Golf carts are powered by batteries that discharge during operation and thus require recharging using appropriate charger for the golf cart. Each golf cart has its own charging requirements and so also are the chargers. Golf carts are provide with two option for chargers, the on-board and off board chargers. On-board chargers are mounted on the golf cart and can be used whenever the battery runs low whenever there is a power outlet socket. Off-board chargers are always plugged onto the wall outlet sockets and can only be used in a particular room. These can be modified to on-board and vice versa but it is not recommended. Golf cart chargers have different current or amperage ratings which determine the current they draw when recharging the golf cart battery pack. These variations are due to different battery voltage systems for different golf carts available. There are mainly three factors that are considered when determining the amount of current in amps that a golf cart charger draws. These are the battery voltage, level of battery discharge and charger type or quality and its rating. These factors are discussed in detail below. This discussion should be treated as a guideline and golf supplier recommendations and conditions should be treated as superior.
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Battery System Voltage
The golf cart charger has to match the battery system of your golf cart. This way the amount of amps drawn by your charger is proportional to your golf cart battery system capacity. 36 volts battery system requires 36 volts battery chargers while 48 volts battery system requires 48 volts battery charger. There are however some chargers that are capable of accepting multiple voltage ranges from 24 to 48 volts battery system. Care should be taken to ensure that your golf cart battery charger is specified for single battery voltage or multiple charging voltages. This is to avoid damage to the battery system through voltages mismatch between the battery charger and batteries. Generally the relationship between your battery voltage and charger power rating determines the amount of current that your charger draws. Many golf cart battery chargers are specified in terms of the power rating in Watts and amperage which is the amount of current they draw. Therefore the amount of current or amps drawn by a charger is depended upon the current rating of the charger or power rating which should match the battery voltage. The higher the amp rating of the charger the faster it is to charge. The amount of amps drawn can also be deduced from the relationship of the power to the voltage assuming that the battery is completely discharged. Generally 36 volts battery system golf cart chargers should be able to draw between 15 to 30 amps.
Level of Battery Discharge
This is one of the determinant factors for amount of amps drawn by golf cart battery chargers. Generally the lower the discharge the higher the amount of amps drawn by the battery charger. If you are to monitor current or amps drawn from complete discharge to full charge there is a steady decrease in the amount of current drawn by the charger. At full charge the golf cart battery charger will not draw any current and any ammeter will read zero. The battery condition also comes into play. Batteries wear with time and as a result may not readily accept charge and this also affects the amount of current drawn by the battery charger to charge the batteries. Newer and good condition batteries have been found to have a better affinity for electric charges compared to old and worn out batteries. Sometimes golf cart battery charger may not read due to low electrolyte on the battery and so all these factors should be considered. Good battery maintenance practices are key to allow the battery charger to efficiently charge the battery pack.
Charger Type and Rating
Charger rating refers to the maximum amount of current or power that a charger can deliver under ideal conditions. Ratings are usually in Watts or amps and the higher the rating the quicker it is to charge. This also means the higher the current rating the higher the reading is assuming all other factors remain constant. Different chargers have different current drawing capacity on charging golf cart batteries. Partly this is due to the charger ratings and charger quality. Different charger manufacturers have different charger current ratings and as a result use of two different chargers will give two different amperage reading. It is recommended to always pay attention to the amperage rating for your charger when purchasing one. The higher the rating the quicker it is to recharge your battery. Also there are good quality recommended charger brands on the market which also is a factor on the amount of amperage drawn by the respective charger.
Multiple Voltage Support Chargers
There are also golf cart battery chargers that are capable of charging multiple voltage ranges. Some chargers are only meant for single voltage for instance only 36V charger for 36V battery system or 48V charger for 48V battery system. Chargers with multiple charging options like the EZGO MARATHON 36/48 V golf cart battery charger have multiple amp drawing capacity which also may give different amp reading. This charger can support 650W models as follows: 48V/22A, 36V/25A, and 24V/25A. As a result various readings can be expected again because of this.
From this discussion, the above factors contribute a lot to the amperage drawn by the golf cart battery chargers when recharging the battery system. Attention has to be given to the battery system voltage which determines the battery charger voltage capacity required. The nature of the batteries and their condition also plays an important role in determining the amount of amps that can be drawn as highlighted. The most important of all is to always check your charger rating as this determines the amps that the charger can draw holding all other factors constant. It is recommended to refer to supplier manual for guideline for a particular golf cart current rating for the chargers.