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Unread 08-31-2010, 01:46 PM   #1
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Default Still having a battery issue

I have a 4x12v setup. When I first hooked up my light kit to battery #4, they didn't last long before they went dim and then out. I charged the cart and the lights started working again but soon went dim and then out. I swapped battery 3 and 4 and the lights seemed to work much longer/better that way. So, I checked the voltage and while 3 of the batteries showed 12v, the one I was having trouble with showed only 8v. So, I put it on a trickle charger and it seemed to accept a full charge and charged up fully within a reasonable amount of time. When I say it charged up fully, I mean the automatic trickle charger shut off like it should when the batter reached a full 12v.

After doing all of that, I realized I had issues with my cart charger and found a bad relay, so I'm unable to recharge the cart until that is fixed (parts on the way). I swapped batteries 3 and 4 back again and reattached my lights but the cart hasn't been ridden more than 100 yards and the lights haven't been used at all since then. But I just checked the lights and the rears won't come on again and the front is dim again. So, I rechecked the voltage on the batteries. While 3 of the 4 still show around 11.8v, the battery in question is now down to just below 10v.

I'm still learning about the battery thing. But is there anything that would just cause that battery to discharge without being used? Just a bad battery or is something mysteriously drawing on it? I guess I'm lost on why it seemed to accept a normal charge and just get low faster than the others without using it. Is there any other testing I can do or is that enough to believe that it is bad and needs replacing? These batteries were installed as a set in 08. Would a load test of some sort indicate what might be the case or is that moot at this point?
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Unread 08-31-2010, 02:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: Still having a battery issue

If it is not 'holding a charge then it is bad.
You could charge it back up and disconnect it from the cart then see if it drains down in 12hrs, in 24hrs, in 48hrs?
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Unread 08-31-2010, 02:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: Still having a battery issue

You need to go to STICKIES ABOVE CART LISTING and look for topic "State Of Charge Readings" the chart will show you what a fully charged battery's specific gravity and voltage readings should be. As you will see a 12 volt battery fully charged in good condition should read 12.73 on digital volt meterand 1.277 SG, while a reading of 12 volts is LESS THAN 50% of charge. At 10 volts battery is completely dead.
When you have any grouping of batterys wired in series and have one bad battery will pull whole pack down and will not allow charger to charge pack to full voltage.
Even though batterys were replaced in 2008, have you checked to see when batterys were built ( code on battery posts ) date should be at least within a month of others, and dont expect 12 volt batterys to last anywhere near as long as 6 or 8 volt batterys. The short life and short range on 12 volt Club Cars is why CC put out a conversion kit to convert back to 8 volt batterys.
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Unread 08-31-2010, 05:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: Still having a battery issue

I got a hydrometer to test the specific gravity but it's not one that gives me numbers. It has the floating balls in it and that's it. Of course, right now all of my batteries are low and I can't charge them until I get my charger fixed, but I checked all cells in the bad battery and a couple of cells in another battery and on all of them only one ball floated of the 4. Even the good batteries are only showing about 11.8 to 11.84 volts right now, though. I guess I should check again right after fully charging?

When I reported my charger problems to the guy I bought my cart from, he offered to swap it out for me. Maybe he'll be willing to do that same thing on the battery.

As for now, I'll go throw the one battery back on the trickle charger and check the SG just after it's done and then wait and spot check it to see if and how quickly it is discharging as it just sits there.
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Unread 08-31-2010, 06:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: Still having a battery issue

Throw the antifreeze tester away as it wont give you what you need when testing batterys. Get unit with single float and temperature correcting scale ( auto parts store )for acurate testing. With SG and volt tester you have to wait at least one hour after charging battery to allow for balancing out.
Try and get previous owner ( hopefully a reputable dealer ) to get you new batterys ( OR BETTER YET a conversion to 8 volts batterys ) because they were defective when you purchased cart along with charger unless you bought as is? By adding only one or more batterys to a old pack you will ruin NEW BATTERYS by overcharging trying to bring voltage up to full charge on old batterys.
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Unread 09-02-2010, 10:47 AM   #6
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Default Re: Still having a battery issue

I'm hoping my relay will arrive today so I can fix my charger. But while I've been waiting, I have been experimenting with this questionable battery. Not scientific (sorry Old Mec) but below are my findings. Seems pretty clear to me that the battery is just bad but some of it is not totally logical to me, but I'm still learning.

On Tuesday, I took the cables off of the battery and put it on a 2a trickle charge. It took about 5 hours to charge up but after it was done, the multimeter only showed 11.99v.

I left the cables off and checked it again that night and it was down to about 11.85v which is what the other batteries are currently showing. Checked it again several times yesterday and it was still hovering around that mark and so were the other batts.

Late yesterday, I hooked it back into the pack and let it sit for a while without riding it - no noticeable change in voltage. So, later on I plugged the lights back into it and turned them on and put the multimeter on it and just watched as the volts clicked off a tenth at a time within seconds. I turned off the lights and unhooked them and checked it again and it showed about 11.72v.

My wife later rode the cart down the street and back which is about 100 yards each way. Checked the batt this morning and it is already down below 10v.

So, it seems the batt doesn't mind taking a charge, it just doesn't like holding onto it, especially under load. Would that be a fair assessment?

Now, the question is - what is the best thing to do about it? I haven't called yet but I feel like the guy I bought it from will swap the battery for me with another 08 Trojan out of one of the several identical year and model carts he also has for sale. Or, I can bite the bullet and go out and buy a brand new battery which will be 2+ years newer than the other 3. Which is the lesser of 2 evils? Obviously, the cheaper option is to swap it. Any chance that may turn out to be the better option as well because the batts are probably closer to the same age. And since these carts came from the same place and were probably bought and retired at the same time, and all had their batts replaced in 08, are more compatible with each other?
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Unread 09-02-2010, 11:09 AM   #7
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Default Re: Still having a battery issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by 03RedClub View Post
On Tuesday, I took the cables off of the battery and put it on a 2a trickle charge. It took about 5 hours to charge up but after it was done, the multimeter only showed 11.99v.
11.99v is less than 50% charged. This battery is not accepting a charge like you think it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 03RedClub
I left the cables off and checked it again that night and it was down to about 11.85v which is what the other batteries are currently showing. Checked it again several times yesterday and it was still hovering around that mark and so were the other batts.
11.85v is around 35% charged. The situation is NOT improving.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 03RedClub
Late yesterday, I hooked it back into the pack and let it sit for a while without riding it - no noticeable change in voltage. So, later on I plugged the lights back into it and turned them on and put the multimeter on it and just watched as the volts clicked off a tenth at a time within seconds. I turned off the lights and unhooked them and checked it again and it showed about 11.72v.

My wife later rode the cart down the street and back which is about 100 yards each way. Checked the batt this morning and it is already down below 10v.

So, it seems the batt doesn't mind taking a charge, it just doesn't like holding onto it, especially under load. Would that be a fair assessment?
No, the battery in question is done for. Replace it with a similarly aged unit, and prepare yourself for a new pack if the pack does not respond to the repaired charger.

And discard the floating ball tester, they are useless for this level of testing.
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Unread 09-02-2010, 11:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: Still having a battery issue

All of the voltages you posted are too low. A golf cart battery wants to maintain between 50 - 100% charge at all times... any time spent in a reduced 'state of charge' will result in damage to the batteries, decreasing their ability to perform properly. Below is a SOC table. I hope this helps.
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File Type: jpg Batterytable1-1.jpg (88.7 KB, 16 views)
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Unread 09-02-2010, 12:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: Still having a battery issue

As you can see the trickle charger that you are using ( if its an automatic unit ) isnt able to bring battery up to full charge 12.73 and instead is only bring it up for a short time to 11.9 which is a little above 40% of charge? You are wasting your time with at the very least the one batterys as its dead.
If you really want to change one battery get as close a build dated battery ( AGAIN CHECK DATE MARKINGS ON BATTERY CONNECTIONS FOR MONTH AND YEAR OF BUILD EXAMPLE ? 8 ) I really hate to see you start out with a cart with weak and possible defective batterys as you will be unhappy with poor quality of power and performance, and dependability and by doing so you are letting seller off the hook so to speak?
I see by Club Car Parts Direct that they have dropped the 12 volt batterys from price list but last time I checked they were about $238.00 each = $952.00 for set plus installation?
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Unread 09-02-2010, 01:50 PM   #10
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Default Re: Still having a battery issue

Still no repair parts for charger in the mail today. Based on what I'm reading from you guys, this 1 weak battery may cause the rest of them to not come up to full charge when I charge the pack, right? The other 3 batteries seem to be okay or at least consistent under load, over time but yes they are all weak right now because the cart has been ridden and the charger is currently broken. But this one is the only 1 that consistently loses voltage very fast with very little use. So, in order to really get everything to come up to full charge, or at least see if everything will, I need to start by replacing this battery, right?
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