You just hammered a drive down the fairway. You’re rolling over the lush grass towards your ball in your new electric golf cart. Life is good.
But suddenly, you start losing speed.
Eventually, your cart comes to a complete stop. No matter how hard you slam on the accelerator, or how many times your turn the key back and forth, it just won’t budge.
The battery is dead.
If you have recently purchased an electric golf cart, you might be unsure how to properly charge the battery.
In this post, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions for how to properly charge your electric golf cart as well as answers to some of the most common electric golf cart questions.
Table of Contents
How To Charge An Electric Golf Cart – Step-By-Step
- Purchase The Right Charger
- Connect The Charger To The Appropriate Power Source
- Insert Charging Plug Into Cart’s Charging Outlet
- Leave Charger Connected Until It Is Fully Charged
- Perform an Equalization Charge Once Every 4-6 Weeks
- When Should I Charge My Electric Golf Cart?
- Should I Leave My Golf Cart Plugged In All The Time?
- How Long Should I Charge My Electric Golf Cart?
- The Takeaway – How To Charge An Electric Golf Cart
How To Charge An Electric Golf Cart – Step-By-Step
- Purchase the right type of charger
- Connect the charger to the appropriate power source in a well-ventilated area
- Connect charging plug to the cart’s charging outlet
- Leave charger connected until the battery is fully charged
- Perform an equalization charge once every 4-6 weeks
If you cover these five steps then most likely you’re going to have no problem successfully charging your electric golf cart.
However, let’s take a deeper dive into each of the points mentioned above to make sure you don’t get stranded on hole 16 with a dead battery!
Purchase The Right Charger
This will depend on the golf cart model you own. For example, popular brands like Club Car, Yamaha, and E-Z-Go might require different chargers for their respective carts.
Also, take into account the year your cart was manufactured. Older chargers might not work for newer carts and newer chargers might not work for older carts.
To streamline your search for the right golf cart charger, you can browse options here.
However, if your golf cart came with its own charger, feel free to skip this step.
Connect The Charger To The Appropriate Power Source
Once you have the right charger for your golf cart, you can then connect this charger to a power source.
Most people choose to use a simple wall outlet from their home. If your golf cart is usually stored somewhere where this is not an option, you can also use a generator.
***Make sure you charge your cart in a well-ventilated area. Part of the chemical reaction that occurs when charging lead-acid batteries involves the production of hydrogen, which can become a health risk at high concentrations.
Similar to carbon monoxide, hydrogen is a colorless, odorless gas. It is also a necessary element for life.
So what’s the problem?
Well, first of all, high concentrations of hydrogen in the air can lead to an oxygen-deficient environment in closed spaces (houses, garages, cars, etc.).
Early warning signs that you’re in an oxygen-deficient environment include headaches, shortness of breath (dyspnea), dizziness, and nausea. If too much time is spent in this environment, asphyxiation can result.
Second, hydrogen at high concentrations (4-7%) can be extremely explosive. Even a small spark introduced into this type of environment can cause a massive explosion.
With these things in mind, what should you do to make sure you’re protected against the risks of excess hydrogen?
- Make sure you charge your cart in a well-ventilated area – outside is best but if you charge up in a garage, leave the doors and windows open.
- Test your carbon monoxide detector – most CO detectors are also programmed to detect excess hydrogen in the air. This is helpful because, like CO, hydrogen is colorless and odorless.
- Invest in a charger that automatically shuts off – most chargers these days are programmed to shut off automatically once the battery is fully charged. Not only does this help prevent excess hydrogen production but it also prolongs the life of the battery.
Put these three tips into action and you’ll significantly reduce the hazards involved in charging your electric golf cart.
Insert Charging Plug Into Cart’s Charging Outlet
Depending on the make and model of the cart, the charging port might be located in different areas.
For example, some carts will have the charging port located on the exterior of the cart near the fwd/rev controls. For others, the port will be located underneath the seat.
To avoid the unneeded hassle, make sure you purchase a charging cable that is long enough to reach the charging port based on where you usually charge your golf cart.
Leave Charger Connected Until It Is Fully Charged
The rate at which your battery is drained will depend on the length and terrain of the course you play, the combined weight of the players and clubs, and how long it is in use.
Generally, though, it’s a good practice to charge your golf cart after every round. That’s because doing so will prevent your battery’s charge from getting too low.
If you frequently run your cart until the battery is nearly dead, it will damage the battery and can significantly shorten its lifespan.
On the other hand, it’s important not to overcharge your electric golf cart battery as repetitive over-charging can also lead to battery damage.
Luckily, most battery chargers these days will shut off automatically once the battery is fully charged. Others have indicator lights to let you know. For example, a red light might mean that the battery still needs to be charged while a green light usually indicates it is fully charged.
Perform an Equalization Charge Once Every 4-6 Weeks
When trying to preserve the life of your battery, maintenance is just as important as proper charging protocols. With this in mind, be sure to perform an equalization charge about once every 4-6 weeks.
Here’s what PKYS Inc., experts in mobile electrical systems, had to say about the equalization process and why it’s necessary:
“Equalizing lead-acid batteries is a process designed to de-sulphate the battery plates by carrying out a controlled overcharge. Battery plates tend to acquire a sulphate coating over time which then hinders the chemical action between the electrolyte and the plate. By equalizing the battery in this controlled overcharge the outer layer of the plate, including the sulphate coating, is blown off, thereby rejuvenating the battery and allowing all the surface area of the plates to interact with the electrolyte.”
The key takeaway from this that equalization is a controlled overcharge to be done periodically. You shouldn’t make a practice of regularly overcharging your battery because this will damage it.
You should also make a point of checking your battery’s water levels each month and give the battery a good clean to wipe away any corrosion you might notice at the terminals.
And that’s everything you need to know to safely and effectively charge your electric golf cart!
Now let’s take a look at a few of the most common questions you’re likely to encounter throughout the charging process.
When Should I Charge My Electric Golf Cart?
You should charge your electric golf cart after every round. If you use your golf cart for other purposes, perhaps driving around your neighborhood or a resort, it’s a good idea to charge it up after 2-4 hours of use. This will ensure that battery levels will never get too low as fully draining lead-acid batteries can cause permanent damage and shorten the battery’s lifespan.
Should I Leave My Golf Cart Plugged In All The Time?
It depends on the type of charger you use. Most modern golf cart chargers are programmed to shut off automatically once the battery is fully charged and you can leave them plugged in for as long as you want. However, if you have an older charger or one that doesn’t automatically shut off, leaving it plugged in after the cart is fully charged may damage the battery.
How Long Should I Charge My Electric Golf Cart?
It can take anywhere from 3 to 10 hours to fully charge your electric golf cart. This is assuming the battery is nearly discharged. The exact time it will take depends on the age of your batteries and the type of charger you use. Generally, you can expect older batteries to take longer to charge (5+ hours). Newer batteries will charge much faster (3-5 hours).
The type of charger you use also comes into play when deciding how long to charge your golf cart. For example, a lightweight, low-amp charger will take much longer than a more powerful charger.
Remember, it’s a good idea to charge your cart after every round of golf because consistently allowing the charge to get too low can damage your batteries.
The Takeaway – How To Charge An Electric Golf Cart
The method used for charging your electric golf cart will vary depending on its particular make and model. However, the following steps can be applied to most carts:
- Purchase the right type of charger – this involves buying a charger that fits both the brand and manufacturing year of your cart.
- Connect the charger to the appropriate power source – most regular wall outlets will work just fine.
- Connect charging plug to the cart’s charging outlet – the charging outlet can be located on the exterior of the cart or underneath the seat.
- Leave the charger connected until the battery is fully charged – not allowing your battery to fully charge might reduce its lifespan.
- Perform an equalization charge once every 4-6 weeks – this helps to de-sulphate the battery plates to ensure proper chemical action.
If you’re looking for a new charger for your golf cart, feel free to browse some of the best options on Amazon.
And there you have it! Hopefully, this article will help you avoid having your day ruined by a dead golf cart battery!