There are many battery configurations for the golf carts. Electric golf carts come mainly in 36 or 48 volt battery configurations while gas golf carts mainly uses 12 volt battery system. There are many reasons why 48 volt golf carts may need to be reduced to 12 volts. This may be necessitated by the need for running 12 volt powered electrical systems like radio or 12 volt lighting system on the 48 volt golf cart. There are basically two ways of getting 12 volts from a 48 volt golf cart discussed in this article. Technical knowledge is key in this process as there are risks of electrocution from 48 volt battery system and damage to golf cart electronic circuit. It is also recommended to consult electrical technician for this task.
Connect Batteries in Parallel
This is the first method of getting 12 volts from a 48 volt golf cart. This method is a bit complex and time consuming. For this method you need the following tools:
- Cutter pliers, insulation tape, 12 volt lug connectors, cable ties and 12 volts electric cable.
The assumption is that the 48 volt golf cart batteries are a series connection of 4 12-volt batteries. The other configurations for 6 volt and 8 volt batteries all follow the same principle as the 12 volt battery configurations but for this explanation a 12 volt series battery configuration is used.
Follow the steps below to get 12 volts from 48 volts golf cart.
- Make sure your golf cart is on tow mode and off for safety reasons. 48 volts is very dangerous and so make sure all metal parts are away from the batteries and always use rubber gloves.
- Using your cutter pliers, cut 4 red cable lengths for the positive terminal and 4 black cable lengths for negative terminal.
- Make sure your batteries have grounding as per supplier recommendation. Also separate the batteries to make sure that there is no complete circuit while you are working as joining may produce sparks. You may disconnect one battery terminal lug only to disconnect the circuit.
- Strip all the cables about a centimeter either end and use lug connectors at one end.
- Take the 4 red cables and connect each to the positive battery terminals of each of the 4 12 volt golf cart batteries.
- Take the other 4 black cable lengths and connect each to each of the 4 12 volt golf cart batteries. Now at this point we have all positive battery terminals having a positive red cable connected and all negative battery terminals having a black negative cable connected.
- Take the free ends of all red cables from the batteries with lug connectors and join the lug ends together to form one connection.
- Using cable ties bundle together the cables to make sure they don’t hang loosely around and do the same for black negative cables. Any cable to cable joint has to be insulated using insulation tape.
- Connect the black cable ends with lugs together as well to form one connection. Now we have only two connections the red positive and the black negative terminals from all the batteries on our golf cart. The voltage between these two terminals is 12 volts and therefore we have successfully managed to get our required 12 volts.
This is parallel battery configuration. Batteries in parallel have the same voltage as a single battery unit. So by connecting these 4 12-volt golf cart batteries in parallel we get 12 volts.
It is important to make sure that the batteries connected have the same voltage capacity and amperage ratings otherwise the system will be inefficient.
Using 48 Volt to 12 Volt Voltage Regulator
This is the second method for getting 12 volts from 48 volt golf cart. The method is also simple and less time consuming compared to parallel battery connection. What is needed is a 48 volt to 12 volt voltage regulator. This can be purchased from various dealers in the market. It is important to read the specifications of the regulator to make sure that they match the required output of 12 volts. Usually the regulators come with manuals which one has to read and understand before any connections. If in doubt consult an electrician. The voltage regulators usually have both input and output voltage connections. The input voltage is 48 volts while the output is 12 volts.
- The first step is to get your voltage regulator positioned where you need it on your golf cart.
- Identify the positive and negative input cables from the regulator. In case these cables are short you may need to join and insulate so that they reach the battery terminals.
- For 48 volt golf cart, the batteries are in series connection and so the 48 volts is between the negative of the first battery which is our negative terminal for the circuit and the positive terminal of the last battery in the circuit which is our positive terminal for the battery bank.
- Connect the negative terminal of the voltage regulator to the negative terminal of the first battery in our series and connect the positive terminal of the voltage regulator to the positive of the last battery in the battery bank.
- As mentioned above the batteries should be disconnected so that not sparks are created during connections and connected after all connections are done.
- After the connections, the two output from the voltage regulator will give 12 volts and we have successfully managed to get 12 volts from 48 volt golf cart.
The voltage regulator maintains a constant output voltage regardless of the input voltage and as such the voltage output remains 12 volts. This method will cost a few dollars for the purchase of the regulator. The procedures explained here applies to all golf cart battery configurations. Only make sure the regulator matches the battery voltage giving the required voltage.
It is important always to take precaution as 48 volts is a very large voltage to work with. Always ask for assistance from qualified personnel who understands the principles of electricity.