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Golf Cart Battery Cables Exposed – Does Size Really Matter or Club Car Golf Carts ?

For gas powered carts, the cables need only be of sufficient size to operate the starter motor, which is only for a few seconds at a time. So that answer is no, the originally installed cables are plenty sufficient in size. For those of us who have the more plentiful, battery powered carts, Club Car Golf Carts  in Benoni the answer is somewhat more complicated. The short answer for us is, yes and no, depending upon what we expect from the cart or if modifications to the motor or controller have been made.

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If the cart is absolutely bone stock (all original with no upgrades) and is used primarily as originally intended around the local course, the standard 6 AWG (aka 6 gauge or #6) cables are perfectly fine. Wire (cable) size is measured by a standard called American Wire Gauge or AWG and relates to the diameter or cross sectional area of the copper conductor itself. The smaller the AWG number, the larger the diameter, and hence, larger current carrying capacity. For example, a 2 AWG cable is larger than a 4 AWG which is larger than a 6 AWG. Most cart manufacturers use 6 AWG cables. The finest cables we have found so far are made by MaxiLink.com, which are super flexible and made for extreme duty electric vehicle use.

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Ok, now for you guys that want better performance, we’ll get a little more technical. The maximum current that will ever go through your cables is when the cart is at rest and you mash the gas pedal to the floor. At that point in time, the controller puts out the max power it is capable of, and the motor experiences what is called “locked rotor” current draw, which can be hundreds of amperes. When the motor is in a stalled state, it requires tremendous energy to get it spinning to the rated RPM. If the motor were to stay in the stalled state (if there was some mechanical restraint that would not allow it to turn) the high current would continue to be absorbed by the motor until it actually burned up the windings.

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Typically though, the motor begins to spin immediately, and the current drops down to 20 or so amperes within a few milliseconds (on a stock cart). There are four things that limit that maximum current; the resistance of the internal windings of the motor, the current capacity of the battery pack, the controller capacity and the resistance of the battery cables. The Battery Pack and Motor windings are pretty much fixed values. Keep these in mind because we will come back to them.

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Aftermarket “high torque” or “high speed” motors installed to increase the carts performance are commonplace these days. Unfortunately, that additional performance requires additional power. The motor is only there to convert electrical energy into kinetic energy (not very efficiently either). High power motors have a lower internal resistance than stock, which in turn draws more current. If you remember from science class, power (in watts) is voltage (E) multiplied by the current (I). Since the voltage cannot go any higher than the battery’s 48volts (or 36volts), the current increases in order to satisfy the power demand of the motor. Unfortunately, this is where the resistance of the battery cables come into play. As the current increases in a conductor, power is lost in the form of heat at a rate of I2R, where R is the cable resistance.

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In an ideal cable and to transfer max power, the cable resistance (R) should be zero ohms. Unfortunately all cables have some resistance. The cable resistance causes the voltage to drop (E=IR) and results in lost power to the motor. The solution; increase the size of the battery cables (the larger the cable the less the resistance). Of course, the cable diameter can only be increased within reasonable mechanical size limitations, but that is what is required to reap the full benefits of a high power aftermarket motor. Our example used the locked rotor current to explain the worst case effects. They are less drastic at partial throttle, where the current draw is significantly less.

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If you want to do the drag racing, burnouts, wheelies and such with your cart though, you will need the bigger cables to supply the required massive inrush of current to the motor. Although the resistance of the cables seems tiny (#6 = 0.00047ohms/ft vs. #2 = 0.00015 ohms/ft), the voltage drop is significant when large currents are present, which will reduce performance. So for the high power motor users out there, use large diameter cables and keep them as short as possible. Size will matter to you. Look for other articles by Randy Wade and check out www.digitaloverdrivesystems.com regularly for news, tips and performance products including the new Maxilink Extreme Duty EV cables.

Interesting Facts About Club Car Golf Carts in South Africa:

About Club Car Golf Carts in South Africa:

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When most people think golf carts they think of a buggy that takes a golfer and his golf clubs around the course. And that’s a fair assumption seeing that is what they were originally produced for. But in this day and age there are other uses apart from the obvious. Many large companies with many warehouses or factories also find a need for golf carts. Traveling to and fro between buildings is made easier and faster when using a golf buggy. These little buggies are not only convenient but also can be very useful along with the fact that they can be affordable. You will find many manufacturers that produce these golf carts in either a manual push and pull, electric or gas version. Some can carry passengers as well as a golf bag.And for the people who like to be a little different there are companies that make custom versions to satisfy that individual need. You don’t have to have a custom version to be a little different as you can just add some ATV wheels to make yours stand out from the others if that is what you wish. If you are a fanatic golfer or just an occasional golfer then golf carts are still a great way to get around that 9 or 18 hole course. Of course you can purchase your own or you have the option of hiring one as well. Many courses have them for hire for reasonable prices but there may not always be one available. So if you don’t like disappointments then perhaps you should consider buying one. A good idea is to check out the many online manufacturers that make reliable and affordable golf carts for you to choose from before making any rash decision. Remember, whether you are a golfer or you just need the cart for convenience and versatility in your business or home you will find a wide range to choose from on the web.

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I own a golf cart dealership located in North Florida. We sell and service golf carts, both electric and gas powered. At our dealership there are far more electric powered golf carts that we repair than there are gas. I would say we see about a hundred electric carts to every gas powered in our service department. This isn't because gas cars are so much better and require less servicing.The reason for the mass difference is due to our location. We are in North Florida. Flat without any hills North Florida. We are also in a State that has been very "go green" friendly. Hence, not really a high demand for gas powered golf carts for the not so hilly greens. And right along with every electric golf cart is the golf cart's battery charger. We have walk-ins every week bringing us these chargers for us to diagnose.Sometimes the charger is just fine indicating that there is a problem on the golf cart which we then schedule for pickup. However, the majority of the time the initial plug in test indicates some sort of failure with the battery charger. There is a pretty good chance that the power surge demon attacked the battery charger. We live in an area of North Florida that has more than our fair share of electrical power surges. And if that's not bad enough we also experience a great number of afternoon thunderstorms accompanied by enough lightening that would have made Ben Franklin want to live here!I hope I have communicated these concepts in a positive way that helps us understand the need for a surge protector to be installed in the power circuit to the golf cart's battery charger. And in doing so you will prevent having to pay for costly repairs caused by the "electrical demons" of power surges and electrical spikes. With the end result of you saving money and taking better care of your golf cart. It is for these things why I write. I write for you and your understanding of your golf cart. Thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say. You honor me by doing so. OK, until next time we meet, get out there and enjoy your golf cart. After all, isn't that what you bought it for? MKR

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