The icon brand despite being one of the newer players in the market is a well loved and respected brand in the golf cart industry. Icon golf carts offer good maneuverability and stability even at higher speeds. The golf carts are electric and as a result offer good acceleration while being quiet and economically friendly at the same time. They use a large lead-acid battery pack to power the electric motor therefore they only need to be recharged instead of refueling with gasoline. The lead-acid battery pack is large and offers good range on a single charge while allowing the golf cart to carry fairly large amounts of weight. The lead acid battery chemistry enables the use of electric vehicles at a very cheap price however it does come with a few draw backs that will be discussed below.
Table of Contents
The Icon Golf Cart Battery Overview
The icon golf cart uses a lead acid 8V 6-piece battery pack to power the 4kW AC drive motor. This configuration allows the batteries to deliver a combined 48V which is good for 30 to 40 miles of range. The battery pack uses sulfuric acid as the electrolyte which separates the two electrodes that are responsible for generating the flow of electrons or alternatively the flow of current. This is because the two electrodes are made of two dissimilar metals hence are at different electron potentials and this results in the flow of electrons if an external circuit is connected between the two battery terminals. This external circuit is made available by the icon golf cart motor and electronic components.
The use of lead and sulfuric acid in the functioning of the icon golf cart battery results in a few health issues. These include.
The lead acid battery produces toxic fumes when charging and also when discharging. These can be very poisonous when inhaled hence proper ventilation should be provided when the batteries are charging.
Sulfuric acid is also very corrosive and it can burn skin, eyes and clothing hence the battery should not be tipped or held in a position that can promote leaking of the acid. The vent cap should also be held tight and level. In the event of an injury, it is advisable to rinse the wound with water and quickly seek medical attention.
2. Explosive Gases
Explosive gases such as hydrogen are produced by the battery when it is charging and discharging hence ensure good ventilation in the room where the golf cart is charging. This will flush out the gases before they accumulate. Also keep any sources of sparks such as cigarettes away from the battery and golf cat at all times as these could ignite and give sources of flames. The battery itself could explode if exposed to flames hence should be kept away from all flames to resolve this issue.
3. Electric Shock
The battery pack produces a combined 48 V and this could result in electric shocks and severe burns if the battery is not properly handled. Caution should be taken when handling the battery to ensure it is not short circuited. Never let any tools especially metal tools to touch the positive and negative battery terminals as this could short the battery and severely damage it. When carrying out any maintenance ensure this is done by trained professionals. Also ensure insulated tools are used to prevent shorting the battery or any other electronic circuitry. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as safety googles, insulated gloves and tools is advised to protect the user from toxic fumes, projectiles and electric shock.
4. Battery Weight
Lead acid batteries are very heavy hence caution should be taken when lifting them. Use proper lifting techniques to prevent back injuries or alternatively it is recommended to use machines to carry the battery. This additional weight also affects the range of the icon golf cart itself as the motor has to do more work to push the golf cart around which weighs roughly 1215 pounds due to the additional battery weight. This issue can also be addressed by not carrying heavy equipment on the golf cart.
5. Heating Issues
The battery can heat up when charging or discharging along with the charger due to the large amounts of currents that flow through the battery and electrical circuitry. This heating of the battery then affects efficiency and degrades the battery. The issue can be addressed by introducing proper ventilation and cooling methods. Passive cooling is achieved by allowing parts of the battery to interact with air which then extracts the heat. Active cooling uses coolants that flow close to the battery and extract heat from it hence solving the issue.
6. Effects Of External Temperature
Batteries charge and operate much better in a certain temperature range. This is between 0-32 degrees Celsius, anything outside this range results in battery degradation. Also ensure the icon golf cart battery is not charged when it is frozen as it can explode. The batteries also need to be recharged every 60 to 90 days if they are not in use. This is to avoid damaging them.
7. Charging Times
Charging the large lead-acid batteries can take several hours especially if charging with lower currents. This can add to range anxiety fears especially if the battery is run till it is empty. To reduce the issue of long charging times consider charging the battery through the night when the golf cart is not in use to reduce such battery issues.
8. Battery Disposal Issues
Every battery eventually degrades and needs to be removed from the golf cart and replaced. The discarded battery can prove difficult to dispose as it is not easily recyclable. The external casing is made of plastic and it does not discompose if left to degrade in the open. Burning the battery can also release harmful toxins which damage the environment and cause health issues to people. This could also result in the battery exploding. To solve this issue, ensure optimal use of the battery to increase its time in operation. Also consider selling the battery to people and organizations that recycle batteries.
9. Icon Golf Cart Battery Maintenance Issues
The icon golf cart batteries need regular maintenance if they are to be kept in good working condition. Regularly check the electrolyte level to ensure it is not too low, ideally this should be done after every month. This can be done using a hydrometer. The battery should also be cleaned regularly using a solution of baking soda and water to remove corrosion especially on the battery terminals as this can deplete the energy stored in the battery.
10. Defective Wiring And Loose Terminals
The battery terminals can become loose over time and this can lead to arcing. The icon golf cart battery terminals need to be inspected daily to ensure they are secure so as to resolve this issue. Also check the electrical wiring for broken or frayed connections as these may affect resistance and lead to heating. Visually inspect any wiring to resolve this issue. Also check the voltage regulator to see if it is malfunctioning as it affects the overall operation of the icon golf cart.