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Unread 12-27-2013, 10:08 PM   #1
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Default Cold weather use

I've been using a gas workhorse for my hunting rig for a couple years. But being a cart it seems to give me more starting problems in the winter.

I have a chance to pick up an electric CC. I believe it is early 2000s. It will need new batteries and is priced accordingly. I'd been concerned using an electric because of a very large hill I have to go up to get home. But this summer I picked up an older Taylor Dunn electric cart. We took it down to the river where we hunt one day, and it had no problem making it up the hill with two adults. So I figured if it made it with plain golf cart tires, a much newer CC has to be able to make it.

I know in cold weather battery life is reduced. In my case I'd say low temps would be in the 20s some mornings. It is about 1 1/2 mile to where I hunt, and 1 1/2 mile back later in the day. Sometimes I may make two trips, one in the morning and one in the evening.

At temps in the 20s and 30s will a 36 volt cart get me the 3 miles I need for a round trip? I figure on days when I make two trips I could plug it in between trips if needed.
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Unread 12-29-2013, 09:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Cold weather use

Thought I'd bring this back up in case all the cold weather drivers were out driving in the cold yesterday and missed it.
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Unread 12-29-2013, 10:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: Cold weather use

I can't answer your question, but I think it would. We hunt in a hilly area and have no problem. Sometimes I wish I had a motor with higher torque for a couple or three spots. There is one hill I will not even try right now.

The thing about volts vs gas, there is no odor and much more quiet. That is reason enough to go with the electric carts. 3 miles even on a cold day should not be bad.

And cold weather riding is not where these guys probably are. They are likely to be huddled up watching football.
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Unread 12-29-2013, 11:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cold weather use

Appreciate the reply. I was beginning to think maybe only the EZ GO guys ran around in the cold, and I'd have to ask over there.

I really only have one hill to worry about. I live up on the bluff, but hunt down below in the river bottom. So coming home it's just one big hill to make it up. Google earth tells me in a distance of just under 200 yards I go up 150 feet in elevation. Even with my gas cart you could almost walk as fast as it goes up the last 50 or 75 yards. But it always makes it. I didn't know if an electric would make it, but as I said in my first post when we made it up with an older 1970s cart, with no upgrades or changes for offroad, I knew a newer cart would be fine.

I knew I'd be giving up some with speed, but most of that 1 1/2 miles is a dirt farm road so you don't go full speed on that much anyway. Only about 1/4 mile is gravel road to get me to the farm road.

After driving my workhorse around for a couple years now the deer are pretty used to it. But then I'm down there year round doing something, so it's not like they just see me during hunting season. Though I have to admit it would be nice going through the woods a little quieter then I do now.

As long as I can make the 3 mile round trip with an electric when it's in the 20s and 30s, I'll be happy.

One more thing I just thought of. When spending a lot of time off road, what about heat buildup in the motor and driving around a lot of dead grass and dry leaves. I figure as long as you're moving you're fine, but does one need to be careful where you park for a while so dry grass isn't touching the motor.
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Unread 12-29-2013, 12:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Cold weather use

I "feel your pain". Now, my cart is a little different as it's a 48-V system and I have several upgrades to it that it's no longer "just a golf cart." This year is the 1st year anniversary of my upgrades to installing eight 6-volt Trojan T-105's. Prior to that I had six 8-volt Excides. The run time going to more batteries increased by a solid 20%.

Now, this year I experienced my first "real" warm weather to cold weather distance "test" under real life conditions. This is so because the places that I hunt now are quite different that I have hunted in the past. So, in the fall (here in Southwestern Pennsylvania) when the average temp's were mid 60's to mid 70's I would get a good 12 miles from a charge...and the "tank meter" would get no lower than 1/4 left.

Then, just this early December, I was hunting in a buddies camp where my cart sat outside in 18-degree temps all night, and the next day the high temp rose to 26-degrees by 11:00, then began to drop to 22-Degrees by 2:00 or so. I "ran" my cart to several different spots and noticed that my batteries were "losing" power quickly. When I got home I Googled my position and mapped my distance traveled to be about 8 miles. This is about 66% of the warmer temp run distance, and in another post, JohnnieB posted a chart that pretty much was on target showing the loss of "juice" vs the colder the temperature gets.

Actually I was relieved as I initially thought I had something else wrong with my cart.

Now, I had a conversation with my B-I-L who is a master Mack Mechanic. He approach's my cart's batteries with caution....as he's stated..."your dealing with a lot of power there, don't be fooled by the fact that they are just little boxes of power." I ask him about doing something to keep the batt's warmer and he stated that I may want to try using some ridged home insulation for the bottom of the bat's (like 1/8" or 1/4" max) just for a starter. He warned me that air MUST be circulating in the compartment because as the bat's are called upon for use, they expel gas's that must be vented or a build up can become dangerous.

So, he stated DO NOT enclose the bat's where they could become, in essence there own ka-boom of sorts. He also said I may want to use some of the ridged insulation on the outside of the bat's....perhaps just half-way up at first, keeping space between the bat's and the insulation for air flow. And then see what kind of run time I get in the cold wealthier.

He also stated that a small temp gauge in the compartment would\could be helpful to monitor the compartment temps. Too hot is not good either.

FIWI

Dave
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Unread 12-29-2013, 01:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: Cold weather use

Thanks for the info. Sounds like even in the cold I won't have a problem making the 3 miles round trip.

Since I'll be going from my house to the woods, I may be able to do a few things to help keep the batteries warm before I leave. I wonder if a battery tender hooked up the night before will keep the batteries a little warmer. Or even flipping up the seat and hanging a light bulb over the batteries to give off some heat. I figure once you head to the woods it will be cold, but it should take a long time for the batteries to get cold all the way through. Any of that could help performance.

Since I'll be buying the cart knowing it will need batteries, maybe I should think about a 48 volt upgrade right from the start. As I said I think the cart is early 2000s, and I should be able to pick it up for $600 or $700 knowing it needs batteries. Of course going from gas to electric I'll need to see what upgrading actually costs, and to what level of upgrading I want to do.

I know the guy that has the cart, and we probably won't do anything till spring. So the best thing I can do it get exact information from him as to what year the cart is and what style. With that I should be able to come back here and get information as to what I can do as far as upgrading, and what the cost will be.

Just to give the CC guys a bad time. I notice it take take an EZ GO guy to tell me about running in cold weather. lol
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Unread 12-29-2013, 03:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: Cold weather use

If your cart is going to be sitting outside all of the time, then I'm sure the light bulb "trick" will work. Just make sure your using the old style incandescent that throw off heat as these new compact fluorescent lamps won't give you any heat.

And, you have to be cautious that you don't have the light "pressed up" right against the battery caps as this is where the battery gas will seep out...and this is the gas that is combustable if a spark is nearby.

I ask my BIL about wrapping the outside of my Bat's with a Gerblings seat warmer (just Google it and you will find it) as this is a 12-V seat warmer. He was very cautious and said..."Take this one step at a time and see how well the ridged insulation works. You don't want to be out in the woods and the bang you hear is from under your cart seat!!"

Dave
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