Did you know, while golf cart batteries work similarly to a car’s battery, their maintenance, requirements, and standards are different. Research indicates it is not a wise choice to manipulate car batteries to fit into a golf cart.
Buyer beware, if you’re shopping for a replacement battery pack for your cart, it’s essential to be aware of the different standards used by different brands. At best, the failure of being mindful of these factors might mean that you’ve spent your money on a battery that is not compatible. At worst, you are creating a hazard.
Let’s take a look at the operation, maintenance, and care required for these types of batteries.
A Guide to Golf Cart Batteries: Description and Voltage
Golf carts operate with a series of batteries that, together, are designed to supply a sufficient voltage and amperage. Due to these factors, the size and power requirements will be essential when buying replacement batteries. Outside of specialty carts, most carts operate on a 36V or 48V standard and need a series of cells to supply enough power.
When it comes to purchasing a battery, it’s essential to note that you aren’t powering your cart with a single battery. Instead, you will need a combination of 6V, 8V, or 12V batteries. To ensure effective and safe pass-through of power, you will need to maintain a standard.
For example, if you own a 36V cart that requires a pair of 6v batteries, it’s essential to use that same combination when finding a replacement. While you can “upgrade” batteries, it’s not for the faint of heart. Also, you run the risk of ruining your cart. Adhering to manufacturing standard will ensure safety.
Understanding Voltage and Battery Configurations
Two main electrical quantities you will want to focus on when replacing batteries are voltage and current. Voltage is measured in volts, or “V,” and Current is measured in amps, or “A.”
While these terms can be confusing, voltage and current can be explained with a simple analogy: in a system of water pipes, voltage is equal to water pressure, and current is equal to the flow rate.
Understanding how volts and amps translate when applied to golf carts may seem confusing, but merely the Voltage in a battery pack is how much power it can exert. It’s comparable to the horsepower in a vehicle.
With this knowledge, a 48V battery can be more powerful than a 36V pack. The operative word, however, is “can”. While the potential is there for a 48V battery pack to be more powerful than a 36V, the controller is what will determine delivered amps during operation.
Let’s now turn our attention to the battery’s amperage or amps.
Amperage is akin to a gas tank in a car. Amps will determine how far the cart travels, and for how long, on a single charge. The more amps a battery generates, the further you’ll be able to drive.
If you take your cart out for extended periods, this may be problematic. If you are more interested in a responsive ride, then you’ll concentrate more on the voltage – however, you may not be able to travel as far. For those who are looking to bump up the speed, volts will be the focus. For those who want more extended and leisure rides, amperage will be the focus.
Your electric cart will accommodate either 6, 8, or 12V batteries. Its volt electrical drive system will have a 36V or 48V system.
If you are not able to determine if it’s a 36V or a 48V electrical drive system, lift the cart seat so you can bring the battery compartment into view. You will be able to see 3, 4, or 6 holes. By multiplying these holes by two, you will determine the battery’s voltage. Multiply this number by the total number of batteries installed in your golf cart.
A Guide To Golf Cart Batteries: How Much Do Batteries Cost?
Cart battery prices differ from pack to pack, with most costing between $800 to $1500. For 72V sealed battery systems, these numbers can go north of $2000. If you are working directly with a dealer, then most lead-acid battery packs will cost you anywhere from $900 to $1300. Batteries can be more affordable if you buy and install them yourself.
It’s advised to avoid “cheap” batteries with pricing that may be too good to be true. These types of batteries will require constant deep cycles, which can affect its efficacy. Lithium batteries and batteries from premium brands like Trojan Battery Company will be more expensive.
A Guide to Golf Cart Batteries: Charging
When selecting a charger, you will need to match volts to volts. For example, if you are looking for a 36V cart, then the corresponding charger you get will be a 36V charger.
Most battery packs are designed with lead-acid batteries. As long as a proper charger is available when charging, these batteries are easily maintained. An underpowered charger will cause a buildup of sulfation on the negative plate, affecting its performance. An overpowered charger causes an accumulation of corrosion on the positive plate. Ideally, you do not want your batteries to die, as charging a dead lead-acid battery can cause strain.
What Are The Best Golf Cart Batteries?
These brands have shown a dedication to creating quality batteries. Quality control and innovation are the main focus of these companies, ensuring that buyers get the latest and greatest. Find out more below!
Trojan Batteries. These batteries offer reliable performance and come with built-in diagnostics, as well as lithium options for superior range and power.
U.S. Battery. A leader in deep cycle batteries, U.S. batteries is a trusted retailer for all things batteries, with the company being the source for solar panel manufacturer and electronic manufacturing.
AMG Golf Batteries. Also called absorbent glass mat batteries, these are different from their lead-acid counterparts – the electrolyte is held in the glass mats as opposed to it free floating. These tend to hold their charges better than lead-acid batteries.
Deka Solar Batteries. These batteries are field-proven to be highly durable, with gel electrolytes or absorbed glass mats used to offer more power throughout the battery’s lifetime.
A Guide To Golf Cart Batteries: Battery Maintenance
To get the most life out of your battery, it’s important that you properly maintain them. Here are some free maintenance tips for your battery, regardless of its manufacturer.
Looking to keep your batteries clean? Use a bristle brush and a mild solution to clean the top of each battery. You can also use anti-corrosive solutions and sprays to prevent corrosion, which can be a problem with lead-acid batteries. Alternatively, you can use battery covers.
Check battery wiring. Replace any frayed cables and reconnect any installation that has become disconnected. You’ll find that regular maintenance of your battery’s cables will ensure that there isn’t a premature burnout.
Use your charger correctly. Charge your golf cart battery between 8 and 10 hours with the proper charger and plug. Try not to allow your battery to drop below 20% capacity, especially for lead-acid batteries.
When charging deep cycle batteries do not let these batteries discharge completely. It’s possible that the battery won’t turn on if you continuously charge it from a dead state. Regularly topping off the battery will increase the life of it.
Use your batteries often. Depending on your location, there’s a good chance that carting is a seasonal activity. However, it’s best to engage the battery every two months to maintain calibration. Depending on the features of your batteries, it might have an advanced storage feature that will automatically refresh the batteries regularly.
Prevent oxidation. Use a silicone paste on the terminals to prevent wicking. Wicking occurs when acid comes in contact with the terminals post-discharge via the venting holes.
With proper maintenance, a golf cart battery should last anywhere between 5-6 years. After that, its’ performance has become compromised, and it may be time for a new set.
As you can see, understanding and taking care of your golf cart batteries can determine how long they will last. In this article we explained the differences between price and battery sizes. We also gave you pertinent information on how to maintain your batteries free of charge.
Furthermore, you learned about the most popular golf cart battery brands in order to make the right choice for your golf cart, and know that you’re purchasing the correct batteries for your build.
Beyond that, you’ll also find a short guide on understanding voltage and battery configurations. This is important stuff that can help your custom golf cart build go smoothly. This will also make the price you pay for golf cart battery setup well worth it.
If you are looking for high quality golf cart batteries for your new custom build, take a closer look at our battery reviews above. Do you have any questions or information to add? Please feel free to leave us a comment below.