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Unread 10-01-2013, 02:07 PM   #1
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Default Can I put Power Drive II on a timer?

I usually take my cart to the lake in the summer where we keep our RV parked for a couple of months, and I leave the cart plugged in when we are not there. This year, we decided to move our RV to a "permanent" lot and leave it there year round. The cart will probably not stay there year round but there will be times where it is there for a few weeks at a time unattended. I don't want to leave it off the charger for that long but I don't want to leave it plugged in and unattended for that long either. Several people at the RV park have already shared stories where people they know have left their carts plugged in and ended up burning their RV down and sometimes their neighbors.

So, my idea was to plug the charger into a programmable timer that I could set to come on for set periods of time a couple days a week. I couldn't find an outdoor timer but I found an indoor one that is digitally programmable and I keep the cart covered and the timer would go under the cover. The timer has the 3 prong grounded input and output and it is rated at 15a. However, when I tried it, the charger wouldn't come on - it just made a short noise as if it were straining. Did I get a bad timer or is 15a not enough? Anyone done something like this before?
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Unread 10-01-2013, 02:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: Can I put Power Drive II on a timer?

I thought about this a number of years ago for winter storage, but it won't work. The OBC in the cart is part of the charging circuit - so the only way to re-start your charger (without some electrical relay work inside the charger) is to unplug the big-round-rubber plug from the cart, and plug it back in after waiting a few seconds. Someone (can't recall who) on this site mentioned adding a 110v relay to his charger to disengage the OBC wire (which would accomplish this electrically rather than physically) - it would be cool if he took some pictures and shared it - but at this point he just described his work, I think.
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Unread 10-01-2013, 03:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Can I put Power Drive II on a timer?

Here is the thread, it was Storm S.

Let The Fun Begin!

Starting with post #14.

SaltLife, I don't think the timer you have is strong enough to power the charger, hence the straining sound.

Joesam is right also, the charger actually has to be physically removed from the plug to reset the charge cycle.

What is the difference between using the timer and leaving the charger plugged in, where it checks the batteries twice a month and recharges if necessary?
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Unread 10-01-2013, 03:50 PM   #4
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Default Re: Can I put Power Drive II on a timer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jakesnake27 View Post
Here is the thread, it was Storm S.

Let The Fun Begin!

What is the difference between using the timer and leaving the charger plugged in, where it checks the batteries twice a month and recharges if necessary?
Essentially there is really no difference as far as I know - I've been leaving my Powerdrive I plugged in all winter for years. I'm not sure how a fire might start with the charger when it comes on by itself, unless battery or charge cable connections are poor enough to create a resistive arc or something...
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Unread 10-01-2013, 04:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: Can I put Power Drive II on a timer?

Could set up a circuit that charges for 16 hrs when leaving then in 2 weeks when you return would be ready to go.
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Unread 10-01-2013, 04:49 PM   #6
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Default Re: Can I put Power Drive II on a timer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by joesam View Post
Essentially there is really no difference as far as I know - I've been leaving my Powerdrive I plugged in all winter for years. I'm not sure how a fire might start with the charger when it comes on by itself, unless battery or charge cable connections are poor enough to create a resistive arc or something...
Yeah, I just don't know why SaltLife wouldn't leave it connected.
I guess technically if a cable becomes loose or something, it could spark and cause a fire...
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Unread 10-02-2013, 08:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: Can I put Power Drive II on a timer?

Let me know where I'm going wrong here. Maybe I'm going off perception instead of reality. As stated above, since putting in new batteries earlier this year, I have been leaving the cart on the charger when unattended. My initial understanding was that the charging cord had to be unplugged and plugged back in to recycle the charging process. But after reading posts here, I was under the impression that I was wrong about that and if I just leave the cord plugged in, the cart will determine if/when it needs charging and will recycle on its own. So that's why I started just leaving it plugged in, assuming that it would charge itself anytime the voltage dropped to the point where charging was necessary. However, up until recently, the cart rarely sat unattended for more than a week at a time. This time of year, it will be common for it to sit 2, 3 weeks or so unattended. So, going under the assumption that I can just leave the cart plugged in and it will charge when needed, I thought about putting it on a timer. I know that if the cart and charger are working properly, it should take care of itself. But if something goes wrong with either and batteries are over charged for a long period of time, there could be problems. Am I wrong about that?
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Unread 10-02-2013, 09:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: Can I put Power Drive II on a timer?

Obviously nobody on this forum designed the charging circuits for Club Car (at least I don't think so) but I've got to believe that any good electrical designer would make every effort to design-in a component failure mode to "not-charge". Not counting something uncontrollable like lightning or a severe powerline surge, of course.

Cycling the charger with a timer (in my opinion) would actually increase the chances of a failure because more componenets are involved in starting/stopping the charge cycle. I'm just guessing of course, but Club Cars are used commercially a lot. They sit on their chargers in airports, sporting venues, warehouses, equipment yards etc. Some versions are actually outfitted as ambulances in large warehouses - and they sit on charge way too much! Personally I've never heard of a STOCK Club Car & charger burning down anything.
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Unread 10-02-2013, 10:58 AM   #9
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Default Re: Can I put Power Drive II on a timer?

When I get my site set up completely, the cart will be under a metal shelter, away from the RV, so even if something catches fire, it shouldn't burn anything else down. Maybe it wasn't overcharged batteries or faulty chargers that burned up the other carts I was told about, perhaps they were poorly wired or faulty 48v to 12v reducers that weren't switched off or something like that.
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Unread 10-02-2013, 11:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: Can I put Power Drive II on a timer?

The obc basically has its own timer built in, where it will check on the batteries every 2 weeks and charge accordingly. So adding a timer would just through off the charge system.
Your best bet, in my opinion, would be to leave the charger connected...
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