How to Test a Golf Cart Battery Charger

Last updated: February 19, 2021

Have you tested your golf cart battery charger? Golfers often face the problem of not being able to start their electric golf cart.

Other times, they’ll find their batteries are taking longer than expected to recharge fully, and other times their batteries will discharge much sooner than they had anticipated.

On paper, this looks like an issue with the golf cart batteries. However, often another piece of equipment could be the culprit. This is your golf cart’s battery charger. 

Battery chargers are usually very durable and will not show any signs of damage or defects for several years. But many times, due to overuse and misuse, golf cart battery chargers can lose their effectiveness over time, causing you all kinds of problems. 

Using a defective battery charger not only decreases your golf cart’s efficiency but can also significantly damage your battery and decrease its lifespan. That is why we strongly recommend keeping a check on your battery charger from time to time. 

That being said, testing a golf cart battery charger is not as straightforward as it sounds. It requires some skill with electrical appliances and a few devices you’ll find in a hardware or electrical store. 

In this article, we’ll guide you through the entire process of testing your golf cart battery charger, what equipment you need, and what are the benefits of keeping a regular check on your battery charger.

Why should you test your golf cart battery charger?

As discussed earlier, regular testing of your golf cart battery charger can have several benefits. We have narrowed down to three primary reasons as to why you should test your battery charger and what benefits it could have. These include the following:

Indicates battery health

Testing a golf cart battery charge will inform you about the health status of the battery. For instance, if you’re facing some charging issues and during the testing procedure you find that the battery charger is working fine, then it means the problem lies with the battery and not the charger itself.

Similarly, if the charger doesn’t respond favorably to the test, then the battery might be alright, and the issue is with the charger.

Detects electrical problem

If a battery is taking longer than expected to charge or is discharging too quickly, it could also mean that there are some of the electrical components, either in the golf cart or the charger, are compromised. Always checking the potency of your golf cart battery charger will help you identify these issues.

Extends battery lifespan

If you identify a problem with your battery charger and replace it soon enough, you’ll be doing your golf cart’s battery a huge favor. A defective charger will decrease the lifespan of your battery significantly, and vice versa.

How to test a golf cart battery charger (Step by Step guide)

The easiest way to test a battery charger’s efficacy is to connect it to another golf cart, see the outcome, or connect another charger to your golf cart.

However, not many people have spare chargers or golf carts lying around, so we recommend they follow the below-mentioned steps. You will need a device called the voltmeter and some other electric supplies to carry out this procedure.

Step 1. Connect your battery charger to a voltmeter and make sure you correctly connect the positive and negative terminals. Failure to do so might short circuit the voltmeter and the entire testing procedure will be kaput. 

Step 2. Turn on your battery charger and check the voltmeter to see the readings. A typical voltmeter has an indicator needle that moves from left to right.

All the way left means that the voltmeter is not getting power at all, while all the way right means that it is getting maximum power. Generally, a battery charger will show a reading of 36 amps. 

Step 3. If the charger doesn’t turn on, it means there could be an issue with the connecting wires. Turn the ignition switch to auxiliary power and try again. You should detach the voltmeter and reconnect it properly to remove any connection problems. 

Step 4. Check for grime and dirt on your battery charger and the battery too. Discharge from the battery can often cause a build-up of these substances and can cause charging issues. Thoroughly clean the surface and remove any visible dirt.

Step 5. Check any sort of break in the cables that connect the charger to the golf cart. Look for any kind of physical damage to cables that could be causing the charger to malfunction. Often the wires are disconnected at the charger site due to a minor human error. 

Step 6. This step is extremely helpful in determining the health of a golf cart battery charger. All battery chargers have a transformer, and a perfectly working charger’s transformer will produce a distinct humming sound. After switching on the charger, listen to the humming sound coming from the transformer.

If there is a sound, then the charger is working properly; however, if not, it could be an indication that the transformer is seriously damaged and needs to be replaced.

 Step 7. Another way to ensure your battery charger’s health is by going over your charger’s wiring circuitry. You can do this by going through the user manual and looking for your charger’s wiring diagram and how it connects to the golf cart.

Make sure all the parts and wires are connected as they are supposed to, and reconnect them if they’re not working properly.

 Step 8. Very often, the grounding wire is causing the battery charger to malfunction. It is a small wire that comes from the battery charger and attaches to the engine housing’s metal frame in the golf cart.

Check whether this wire is connected to the correct terminals as the charger will not work properly if the wire is disconnected.

Step 9. Your golf cart and the battery charger will have a bunch of fuses that are put in as a security measure. Often these can blow and protect the circuitry from getting damaged, but once the fuse is blown, it hinders the charging process. Inspect all the fuses in both the charger and the golf cart and replace the burnt-out ones. 

Step 10. If all else fails, then the only thing left to do is check your battery. You should be extremely cautious while dealing with the battery as the materials are corrosive. Take the caps off the battery terminals and try to get a look at the liquid inside.

If you notice that the liquid is gray or brown, then the issue might be with the battery. This indicates that your battery’s lifespan has come to an end, and it’s time to purchase a new one.

Precautions and Tips for Golf Cart Battery Chargers

  1. Remove all jewelry or any metallic objects before carrying out the testing procedure.
  2. Make sure to plug out the charger if you’re planning to be away for an extended period of time. Although some chargers come with “Plug and forget” technology, it would not hurt to remove the charger on a timely basis.
  3. Many times a charger will not work because of the low voltage of the battery pack. This is because a battery charger needs some voltage for it to work correctly.
  4. Very often, a charger might be having only a slight issue that can be easily fixed. It would be best to get the charger checked by an expert before buying a new one altogether. 
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