Golf cart batteries get discharged as you drive, quite unlike the vehicle batteries that get recharged in a similar process. This presents a bit of an inconvenience while cruising around in the golf cart, knowing that the batteries have the potential to drain to zero at any moment.
Now when you run out of battery charge, it means you would have to find a way to charge it back up to resume your cruise or game of golf. Determining how long it takes for the battery to get recharged may give you lead time and structure for planning.
How long does it take to Charge a Golf Cart?
It takes 8 to 14 hours to charge a fully discharged battery pack whether you have an old or new battery. Factors that can determine charging time are depth of discharge, how many amp-hours you have used, as well as how many amp hours your charger can charge.
Whether you have an EZGo, Club Car, Yamaha, or other brand golf cart, determining the time it will take to charge your battery will be the same. Basically devide the amp hour rate of your charger by how many amps you have used. That is easier said than done because golf carts don’t have a meter telling you how many amps you have used.
If you do have a voltage meter, you can determine how many amp hours you have used by finding the capacity of your golf cart batteries and divide by the amp hours on your charger to get an approximate idea. The following factors will also determine the length of time it take to charge.
What Are the Factors That Affect How long it takes To Charge aGolf Cart Battery?
There are three major factors that immediately influence the time it takes to charge the golf cart to full capacity. We have:
- Battery Quality
- Battery’s Depth of Discharge
- Golf Cart Charger Quality
- Number of Cycles on your Charger
Factor #1: Battery Quality
For the life cycle of a golf cart battery, the mode of operation is to charge, discharge, and then recharge again. A relatively new battery, one that is less than two years old, would charge to a full percentage slower compared to a battery that has been used for over 2 years. This is because batteries tend to lose their capacity as they age. While charging an older battery with less capacity, you will charge it faster.
Batteries should only be discharged to 50% capacity. If you have a new 100 amp battery pack you can use 50 amp hours before you need to recharge. If you have an old battery pack that had degraded to only 80 % capacity, then you would need to charge when you have used 30 amps. On the same charger, it will be quicker to charge 30 amps than the newer 50 amp charge.
Only the new EZGo Lithium Elite has been known to take approximately 4 to 4.5 hours of charging time.
What is the proper battery charging cycle?
A golf cart battery, with proper battery charging and discharging cycle alongside regular maintenance, can last for six to seven years. With a proper charging process, the charging time is less likely to rapidly increase over the years.
The best practice is to avoid using up the battery’s energy before recharging. The rule of thumb is to reserve about 50% of the battery’s life after each use. If the battery is constantly run below 50%, the battery can have permanent damage that will lower its life.
In the same light, it is a bad decision to charge the battery if it is at 85% or above. This is overcharging which decreases the battery’s lifespan and creates lengthy charging times subsequently. Undercharging the battery also causes it to discharge at a higher rate as it under-maximizes the power of the battery.
Factor #2: Battery’s Depth of Discharge (DOD)
If the battery was not fully discharged before the charging process, then it will usually take lesser time to charge fully. This is to say that the higher the depth of discharge of the batteries, the longer it will take them to be fully charged.
Batteries with DOD of 50%, charging them using a battery charger will take ten hours or more. There will only be a slight reduction in charging time if a heavy-duty charger is used.
Factor #3: Golf Cart Charger Quality
The wrong charger type for the golf cart would increase the charging time for the battery. To ensure the right type of charger is always being used would require understanding your golf cart. Each golf cart battery pack has its total number of volts. There is a 36V and 48V electrical drive system for golf carts.
The voltage from your golf cart charger should correspond to the number of volts of your golf cart battery. As a 48V golf cart would make use of a 48-volt charger, so also goes for a 36V golf cart and 36-volt charger.
To know whether your golf cart is a 36V golf cart or a 48V golf cart, you will need to read the number of cells (holes) present in the battery. A cell has 2 volts (2 holes). Hence, if the golf cart contains 6 batteries, a 48V golf cart would be one with 4 cells (4 holes) in each battery.
If the batteries have about 50% charge left, with the appropriate charger (with great efficiency), charging may happen quickly, with only about six or seven hours. Inappropriate chargers (with low efficiencies like two to five amp output) may take longer than ten hours.
Most golf cart chargers will charge at 10-20 amps. If you have a 220 amp hour battery and are charging at 15 amps, it will take about 14 hours to charge. If you are charging 100 amp hours at 10 amps, it will take 10 hours to charge. It really is a simple math equation based on your used up amp hours and your chargers charging amp hours.
Factor #4: Charger Cycles
To perform their best, battery chargers charge in different cycles to most efficiently charge the batteries. Most battery chargers have three cycles:
- Bulk: This charges at the highest amp hours and the charger puts the bulk of the energy back into the battery.
- Absorption: This holds the battery voltage constant to flow more amperage in and tapers off at the end.
- Float: The charger will drop voltage and slowly fill the batteries and keep them topped off for your next ride.
Just because you have a 10 amp charger does not mean you can fill 100 amps in ten hours of charging. For example, the bulk phase may fill 70 amp hours at 10 amp hours charging rate, the absorption stage may fill 25 amp hours at five amp hour charging rate, and the float stage may charge 5 amp hours at a 2 amp hour charging rate.
Looking at the example above, it would take 7 hours for the bulk phase, 5 hours for the absorption phase, and 2.5 hours for the float phase. This gives you a total 14.5 hour charging time to fill a 100 amp hour battery.