The controller on your golf cart plays a very crucial role in its working. It controls the acceleration, torque and speed of your golf cart. So, without a working controller, your golf cart will drive unpredictably, and it will not maintain a constant speed. Despite it being so vital to the golf cart, not many people know much about how this device really works.
How Does A Golf Cart Controller Work and Its Importance?
The working principle of the golf cart controller is simple to understand. It alters the power to the cart’s motor, thus allowing the user to control the speed and torque of their vehicle. The larger the controller, the more current it provides, allowing the cart to generate more power.
While this does make the cart go faster, the controller serves more than just this purpose. Regulating the speed prevents excess current and voltage from going to the motor, which otherwise can result in violent takeoff and whiplash. In addition, over-speeding can add extreme stress to the components of the cart.
Golf cart controllers present you with several options, and each one can generate different output levels according to input voltages. The choice of the controller suitable to you depends entirely on the intended usage of the cart. For example, if you are going to use the cart to carry heavier loads or more passengers over rocky terrains, you will need a powerful motor. On the other hand, if you are only going to transport a couple of people or light loads over smooth ground, you will not need a potent powertrain.
Regardless of your choice, here are the best golf cart controllers that we have tested and loved!
Top Three Golf Cart Controllers 2021
Navitas TSX 3.0 600A 36-48V Controller (w/Bluetooth):
Navitas Vehicle Systems was founded in 2011 and has become one of the go-to brands for high-end golf cart and LSV customizers, offering a wide range of products from controllers to motors to AC / DC conversion kits.
The Navitas TSX 3.0 is a clever and durable tool that has a built-in wireless controller. Under optimal conditions, it can go from 0-20 mph in 1.9 seconds making it a powerful upgrade for your golf cart. Although the company does provide a 400/440 Amp variant to this controller, we recommend going for the 600 Amp Navitas Golf Cart Motor Controller because it gives a better experience. You can use the built-in Bluetooth for programming through the app rather than doing it on the laptop to adjust power and torque settings on the fly. In addition, you can lock these setting to prevent younger or less experienced drivers from changing them. Navitas TSX3.0 also has an app that you can use to access a list of the most popular motor maps on the go.
Besides golf carts, this controller has many other uses. It is popular with people owning Utility Vehicles (UTV) as well as Automated Guided Vehicles. Interesting aspects of this controller that make it popular are its compact size and low weight. Other salient features include Molex waterproof connector, thermal protection, fully sealed IP5X A/B speed sensor inputs, Plug and Play Installation that works for most popular Golf Carts, low speed vehicles (LSV’s), and has Rollback Protection.
It is capable of generating 600 AMP of current, 50 AMP Peak Field Current, as well as 36 to 48 Volt of electricity. It can go up to a speed of 35 mph for electric models with 48V, and 20 mph for models featuring 36V under optimal conditions. *Results can vary with use of different accessories, motors, tires and more.
- Live Bluetooth® Connectivity
- Compatible with iOS & Android devices
- Bluetooth Lockout
- End-User Apps
- Regenerative braking (forward and reverse)
- Integrated motor protection
- Contactor-less motor reversing
- Separate current limits for armature and field
- Hall or pot and inductive throttle
- Speed sensor input
- Multi-Application compatibility
- Auto-adjust between 36 and 48 Volts (custom option of 42 volts is also available)
- Integrated on-board diagnostics
- Built-in thermal protection
- Waterproof connectors
Alltrax XCT-48500-IQ DCS 500A 48V Motor Controller:
Alltrax has been one of the top go-to companies for controllers and electric vehicle systems for quite a while now and is known to have exceptional research, development and engineering.
Increase your golf cart’s speed and torque with the Alltrax XCT48500 DCS 500A Controller. It comes with a cooling fan and potting that keeps the water out, thus reducing the risk of shorting it. You will also enjoy custom programming for your specific gold cart and choose between 36V and 48V models.
Alltrax XCT48500 500A has thermal plastic ABS and PC510 enclosures, along with copper heat sinks. The device is compatible with various carts, and you will find standard connectors for Club Car, EZGo, Yamaha models. Moreover, you can adjust the Undervoltage cutback as well as the overvoltage shutdown according to your requirements. It has a powered-up standby current of 20mA and operates at 18k Hz. Furthermore, the controller offers flexible USB Programming as well as comes with free software.
In addition to this, you also get auto-throttle calibration that allows for smoother operation, plus up to +30 % torque enhancement. This golf cart controller can help you achieve a speed of 25 mph under optimal conditions. The standard warranty for this device is two years. It covers harm endured while delivering the product, including any malfunction of the electric components.
- DC motor controller (separately excited motors)
- ITS Volt Throttle
- USB 2.0 compatible
- No Adapters needed – Direct EZGO DCS Connection
- Hi-Reliability Optional Fan panel (Included on 500 amp model)
- Auto Throttle Calibration
- Flame-resistant thermal plastic enclosure (ABS + PC510)
- All copper heat sinks for superior thermal transfer
- Operating Frequency: 18k Hz
- Sealed epoxy UL-94-VO / 5VA flame rating (top-rated)
- Adjustable Undervoltage cutback 16-30 VDC
- Adjustable overvoltage shutdown 30-60 VDC
- Voltage drop @ 100amps: <.18V
- Control voltage KSI key switch and reverse: 36-48V Nom, 62 VDC Max
- Powered Up Standby Current <.02A (20mA)
- Relay solenoid drive output current: 5amp peak, 1.0A Continuous
Curtis 1205M-5603 500A 36V/48V DC Motor Speed Controller:
Curtis has been around for many years and is the standard controller brand in many new OEM vehicles. They offer a wide array of options for dozens of manufactures.
The CURTIS 1205M is a programmable series motor that can provide you with no-trouble, noise-free motor speed control. You get complete control of your cart’s speed and torque at an extremely affordable rate. Since it is programmable, thanks to the 1313-4401 Handheld Programmer, you can tailor it to your specific needs. Other than configuration flexibility, the programmer also lets you test capability and diagnostics.
The CURTIS golf cart controller comes with two nominal voltage settings – 48V and 36V, with the former coming as default. It also offers plug braking, 500V electrical isolation to the heatsink, 70mA or 130mA KSI input current, and a below 2mA status LED output current, as well as 2mA logic input current.
- High-frequency switching and ultra-low voltage drop for improved performance without noise.
- Plug braking diode internal to controller.
- Easy mounting and wiring. Push-on connectors for control signals, and plated solid copper buses for power connections.
- Voltage throttle and two-wire potentiometer compatibility.
- Throttle fault protection circuitry that disables the controller if throttle wires break or open.
- A high-pedal-disable feature that stops the controller operation if someone turns on the key while the throttle is being applied.
- Thermal protection and compensation circuit that provides constant current limit over operating range and during under/over temperature cutback. It prevents any sudden loss of power under any thermal conditions.
- Undervoltage cutback function protects against low battery voltage. It includes low voltage caused by external loads.
- Easily programmable through the Curtis Model 1313-4401 Handheld Programmer or 1314 PC programming stations.
- Rugged anodized aluminum extruded housing that meets the IP65 environmental sealing standards for use in harsh environments.
Your golf cart speed controller is an essential component for its smooth running and safety. Not only does it give you more acceleration and torque, but it can help maintain a constant speed and regulate the current to the motor to avoid whiplash from violent takeoffs. Different controllers offer you varying levels of output and performance. However, regardless of your requirements and the cart model you drive, we have handpicked the three best golf cart controllers for you: Navitas TSX3.0, the Alltrax XCT-48500-IQ, and the Curtis 1205M-5603. Pick the one that best suits your needs!
Disclaimer: Speed and torque results may vary depending on battery voltage, battery age, tire size, motor, the weight of your vehicle and other unknown factors.