How to Read the Date Coded on Trojan Golf Cart Batteriesby Richard Rowe
Electric vehicle batteries lead a hard life. Even though Trojan constructs its EV batteries using thicker plates and a deep-cycle design, odds are that those batteries will still wear out long before the golf cart's chassis does. Brand-new batteries aren't cheap -- between $80 and $200 on average, as of this publication -- making used batteries an attractive option for buyers looking to get back on the road. But time plays havoc on battery life, which makes knowing the date of manufacture critical for ensuring you're not buying someone else's junk.
Remove the battery from your golf cart and clean it off. Batteries -- especially those used in off-road equipment like golf carts -- can get grungy, and that's going to make the stampings difficult to read. Use baking soda, water and a toothbrush to clean the terminals off enough to make the stampings legible.
Note the alpha-numeric stamp on the battery's positive terminal. This stamping indicates the date the battery was assembled but before it got the electrolyte that made it fully active. The letter corresponds to a month, with "A" indicating January, "B" February and so on. The number next to it is the date of assembly. So, a battery with a positive terminal stamping of E12 went together (without electrolyte) on May 12.
Check the stamping on your negative terminal. This terminal stamping indicates the month and year the battery received its electrolyte and shipped out of Trojan's factory. The month-lettering system works the same, but on the negative terminal the number corresponds with the last digit of a year. A "2" in this area could mean "2002" or it could mean "2012"; Trojan gives no indication of the decade, so it's up to you to tell the difference between a one-year-old battery and an 11-year-old battery.
- A sealed lead-acid battery doesn't take well to sitting around without a charge. Even the sturdy deep-cycle battery and its thicker plates can't withstand long periods of complete discharge resulting from either use or the battery's own self-discharge. If someone tries to sell you a battery out of a scooter that he hasn't used in a year, be wary. Batteries typically lose about 1 percent of their stored power per day, and a sealed lead acid battery that's been allowed to sit for any length of time without a charge is never going to hold a full charge or deliver on its amperage potential ever again.
- never use metal objects near batteries always wear protection to prevent burns to eves and skin