Diagnosing Battery Charger Issues

The last thing you want to do is replace your expensive golf car batteries. When your golf car begins to feel sluggish or doesn’t go the distance, your first worry is likely that your batteries need replacing. But, battery issues are not always an issue with the actual battery pack. Sometimes, charger issues can appear to be a problem with the batteries.

Undercharging is one of the most common problems for golf car owners, resulting in reduced operating time and overall poor performance of golf cars that use deep cycle flooded lead-acid batteries. While our first reaction may be to blame the batteries, many times the problem results from a poorly performing charging system. Battery chargers that are left in garages or sheds are subjected to temperature extremes and corrosive environments that can affect their performance. Before you replace a set of expensive batteries, make sure that your battery charger is operating correctly.

Connect the charger to check that it turns on and delivers a charge. Test the voltage at the battery pack positive and negative terminals. Determine the maximum on-charge voltage and charge current, using the charge meter near the end of the charge cycle just before the charge terminates.

Reset the charger. Once the charger has successfully completed a charge cycle and has automatically shut off, unplug the power to the charger. Wait a few minutes and plug the charger back in. The charger should resume charging normally. Reset your charger this way periodically. Some chargers can be reset by unplugging the DC power cord from the charger.

Check the battery charger’s performance. Monitor the on-charge voltage at the battery pack’s positive and negative terminals. Typically, the voltage will continue to increase to about 2.50-2.60 volts per cell, until the charge terminates automatically. If the voltage does not increase or initially increases and then decreases, the issue could be with your charger.

If you discover that your charger is not working properly, your batteries may still be good. Flooded lead-acid batteries can many times be brought back to full capacity with a full charge. If you need to purchase a new charger, purchase a programmable charger with a selection of multiple charge algorithms. Different deep cycle batteries require different charge criteria to deliver optimum performance. Relying on the battery manufacturer’s recommended charging procedure will optimize battery performance and ensure that your warranty remains valid.

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About the Author: The Owner of WHEELZ Custom Carts & Accessories, Julie Starr was one of the industry’s first online retailers of golf car products. Her eCommerce store, www.WHEELZLLC.com, has been serving golf car owners since 2008 and the store remains a popular online shopping experience for golf car owners who want to take their golf cars to the next level.

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