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-> Troubleshooting a golf cart


A Golf Cart is not a Computer

If you need help with a golf cart, I suggest asking at Buggies Unlimited. Nice people, very helpful. There is almost NO chance that I can answer ANY question here!

I bought a used electric golf cart last year. Unfortunately, this year the darn thing stopped working.

By the way, I don't play golf. We live in a gated community with private roads, so we can use golf carts to get around. It's a pretty big place - we're more than two miles from the clubhouse and mail center, so the cart is really nice to have, though more for my wife than for me. Her arthritis keeps her from doing more than fifteen minutes or so.. But even for me it's nice to have in rainy weather when I want to run down to get the mail or whatever.



You can't let batteries discharge over the winter, so when it got cold I moved it out back near an electrical outlet where I could plug the charger in. The the charging circuit on this is supposed to be smart enough to only run when necessary, so it should be safe to just plug it in and forget it, but I'm not trusting. I hooked up a voltmeter so I could keep an eye on the charge and do it manually. It turned out that turning on the charger every few days kept the voltage up where it should be.. or so I thought.

After the snow melted, I drove the cart from out back of the house to the driveway and gave it another charge, then took it out for a spin. Two hundred feet later it stopped dead and I had to push it back.. good exercise, yes, but not what I had in mind.

I had bought the tech manual for this, so I'm not entirely helpless. It is an electric cart, and I grok electric stuff to some degree, and have voltmeters and clips and all that stuff to test with. The manual is pretty detailed and shows test points and expected resistance or voltage for just about everything. I was actually pretty hopeful when I flipped through it to the troubleshooting section.

Unfortunately, I didn't get very far. I was able to eliminate some of the more obvious things that could be wrong, but then things started getting not so easy: the things I needed to get at are underneath the main body - no matter how I twisted, there's no way I can get at the places I need to poke my leads.

Aaargh. The manual does have instructions for removing the body cover, but it's a fair pile of work, and there's a lot of rusty looking stuff that has to come off. Rusty looking stuff scares me because sometimes you can take it off but you can't put it back on.. which often leads to a situation where I have to pay someone money to fix what I broke in addition to what was already broken.

I'm ready to give up now - I have bad feelings about pushing my limited mechanical skills farther. My wife, however, cheerfully says that I should "call someone". By that she doesn't mean someone who fixes these things for a living; she means someone in the neighborhood.

Certainly there are people in the neighborhood better with tools than I am. There are probably monkeys at the zoo who are better. But do I really think any of them have ever taken apart a golf cart? Well, I know that one of them has, but still: I'd rather leave the whole thing to someone with a lot of experience.

So there we are. Dead golf cart. Wife says I should call a neighbor. I want to call the golf cart place to just come get it. Instead I found http://server1.buggiesunlimited.com/phpBB2/ and described what I've been able to do so far.. they say it might the On Board Computer - a pricey little item, of course. Aaargh!

But after mulling this over, I decided to pull the batteries. They are the weakest link because they are so old, and I also found out something disturbing: the previous owner had let them run down over one winter. The people who told me that said they were the place he had bought it from. I had called them looking for prices on the batteries, and they remembered this cart. They had been able to revive the batteries, but said they were surprised: they had actually reversed polarity.. that's NOT good.

I'd be really mad at the guy who sold it to me if were not for the fact that I knew the batteries weren't going to last long. No, he didn't tell me they had frozen, but I did know that they were six years old, and that's very old for this kind of battery. So, yeah, he "cheated" me, but only a little.

A new set is around $800.00, and it looks like I'm going to need that no matter what. So I pulled them.

By the way, that's not easy to do. These puppies are in tight spaces and are very heavy - over 60 lbs each. I'm pretty strong, but it wasn't easy for me to get them out. I grabbed one post with vise-grips and the other with pliers and lifted until I could get underneath with my free hand.. not easy. Pro's probably have some tool to help out..

Once I had them all out, it was easy to see that things weren't good. The sides were actually bulged out and although three of them were putting out a strong 8V, one was at 4V and the two others were at 6V - they all need to be at least 7V and within a half volt of each other. They also need to put out at least 42V overall - these would have been maybe 38V at best. I had thought I had measured 48V when I had them ganged together, but either my meter was off or my eyes are.. these are bad batteries for sure.

I checked around the Internet for price, but you don't want to pay shipping on these things, so I needed someplace close by. Turned out that someone I know from some political activity in the town is a dealer for the Trojan T-875's I needed. I called him, and he was $20 cheaper than the best Internet price I could find so I asked him to get me six.. it came to a bit over $800.00 with tax, but that is what it is.

While waiting for those I ordered new cables and a battery lifting strap from Buggies Unlimited - another $22.00 but why put in new batteries without new cables and the lifting strap would save my fingers from being crushed putting them back in.

Everything came yesterday, but it was raining so I waited until this morning before putting them in. That strap definitely made the difference. The batteries are still heavy, but you can position them easily and just drop them in gently. Within a half hour I had everything in place, cinched down, connected and ready. I put the key in, turned it on, released the brake and..

Success! The beast lives again.

What's this got to do with Linux or Unix or Mac? Nuttin.

If you need help with a golf cart, I suggest asking at Buggies Unlimited. Nice people, very helpful.

new batteries installed


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Tue Jun 9 15:44:07 2009: 6478   anonymous

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I have an E-Z- go gas powered golf cart and when I press on the gas pedal to start it nothing happens. battery is new and it was working fine and all of a sudden it doesnt start. can you help in determining what could possibly be wrong with it??





Tue Jun 9 15:49:13 2009: 6479   TonyLawrence

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Well, no, I can't help but the forum at http://server1.buggiesunlimited.com/phpBB2/ is a good place to start.

Also, you can buy a manual for your cart and it has wiring schematics and troubleshooting guides: http://www.buggiesunlimited.com/search.asp?keyword=ezgo+manual&x=0&y=0



Wed Aug 26 21:06:42 2009: 6793   george

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i just bought a electric golf cart and with the key off it is still getting power to the forward and reverse other words itsworking and should not be tried taking wires off of key switch and even runnig ajumper wire between the 2wires that go to the key switch on/ off .Could this be the solinoid sticking or something else



Wed Aug 26 21:10:04 2009: 6794   TonyLawrence

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I don't know - suggest asking at http://server1.buggiesunlimited.com/phpBB2/

They are usually very helpful there.



Tue Oct 6 13:45:45 2009: 7080   Peter

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Any help out there? I have an EZGO electric cart that was driving great, I went over a slight bump, (a PVC waste line cap) and may have bumped the undercarriage....not sure. anyway, now the cart will not go, no click when you hit the gas. any ideas?



Tue Oct 6 13:47:33 2009: 7081   TonyLawrence

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Again, I don't know and suggest asking at http://server1.buggiesunlimited.com/phpBB2/






Sat Jan 16 16:21:01 2010: 7915   Paul

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I let my batteries completely drain and now the charger won't turn on, do batteries need to have some charge in them in order for the charger to come on? i just had the charger serviced so I assume it's working, thanks



Sat Jan 16 16:25:18 2010: 7916   TonyLawrence

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I think it does, yes. But ask that question at http://server1.buggiesunlimited.com/phpBB2/ - they'll know for sure.



Sun Jan 17 02:36:04 2010: 7918   BigDumbDinosaur
http://bcstechnology.net
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Tony, you missed your calling. You should quit this computer stuff and instead fix golf carts. If I lived near you I'd be doing it. <Grin> So far, nobody has figured out a way to export golf cart repair to India and make money doing so.

To the fellow who ran his batteries totally flat, throw them away, meaning recycle them. As you pay for the new ones, remember that batteries must be maintained with periodic charging, even when the cart is not being used. Most electronically controlled chargers will not produce any output if connected to completely dead (as in the DVM-reads-zero-dead) batteries. The old transformer-rectifier chargers that predominated in the past will produce output no matter what.



Sun Feb 14 21:15:50 2010: 8086   Beachcart

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I have an E-Z- go gas powered golf cart and when I press on the gas pedal to start it nothing happens. battery is new and it was working fine and all of a sudden it doesnt start. can you help in determining what could possibly be wrong with it??



Sun Feb 14 21:29:04 2010: 8087   TonyLawrence

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Yes. Read the comments.



Mon Feb 15 04:50:50 2010: 8089   BigDumbDinosaur
http://bcstechnology.net
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Tue Jun 9 15:44:07 2009: anonymous
I have an E-Z- go gas powered golf cart and when I press on the gas pedal to start it nothing happens. battery is new and it was working fine and all of a sudden it doesnt start. can you help in determining what could possibly be wrong with it??


Sun Feb 14 21:15:50 2010: Beachcart
I have an E-Z- go gas powered golf cart and when I press on the gas pedal to start it nothing happens. battery is new and it was working fine and all of a sudden it doesnt start. can you help in determining what could possibly be wrong with it??


Tony. yuh notice anything odd here? <Grin>

BTW, to those who can't get their golf carts started or otherwise functional, take a look at the driver's seat interlock switch. These devices have a long history of causing golf carts, lift trucks, etc., to suddenly go lame. I could offer a method of fixing the problem without any tools, but it's an inherently hazardous technique and I don't want anyone trying to start a lawsuit over it.



Sun Aug 14 14:25:34 2011: 9699   Bill

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My Ezgo just stopped. The batteries are fully charged. I cleaned the cables and checked the wires going to the solenoid and black box behind the solenoid. No burned wires that I can find. Press the accelerator and you can hear the solenoid click. Help



Sun Aug 14 14:32:23 2011: 9700   TonyLawrence

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Please read the other comments. I can't help you.



Sun Aug 14 20:04:27 2011: 9705   BigDumbDinosaur
http://bcstechnology.net
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I'm telling you, Tony. You need to start up a golf cart repair business, or at least a 24 hour 1-900 hotline. I can see it now: a buck a minute for wrong answers and five smackers a minute for the right ones.



Tue Feb 28 13:44:05 2012: 10663   Donnie

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I recently bought a used golf cart like 2weeks ago drove it around neighborhood one time two days later my kids told me it wouldn't start,I googled many sites and tried everybodies suggestions nothing silenoid clicked when gas peddle was pushed but nothing after 2 hours of crawling around on the ground I started looking around gas pedal I reached in and pulled out grass ,pine needles,4 golf tees,pencil,coffee stir stick and pushed pedal wallah it's fixed and we drove it all day easy fix just try it






Tue Feb 28 16:27:44 2012: 10664   BigDumbDinosaur
http://bcstechnology.net
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Ah yes, the topic that refuses to die. <Grin>



Tue Feb 28 16:30:59 2012: 10665   TonyLawrence

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Surprising, isn't it? Golf carts everywhere..



Wed Feb 29 16:07:51 2012: 10673   BigDumbDinosaur
http://bcstechnology.net
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Surprising, isn't it? Golf carts everywhere.

Not so much around here. Instead we have people cruising about on electric scooters. We have one elderly woman who drives right down the middle of the street with her dog in her lap. She won't even move over for cars.

I'm going to get me a scooter when I'm old enough to have one (gotta be at least 80, otherwise you look lazy). Mine will have slicks and wheelie bars, and be able to burn rubber (on the tires, that is, not the wiring). <Grin>



Thu Mar 1 20:55:19 2012: 10678   anonymous

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I have a ez go m101 use it at a small airport it makes radio interference when i use it to the aircraft radios, we have tried static straps and nothing seems to work any suggestions



Thu Mar 1 21:10:56 2012: 10679   TonyLawrence

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I sure don't. I would imagine that a big electric motor like that throws out a bit of emi.. but I have no idea how you'd stop that.

Someone more geeky may have some thoughts.



Fri Mar 2 15:52:38 2012: 10688   BigDumbDinosaur
http://bcstechnology.net
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I have a ez go m101 use it at a small airport it makes radio interference when i use it to the aircraft radios, we have tried static straps and nothing seems to work any suggestions

Most likely, the interference is being generated by the golf cart's power controller. Typical controllers use pulse width modulation to vary the current to the golf cart's traction motor. PWM generates a major amount of RFI that can radiate considerable distance.

You may be able to somewhat ameliorate the problem by shielding all external connections to the controller with conductive braid and grounding the braid at one point on the cart's metal chassis. Also make sure the traction motor's frame is grounded to the cart's chassis (the motor may be floating on rubber). A static strap is not likely to do much, but won't cause any harm.

If your shielding efforts are to no avail, you may have to replace the motor controller with one that has an FCC class A or class B certification (the latter is the most stringent). That's an expensive remedy, however.

One other thing: Tony's site is actually devoted to computers, not golf carts. The fact that you were directed here by your favorite search engine points out the obvious limitations of search engines in general.



Fri Mar 2 16:01:38 2012: 10689   TonyLawrence

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But because smart folks like you sometimes hang out here, he did get an answer :)



Fri Mar 2 16:14:35 2012: 10691   BigDumbDinosaur
http://bcstechnology.net
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But because smart folks like you sometimes hang out here, he did get an answer :)

Me schmaht? We startin' that "wicked schmat" stuff again? Kancha tell I is a big, dumb dinosaur, although not as big as I used to be (I've lost 30 pounds, mostly in the cranial area)? :-)



Sun Apr 15 01:40:36 2012: 10852   anonymous

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I have a gas powered golf cart.It does fine until I go up a hill then get gets slower and slower what is wrong with it?






Sun Apr 15 02:19:10 2012: 10853   TonyLawrence

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That could be normal. These things aren't high power engines. Could be belt slippage, needs tuneup, just plain worn out engine.l



Sun Apr 15 16:34:24 2012: 10855   BigDumbDinosaur
http://bcstechnology.net
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Tony, it's amazing how much traffic you've gotten from one measly article about a dead electric golf cart. :-) It's also amazing how new arrivals obviously haven't bothered to read the older posts before complaining about how their cart won't climb Mount Everest, run on discharged batteries or do wheelies for two blocks.



Sun Apr 15 16:35:32 2012: 10856   TonyLawrence

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Ayup - nobody reads nuttin :)



Tue May 29 17:20:08 2012: 11032   anonymous

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i have a gas powered yamaha golf cart. recently replaced the starter generator. it ran good for a while but now it wont budge. i charge the battery and it may run for a couple of hours but eventually it dies. like i said the battery is holding somewhat of a charge but not enough to make it go. thinking maybe a bad voltage regulator



Sat Aug 25 12:44:22 2012: 11254   Dennis

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rack out, built a new one and reinstalled everything. Now when you first take off the cart jumps and bucks until you reach full speed and then it I have a 1998 ezgo and the battery rack was rusted out, so i pulled the old smooths out. Anyone have any suggestions?



Sat Aug 25 12:50:02 2012: 11255   TonyLawrence

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Once again: I suggest asking at http://server1.buggiesunlimited.com/phpBB2/






Sat Aug 25 18:10:05 2012: 11256   BigDumbDinosaur
http://bcstechnology.net
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Not sure I understood that last message. Anyone care to translate?



Tue Sep 11 19:14:52 2012: 11299   anonymous

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I have a 2001 Yamaha N432,48volt golf cart. When I put it in reverse it goes,however when I put it in forward it jerks then goes very very slow and dies out. I have only used it fully charged but I still have this prpoblem. Could you tell me what part I would need or just what is wrong with it. Thank you



Tue Sep 11 22:39:54 2012: 11301   TonyLawrence

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Sigh..







Thu Sep 13 13:46:37 2012: 11313   BigDumbDinosaur
http://bcstechnology.net
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I have a 2001 Yamaha N432,48volt golf cart. When I put it in reverse it goes,however when I put it in forward it jerks then goes very very slow and dies out. I have only used it fully charged but I still have this prpoblem. Could you tell me what part I would need or just what is wrong with it.
Tony, I have a cough, my back hurts, I have to get up several times a night to pee and my vision is bad. Could you please tell me what's wrong? While you're at it, I have this golf cart... :-)



Thu Sep 13 13:49:07 2012: 11314   anonymous

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Tony, I'm too lazy to read the whole article, never mind the comments, so please answer my question?



Sun Nov 18 16:16:23 2012: 11432   Ray

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I have a 1985 ez-go gas powered cart i just need a picture of how the starter/gen wires up



Sun Nov 18 16:18:26 2012: 11433   TonyLawrence

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I have no such picture.



Tue Mar 5 22:25:00 2013: 11933   craig

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have electric ez-go when i press on the padle real easy like you are going over bumps just to go slow or take it easy it dies out like the battiers are dead but they are new fully charge but when it dies out i wait like 30 seconds an its like nothing happens what can be the cause?



Tue Mar 5 23:48:53 2013: 11934   TonyLawrence

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Again, and again and again: I do not know. Read the other comments!!!



Wed Dec 4 20:52:54 2013: Website: http://golfcartcare.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=SFNT&S12377   Jon

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As a reminder, when using an automatic charger, ALWAYS leave the cart connected to the charger over the winter. The charger will cycle off and on as needed to maintain the batteries. Manual charging of the batteries is not a good idea and will shorten the lifespan of the battery.
I do own a golf cart repair shop and have been working on ALL makes and models of carts since 1998. You may ask questions through my web site and you will receive a personal response from me, not someone that just wants to provide their 2 cents.
www.golfcartcare.com



Tue Dec 10 15:58:38 2013: Website: 12380   anonymous

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I am building a new battery rack for a 2003 ezgo txt golf cart. What are the dimensions of the rack?



Tue Dec 10 16:04:47 2013: Website: 12381   TonyLawrence

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I have no idea.

I'm closing further comments here.

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