. Again if the golf cart battery cables are broken or corroded they need to be replaced and reconnected accordingly. Also it is recommended to use some type of corrosion preventative on all terminal connections to avoid the elements eating away at your connector, cables or terminals. Try something like BatteryPete’s Corrosion Preventive!
Charging Select Golf Cart Battery Configurations
Depending on the Year, Make and Model or the golf cart you own will determine the best or fastest way to revive your golf cart batteries when completely dead. See some basic examples below that will cover most major makes and models..
36 Volt Golf Carts –
Systems comprised of 6x 6 volt batteries… Usually found in older golf carts ( Pre-1990’s) across the board Club Car, Ezgo and Yamaha Brands but also Columbia, Harley Davidson ( Yep – Harley used to make a golf cart as they also made boats under AMF) other carts include Fairplay, Par Car or Western. For this system you will need either a 6 volt battery charger to charge individually by placing the charger connections on the positive and negative terminals of each individual battery. Or you can use a 12 volt battery charger and place the charger connections on the positive terminal of the first battery and then the negative connection on that of the second battery. This will cut charge time down as you have less connections to make and depending on the charger output could decrease charge times. See Illustrations and images above.
48 Volt Golf Carts –
Systems comprised of 8x 6 volt batteries… 6x 8 volt batteries or 4x 12 volt batteries. Usually found in newer golf carts (Late 90’s and newer) across the board Club Car, Ezgo and Yamaha makes and models. For these systems you can just use a 12 volt battery charger to charge either individually by placing the charger connections on the positive and negative terminals of each individual battery. ( 12 volt battery applications and 8 volt battery applications) “(See Special Note Below for 8 Volt Batteries) “Or if you have a 6 volt battery bank as shown above connect in pairs positive on the first battery and then negative on the second battery. This scenario can also be applied if you happen to have a heavy duty battery charger found or used on car lots or old school with a 12v/24v adjustable output feature. Then you can charge up bank even faster ( limited by charger output) place the charger connections on the positive terminal of the first battery and then the negative connection on that of the second or third battery that make up 24 volts. This will cut charge time down as you have less connections to make and depending on the charger output could decrease charge times. See Illustrations and images above.
48 Volt Golf Carts Continued –
Systems comprised of 4x 12 volt batteries. Usually found in newer golf carts (early 2000’s to about 2008) across the board Club Car (Precedent Models 2004-2008.5), Ezgo Rxv Models and Yamaha Drive G29 models as well as several other cart models and brands. For these systems you can just use a 12 volt battery charger to charge each battery individually by placing the charger connections on the positive and negative terminals of each individual battery. You can also speed up the process if you happen to have a heavy duty battery charger found or used on car lots or old sckool ones with a 12v/24v adjustable output feature. Then you can charge up the bank even faster ( limited by charger output) place the charger connections on the positive terminal of the first battery and then the negative connection on that of the second battery that make up 24 volts. This will cut charge time down as you have less connections to make and depending on the charger output could decrease charge times. See Illustrations and images above.
72 Volt Golf Carts –
Systems comprised of 9x 8 volt batteries or 6x 12 volt batteries. Usually found in newer golf carts like the Bad Boy Buggy, Gem Car, Kandi Coco and Textron or Polaris Off Road Vehicles. For these systems you can just use a 12 volt battery charger to charge each battery individually by placing the charger connections on the positive and negative terminals of each individual battery. You can again speed up the process if you happen to have that heavy duty battery charger with a 12v/24v adjustable output feature. ( Usually common on car lots and dealerships back in the day) Then you can charge up the bank even faster ( limited by charger output) place the charger connections on the positive terminal of the first battery and then the negative connection on that of the second battery that make up 24 volts. This will cut charge time down as you have less connections to make and depending on the charger output could decrease charge times. See Illustrations and images above.
Special Note – When Using a 12 Volt Battery charger To Charge 8 Volt Batteries
We usually do not suggest doing this especially on a regular basis but most people do not have a 8 volt battery charger or a 24 volt battery charger. So being in a pinch a 12 volt battery charger will work to get some energy back into your dead golf cart . The sole purpose here is to just get some energy back into the batteries so the golf cart battery charger itself can do the brunt of the charging and charge the batteries properly. This process will work and give the batteries a surface charge long enough to go thru the bank across an afternoon , going one by one positive and negative to each battery individually until the batteries have a little charge to them. ( If the batteries are so dead or have been for a long time they might not take a charge if this is the case you will unfortunately need to replace the batteries with new ones… This round keep them charged and they will last longer. )
I suggest checking the voltage of each battery prior to attaching the 12 volt charger to confirm a starting voltage. Then place on charger for approx 15-20 minutes. remove or unplug the charger for a minute – then check the voltage again. If the battery voltage is going up slowly great you are making progress – if not check connections, check to see if batteries have any water in them, and check the charger AC power input to make sure it is powered up. Also I would give them the hand test – Place your hand on the side of the battery if it did take a charge and see how hot it is…. You are applying more voltage to it to replace some energy then what it is designed to take so being cautious is just smart. Continue this process until you have reached the advertised 8 volts in the battery and move onto the next battery. Or anything close… If you can get enough voltage and energy back into the batteries to make the golf cart move, beep or lights to work usually means there is enough voltage present at this point for the original golf cart battery charger to be plugged in and it will turn on to charge the batteries completely.
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After going through this process and your charger still not working. Please Feel free to contact us or drop us a line. Pete’s team is always standing by to help you. (772) 247 – GOLF (4653)