Golf carts are finicky creatures, and often their owners are looking for ways to improve their power, speed, and performance. One of the ways to do that is to change up the batteries.
You can use three 12V batteries in a 36 V golf cart, but you may find this has a negative effect on the cart’s performance and the battery life. However, this will significantly depend on the batteries you opt to install and whether they have the same power as the existing 6V configuration.
Before you look at changing your golf cart batteries, you need to understand why your cart is set up with the batteries it has and what you need to consider before switching them over.
What Kind Of Batteries Do Golf Carts Use
The typical 36V or 48Vgolf cart will use either 6V, 8V, or 12V, and to see what the configuration is, you need to access the battery compartment and check. Look on the battery for the voltage then multiply that by how many batteries you have and you will know whether your golf cart is 36 or 48 volts. For example, if you have 4 batteries and they are 12 volt… 4×12=48. You have a 48 volt cart.
What Types Of Batteries Do Golf Carts Use
This is an essential consideration if you consider putting 12V batteries into a 36V cart. You need to have the same or similar specifications as the batteries your cart was sold with.
Golf carts can take four kinds of batteries:
- Flooded Lead Acid – FLA batteries
- AGM Lead Acid Batteries
- Gel Lead Acid Batteries
- Lithium-Ion Golf Cart Batteries
The FLA batteries are like the old ones in your car that aren’t sealed and require topping up to maintain their operational performance.
The AGM and Gel Batteries are sealed and generally are preferred to FLA batteries as they last longer and don’t require maintenance. AGM would give better overall performance than Gel or FLA.
Golf Cart Use Deep Cycle Batteries
All golf cart batteries are deep cycle batteries, so they can charge and then run for a long time to power your golf cart through the round; this is why replacing your golf cart batteries with 12V car batteries won’t work as the car battery is not deep cycle and would perform poorly in that setting.
For performance, there are two aspects: the voltage, which gives the car power, and the amperage, which gives the cart distance and time. The amps determine how long and how far the cart will run.
If you need help troubleshooting your golf cart batteries, read up a bit on why they don’t last on this post here.
What Are The Amp-Hours On A Golf Cart Battery
The amp-hours measure DC similar to the batteries used in home solar-powered systems. The amp-hours (AH) measure how much power the battery can deliver in an hour.
This is another essential element to consider if you will change your 6V batteries to 12V. You need to ensure you have the same or better AH with the 12V batteries as you did with the 6V, or your cart will not have enough power or endurance.
Will three 12 volt batteries be just as good as six 6 volt batteries in my golf cart?
It really will depend on the amount of amp hours the batteries are.
Here is an example:
You replace your 6 volt 225 amp hour (ah) batteries with 12 volt 150 ah batteries.
To calculate the amount of total amp hours you will have in your 36 volt cart would go like this:
Six 6 volt 225 ah batteries equal 36 volts with 225 amp hours.
Three 12 volt 150 ah batteries equals 36 volts at 150 amp hours.
In this case you will have better distance with the 6 volt option over the 12. If you are only using it for short distances, it may make sense to go the 12v option as it will be cheaper.
Price of Six 6 Volt batteries would be: $1,026 with 225 amp hours
Price of Three 12 volt batteries would be $810 but you only get 150 amp hours
The price really is not too different but with the 6 volt option you will get 50% increased capacity.
Types Of Carts And The Batteries Used
Here are some of the leading brand carts and the batteries and AH ratings they use.
An EZGO RXV uses 4 X12V 150AH batteries wired in series to give the 48v but only 150AH, while the Club Car uses 6X8V deep cycle batteries also rated at 150AH.
The Club Car Precedent uses 4x 12V batteries like the EZGO rated at 140-150AH each. If you replace your 6V batteries with 12V, make sure your AH rating is the equivalent, or you will become highly frustrated with the lack of power and performance.
So now that you have the technical info on the batteries and what to look for in terms of specifications, let’s look at how you connect three 12v batteries to replace the six 6V batteries in your golf cart.
5 Simple Steps To Replace 6V Batteries With 12v Batteries
Now that you have your new 12V batteries, it’s time to remove the 6V batteries and replace them with the three 12V batteries. Here’s how you do it.
Step 1: Open The Battery Compartment & Check The Wiring
Open the battery compartment and check to see how the batteries are wired. They are usually wired in series, ie. The negative cable from the first battery goes to the positive of the second etc.
Then the positive cable from the golf cart is wired to the positive terminal of the first battery, with the negative cable from the golf cart wired to the negative terminal of the last connected battery.
Note how the batteries are connected, so you wire the new ones correctly.
Step 2: Disconnect And Remove The 6V Batteries
Using a spanner or pliers, loosen the nuts that connect the wires to each battery, do this sequentially, so you are removing the first, then second, then third battery, etc., until you have disconnected them all.
Remove the six 6V batteries and put them on the ground, or store them away.
Step 3: Insert And Arrange The Three 12V Batteries
Now you want to place the new 12V batteries in the battery compartment. Make sure that you space them so that the battery cables can connect to the terminals of the batteries and the golf cart cables.
Step 4: Assign Battery Numbers And Connect
Using a sharpie, mark each new battery with #1, #2, and #3 and connect them as follows.
Take the negative of battery #1 and connect it to battery #2, then take the negative of battery #2 and connect to the postive of battery #3.
Step 5: Connect The Batteries To The Golf Cart
Now, connect the positive cable from the golf cart to the positive terminal of battery #1 and connect the negative cable from the golf cart to the negative terminal of battery #3.
This completes the circuit from the golf cart power system through the batteries and back, and your new 12V battery configuration is ready to go!
You can undoubtedly connect three 12V batteries instead of six 6V batteries in your cart, provided you maintain the AH rating and equivalent voltage to match the golf cart’s specifications.
Checking with your golf cart’s manufacturer or service provider would be wise so you can get accurate information on the recommended options for 12V batteries to replace your 6V units so you can get the performance and lifespan out of them.