Golf carts are quickly becoming a popular and legitimate alternative to traditional automobiles. Obviously, avid golfers have long enjoyed the benefits of a personal coach. However, more and more individuals, especially ones in small and accessible communities, are switching to this fully electric form of transportation. And it makes sense – golf carts boast a plethora of advantages and benefits!
Mainly, they're an affordable and energy-efficient alternative to gas-guzzling SUVs, coupes, and other vehicles. Plus, they're exceptionally easy to modify, maintain, and repair, ensuring durability and value for years. But what happens when your golf cart stops working? Chances are there's a significant issue relating to your battery system. Use our ultimate buyer's guide to golf cart batteries to determine the ideal products for your specific needs. Additionally, learn how to find appropriate charging units for your batteries.
Determine Your Golf Cart Configuration
Is your golf cart gas-powered or 100 percent electric? This simple question is critical when shopping for a new battery device. Gas configurations only require a starting battery, similar to a street-legal automobile. Alternatively, electric golf carts demand batteries with high-voltage outputs. The average resting voltage for a starting battery is just over 12 volts, while most electric coaches require upwards of 36 volts of power to function correctly. As such, owners of electric configurations need to purchase powerful and compatible golf cart batteries.
Identify Compatible Batteries
So, which types of batteries are right for your golf cart? To determine this, you must identify the make and model of your vehicle – this information will directly indicate the ideal combined voltage requirement for your coach. From there, you must purchase one or multiple batteries to match those preferred power specifications. For example, the standard E-Z-GO golf cart – a common brand among consumers – typically requires 36 volts, while others demand 48 volts. In fact, 36 and 48-volt specifications are the industry standard. So, to fulfill the E-Z-GO requirements, the consumer must configure their batteries to match the same voltage amount.
Battery Configuration Considerations
You have the ideal voltage requirement for your personal golf cart – now what? You could invest in a 36 or 48-volt battery, install it inside your vehicle, and call that a day. Or, you could utilize series configurations to connect multiple batteries and achieve the same results. Connecting batteries in series is a wiring technique that combines the voltage outputs of two or more batteries to power larger devices. Importantly, a series connection does not increase the overall amp-hour capacity of your batteries – you’ll need a parallel configuration, instead, to achieve higher amp-hour degrees.
But what exactly are the benefits of utilizing a series battery configuration for your personal coach? Perhaps you already have three perfectly functional batteries, each with a voltage output of 12 volts. However, your golf cart requires 48 volts of power from its batteries, leaving you 12 short. Instead of investing a few grand into a brand new, 48-volt battery, you can spend significantly less money on a 12-volt unit and connect it to your other batteries in series. Furthermore, it's quite common for golf cart brands to use series configurations for their factory models, making this type of battery replacement the most practical and affordable for many drivers.
However, one configuration has no real performance advantages over the other. So, if you're interested in compressing a configuration of multiple batteries into one device, it's worth considering a 36 or 48-volt battery. This option requires far fewer wiring requirements and is easier to install for individuals lacking an advanced electronics background. Notably, larger and more expensive batteries last longer due to their increased amperage capacity. You can view a combination of series and parallel connections between your golf cart batteries to increase both voltage and amp-hour capacity ratings.
The Benefits of Lithium Batteries
Whether you decide to purchase one battery with a large voltage output or a few units for a series configuration, you must ultimately determine which type of battery to purchase – lead-acid or lithium. Both lead-acid and lithium batteries are the most common electric power products for RVs, marine vessels, and of course, golf carts. So, which one is the better investment for your personal coach?
We may have some bias, but our team at GMI Energy Products strongly recommends opting for lithium batteries. There is only one advantage to choosing lead-acid batteries – a lower price compared to their lithium counterparts. Outside of a more affordable price tag, lead-acid batteries pale in comparison to the performance of lithium devices.
Mainly, lithium batteries contain more efficient internal materials that extend the capacity, capabilities, and lifespan of the battery itself. Furthermore, lithium energy is much cleaner to produce and distribute, while lead-acid batteries can negatively impact the health and well-being of surrounding environments. Finally, lithium technology can withstand more intense cycles of operation and recharging, ultimately proving to be far more durable than lead-acid alternatives.
Additionally, lithium batteries offer a greater range of diverse products to meet your specific performance needs. For instance, mobility batteries are specially designed to manage a steady discharge of energy over long periods, maximizing low-intensity usage. This type of battery is ideal for a casual golfer looking for a long-term dependable energy source.
Finding the Right Charger
Once you secure the proper type and voltage battery, you can determine the right charging device for your newly purchased power system. Luckily, you’ve done most of the hard work, as finding the perfect charger is as simple as matching the voltage ratings. For example, a singular battery or series configuration that produces 36 volts only requires a 36-volt charging unit.
However, you must pay attention to the amp-hour capacity of your battery configuration – your charger should only output 30 percent of your systems Ah capacity for optimal battery life. So, a golf cart battery with 100Ah requires a charger no greater than 30 amps. If you are using the cart in an application where faster charging is required, this rule of thumb can be exceeded but a small reduction in battery life cycles will be likely. This the case for all types of batteries. Check your particular batteries maximum charge rate, or for your convenience, our team at GMI Energy offers battery/charger kits that eliminate the need for these calculations!
Use this ultimate buyer's guide to ensure you always purchase the ideal batteries for your golf cart. Remember that a quality battery affects the performance and conditions of your golf cart and can vastly improve your driving experience overall. For additional information regarding our golf cart batteries and related products, don't hesitate to contact our friendly team at GMI Energy – we're eager to help find the ideal parts to Power Your LiFe!