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Golf cart batteries


rogo88

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I purchased a used [Yahama] golf cart this past spring. It worked fine. I left it with the batteries disconnected over the summer. When I returned last month and reconnected the batteries, the meter showed a bit of green, but no power to move the cart. I connected the charger and the gauge moved up thru' the green section and then above, but cart would not operate. [Cells were bubbling]

 

I was told that carts left for a long period will discharge to the point where they will not take a charge from the golf cart charger and that each battery must be charged to separately to achieve an operating status. Does this ring true with anyone? If so, is a 6 volt charger required or can they be charged in pairs?

 

All advice appreciated.

Ron

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The process of battery charging consists of applying a sufficient voltage across the battery (higher then the battery itself) and passing current through it. One problem of charging all six batteries in series (like a 36 volt golf cart charger does) is if any one is bad (might have different resistance) it can affect the series charging current flow, even though yes, its still the same current through each battery. If batteries remain too long in a discharge state damage can occur and perhaps of all six in the cart, one or more may be bad or worse then the others. That being said, I can forsee a scenario where charging a battery by itself could be more beneficial then if its in series with five others BUT IF A BATTERY IS TOO BADLY SULFATED it may not accept a charge. THEREFORE, ITS "POSSIBLE" INDIVIDUAL CHARGING "MIGHT" (subject to battery condition) BE BENEFICIAL. Id say its worth a try, but cant say if it will work or not as it depends on the battery condition.

 

YES if you want to charge a 6 volt battery individually, you need a 6 volt charger. True you could charge two or more in parallel (charging depends on chargers current capacity) still using a 6 volt charger and if one is different condition/resistance then the other, it may draw more or less charging current.

 

If you wanted to charge two in series with a 12 volt charger it can work but still subject to the first paragraph above. If I had my druthers I would charge them in parallel since even if they are different, each can still draw its own current versus the series configuration where current in each is the same.

 

I think I would FIRST insure proper electrolyte levels,,,,,,,,,,,,Measure the specific gravity of each cell of each battery,,,,,,,,,,If a battery has sufficient electrolyte and gravity is within a reasonable state of discharge I WOULD TRY A SEPARATE CHARGE ON THAT BATTERY.

 

if you don't have a hydrometer look for discoloration or gray or milky color in any cells which can be an indication that particular cell is defective.

 

If electrolyte levels are all okay and no cells are discolored you might try another series charge and if that don't work (IE some batteries rise to a much higher charge state then others in the series) go ahead and try individual charging, IT CANT HURT AND "MIGHT" HELP

 

PS are you sure the failure to operate isn't due to a bad/loose/corroded connection or solid state controller instead of a battery problem????? I would check each battery voltage and if all once stabilized and at rest are close and around say 6.3 volts and specially if they were LOAD TESTED and all passed and near equal MAYBE ITS A BAD CONNECTION OR A BAD MOTOR ?????????????????????????? You need to charge them all,,,,,,,,measure voltages,,,,,,,,,,,,,measure specific gravities,,,,,,,,,,,,remove, clean, reconnect each and every battery and solenoid and controller and motor connection. NOTE on some Yamaha's their solid state controller is what goes bad!!!!!!

 

John T

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I use a battery maintainer for our golf cart such as this one. It happens to be designed for a 30V golf cart and like other battery maintainers, it keeps the batteries happy and these also supply a high frequency pulse to keep plates desulfated.

41wsY-ctk7L.jpg

As it happens, our cart is a 48V one and so I use the 48V version of this but it does a good job of keeping batteries happy while we are gone for months at a time.

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Many of the carts / chargers won't identify the cart and batteries unless the stack of them is above some minimum threshold. If the voltage across all 6 or 8 batteries is 4 V then the charger won't even try to charge. When that is the case, charging each battery by itself (no need to disconnect it from the other batteries) for a while to get it up to some reasonable voltage - at least 4 or 5 Volts on a 6 V battery and when the whole set has been individually charged a little, then the charger will work on the whole set.

 

Since the cells were bubbling in your case, the batteries are being charged. They are likely in series and if one of them has failed, one of the failure modes would allow all the other batteries to charge (even overcharge), but as soon as you try to draw current the bad battery drops to 0 v and opens up and no current is available.

 

Clip a volt meter across the terminals of each battery, one at a time, and try to move the cart. If you don't see much change on 5 of the batteries, but 1 of them drops to nearly or completely 0, then you have found the bad battery and can just replace it.

 

Once the cart is working fairly well and you can drive it, use the same process to monitor the voltage on each battery while you demand top speed from the cart. You will be able to see batteries that drop a little, perhaps .5 volts or even 1.0 volts, but if one of them drops 3 or 4 volts under load, may as well begin saving up for the replacement, it won't last much longer.

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Oldman, good morning, hey I'm an old man also, no wonder we agree lol

 

WE AGREE, you stated.............."They can be charged in pairs"

 

I stated...................."YES if you want to charge a 6 volt battery individually, you need a 6 volt charger. True you could charge two or more in parallel

(charging depends on chargers current capacity) still using a 6 volt charger and if one is different condition/resistance then the other, it may draw more

or less charging current.

 

Just for information for others as we already know, however, a potential problem with charging more then one battery in parallel is one bad battery (subject to its condition and stage of charge and resistance) could suck up much of the total charging current capacity of the charger, so there's not as much current available for the other battery!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Since his batteries were "bubbling" there must have been series current charging talking place (IE no charger lock out due to low voltage) so he could still have one or more bad batteries and/or a cable or connection or controller or motor problem, so trying individual charging wouldn't hurt and is worth a try just in case, along with voltage tests and specific gravity and load testing of each battery.............

 

This fun discussion has me in the mood to go out today and check my all battery water levels

 

John T

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Just for information for others as we already know, however, a potential problem with charging more then one battery in parallel is one bad battery (subject to its condition and stage of charge and resistance) could suck up much of the total charging current capacity of the charger, so there's not as much current available for the other battery!!!!!!!!!!!!!

True, but I'm pretty sure you meant 'in series.'

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True, but I'm pretty sure you meant 'in series.'

No, in series, the current has to go thru both batteries. In parallel, one battery can be the path for most of the current leaving the other battery lacking.

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Mark and Dale, "No, in series, the current has to go thru both batteries. In parallel, one battery can be the path for most of the current leaving the other battery lacking"

 

INDEED in a series circuit current through the loads is, of course, the same, while in parallel voltage is the same although current (= V/R) can be far different. A problem with parallel charging could occur if one battery was much lower resistance then the other (bad or shorted) and the charger only has X amps capacity. The similar problem in series charging (current is same, maybe one bad battery) is where the total circuit resistance may be so high none of the batteries receive sufficient charging current. Still, they have series charged golf cart batteries for years and normally such works fine, its just that one bad apple can spoil the barrel lol

 

John T

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You can use a battery charger and charge them in pairs. Should be good to go after that.

 

Last time we left our cart for an extended period of time we had a family of rats move in and bite through pretty much every wire on the cart. Since then we have had our neighbors check in and sometimes run it around the neighborhood.

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