Old Style Golf Cart Battery Chargers With Power Transformers

Old Style Transformer Based Golf Cart Battery Chargers

Golf Carts have been around for decades. Yet in recent years they have become much more popular with people of all ages. Golf carts now show promise for a way to get around on the cheap. Fun to drive and customization of these golf carts has gained popularity as well. With this new rise in golf cart popularity comes the demands and energy questions someone needed to think about and ask questions then form a solution. Hence the DOE has mandated all these types of chargers need to be as efficient as possible. Not just an energy consuming timer device that wastes as much electricity as it allows one to harness.

These single phase transformer based golf cart battery chargers are not very efficient. Usually operating at 75-80% efficiency but as low as 50% which out an ideal load. The day of Ferro “Ferroresonant or CVT “constant voltage transformer” based battery chargers is over and for good reasons. Initially designed over 80 years ago built around a special magnetic structure with a capacitor to achieve current and voltage regulation. These chargers are quite reliable and a simple, heavy duty affordable solution to charging batteries because the heart of the device “The Transformer” is of basic copper and steel construction. CVT’s “Conventional ferroresonant transformers” are not even dependent on another component to produce power.

The transformer doesn’t actually convert the AC Power to DC power, it must first pass thru a rectifier to complete the process. ( Basically a few diodes to get the job done.) Usually a timer is used to keep this process in action for a predetermined amount of time to charge the golf cart batteries but not over-charge or cook them. Which was apparently a very weird far from perfect science in the old days. See image below where a timer dial is found on the front of all early style Lester battery charger. Not until the Lestronic II did they install an internal timer to regulate charge time and remove the human controlled one on the front. Then not until the 90’s did they have a charger that could kind of regulate itself based on voltage feed back from the golf cart battery bank and/or time itself. Which ever came first – “Desired voltage or 12 hours”.

These Old Style Golf Cart Battery Chargers With Power Transformers would operate at a set voltage and amperage for a set amount of time to charge lead acid golf cart batteries. The new style high frequency solid state chargers take lead acid battery charging to a whole new level. They are not only more efficient but can regulate themselves turning on and off when needed based on the state of charge in the battery bank. They also incorporate pre-determined charging profiles created from pain staking hours of R&D charging batteries and monitoring the charge cycles. Then they create a given charge algorithm for a specific battery brand, type or size and save on the unit to make for a perfect charging solution for the batteries in your application.

Main Components of an Old Style Golf Cart Battery Charger

The main components in a Old Style Transformer based charger are as follows:

  • Transformer,
  • Rectifier,
  • Capacitor,
  • Heat Sink,
  • Amperage Meter,
  • AC Power In Cord,
  • DC Out Power Cord,

Pros –

  • Affordable
  • Effective
  • Rugged and Dependable.
  • Simple devices easily understood and repaired as needed.
  • Parts readily available until 2017

Cons –

  • Converts AC to DC Power Very Poorly
  • Cannot Be Programmed – Specific Charge Algorithms ar e no possible in new charger technology allowing for extended service life of your expensive batteries.
  • Cannot Regulate Itself as new style chargers can today!
  • Heavy Charger – 30+ lbs- Is not easy to to carry, transport or maneuver.
  • They Get Really Hot – Not so safe around children
  • Not IP Rated – Not Weather proof or even resistant due to the design and aluminum case. Utilizes holes punched into case help keep it cool by convection while charging.
  • Parts today are harder and harder to find.


The Old Style Transformers Based Golf Cart Battery Chargers served their purpose in a time where technology was very basic in comparison to today. This should be a no brainer after you look at all the features and benefits of a new golf cart battery charger in comparison to your old style transformer based charger. The initial cost of a new charger might be $300-400 dollars but a golf cart battery bank replacement is twice that at minimums…. So giving them the perfect charge every time will only extend the life of your precious batteries and surely make them perform better as well. Not to mention over time the cost savings you will receive from every charge cycle that will be 30-50% for efficient. Checkout all the new style golf cart battery chargers Pete currently offer and has on sale for you through this article. 


A Brief History Lesson About The Golf Cart Battery Charger and Who Leads The Charging Industry

Lester Electrical is probably the most popular and longest running manufacturer of battery chargers. In 1963 they produced the first golf cart battery chargers. Not until much later in the 1990’s did they make a charger that had electronic control circuits to allow for adjustable regulation of output voltage. Originally designed for the Club Car Corporation and installed on the cart itself vs in the charger called an OBC “Onboard Computer” was used up until 2014 on all Club Car Golf Carts. Now the replacement of choice is the ALL New Lester Summit Series II Golf Cart Battery Chargers. Originally designed and first released in 2013 ” The Summit Series was a big success” – The Summit II Series only builds on the initial re-design and added more user friendly features and benefits like BlueTooth technology.

Looking back At Lester Chargers Then and Now!

Lets take a look back in time from the beginning in 1963 until now and compare the progress and evolution of the golf cart battery charger. Remember the old timer based chargers? That was in the beginning. See below the first golf cart charger models Lester ever produced.

Vintage Lester-Matic Golf Cart Battery Charger


Then they figured out how to regulate output better and remove the human timer input feature. Newly released the Lestronic II in the early 1980’s. See images of the Lestronic II battery charger shown below.

Lestronic II Old Style Transformer Based Golf Cart Charger Image

See the description and illustration to point out the working parts inside this high tech for it’s time golf cart battery charger. This was a major leap ahead for Lester and golf cart battery chargers in general. With the help of a internal timer that shut the unit off automatically and a secondary transformer and capacitor they could regulate the output better.


Lestronic II Old Style Transformer Based Golf Cart Battery Charger

Lestronic II Old Style Transformer Based Golf Cart Battery Charger Right Side

Next up was in the 1990’s when they developed a great new battery charger for Club Car. The PowerDrive Golf Cart Battery Chargers advertised on every unit. ” Computer Controlled For An Intellegent Charge!” They where very well received and performed wonderfully for years. Still considered industry leading today with the OBC feature found on all Club Car golf cart s from 1995 through to 2014 models unless special ordered without one from Club Car.

Vintage Club Car PowerDrive Golf Cart Charger Image

Then it evolved again a few times… but all still utilized the same transformer based technology.

Club Car PowerDrive2 Golf Cart Charger Image
Club Car PowerDrive2 Golf Cart Charger by Lester
Club Car PowerDrive3 Golf Cart Charger Image
Club Car PowerDrive3 Golf Cart Charger

Still located in Lincoln, Nebraska today Lester has re-designed the golf cart battery charger as we know it and combined modern technology with years of experience to create hands down the worlds BEST golf cart battery chargers for all sorts of reasons. We will review in another article all the reasons why they are the best – See who makes the best golf cart battery charger 2019

Lester Summit II Series Golf Cart Battery Chargers

If you are looking for a new golf cart battery charger or have any questions feel free to contact us at 772-247-4653 Pete’s team is always standing by to help. Find the golf cart battery chargers you need here. 

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Old Style Transformer Based Golf Cart Battery Chargers and Why You Should Consider Upgrading to the new style and technology.