Category: How To
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  

Alright Let’s Get Started…. You just purchased some new custom golf cart seat covers because your old golf cart seats are looking pretty rough. Plus the neighbor just brought home a new custom golf cart and his had some really cool golf cart seats. So you know you need to replace them anyhow though the cushions themselves are still in good shape under neath and the base board was still good as well. No wood rot or damage so you opted to just recover them but not quite sure how is the best way to put them on. Installing new golf cart seat covers is pretty straight forward. basically we will just need to stretch the new material over the cushion and secure to the seat base. Though there are a few tricks to make this a painless process and the end result be the custom look you envisioned all along. All of Pete’s Custom Golf Cart Seat Covers are made specifically for each rear flip seat based on make and model of your golf cart and based on the actual seat manufacture as are most other sellers or upholsters offering them. This allows for a great fit and a custom look once installed. No wrinkles, tight contoured fit every time. So hopefully you purchased the correct ones for your golf cart. Let’s get down to business with a step by step First off – You are going to need some basic tools to get the job done.
  • Heat Gun
  • Staple Gun
  • Sturdy pick or small flat head screw driver
  • Pliers and small wire cutters
Next – you will need to find a good working surface that give you room to move the golf cart seats around but doing so without getting them dirty or damage. You will want to have clean flat surface to work on like a sturdy shop bench or kitchen counter top. Now you can remove the seat cushions from your golf cart. Remove the front seat handles or hip restraints. Any and all seat hinges or hydraulic shock assistants. Then you will have to decide do you recover over top of the original cover or remove it? This can go either way just depends on the damage to the previous one. If the seat cushion cover is just sun faded or stained but structurally in good shape (No rips or tears) I say keep it and just go right over it. If it has holes and tears in it you will most likely want to remove , then recover otherwise you will not be happy with the finished result because when you stretch the new golf cart seat covers over the seat cushion the contour will be apparent and if you have a big rip or hole in it you will surely see it under the cover. Especially over time and use. Either way you will need to begin by removing any and all plastic trim on the underside, save this for re-installation after the new covers are in place. ( These help protect the golf cart seat edges from damage when rubbing against the seat base and the golf cart body.) Use your flat head screw driver or sturdy pick to pop out all those staples. You need to have a good base flat and solid to re-staple the new seat covers when the time comes so do this now. This applies to the rear golf cart seat set as well, though you usually will not find the plastic trim pieces in place around the seat cushion base because the seat cushion is permanently fixed to it where as the front seat hinges to access the battery or engine areas. Now clean up your mess and make sure the work surface is clear of all old staples and debris. You surely do not want to damage the new custom seat covers with a crusty staple through the front. Now with the work area clean and ready for the task at hand plug in your heat gun and pull out those new custom golf cart seat covers. Find top to bottom and left/right… place face down on the work surface and then place the seat to be covered in the center of the new cover. ( I usually measure the seat to be covered and the cover and find dead center – but the pros just eye them up if the design is not so crazy and needs to be spot on.) Now you will want to fire up that staple gun and get your air compressor going if not full or primed already. Then double check you are centered on the cover and pull from top to bottom first and pop a few staples into the top section and then pull cover snug around the bottom and pop a few more. ( All thee staples are just to keep the seat cover aligned while you work around it and will be removed eventually) Then you will do the same from left to right or vice versa.

Congrats – You figured it out! Saving time and money in the garage is always a win win. So today we are going to talk about your new golf cart battery watering system you just purchased and how to install it. Let’s start off by lifting the seat off the golf cart in question and throwing it over the roof. easiest place to get out of your way and keep it from getting dirty or scuffed on the pavement. Now you can either get the hose out and spray off all the dirt and junk on your batteries or wipe off with a rag prior to installing the new watering system. Makes life a little easier as well as keeping it clean while you work. Next you will remove all the battery caps or speed caps from your batteries. Once that is done you can start from left to right or top to bottom and pop in a few of the valves provided in the battery watering system kit. Do not pop all of them in just yet, just two to get a good measurement. Then you will want to measure the distance between the two valves connecting nipples. I usually just eye it up with the tubing in my hand and snip the pieces off with a sharp pair of scissors. You can also start a little assembly line and cut all the pieces joining the valves at once with a good measurement. Count the valves in your system and the required tubing to connect them together. Once you have completed that task look at the lay-out of your battery bank and plan to place the one point connection for the watering system in the middle of the batteries to water. Example – 36 Volt System with 6x 6 volt batteries. The one point connection should fall between the bank of 6. Three batteries to the right and three batteries to the left.
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 

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