How To Determine If Your Golf Cart Charger Is Working
So you own an electric golf cart. Terrific! Electric transportation is a great way to get around your town for pennies on the dollar vs a motor vehicle and you are doing your part to live aware and help lower green house gases and emissions. Yet you just went to take it for a ride and it doesn’t go. What could it be? So you just went to plug in the golf cart battery charger and it does not seem to be working or turning on either. Why? Well it could be numerous scenarios which we will try to cover all the basics for all major golf cart brands in this how to article… some are more involved than others.
So before you purchase a golf cart battery charger you might not need ask yourself a few questions first and read this article.
Why are you replacing your other charger? Stolen, lost or just all of a sudden doesn’t charge? Or you just bought the golf cart and it did not come with one? Most importantly – Does the golf cart run and drive now or are batteries completely dead? If they are dead… that is usually the issue… because all new style chargers require being able to sense voltage before they turn on and apply amperage….
This is a great article for numerous reasons… hopefully it will help some golf cart owners sort out their issue with personal carts and also avoid confusion after purchase of a new golf cart battery charger you might not have needed. We do get calls on occasion after purchase of a new battery charger and the customer is upset the new charger is not working either. Usually it is cart side not charger side and sometimes they did not need to replace or purchase a new battery charger in the first place. All of the golf cart battery chargers we offer are new from the respective manufacture with the exception of a few Ezgo chargers we buy in bulk from authorized re-manufacturer for Ezgo. Which even all these come with a limited warranty like 60 or 90 days but are always bench tested prior to shipping. So unless the battery charger in question gets damaged in transit or shipping they should work. Our current out of box failure rate across the board on all golf cart battery chargers is like less than 1%…
So with that said let walk thru a few basic ways to determine if your golf cart battery charger is charging your batteries an working properly…
What Does A Golf Cart Battery Charger Require To Turn Itself On
- AC Current – Must be plugged into the correct power supply to operate. read the power requirements on the sticker usually on the back of the battery charger. All golf cart battery chargers usually operate on 110VAC but some have the ability to operate on multiple voltages for other power grids like in Europe vs US. 110/230VAC would reflect this feature on charger.
- Good DC side connection. This is the wire or cord with a connector that you would plug into the golf cart. DC stands for “Direct Current” as AC stands for Alternating Current” – and basically what a golf cart battery charger does. It converts AC power to DC power to charge or replace the electricity in your golf carts batteries. See and learn the difference between old style golf cart battery chargers and new style chargers.
- Connections Required
1.) Golf Cart Side Charger Port – One is at the golf cart battery charger receptacle itself.
2.)Batteries – Then the next one will be at the batteries themselves.
So this means just because you plugged your golf cart charger into the wall socket in the garage and then into the golf cart does not mean you have a good connection to the batteries you are trying to charge. This is just an assumption. To confirm this read on… In the next few steps you can start narrowing down the issue if one exists you will be able to find it and get your golf cart charging again.
Step 1 – How To Check Your Battery Charger DC Side Connections
This is usually the first step we perform in the shop to determine possible golf cart battery charger issues. With a basic digital volt meter we check system voltage first. Whatever the operating voltage is of your golf cart you should check current voltage levels to know if the cart is in fact fully charged , partially charged or completed dead. You will usually find the batteries to your golf cart under the front seat which opens or folds out towards the golf cart steering wheel on most Club Cars, Ezgo and Yamaha golf carts.
Look for the two terminals with the most wires going to them. Usually this is the positive and negative most terminals in the battery bank. Technically you will want to determine the correct ones to check voltage quickly. Ofcourse you cannot really mess anything up by going from battery to battery with the voltage meter and checking individually positive / negative and so on but this to only tells us that any given battery tested shows voltage. It does not tell you if they are all connected properly or have good connections. That is why we look directly for positive and negative most terminals in the battery bank to check. See image below for a basic idea of how to find the positive and negative most terminals in your golf carts battery bank.
All major manufactures of golf carts to date wired battery banks in a series to achieve desired operating voltages in their vehicles. Wiring batteries in a series style circuit is quite simple and always the same. No mater how many golf cart batteries you have it will always work the same. To wire multiple batteries in a series you would just connect each batteries positive terminal to the next batteries negative terminal. Then continue this process for however many batteries to intend to connect together. After you have done so you will always have two terminals left over. One will be positive and one will be negative. Those terminals will reflect the new operating voltage of said battery bank. For example as shown in image above – most golf carts these days operate on 36 volt or 48 volts. Which can be achieved in a few ways depending on the batteries used. Whether 6 volt, 8 volt or 12 volt batteries. All of which will have different capacity and or range limitations. Simply put the more batteries you have the larger your so called gas tank will be – or the longer run time and range possible.
Note – The green circles in image above indicate positive and negative most battery terminals to check voltage on your golf cart. These images cover all the basic golf cart battery configurations. If not hopefully you will now better understand how to determine which terminals to test in your application.
So now that we know where to check voltage and test. What is the answer? Jot down or remember whatever number you get. 36 volt golf carts when fully charge will reflect 37-38 volts… and 48 volt systems will reflect roughly 49-51 volts. All batteries hold slightly more voltage than advertised on case when fully charged so when combined the numbers are always slightly higher. So no need to be alarmed.
Now you will want to check the golf carts charger port or cart side recptacle. This is the location where you would plug in the golf cart battery charger connector in off board applications. You will want to check with the voltage meter by holding the leads to the pins associated with the charger connector pins.
Two-Pin DC Side Charger Connections – CrowsFoot Connectors ( All older golf carts used these Pre-1990’s) , Ezgo TxT Connector ( 36 Volt Ezgo TxT Golf Carts) Yamaha Nabson Plug ( 48 volt carts from the mid 1990s up until the Drive model that went to a three pin connector – Special note – In a pinch the two pin nabson connector will work on newer three pin models) or SB50 connectors ( Found on older golf carts like Columbia Par Car, Club Cars, Fair Play, Harley Davidson, and Western models Pre 1980s)
These will be easy to test – One pin will be positive in and the other will be negative. Your volt meter will give you either a normal reading or if pins are placed backwards it will just reflect a negative sign next to the voltage number shown.
Three-Pin DC Side Charger Connections – Club Car Round Tree Pin Connector ( Found on all 1995 and newer carts 48v system – also has an OBC “Onboard Computer” In the charge circuit ), Ezgo TxT Triangular 3 Pin Connector ( 2014 and Up 48v Models ) Ezgo RXV Triangular 3 Pin Connector ( 2008 and Up all are 48v Models) , Yamaha 3 Pin – Three Leaf Clover or kinda square shaped 3 Pin Connector ( Newer Drive Models AKA-G29 All of which are also 48v) –
These will be easy as well but might need to give a few stabs at it until you get a reading. – To test – One pin will need to be positive in and the other be negative. Usually the top two pins. Then the third pin is usually a low voltage signal for a lock-out feature on these newer style golf carts. This is so the user cannot drive off with a golf cart “If the charger is still plugged in”. Again the volt meter will give you either a normal reading or if pins are placed backwards it will just reflect a negative sign next to the voltage number shown when you find the corect two pins to test. If you grab one of the low voltage pins it will not show anything. Try again until you get a voltage reading.
So test results will reflect as follows – Same voltage as tested at the batteries. (Desired) , Slightly less than the same voltage tested at batteries. ( Meaning resistance in the charge circuit between the receptacle and batteries – check all connections and wires – tighten connections or replace wires immediately.) , No Voltage – ( Meaning a break in the circuit. Either bad connection, Fuse or broken wire. Commonly found charger issues right after new battery install or swap – because either disturbing old wires and connections that are corroded causes issues or completely miss re-attaching one and it never gets re-connected to batteries. Trace connections from batteries to receptacle or vice versa.
Voltage Test Results – So if you do have good voltage at the batteries and the charger port/ golf cart side charger receptacle then we now know you have a good circuit and all is complete fro the batteries to the place you will connect the golf cart battery charger. So now we know if there is an issue it will most likely be on the charger side of the circuit if the golf cart is still not charging.
If you do not have any voltage in the batteries you will need to get some back into the battery bank before the golf cart charger will charge again. All of the golf cart chargers manufactured in the last 20-30 years are designed to only turn on after they can determine voltage is present. This is just a safety feature put in place by the DOE to make sure your grandson isn’t in the garage chasing your grand daughter around shocking her with grandpas golf cart charger cord because it is plugged into the wall. All need to sense voltage before they apply amperage. Some charges need more than others…. some as little as 5 volts others need approx 75% of the operating systems voltage. 36 volt carts – say 30 volts, 48 volt carts – say 40 volts…
If you need to jump start your golf cart batteries to charge. Checkout this how to article – How to manually charge my golf cart batteries with a 12 volt battery charger.
If you do have good voltage readings is the voltage meter checks proceed to step 2.
Step 2 – Plug In Your Golf Cart Charger
If we got a good voltage on batteries and matched that number on the charger port we know we have good connections and good voltage on the golf cart side of this circuit. Next we will now want to plug in the battery charger and see what happens. First – We will plug into the wall socket or as close to the power source as possible. ( Some people will need to use an extension cord to reach a power supply or outlet which is not the preferred connection but will work. Granted the cord is short ( Less than 25 feet – as the further away you expect to get AC power to travel the further away from the socket the lower the volts will go – usually not enough to make a charger not work but have seen this happen and sometimes the charge will adapt but just not perform optimally. hence not charge as fast as it generally could under normal circumstances. Be sure to use a think heavy duty or commercial grade extension cord if you must use one.
Ok – so you are plugged into AC power. Most golf cart battery chargers will have a light some where on it that should reflect you have good AC power to the unit. Confirm either by this light on charger – or take that same digital voltage meter and just set for AC current vs DC current and stick it into the wall socket to confirm. ( One pin in one side – one pin in the other) DO NOT STICK BOTH IN THE SAME ONE)
Now lets plug the golf cart charger into the golf cart. New style chargers will have a blinking light showing charger status, old style golf cart chargers will have an amperage meter ( Needle swing gauge style) If the charger is in fact charging you will see this needle swing to the opposite side of the gauge and the charger usually very noisy will start humming away as it charges. New style chargers no so obvious. Either way to confirm charging or not – go back to the same two terminals under the seat on the batteries you initially tested voltage of batteries. Check again at this location – if the voltage is still the same as before the golf cart charger is not charging! If it is the voltage will be higher than before and if you keep the voltage meter pins on the terminals for a minute or so you will see the voltage continue to climb ever so slowly.
Hopefully this little How To Article allowed you to determine if your golf cart battery charger is working or not. If you need a new golf cart battery charger see all of Pete’s chargers and special deals or sales here. Or if you purchased one already and still have issues or connection questions and this article did not answer your questions please contact us.
Should you need any further assistance feel free to contact us at 772-247-GOLF (4653) If you have any questions Pete’s team is always standing by to help.
oes not work currently because the batteries are dead or so state of charge is so low it does not move or drive. Hence a golf cart battery charger to keep the batteries fully charged and keep recharging as needed based on usage.
We have been all hands on deck and assumed someone was addressing ebay messages,…. short staffed these past few weeks… Talk to me … what is the issue? If the charger is not working right out the box, or damaged in shipping or such… no worries we will get you squared away … You can start a return in ebay to get the ball rolling.
But, the next question is “