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Unread 08-30-2008, 02:27 PM   #1
Not Yet Wild
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Unhappy Hot Cables and Sparks while Charging

First time poster - but have lurked around the forum, and gained lots of good information - but I can't seem to find solution for my current problem

Bit of history

~1998 Club Car 36 volt, lifted with knobbie tires, only driven on weekends

About a month and a half ago the forward/reverse selector switch broke. I replaced it with not an exact match, but with one from the dealer that fit later models but "should fit mine". I installed it and all seemed to work ok.

I went on an extended business trip, in which my family used/charged the cart. I went to charge it last weekend, and noticed that the 2 wires and 1 cable that come from the charger on the 1st (?) battery positive terminal looked like they got hot and were burned. The insulation on the wires was also bubbled. I then noticed that the post they were connected to seemed lose, so i removed the battery, checked the post and saw that it was broke. I figured the battery was bad and that was what was causing the problems with my cables.

Wrong

I replaced the battery last night, and put the charger on. I then noticed that the 2 wires and 1 cable that come from the charger on the 1st (?) battery positive terminal were too hot to touch while the charger was on. I disconnect the charger things cooled off.

hmm - looked at BGW forum, and saw that might have a problem with cables.

This morning i removed and cleaned each cable (one at a time - so i could remember how to put them back), and it's corresponding terminal. Put it all back together and plugged it into the charger and - now

The same wires are hot, and sparks are coming off one of the middle banks of batteries terminals - great

Any ideas?

Some of mine are -

Something is wired wrong?
One of the other batteries is bad? (if so how do i check?)
There is something wrong with the charger (or the thing the charger plugs into..?)

I appreciate any idea's or help that can be given

Jim
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Unread 08-30-2008, 03:13 PM   #2
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Default Re: Hot Cables and Sparks while Charging

Welcome to the forum Chanjamf...............

Jim, you may have one battery shorted out internaly. You will have to get a volt meter, DVM, VOM or any kind of voltage measuring device and check the voltage of each battery. Post your readings here so we can help you.

I can assure you that the post that has "sparks" is definately not tight. They all have got to be tight enough that you can tugg on the cables and they won't move on the posts.

Also, loose connections create heat and will ruin the posts on batteries, and of course wires.

Also, recheck the wiring of the batteries. The 6 batteries are a circuit and each cable will run from negative to positive of the next battery. (This is starting at the first or Main Positive Battery)

Let us know.
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Unread 08-30-2008, 05:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: Hot Cables and Sparks while Charging

Thanks rusty

I checked all of the batteries, and all had ~5.85 volts across each. Except for the new one which has ~ 6.01 volts

You were exactly right about the sparks - (duh thought i had checked them all)

the wires/cable are still hot to the touch. They may not be in the best of shape, but I have seen lots worse. Think these should be replaced?

Any other ideas?

Thanks for your help
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Unread 08-30-2008, 06:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: Hot Cables and Sparks while Charging

Those batteries are waaaaay too low. 6 volts is considered dead. Like rusty said, make sure the cables are all good, clean and tight. Give it a bit to come up. Its probly gonna take a full 10 hours or so to bring them back up good. You could possibly have an internally shorted battery. A shorted battery will cause these symptoms.
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Unread 08-30-2008, 06:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: Hot Cables and Sparks while Charging

Thanks roady - I hate to show my battery ignorance

but If these are 6 volt batteries, and if I put the voltmeter across one battery the voltage should show ~6 volts?

I just measured from the first battery to the 6th battery i get 35.4 volts. It is a 36 volt club car

Help me understand what you mean by if the batteries show 6 volts they are considered dead - is this because of them being deep cycle?

I appreciate all the input - thanks for your help
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Unread 08-30-2008, 06:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: Hot Cables and Sparks while Charging

Voltage on a fully charged battery will read 2.12 to 2.15 volts per cell. At 6 volts the battery is at about 80% of capacity. You should never go below 80% of capacity or damage could result.....not immediate explosion type damage but damage that causes a very short battery lifespan.
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Unread 08-30-2008, 09:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Hot Cables and Sparks while Charging

Ok - I got it on the charger now. I'm kind of worried about how hot the cables are getting - any chance of anything arcing?

Anyway is it a rule of thumb that all batteries should contain 2.12 - 2.15 volts per cell?

I'll watch it and let you know what it does

Again, I appreciate the help

Jim
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Unread 08-30-2008, 09:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Hot Cables and Sparks while Charging

Good cables can get warm while charging. Never hot like you can't hold them!
If hot like you can't hold onto them disconnect the charger and find the problem before the fire...
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Unread 08-30-2008, 09:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: Hot Cables and Sparks while Charging

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chanjamf View Post
Anyway is it a rule of thumb that all batteries should contain 2.12 - 2.15 volts per cell?

No, not all batteries are designed the same. 2.12-2.15 is for a true deep cycle battery.
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Unread 08-30-2008, 10:46 PM   #10
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Default Re: Hot Cables and Sparks while Charging

Jim....... If those cables are severly corroded or the ends are loose or floppy, then yes, replace them. A good rule of thumb is to replace the cables at the end of batteries life span, when the batteries are replaced.
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