Category: Battery Knowledge
Gem Car Batteries

GEM Car Battery Comparison – Why Should You Only Use Gel Batteries In Your GEM

This topic is a frequently ask one and figured we should lay out the facts in an article for our GEM owners out their and potential owners considering the purchase of a GEM car. Being the GEM car is an electric vehicle it requires batteries. And they better be good ones if it is the heart of your vehicles operating system. So lets start at the beginning and get the back story then convey the facts.

Unknown to alot of Gem Car Owners the Chrysler Corp. created the GEM brand and first mass produced electric Vehicle “Global Electric Motorcars LLC” which was later purchased by  Polaris. Chrysler Corp. and Lee Iacocca’s idea of creating a vehicle that was in essence an affordable alternative transportation for the masses that was basically powered by clean renewable energy was simply brilliant. Though in the time and day this dream still had a few hurdles to overcome. Mostly related to battery technology. Just as computers and technolgy have come full circle many times… battery technology has come full circle only a few times. Especially when talking about affordable batteries that will still get the job done.

After much R and D they settled on the Deka Gel 8G31S style battery to power their dream car for numerous reasons we will outline below. GEM owners today have been known to use alternative battery options to power the vehicle because the cost of a true Gel battery is extremely high compared to the traditional lead acid battery most golf cart owners are familiar. As with any problem people come up with different solutions. Which one solves the problem correctly is all in the details. Lithium batteries where around then as they are now and still the most expensive option. Though not nearly as much as in 1995 but still pricey to say the least. review some Lithium Battery Options Here.

Features and Benefits

The benefits of using the original GEL battery installed in your GEM electric vehicle is quite lengthy and for good reason. The engineers at Chrysler Corp. had a daunting task in this day and age to come up with a solution that would power their new Ev. Lets review the big 3.

Charging System – If you change the batteries in your GEM car it will cause a major problem with the charging systems ability to properly charge the batteries you have installed. These smart electric vehicles came equipped with a smart charger that was programmed specifically for GEL battery technology and charging parameters. If you change the batteries expect to change the charger or have it re-programmed by an authorized dealer. Another issue since the sale of the company to Polaris it is hard to come by knowledgeable dealers to do so. Buyer Beware – Be prepared to pay out the nose for this or a new charger at the GEM/Polaris dealer. $1000 and up is the usual M.O. for a new charger. Special note Find yourself going this route anyhow or need a replacement GEM Car 72 Volt Battery Charger Pete has you covered. Here are some alternative options that will get some power back into your battery bank. 

Dimensions – Based on the specific area designed to hold and secure the battery pack. dimensions must be spot on – The replacement and installation of these batteries is quite a task because they are so tightly packed and secured in the GEM aluminum chassis.

General Maintenance – Due to the placement of the battery pack maintenance is an issue for good old traditional lead acid batteries because you will need to check the electrolyte (water) level often and fill as needed. Which would be more frequent than a normal golf cart because the GEM is really a high performance Ev in comparison. The demands the motor/controller system puts on those batteries is substantial. This is one of the major reasons they settled on the Gel battery because they are Maintenance Free!

Performance – Traditional lead acid batteries do not like to get severely or deeply discharged. If they are they become stubborn to revive and will cut the cycle life or life expectancy of the battery in general significantly. AGM and GEL batteries have a great ability to take a deep discharge in stride and recover completely time and time again with the proper charging system and battery charger. Another major determining factor in going with the Gel battery to power the GEM car.

Service Life – This was the biggest hurdle to overcome because of the competition was tough. ( A gas or diesel burning vehicle vs an Electric vehicle when comparing in ease of use to re-power or fuel its drive train.) They couldn’t very well change the batteries once a month like in a flashlight or AM/FM radio not could they. Nor could you even expect a potential buyer to fall in love with a car that required such general maintenance. So the batteries needed to be large enough to allow for a decent range of use but also allow for many charge/discharge cycles. ( AKA – Cycle Life ) So Lithium looked very promising even then due to the batteries abilities but after cost analysis just not feasible for the average Joe. So back to a lead acid variant that would deliver the goods. AGM – GEL Batteries…. At the time AGM batteries where basically military spec stuff only. So pulling the battery technology from their good friends at the Pentagon they started testing. After much debate and millions spent the GEL batteries became the obvious solution to power the vehicles. Especially if climate was included in the testing because the GEL battery will hold up much better in the colder climates whereas in places like Florida the internal chemistry of an AGM vs GEL battery is quite identical due to the heat.

Termination – Designed to be attached in series via ring terminals. As all other components of the system like fuses and charging system. If you switched to a post type battery due to cost savings you would find yourself replacing and changing all your cable ends. So surely not ideal. At the very least make sure you choose a stud type termination for the batteries you choose for your GEM car. If you live in warmer climate an AGM battery like the Trojan is a good alternative and might save you a few bucks without sacrificing performance or service life to much.

In Review

Now that the facts have been conveyed it should be obvious to anyone why you should replace the original Gem Car gel batteries with more of the same. Otherwise overall performance (speed and range) will be limited as will service life based on the amount of charge/discharge cycles of said battery. Not to mention the hassle of trying to maintain a flooded battery. Traditional lead acid batteries are good for approx 200-250 cycles at 50% D.O.D. (Depth of Discharge) so figure 2-3 yrs life if using only recreational. Even less if using for transportation and or you do not keep up with the water levels! Whereas with the GEL battery you can expect a service life more like double that for similar usage and no maintenance issues what so ever other than the need to always charge the battery bank back up to 100% after every use and store in the same condition.

Re-Power your GEM Cart Today with a new set of Deka Gel GEM Batteries! Shop Now! Gem Car Replacement Batteries  

Battery Watering System Image Installed

Is a Golf Cart Battery Watering System Something You Really Need?

Did you just purchase a new electric golf cart? Do you know what is involved in taking care of your new toys power supply/battery bank? If not this series of articles will help you learn more about how to take care of them and make sure you can get maximum battery life and performance through proper maintenance and attention. You will also learn of several products to make this task easier and not so time consuming.

We are going to talk about watering your batteries herein and the benefits of a one point battery watering system.

Golf Cart Battery Watering Systems are a great time saver and make general maintenance on your electric golf cart a breeze. You can save alot of money by taking care of your golf cart batteries. With regular use lead acid batteries should be checked at least once a month for proper water (Electrolyte) levels. If you use your golf cart daily you should check even more frequently. ( Say Bi-Monthly) Proper water levels are required in all lead acid batteries to maintain proper optimal performance levels and cycle life expectancy. But everyone I know hates to take the hour or so to do the job. Plus it can be messy and aggravating depending on the golf cart brand and/or battery configuration. You could easily get battery acid everywhere eventually if you are adding too much. The effects of battery acid on the garage floor or the golf cart battery tray can be quite extensive and expensive to repair or replace.

Save Time and Money with a New Golf Cart Battery Watering System

The concept of a Battery Watering System has been around for quite some time. Since the invention and need to harness power in portable fashion there has always been a system to maintain proper performance. Over the years the systems and processes have only gotten better. As with all things as we move into the 21st century. The Battery Watering system is not limited to just golf carts either but any multiple battery bank that utilizes flooded type lead acid batteries. Which are commonly found in golf carts. More specifically Deep Cycle Lead Acid Batteries that are used in boats and RVs for house power supplies to run lights and accessories, Solar systems, electric floor sweepers and floor scrubbers and even pallet jacks. Battery watering systems are very specific to a battery brand or system based on operating voltages. So can get kinda technical but Pete has taken all the leg work out of it and created specific systems with all the required components to create one for your application that are compatible with most battery brands.  Battery brands like Crown, Deka, Duracell, PowerTron, Trojan, and US Battery to name a few of the popular ones…Pete has a wide selection of options that are specifically designed for use with golf carts.

The average person does not even know they need to check or fill there golf cart batteries with water until it is to late and they need to buy new batteries because they sat for a prolonged period of time discharged and or dry. Once lead within the battery has been introduced to the atmosphere after being saturated and energized with acid a different kind of chemical reaction takes place and creates a layer over the lead that does not allow the acid to interact with the lead properly there after.

Usually a new golf cart owner learns this the hard way after purchasing new batteries at a tune of 800 to 1800 bucks depending on battery brand and system voltage. Once you are aware of this you now need to know specifics. Like “How to do it?” or “How much water should be added?” and “When to do it?” You can learn more about proper battery maintenance for your golf cart within Pete’s Blog.

One of the biggest problems is overfilling a battery. This results in loss of acid or technically speaking changes the specific gravity of the electrolyte(acid) in the battery and once this occurs you can damage the battery plates when charging. Either way it equals loss of capacity and life expectancy.

With an on-board battery watering system it takes the guess work out of the job. Basically a battery watering system is created by replacing the battery’s existing vent caps with valves that are interconnected with tubing, allowing the user to fill all cells of the battery from a single remote location. Snap on/snap off water connections turn the often ignored task of watering batteries into a quick, simple task taking 5 minutes or less! Each valve independently shuts off water flow to the cell when the proper electrolyte level is reached, allowing the batteries to be filled perfectly every time without having to look at the batteries. Now all one needs to know is when to do so….

Specifically When Should You Check the Water Levels in Your Golf Cart Batteries?

The first answer would be frequently. Monthly on average, or bi-monthly for a cart used daily and weekly for a cart or Ev used commercially. Though specifically talking about the procedure, you should only check and fill your batteries after they have been fully charged. This will avoid electrolyte overflow. Because when a lead acid battery is charged up the plates become energized and positive electrons force out neutrons and electrolyte into the battery cells. Which in essence raises the water/electrolyte level within the battery. As a lead acid battery is discharged the lead plates absorb the electrolyte in the battery cells lowering the water level within the battery. The main reason we need to even check the water/electrolyte levels in our golf cart batteries is because the nature or chemistry of a lead acid battery. As a lead acid battery is charged or discharged off gassing occurs. Similar to say when you have water boiling on the stove for a cup of tea and some of the water will turn to steam and dissipate in the process.

Implementation 

After installing a golf cart battery watering system on your golf cart you will not only save time but help insure extended cycle life/ battery life and optimal performance. Being able to fill your batteries without removing the cell caps will allow you to avoid things like battery acid burns, ruined clothing, and breathing noxious fumes. Now you can relax and rest assured with properly watered batteries your battery bank will last longer and performs better.

So Pete says … Get a Golf Cart Battery Watering System and forget about all the wasted time and money… With a one point battery watering system you can fill in 5 minutes – Perfect every time! Now you can even keep tabs on individual cells and monitor electrolyte levels at a glance with the new BWT quick look indicators on each individual valve.

Pete has complete battery watering kits for all popular golf cart brands. ACG, Bad Boy Buggies, Club Car, Columbia-Par Car,  Cushman, Ezgo, Gem, Harley Davidson, Polaris, Stealth, Tomberlin, TY Tong, Yamaha and many more…. Custom kits are also available based on the specific battery bank configuration.  View popular kits here.

 

Additional Things to Know: Learn More About Your Golf Cart Batteries – Basic Knowledge

 

If you have any additional questions or concerns about a one point battery watering system for your Ev or golf cart just drop us a line at help@PetesGolfCarts.com 

Pete team is here to help you! So feel free to give us a call today. (772) 247-GOLF 

How To and Why Should You Replace the Battery Cables on Your Golf Cart or Battery Bank

Lets start off with the Why… Your Electric Golf Carts system is designed to store energy in the battery bank and distribute that energy to your golf carts electric motor to create motive power to carry you down the road, trail or across the green. The only way you can get that power to the golf cart motor is via the conductors or cables connecting all your golf cart batteries.

If you notice your original golf cart cables are cracked or showing exposed wire during your usual inspections they should be replaced immediately. If your connectors are showing signs of corrosion they should be cleaned and protected immediately with a product like BatteryPete’s Corrosion Block or Preventative. This is because where ever there is resistance it will generate heat but also severely limit the performance of your golf carts electric system. ( Picture a beautiful natural fresh water mountain stream. Come Spring time it is flowing well as the snow in the mountains above starts to melt. (This would be your battery cable system in good form.) Then Mr. Beaver decides to build a nice little damn and block the flow of your stream, this is what you get with the electricity trying to pass thru a electrical system with corrosion on connections, frayed wires, or loose connections. ( Even more so apparent on high performance systems when you would upgrade the motor/controller in your golf cart to provide more speed or torque ) In this case just bigger diameter wires are needed to handle the additional flow of voltage and amperage.

So when the time comes to replace those battery cables you will want to do one specific thing before you dig into your afternoon project. Get your smart phone out and snap a few pictures. This way you have a frame of reference and can go back to if need be to make sure you wire up the battery bank correctly. Usually after removal of all cables and / or before we will clean the area and battery terminals. Depending on how bad they are will determine the course of action. Usually we will hit them with a small wire brush and then spray off with a hose or pressure washer. Water dilutes battery acid and a good time to clean out the battery hold on your golf cart to curb corrosion damage. Also nicer to work in a clean area…

After that we will spray a corrosion preventative on all the battery terminals, let sit for a few minutes and proceed to attach new battery cables to all the batteries in question. Being sure to attach with a SS nut and SS Lock Washer on every connection to make sure they do not corrode or come loose over time. ” Remember – resistance generates heat!” A loose wire under a load ( You holding the gas pedal to the floor for a few minutes) will cause a battery connector to melt straight through to the plastic battery case… ” Which will require a battery replacement or repair ” Both can be expensive! Preventive maintenance is always the best approach to vehicle ownership. Once you have connected all the batteries again with the new battery cables, you should go back through each connection and double check it is snug ( A Good quarter turn with a ratchet on each will ensure success ) Then last but not least another round of spraying some Anti-Corrosive on the battery terminals to prevent corrosion build up.

BatteryPete offers replacement golf cart cables for any make and model golf cart as well as Corrosion Preventative to get the job done right. Whether it is a individual jumper wire lead or a complete set of golf cart battery cables. Available in 2 AWG, 4 AWG and 6 AWG. All of BatteryPete’s Cables and Connectors are manufactured and assembled right here in the good ole’ US of A! If you need a specific cable length or terminal end you can always give Pete’s team a call with your specifications. They even make custom length cable just for your cart or project. All Golf Cart Battery related items are also available here on Pete’s Golf Carts Store as well. Pick up you new set of Golf Cart Battery Cables Today!

Buying New Golf Cart Batteries - What Is the Best Battery For My Application

Buying New Golf Cart Batteries – What Is the Best Battery For My Application

1. What is the difference between a deep cycle battery, a starting battery, and a dual-purpose battery? A deep cycle battery has the ability to be deeply discharged and charged many times during its service life. It is designed specifically for powering electrical equipment for long periods of time. An automotive or starting battery is designed for brief bursts of high current and cannot withstand more than a few deep discharges before failure. This is why it is unable to start your car if you accidentally leave the lights on more than a couple of times. For applications where both engine starting and light deep cycling are required, a dual-purpose battery is often used. This type of battery is neither a starting nor a deep cycle battery but rather a compromise between the two so it performs both functions adequately. Only deep cycle batteries should be used in renewable energy applications. 2. What’s better? 36 Volt 48 Volt or 72 Volt systems? Systems with higher loads continuous will be better served by higher voltages such 48 volt or 72 volts if you are looking for better performance ( High Torque or Speed) from a upgraded motor or controller set up to minimize voltage drop which impacts overall system performance. The size of the battery or the Ah rating will directly effect the range or time between re-charge. Not all batteries are equal when it comes to capacity (Ah). 3. Why do manufacturers use different alloys in their batteries (lead-calcium, lead-antimony, lead selenium, etc.)? The composition of the plate grid alloy can have a major effect on operating characteristics, such as behavior on float charging and cycle life. Older lead-antimony designs have good cycling capability but require frequent water additions, particularly towards the end of life, due to antimony migration between the plates. Cells with lead-calcium alloys require far less watering, but tend to have a poor cycle life. Lead-selenium alloys are actually low-antimony types with the addition of selenium as a hardening agent. Such alloys promote good cycling capability, while maintaining a constant and fairly low level of water consumption. Many variants on these alloy types are commercially available. 4. Who makes the best batteries for my golf cart? We would recommend any battery manufactured in the US. This would include Crown Golf Cart Batteries, Deka Golf Cart  Batteries, Trojan Golf cart Batteries or US Battery. The quality of the battery will be determined by the quality of the lead product inside. These battery brands have been around for a long time and are all top notch. You get what you pay for – If any one you see advertising a new golf cart battery for costs less than $100 ea – Buyer beware! Quality lead products are pretty consistent across the board though we have seen in certain areas of the country steep price increases based on one companies saturation in an area. ( No local or regional competitors) So depending on your area of the country one brand might be readily accessible vs another. Shipping these types of batteries is not as easy as us shipping you a new custom golf cart dash kit or lift kit. These types of batteries cannot be shipped via common carrier, and will need to be shipped via tractor trailer LTL freight. So being we will need to ship to a commercial address with access to a loading dock, or have a forklift on hand in most cases. If not we might not be able to supply you with batteries for your golf cart and will need to look for local battery supplier. You can always drop us a line here on the contact us page and just say – Please help we need golf cart batteries for our golf cart. Leave a name , number and your zip code. We might be able to have a affiliate warehouse or battery specialist come by in a smaller truck or van to drop off your new batteries and pick up your old ones. Installation is even available for these scenarios. Though for a small additional fee – usually around 75-100 bucks. 5. How do I select the right battery for my application? Someone said I need to buy an AGM, Gel or Lithium Battery instead of the regular “Flooded” Lead Acid Golf Cart Batteries mentioned herein. Proper battery selection may require the assistance of a knowledgeable battery specialist. You might need to talk to Pete himself or one of the team members at our parent company www.BatteryPete.com Though, most golf cart applications will still fall under the basic lead acid battery options available for purchase from our golf cart battery section found here. Lead acid batteries are the most affordable power solution to your golf cart needs. Usually if you want to upgrade in chemistry to an AGM, GEl or Lithium application the cost will also increase 2, 3 or 10 fold depending… So if you still think you might need the cycle life or 10x the life of a regular golf cart battery and paying 2 to 5 thousand dollars or more for a battery bank is still realistic for you to consider. Please contact us at 772-444-2280 or 772-247-GOLF and ask for assistance from one of our team members about AGM GEL or Lithium Golf Cart Batteries.
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