Golf Cart Electrical Safety Recommendations

electrical safetyThe electrical systems on your golf car are designed to operate in a wide range of environments and last for many years if well-maintained. Routine checks should be performed to ensure that a small problem does not become a major repair or cause injuries. This post is not about performing the maintenance, but about safety while using and servicing your electrical system.

Electrical connectors need to be checked regularly to make sure they are tight. Loose terminals and connectbattery connector safety maintenanceors cause heat build-up and therefore are a safety concern. In the case of this picture, the connection got hot enough to melt lead. Luckily there were no injuries in this case, but this malfunction could have caused a fire and/or explosion. Unfortunately, however, this battery must be replaced prematurely for the sake of safety.

Any time you work on the electrical system, you should disconnect the main positive and solenoid maintenance safetynegative battery power leads. As careful as you may be, accidents still happen, leading to personal injury and damage to the system. Many controller systems we repair are damaged as a result of an electrical short overloading the electronics due to lack of safety.

It’s also important to remember that not all components are dead because the key is in the “off” position. In the examples battery cable maintenance safetyabove and below, the solenoid burned because the person tried to remove the power connector while the batteries were still connected. This solenoid was stuck in the closed position (meaning electricity was flowing through it) as the terminal was loosened, causing a small fire.

Along with the tips above, always use common sense when working on your electrical system. Remove all jewelry from your hands, double-check all connections before powering the system, and if a connection looks burned or damaged, don’t trust it. Stay safe.

4 thoughts on “Golf Cart Electrical Safety Recommendations

  1. Just bought a 94 EZ go.’we noticed that when driving it that the F/R switch area gets extremely hot. Smokes and burned the wiring insulation. Also, the reverse sometimes doesn’t work and the switch can be turned a completly around instead of just stopping at the forward or reverse. We are new to this and wondering what this could be. All the connections look sound as we have checked that. Wondering if it is a current issue or where we should start. Thanks!

    • It sounds like you have what we call a “series” electrical system which refers to the series wound motor based on the lever action style of switch you describe. However, being a 1994, it could be a Marathon model or a Medalist model which have slightly different switches with a similar principle of operation. With a picture of either the switch or the vehicle, I could tell which model you have.

      In general, the direction selector switch is a mechanical switch with copper contacts which disconnects the power circuit to the motor and reconnects it with polarity running one way or the other to change the direction of the motor. Being in a 36 volt E-Z-GO cart with electronic speed control (either model), it would operate at 275 amp current limit. With it being a moving mechanical part that adjusts the polarity on a high amperage circuit, it is a recipe for wear. The contacts just wear out over time even with the best maintenance. That wear causes excess resistance, which causes heat, which causes further damage. Further, if the cart is lifted with larger tires or has a high performance non-stock motor, that can cause the current draw (amperage) to exceed the switch’s capacity and cause it to fail more quickly than normal.

      Typically, several of the wires to the direction selector lead to the electric motor and they are the longest wires in the cart. The length adds extra resistance and can cause them to heat up which transfer heat to both the motor and switch. If you have a lifted cart with larger tires or a non-stock motor, we typically recommend non only upgrading those wires, but also all the power wires of the cart to a heavier 4 gauge as opposed to the stock 6 gauge.

      If any of those wires get loose at the motor (due to the outer nut) or the motor terminal itself gets loose (due to the inner nut), that will cause excess resistance, which again leads to heat and it can get transferred forward to the direction selector causing damage.

      Overall, I’d say it’s likely time for a new switch. If you have a stock cart, the standard replacement is fine. if it’s lifted with larger tires or has a on-stock motor, you might want to opt for a heavy duty version. We carry both for the Marathon and Medalist models. if you can send me a picture of either the switch, the cart, or send a serial # we can determine what you have an direct you at where to purchase a replacement on our site.

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