Manually pushing your golf cart around a property isn’t the goal of the day, but it might happen with failing batteries. If you’re curious about electric golf cart batteres and their current state of health, learn more about their testing processes. There’s more than one way to test for power before heading out on a cart adventure.
Your Trusty Voltmeter
Golf Cart Resource suggests using your handy voltmeter as a rough way to test golf cart batteries. Access the battery with the motor off. The voltmeter will still show you a reading in this manner.
Touch the voltmeter’s negative probe to the battery’s ground or negative terminal. Repeat this step with the positive side.
Healthy batteries will indicate about 50 to 52 volts on the voltmeter. Most battery packs hold around 48 volts.
Keep in mind that the high number doesn’t mean that the batteries are instantly good. This measured value doesn’t take the load or cart’s power consumption into consideration.
The voltmeter is a good place to start. If your fully charged batteries indicate anything less than 48 or 50 volts, it’s time to replace them.
Looking at Individual Batteries
Golf cart batteries aren’t like car batteries with just a single housing. Your vehicle has a collection of batteries linked together. If you can access the individual batteries, try the voltmeter on them as single entities.
It’s possible to have one battery out of the group as a bad apple. This failing power source weighs down the entire system.
The trick with testing the individual batteries is deciding on replacement options. From a technical standpoint, you can replace single batteries. It may cost more to choose this option, however.
Finding one bad battery means that more will fail in time. Replace the entire set as the smartest course of action.
Have You Tried a Hydrometer?
Golf carts have batteries that use electrolyte mixtures. If you want to get technical with your testing procedures, try a hydrometer. These tools look like syringes. They test the specific gravity of your electrolyte solution.
If your battery indicates around a 1.280 specific gravity, your battery is good. Any other numbers are questionable. Find hydrometers at most battery stores. Each product has its own instructions for safe testing.
Verifying Charges With Load Testers
One of the most common ways to test your golf-cart battery is by using a load tester. Trojan Battery points out that looking at a battery’s outside housing is only part of a solid test procedure.
It’s not good enough to know the battery’s voltage reading with everything turned off. You need to know how the battery will react when the cart’s operator demands more power on the road with a stereo blaring in the background.
Load testers simulate a real-life draw on the battery. You’ll see the battery’s voltage change as the test continues with a load. In general, a change by a 0.5-volt or more indicates a bad battery.
Seeking out a Discharge Meter
A discharge meter is another version of a load test. In this case, your reading indicates the amount of minutes you can use the battery before it’s 75 percent discharged.
Most discharge meters are for industrial purposes, so you won’t find a mobile one for your household. Ask these facilities about their testing possibilities, such as:
- Golf courses
- Battery retailers
- Battery manufacturers
Testing parameters follow these steps, including:
- Connecting the entire battery bank to the meter
- Applying a 75-amp load to the batteries
- Waiting for a digital response in minutes
Healthy batteries in golf carts should reflect about 105 minutes on the meter. Anything less, such as 50 or 60, means that the batteries aren’t fit to continue on.
Go ahead and drive to your heart’s content! Reliable testing will tell you if the battery is good to go or not.