Do You Need a Voltage Reducer for Your Golf Cart?

Golf cart on path of golf course

In the past, it is safe to say that golf carts served a singular purpose: taking passengers and golf clubs from point a to point b. These days that is just not the case. Golf carts and their recreational duties have significantly evolved. Now golf cart owners call upon their golf carts for assistance with beach vacations, security patrols, snow removal, and an array of other tasks and activities.

Do you need a voltage reducer for a golf cart?

Most golf cart owners will need a voltage reducer if they plan on running any accessories such as lighting or a radio. Anything that runs on 12 volts will require a voltage reducer on an electric golf cart to reduce the voltage from 36, 48, or 72 volts to 12 volts.

The versatility golf cart owners have come to expect from their vehicle’s is impressive and ingenious. However, as owners prepare their golf cart for their various tasks and activities they normally find themselves installing additional accessories, lights, horns, or electronics. These accessories may provide a variety of services or make things easier for the golf cart owner, but it is likely these accessories will not be perfectly compatible with the golf cart’s power supply. This is where a voltage reducer is needed. 

In the space below, voltage reducers, their importance, and when they are needed are all discussed. In addition, the various types of accessories that may need to be installed alongside a voltage reducer and the correct type of voltage reducer for a golf cart equipped with a 36 volt and 48 volt power supply are explored. 

What is a Voltage Reducer?

If you were to take your best guess as to what a voltage reducer is, it is entirely likely that you would be close to correct, if not entirely so. Afterall, it is what it sounds like.

A voltage reducer regulates the output of voltage from your golf cart’s batteries. By performing this task, the voltage reducer will consistently regulate the voltage output despite changes to the voltage input. Therefore, if a 12 volt voltage reducer receives a power supply of anything over 12 volts it will still only relay 12 volts to the accessories it is connected to.

A voltage reducer is necessary if your golf cart’s power supply is 36 volt or 48 volt and you are looking to install additional 12 volt accessories. This voltage reducer will regulate the amount of power being sent to your 12 volt accessories so that they are not over supplied.

Failing to properly install a voltage reducer or simply deciding not to could lead to significant damage to your accessories or worse even physical harm to the cart’s operator and passenger if the accessories receive too much voltage and malfunction. 

Do You Need to Install a Voltage Reducer on Your Golf Cart?

If you plan on installing additional accessories on an electric golf cart the answer is most likely yes. However, it is not just that you need to install a voltage reducer to use your accessories, before long you will want to upgrade your cart with accessories and need to. As we have previously discussed, voltage reducers will allow you to upgrade your golf cart with additional light kits, electronics, and other accessories. The only way to safely manage and operate these accessories on a 36 volt or 48 volt power supply is through the use of a 12 volt voltage reducer. 

Accessories That May Require a Voltage Reducer

Listed below are a series of accessories that may require you to install a voltage reducer on your golf cart’s 36 volt or 48 volt power supply. Any accessories that operate at a standard voltage of 12 volts or close to it will need to be safely operated with the assistance of a voltage reducer. These accessories may include:

  • Aftermarket light bars
  • Light kits
  • LED light strips
  • Aftermarket radios and speakers
  • Power fans
  • Megaphone and other communication systems

Your Golf Cart’s Power Supply Configuration

Most likely your golf cart’s power supply matches one of the following configurations. If your golf cart is equipped with a 48 volt power supply, it is likely that your golf cart is equipped with four 12 volt batteries or six 8 volt batteries. In the event that your golf cart is equipped with a 36 volt power supply, the power supply configuration likely consists of six 6 volt batteries. A 36 volt power supply is less common than the two previous 48 volt power supply configurations. These equations for these configurations are listed in the table below: 

Power Supply VoltageConfiguration 
48 Volts4 X 12V Battery = 48 Volts

6 X 8V Battery = 48 Volts
36 Volts6 X 6V Battery = 36 Volts

The Correct Voltage Reducer for Your Golf Cart

If your golf cart is equipped with a 48 volt power supply then you will have the easiest time purchasing and installing a voltage reducer. If this is the case, you will need to purchase a 48 volt to 12 volt voltage reducer. This power supply will reduce the received voltage of 48 volts to 12 volts to safely power 12 volt accessories. This model is highly used by many golf cart users and it is important to buy a reducer that can produce enough amperage to power all of your accessories.

When installing a 48 volt to 12 volt voltage reducer on your golf cart’s 48 power supply you will connect the voltage reducer to the main positive and main negative on batteries to achieve the required 48 volts of voltage input that can then be reduced to 12 volts of voltage output. 

In the event your golf cart is equipped with a 36 volt battery configuration, you will need to purchase and install a 36 to 12 volt voltage reducer. Most times, a reducer can be used for both 36 and 48 volt carts like this model, but always make sure first.

In some situations, golf cart owners try to directly power their 12 volt accessories with either one of their golf cart’s 12 volt batteries or two of their golf cart’s six volt batteries since this would appear to produce the desired 12 volts needed to run the accessories safely.

However, the problem with this apparent solution is that now only two or one of the golf cart’s batteries would be receiving the drain of all of the cart’s 12 volt accessories. This drain would cause these battery charges to consistently be below the rest of the golf cart’s power supply. This will cause premature wear and cause that battery to fail before the rest of your pack.

Doing this will also cause your other batteries to overcharge causing damage.

To amend this problem, a voltage reducer will be needed to evenly discharge and relay voltage from all of the golf cart’s batteries. This relay will produce a safe and secure power supply that can continue to power 12 volt accessories and maintain the performance of the golf cart. 

Power Supply ConfigurationVoltage Reducer Needed
6X8 Volt Battery = 48 Volts48 volt to 12 volt reducer
4X12 Volt Battery = 48 Volts48 volt to 12 voltage reducer
6X6 Volt Battery = 36 Volts36 volt to 12 volt reducer

Golf Cart Voltage Reducer Amperage

When purchasing a voltage reducer, make sure to buy one large enough to power all of your current and future accessories. A 30 amp reducer should be plenty.

For example, if you plan on running a light bar, that will use about 12 amps. Add on your headlights and taillights, a radio, and a winch, and you will be at the top of your reducer’s capacity.

Summary: The Importance of a Voltage Reducer

As you now know, a voltage reducer is a very important piece of equipment if you are planning to install various 12 volt accessories onto your golf cart. As previously touched upon, voltage reducers will not only allow you to safely equip and run a variety of 12 volt accessories including aftermarket light kits and radios, but a voltage reducer will also maintain the integrity of your golf cart’s power supply.

In total, installing a voltage reducer is the best way to upgrade your golf cart with additional accessories and maintain your cart’s peak performance. When you got to purchase a voltage reducer make sure you are familiar with your golf cart’s power supply configuration and with what voltage reducer you need!