My experience converting a cart from 6-8 to 8-6 volt batteries

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  #16  
Old 05-24-2011, 04:37 PM
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As AJ indicated I did buy a Datel Digital Volt Guage for my cart. My cart and batteries are 4 years old, T875's. I have only had the cart 8 months and am not familiar with an electric cart so I began researching the issue. As AJ has indicated it's important not to drain your pack voltage completely down or you will shorten the life of your battery pack severly. Trojan on their web page has a chart, and I believe AJ has published that on this forum, which shows how much charge you have used after you stop and let the pack rest a few minutes.

My cart only had a yellow light on the dash so it was impossible to tell where I was on pack charge till it was too late. The digital guage I installed shows exactly where you are all the time. It takes a pack voltage reading twice every second. I still have a lot to learn about what the readings mean as I'm driving but when I stop I can see the pack volts remaining immediately and as it sets, you can watch the voltage rise.

It's a simple install either directly to the batteries our through the ignition switch.

I tried to post a picture of it but haven't figured out how to do that. If you want to know where I purchased it, send me a PM.
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  #17  
Old 05-24-2011, 05:40 PM
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aj, I think it's great that you're taking the time to post all this info. It has GOT to be time consuming.

Even though we own a gas cart, I find the info and insight you've always posted to be very interesting reading. Thanks for taking the time to provide us with it all.

Bill
  #18  
Old 05-24-2011, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill-n-Brillo View Post
aj, I think it's great that you're taking the time to post all this info. It has GOT to be time consuming.

I find the info and insight you've always posted to be very interesting reading. Thanks for taking the time to provide us with it all.

Bill
I agree.
  #19  
Old 05-24-2011, 06:50 PM
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I'm enjoying this info, too. Thanks!
  #20  
Old 05-25-2011, 06:42 AM
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Thanks for posting this information. It's nice to read data presented by someone with no axe to grind, and who isn't trying to justify his decision to own a certain kind of golf car. I'll be moving to TV and buying my first golf car in 2012, and I keep going back and forth (in my own mind) on the choice between electric or gas. So many opinions you read here are just that - opinions. This post has obviously tried to be objective, and I really appreciate your efforts. Looking forward to more . . . . .
  #21  
Old 05-25-2011, 12:26 PM
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Thanks for the kind posts. There is no need for that, but

This long post lacks the technical details of the project, but I share anyway. If for no one else, I share for my friends and family back in MA who cannot comprehend a grown man getting so much joy from fixing a then driving a golf cart .

The whole story has to start with how I found my project cart. In hindsight I think I got very lucky here, but no one ever knows where a different path would have led.

As I mentioned, my Dad and I had always talked about trying to put 8 – 6 volt batteries in a Club Car DS, but like many things time passes and nothing happens. We both had working carts (2000 Par Car for me) and a 2003 CC for him, there was no urgency. Then my wife and I decided we really wanted to get a second cart. This was the fall of 2009. My wife made a great case for a new cart instead of used, so we began to look around. There were a couple of hot topics in electric golf carts at that time that drew our focus. First was the LSV government rebate and the second was this new AC motor EZGO RXV.

I spent quite a bit of time looking at both. My Dad and I visited the EZGO dealer on 441 and the also the “Town and Country” dealer around Spanish Springs. We drove the EZGO RXV quite a bit to test. We really liked the cart, the feel of the AC motor and braking system. That cart would even put you back in your seat going up the golf cart bridge over 441. I was really considering it, but two things kept me back:
  1. The RXV with AC drive did not yet have a track record to evaluate
  2. We were unhappy EZGO used 4-12 volt batteries. We wanted to go from 6 batteries to 8, not the other way.
EZGO almost got us when they had a sale on the leftover 2009 models. The paper even stated that the cart could go 60 miles on a charge. I went back to the dealer on 441 north of 42 and was really close to buying. I went as far as to tell the salesperson/manager, I did not need the cart to go 60 miles, if they could stand behind the cart going 40 miles on a charge I would buy it (they would not). My Dad had drifted into the service area as I talked to the sales folks. He chatted with some mechanics about things they were working on, unlike sale folks, mechanics know the facts. It became clear they were having some issues with the batteries that they or corporate did not understand. I did not need the issue further defined, for me that was the end of story. I love the fact that my Dad thought to do that. He loves talking to folks about technical stuff. A long time mechanical engineer, in retirement he works 40+ hours a week as head engineer at a great golf course on Martha’s Vineyard, MA. His one visit to Augusta National was not to play, or see the clubhouse, or the locker room some of the greatest players visited, it was to the maintenance barn to talk to the mechanics and greens keepers.

Next I turned my focus to the Par Car LSV. I owned an old Par Car already and “we the people” were going to pay me to buy one. If I recall correctly the government was going to give me a rebate of about $5300 to buy a new Par Car LSV. I went as far as to borrow a cart from a salesman named Jim. When he went to work, he let me take his cart for the day. This cart also had great torque and power on hills compared to my 2000 Par Car and my Dad’s Club Car. If it lost speed going up hills it was negligible. This demo cart is the only cart I have ever run out of juice in. I cannot remember all the details, but the only way I could pull out of a tunnel was to go about 1 MPH, anything more and the cart did not have enough voltage and would cut out. I managed to get it home by creeping and charge it enough to return it. I told JIm about it and did not consider it a reason to not buy one. As close as I could figure I had gone 50+ miles and this incident did not deter my interest as this cart really did meet my requirements. In the end, I never felt comfortable that I understood all issues related to registration and insurance requirements and to be honest it was still a large chunk of change for us even after the rebate.

I came very close on both, but got neither. At the time, I knew nothing about Tomberlin or I would have definitely tried them out.

Next I get a call from a good friend who is asking what I learned about the Par Car LSV. I told him and unlike me he bought one. As part of the deal he traded in his original Par Car for $3000 (I forget exact price). I think it was a 2004 or 2005 and was in great shape. I have said before I am not in love with Par Cars for DIY projects because of the availability of parts, but this did sound like a good deal and did not need work. I told him I would take the cart for what the dealer would give him. He agreed. Now I had a “new” 2004’ish Par Car coming. At the time this would be perfect. It was a cart with great range, the down side was that I had no cart that needed a conversion; now what would I do with my free time? The next thing took me by surprise, my friend decided to keep his original Par Car as a second cart. At the time I felt a bit slighted as “we had a deal”, but I understood and a part of me knew it was not the perfect cart for Linda and I.

Soon after, my neighbors began having issues with their electric cart. They asked me to come over and take a look. At that time I still was not reading golf cart web sites. I knew some stuff, but not enough to diagnose a battery issue. I do not even remember if I had a multi-meter or hydrometer in my arsenal. As I stared at the batteries, I suspect I looked like most men do when their car does not start and they open the hood and stare blankly at the engine compartment hoping to see a wire that is disconnected .

It was clear from the description their batteries were toast. It was also clear they had no idea how to properly maintain the batteries, water everywhere, acid on rails, etc. At this point these folks were SICK of their electric cart. Soon they bought a brand new Villages Yamaha gas cart. If I recall correctly, The Villages Cart store did not take trade ins, so they sent someone out to buy their cart. The person offered the $1000. They knew I was looking for a cart and asked me if I wanted it for $1000, they had no interest in putting in paper or trying to sell privately.

I go from looking at beautiful new golf carts that need no work to one that does not run, has battery acid corrosion everywhere and will not be ready for some time as I want to use as a project. My wife knows this is not going to be a quick journey. You have to understand my lovely wife has seen this before. When we bought our first home, we looked at many that were new, lovely, perfect. The one we bought was just plain awful. the walls had writing in crayon, the kitchen hideous. We were young, I promised I would fix it up. It took us a couple of years, but we gutted that place, added a bathroom and it did end up beautiful. We did all of the work ourselves and in the end my wife could wire a three way switch with no consulting. When we were looking at new homes in TV, we found a lovely home for a good price that really needed work, all I had to do was glance at her when the realtor was showing it to us. As I began to say, “I think we cou……”, she said no. Next thing I knew we were looking at new homes in Mallory.

In the case of the cart, she let me take it home and now I had a project. I was very close to getting three carts in this process and ended up with the junker. It is not often you catch such a lucky break!

Next we pull the cart apart and see what is there and what we want to do….

Last edited by ajbrown; 05-26-2011 at 05:16 AM. Reason: spelling
  #22  
Old 05-25-2011, 03:52 PM
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My family, in MA understands our love of golf carts. Perhaps the north shore is more understanding

C
  #23  
Old 05-25-2011, 06:23 PM
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I'm looking forward to your next post...it's been a great read..ajbrown
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  #24  
Old 05-25-2011, 09:42 PM
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AJ, this is great! You could even turn this into a "how to" book. Interesting read. Now, getting us to understand the technical parts might be a challenge. (sometimes, Mrs.K9 is technically challenged).
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  #25  
Old 05-26-2011, 07:27 AM
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Default Technical?

I can tell you now there is nothing very technical coming. When I did this cart, I had no idea what I was in for. All I was comfortable with is if I took something apart I could find a way to get it back together. Like when I worked on my own homes, my feeling was there was nothing I could do that could not be fixed, even if I had to ask for help.

I hope I can tell the story from the perspective of a guy who knew very little about carts. I do not want readers to think I am a mechanic that brought a lot of experience. Anyone can do this. The question most should ask is WHY would I do this? For me it has nothing to do with any potential of money saved, to me it looked fun. When your choices are golf, cards, some other fun activity or rolling around on a garage floor, only a few choose the latter .

Alan
  #26  
Old 06-02-2011, 09:03 AM
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Default Deconstruction of a 2002 Club Car DS: Rear Body Removal

It has been a while since I have posted. I have not been reworking the wording as you will see , but rather enjoying life takes precedence. Now that I have gotten into this thread, I am having fun retelling my story from memory. Feel free to tell me if you see things that are wrong or could be done better or diffferently, or anything you have experienced which would help me when I do this again in the future.

One of the mistakes I made with this cart is I did not take any before pictures. What kind of a meathead is so excited to take the thing apart that he does not snap a couple of pictures with his lab assistant Caly on board? It was after I got the roof and body off I realized my mistake. A part of me wanted to put the cart back together just to take a picture, but a bigger part of me could not rationally justify the effort.

At this phase in the project I had a few things on my plan.
  1. Add space for two new batteries to increase range. I had no idea yet HOW I was going to do this.
  2. Add 10 inch wheels and 205-65-10 tires to gain a bit more speed (up to two MPH) on level ground.
  3. Add a 3 inch lift kit because I love the look of a cart slightly lifted

The first stage of this project was going to be taking the cart apart. I needed to be able to get to the battery compartment to develop a plan for adding batteries. No matter what the project I love deconstruction. I could have made a living doing this; Alan, Director of Deconstruction. I have never been great at the second phase which is reconstruction, so that would have been another organization. That said, I am not a mechanic, thinking back, the last time I may have worked on a car was the 70s and it was usually as a helper. An electric golf cart is much simpler to understand than a car for me anyway. You have a set of batteries that store voltage and a mechanism to deliver the stored voltage to the motor. For my brain what makes an electric cart go is much easier to understand than a car as the cart has no starter, carburetor, alternator, fuel pump, fuel mixture and timing to think about.

Quote:
Before I deconstruct, I wish to caution. This note is not meant to frighten, but just want to be sure folks are aware. Working on a 48 volt DC golf cart is not as dangerous as working on AC house wiring, but you still need to pay attention as you can generate quite a spark and some heat with any dead short. It is relatively easy to create a dead short in a cart if you get careless. Dropping a wrench across the posts of a battery can cause quite a shriek to involuntarily come out of your mouth. When working around the batteries always be careful or get protective tools. In addition, when I am going to be removing the body or working on a component like the controller I will disconnect the pack from the components and discharge the controller. The procedure to do that is the same as resetting the OBC (disconnect procedure) which can be referenced here: http://www.alltraxinc.com/files/Doc1...ub-Car-OBC.pdf. It is likely that professionals do not do this, but it makes me feel more comfortable.
Club Car currently has two body styles to my knowledge, the Precedent and the DS. In addition, the DS prior to 2000.5 has a different roof and frame to hold roof. The last distinction I can think of is regen (regenerative braking) versus series. A regen cart has a speed sensor on the motor which controls the top end speed of the cart (most evident going down hill), whereas a series cart rolls freely. This is relevant to this post only in that there is a different mechanism to change the cart from forward to reverse and they are attached differently. The regen cart has a rocker switch versus the series cart which has a handle. Great summary sheet here: http://www.cartszone.com/images/clubcarguide.jpg

This thread is about my cart which is a 2002 DS series cart. Before I get started, let me give a shout out to a product called PB Blaster. I have no affiliation with the product, but it really works http://blastercorporation.com/display.cfm?p=50003&pid=4. I did not have this when I first started and as a result had a couple of bolts that could not be saved using WD40. Time to rip this cart apart.
  • Slide enclosure out of rails and store
  • The roof, remove eight bolts and roof pops off
  • The front windshield, two bolts hold the window frame to the front cowl, lift off whole window
You now have a “hot rod”. I love driving the cart around like this. Closest thing I have ever had to a convertible, let whatever hair you have left down and just fly! This picture is the cart after all of my work is done, as I have no convertible pictures with original, but it does show off my lab assistant.

The Villages Florida

Convertible fun is over, we comb our hair, check for bugs in teeth and start to get the rear body off.
  • First thing is the access panel under basket, be careful with these two screws if they do not come out easy. Most of the time they come right out, but if not, force will not help, you will need to reach under and grab the blind nuts .
  • Now, the back of seat and basket; with the access panel off, remove the two nuts under body which holds seat frame, and then the remove four bolts holding seat back, lift seat off.
  • Bagwell trim next, It is held on my these little plastic fasteners called “Christmas Tree” rivets. I am not sure the “proper” way to remove these, I carefully slipped a thin screw driver under the trim and they pop right out (careful about the body paint). After the bag well trim is out remove the two screws in the bag well.
  • Rear bumper can remain on and still get the rear body off, but since we are in deconstruction mode, take the four bolts off and it drops off.
  • Remove the two screws holding the front of the rear body under the forward/reverse lever.

The body should now be loose, held on only by the wiring below.
  • Taillights, remove the two screws in the trim of the light and pop the whole unit out. Document how the wires are connected to lights, disconnect wires, and wrap in electrical tape.
  • Forward/Reverse lever. Need to remove a small screw that holds on the handle, then slide off handle. Careful here, this screw is easily breakable. Now remove the three screws holding in the F/R mechanism. Beware, there nuts in the F/R housing that may fall out.
  • Charger socket, remove the four screws from outside of cart body, the unit will come apart, pull unit out of hole in body and reattach front so nothing gets lost.

The body should now lift off. The first time I removed the rear body it took me a couple of hours at least, as everything was new to me. After doing this project and having body on and off many times, I can take my DS rear body off in about 30 minutes. Here is the cart with no rear body and no batteries.

The Villages Florida

Looking at the picture below of the cart with the old batteries; the challenge of fitting new batteries begins to become evident. This picture is taken with me standing on the floor of the cart, facing toward the rear of the cart. . You can see the steering wheel in the lower right of the picture and my sneaker in the lower left. In the low center of the picture is the forward reverse switch and charger receptacle laying out of the way. At the top of the picture you can see the two wheel wells and a panel in the center. This panel is the mount point for the controller and solenoid (on left rear of panel and barely visible) and the OBC (beige box on right front of panel with black wire running through it). Whether it is obvious from picture or not, there is no chance of adding a new battery in front of the wheel wells. If two new batteries are going to be added without changing the look of the cart, they must be added to the center compartment. There are other ways to add two batteries that differ from mine. One example is the route my Dad took and can be told later in this thread.

The Villages Florida

In the picture below, I have removed the panel that holds the OBC, solenoid and controller. A Trojan 8 volt T875 and 6 volt T105 are the same size. They are each 10 7/8 inches long. That means we need in excess of 22 inches to have two batteries lengthwise in the center compartment. The ruler is there to give some perspective for sizing. You can see we do not have 22 inches between where the original batteries were and the motor. There is not exactly a ton of space.

The Villages Florida

In addition to all of that the picture below shows how the frame in the Club car rises as it goes to the rear. We cannot simply build rails for the rear batteries at the height of the back frame as the batteries would need to stick through the body (hint on Dad's solution).

The Villages Florida


To review, the issues in front of us are:
  • the batteries must be added to the center compartment
  • the panel holding the OBC, solenoid and controller are in the way
  • there is not enough room between the two existing batteries and the motor to simply add two more

If you are still with me, next step is to modify the frame….
  #27  
Old 06-02-2011, 12:01 PM
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Default What is so remarkable about this project aj

is that I have absolutely NO idea what you are talking about BUT you make it soooo interesting....Keep up the good work!
  #28  
Old 06-02-2011, 01:00 PM
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You have got me hooked!!! I have no intention of adding two batteries to my cart but I can't wait for your next installment.
Thanks for a very well written, interesting and informative thread.
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:41 PM
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I'm lovin' this!!!
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:58 PM
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Default Dad was out testing his project today

My Dad has been converting a 96 CC DS to hold 8 - 6 volt batteries. In addition to the conversion, he has lifted it, redone all the accessory wiring and other things. Today was his first test run from Chatham to Mallory. It does not have the 8 new batteries yet, but he has two extras in there to test weight, fit, etc.

Here my lab assistant Caly checks the legroom. If you look to towards the rear behind the seats you will see where he installed the batteries.

The Villages Florida

Here is a shot from the back. Once he is done, with battery housing cover and the basket on, I suspect you will hardly notice. I told him to build a nice wood cabinet with fake doors and a lock so it looked like under basket storage, but he bought and painted a $2 plastic bucket for the first pass.

The Villages Florida

I will integrate some detailed pictures later in this thread. It is very impressive, but what else would I expect from my 78 year young Dad
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