Whether you have a gas or electric golf cart, it will utilize batteries to help it operate. The batteries produce electricity which then gets transferred to other parts of the cart, including the motor and lights through the wiring. The batteries need wires or cables running to and from them, however, to control the flow of electricity.
The standard wire size for golf cart battery cables is 6-gauge wire. This applies to both gas and electric golf carts. The more power or amp draw your golf cart needs to operate, the larger the wire has to be. Once you start to upgrade your golf cart, you may need to use 2 gauge wire.
While 6-gauge wire is the standard size for most golf cart batteries, it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Additionally, 6-gauge wire is the standard for stock golf carts, but not for specialty carts. Because a larger wire means more power, you also have the option of replacing your existing wire with a larger one if you need more power for your cart. This article will look at whether or not replacing your battery wires is ok and the consequences of having missized wires.
Why does wire size matter on a golf cart?
Think as wire size as a road. The wider the road, the more cars that can flow through it. That is the same with amps through wiring. When you hit the pedal on your electric golf cart and the motor is starting to go, amps flow from your batteries to your speed controller which then pushes the motor.
The thicker the wire, the more amps that can run though it. It is really as simple as that. If your wires are too thin and your controller is calling for more amperage, the wires will overheat and cause issues.
What Size Wire for Batteries on Electric Golf Carts?
Electric golf carts are a little trickier when it comes to wire sizing for battery cables. In most cases, electric golf carts operate with a battery bank of 36 to 48 volts and use a speed controller that’s between 225 and 300 amps. In this case, a standard 6-gauge wire is big enough to meet your golf cart’s demands. It’s also the wire size that most electric golf carts get manufactured with.
However, many people like to upgrade their electric golf carts and make them more durable and heavy-duty. Additionally, because golf carts are getting more popular as off-road and recreational vehicles, people are starting to build them with more power. Here are the recommended wire sizes for batteries on electric golf carts of different sizes.
- Golf carts that have 400 to 600-amp speed controllers
While most 400 to 600-amp golf carts get manufactured with a traditional 6-AWG wire, we recommend going with a larger cable even if you have lead acid batteries. 6-AWG battery cables are too small for larger golf carts that get used regularly. Therefore, upgrading to 4-AWG battery cables is a good idea if your golf cart uses 400 to 600 amps.
- Golf carts that have 600-amp speed controllers or larger
For the most heavy-duty electric golf carts that have speed controllers requiring 600+ amps of power, you should have a 2-AWG wire. 2-AWG battery cables are the largest wire size you can get for electric golf carts. They will help your cart operate effectively and efficiently and keep the batteries from overheating.
How Are Golf Cart Battery Wires Measured?
So far, we’ve used several terms for battery cables and wire sizes. AWG stands for American Wire Gauge and is the standard unit of measurement for wires of all kinds. We’ve also used the term “gauge,” which is just a shortened version of AWG but means the same thing.
While it might seem counterintuitive, the lower the AWG number, the thicker and more powerful the wire is. For instance, a 2-AWG wire is much thicker and can handle larger amounts of electricity than a 6-AWG wire. Therefore, the more voltage and amperage your golf cart require, the lower the AWG number should be for your battery wire.
Does Wire Size Matter With Golf Cart Batteries?
Wire size absolutely matters with golf cart batteries, especially for electric golf carts. The main thing that will impact how big your golf cart battery wire should be is the speed controller. The battery voltage has an impact as well, but manufacturers will provide adequate voltage depending on the number of amps the speed controller uses. Therefore, the speed controller is the only thing you need to consider if you’re wondering if your battery wires are big enough.
As a rule of thumb, here’s how big your battery wires should be based on the electricity demands of your speed controller.
If you add things like larger wheels and tires or rear seats, chances are you will need thicker battery cables. Whenever you start to upgrade your cart, the cables should be the first thing. Here is an example of upgraded cables for a RXV. They are relitavely inexpensive and will really help your carts electronics.
|100 to 400 AMPs
|400 to 600 AMPs
|6-AWG battery cables
|4-AWG battery cables
|2-AWG battery cables
What About Wire Length?
Wire length isn’t quite as important as the diameter and AWG of the wire, but it certainly matters. The longer your battery cables are, the longer it will take for electricity to get carried from the batteries to the speed controller, motor, and other components of the cart. However, the battery cables need to be long enough to reach comfortably. Therefore, the best battery cable length is 12 to 18 inches.
What Happens If a Golf Cart Battery Cable is Too Small?
If a golf cart battery cable is too small, it won’t be able to keep up with the power demands of the cart. It’s like trying to cram too many things into a small suitcase. Eventually, the suitcase will rip or burst open.
With battery cables, however, instead of ripping open, they will start to overheat and can melt. (Read all about the reason golf cart wires melt and some other causes in our article here)
When this happens, the cables, battery terminals, and anything touching the cables can melt and get ruined. Cables that are too small will also inhibit the performance of your cart.
What Happens If a Golf Cart Battery is Too Big?
There isn’t any serious downside to having golf cart battery cables that are too thick. However, it’s pointless to have oversized cables because thicker cables cost more than thinner ones, so you should have a size that’s fitting for your golf cart.
Lithium Golf Cart Battery Conversion Wiring Size
If you upgrade your golf cart to lithium batteries, it is always recommended to upgrade your wiring to 2-AWG wiring. We just did this conversion and to get the full punch out of your lithium batteries, make sure to upgrade your wiring.
What Size Wire for Batteries on Gas Golf Carts?
Gas golf carts don’t rely on batteries as much as electric golf carts do. However, they still get manufactured with a standard size of 6-gauge or AWG wire. Gas golf carts use 6-AWG battery cables because they’re big enough to get the job done, and they’re also the most cost-efficient. 6-AWG wires are readily available, which means they’re cheaper to install than other wires.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you find out what wire size you have on your golf cart?
Wiring will have labels on the wire showing what size it is. Look for something like 6-AWG, 4 AWG, or 2 AWG.
What gauge wire do I need for a battery?
The standard wire thickness for battery cables is 6-AWG. However, for more demanding golf carts, you can upgrade to either 4-AWG wire or 2-AWG wire.
What gauge wire do I need for a 12-volt battery?
A 12-volt battery only requires a 16-gauge wire because of the small amount of electricity the battery uses.
How thick should the battery wire be?
Wire thickness is measured in AWG, which stands for American Wire Gauge. Standard battery wire thickness is 6-AWG for golf carts with speed controllers using up to 400 amps.