How to Wire a 36-Volt Golf Cartby Chris Stevenson
Typical golf carts run off powerful electric motors supplied by multiple batteries that connect to each other in series, or sometimes in parallel, depending upon the application and the volts required. Many golf carts use 6-volt batteries, and when six of these batteries power the system they produce 36 volts. Golf cart batteries can last a long time if they undergo proper maintenance, charging and handling. Installing new batteries or removing the old ones for any reasons will require some knowledge on how to install them in the proper wiring order.
Unlatch the golf cart seat clasps and flip the seat back for access to the battery carriage. If you have not installed the batteries in the golf cart, set them in the carriage in two rows, one top row of three and one bottom row of three. Check the battery level water and remove the filler caps and fill each cell to its upper mark with distilled water. If you have access to a battery charger, make sure each battery receives a full charge.
Use water, baking soda and a brush to clean the battery tops and terminals. Rinse with water and wipe the tops dry with rags. Use a battery cleaner tool to wire-brush the battery posts until all corrosion has been removed. Looking at the two rows of batteries, use a piece of chalk to number them one through six, starting with the upper left-hand battery and moving to the right.
Lay out enough battery cable to cut five equal lengths, measuring about eight inches long, if you have no battery wiring for your system. Use large wire cutters to cut each length, then use wire strippers to strip about 1/2 inch of insulation from each end of each length. Place a new cable connector on the end of each cable and tighten the crimp shackles with a socket. This will give you 10 cable connectors on five short cables.
Locate the main motor cable wire and place it over the positive post on battery No. 1. Tighten the connector with a socket. Place a short cable from the negative post on battery No. 1 to the positive post on battery No. 2, and tighten the connectors with a socket. Place a short cable from the negative post on battery No. 2 to the positive post on battery No. 3. Tighten both connectors with a socket.
Place a short cable from the negative post on battery No. 3 to the positive post on battery No. 6, which is the battery directly underneath in the second row. Tighten both connectors with a socket. Working from your right to your left, connect a cable on the negative post on battery No. 6 to the positive post on battery No. 5.
Tighten both connectors with a socket. Place another cable from the negative post on battery No. 5 to the positive post on battery No. 4 and tighten both connectors with a socket.
Take the main engine ground wire and connect it to the negative post on battery No. 4. This completes the battery hookup in series. Put the seat down and test the vehicle.
- Refer to your golf cart manual if your batteries are not aligned precisely in a numbered row. They will still be numbered, and a sequence will be outlined for the cable placement. If you are replacing cable, or fabricating all new cables, you will have to adjust and cut for different lengths, according to battery placement configuration.
Things You'll Need
- Distilled water
- Battery charger (if applicable)
- Battery tool cleaner
- Baking soda
- Battery cable
- Wire cutters
- Wire strippers
- Battery cable connectors
Chris Stevenson has been writing since 1988. His automotive vocation has spanned more than 35 years and he authored the auto repair manual "Auto Repair Shams and Scams" in 1990. Stevenson holds a P.D.S Toyota certificate, ASE brake certification, Clean Air Act certification and a California smog license.