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Unread 08-14-2014, 03:55 PM   #1
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Default Getting power from ground (negative)to frame

Doing some general troubleshooting on a friends electric club car. Late 90s or early 2000 with aftermarket hummer kit. I was getting odd electrical issues with lights, blinkers etc.

Did some testing and it seemed as though I didn't have a good ground.

Went to the battery and found only one small wire from the negative battery post to the frame.

That seemed odd so I was going to connect a heavier gauge wire from the negative to the frame ground bus. There was already 4 wires connected to it and two spades open.

When I did. I got a pretty large spark. So I began testing and found no matter where I tested the negative to frame I was getting a light on my tester.

Some additional troubleshooting information. Burned out two testers in the process.

The test light would initially be bright then dim in a couple of seconds.

Didn't seem to matter if the ignition was on or off.

Also curious about the existing wiring set up. There were hot wires connected at interim locations in the battery series. By that I mean they weren't connected to the positive post for the series. But at the last battery where the ground was connected. There was only one hot wire at the first postive post in the series and the one small wire on the last negative post in the series.

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance
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Unread 08-14-2014, 04:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: Getting power from ground (negative)to frame

On an electric club car there should be NO wires going to the frame of the cart. All lights etc will run from a voltage reducer to the lights etc. the cart is likely a 48 volt system, you were using a 12 volt test light it would burn the bulb out quickly.

Get all wires unhooked from the frame first, then see what you have.

Also serial number of cart will help, plus photos of the troubled areas.
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Unread 08-14-2014, 05:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: Getting power from ground (negative)to frame

Thought my test light would do 24v guess not. Anyway. Thx for the info on the ground to frame question.

How about positive wires? Theres 3 on one post and a separate one that goes to the charging port.

I'll get you a serial number and post as well.

Thx for the quick response.
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Unread 08-14-2014, 08:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Getting power from ground (negative)to frame

The three wires on the pos are likely the main pos cable, the charge port 10ga wire, and the smaller one would be supplying power for the lights. The neg for the lights should come from the neg battery post. The system should be isolated from the frame. Sometimes people will try to install lights like you would on an auto using Frame as ground saving wire. You cannot do that on an electric cart.

One other thing, it likely has a 16 to 12 volt reducer. The neg for the lights should run from it. Sounds like it may be hooked to frame and lights grounded to frame. Hard to tell without seeing cart. These are things you can check.
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Unread 08-14-2014, 09:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: Getting power from ground (negative)to frame

Looked like all of the lights had a negative return wire. tail lights actually have a 3 prong connector like a truck light. ground, blinker, brake lights.

going to look at the reducer tomorrow to see where all of the grounds go. And I'll post a picture of the existing wiring. Wasn't able to find a serial number but the owner said it was a 2008 or 9.

Thanks again.
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Unread 08-14-2014, 09:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: Getting power from ground (negative)to frame

Quote:
You cannot do that on an electric cart.
You can do it but it is not recommended. I had an old EZ Go that I used the chassis for ground. It would be hard to do with a plastic CC.
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Unread 08-17-2014, 01:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: Getting power from ground (negative)to frame

Some voltage reducers have isolated output and some have the negative tied together internally. If you assumed the output was floating and tied the output negative to the frame might explain what you are seeing. Some reducers make a heavy spark when first connected and what I suspect you are doing is completing the circuit with your test lights from battery - to frame and the light dims as the reducer gets charged up because the reducer negative is tied to frame somewhere.
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Unread 08-18-2014, 05:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: Getting power from ground (negative)to frame

Just because you can doesn't mean you should. Electric golf carts have the positive high voltage dc wiring at the metal key switch. If any part of the frame is grounded the operator could get a lethal shock under the right conditions (wet, raining).
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Unread 08-29-2014, 08:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: Getting power from ground (negative)to frame

I grounded my - wire for my reducer to the batt- and to the frame before. It was a week later that I found that this was a no no. All my wires coming out of my reducer fried and melted together, caused a fire and melted brake cable insulation also.
I live and learn. I had the same mentality of working on a vehicle. I figured a frame ground would make it better........I was wrong.
Definitely don't hook any grounds from the battery to the frame!
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Unread 08-29-2014, 08:48 PM   #10
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Smile Re: Getting power from ground (negative)to frame

The voltage can come from any accessary that is mounted to the frame or any thing that touches the frame.

I had a small voltage on the frame of our Precedent. Turns out it was the turn signal switch that I attached to the steering column with a hose clamp. I fixed it by wrapping several turns of friction tape around the column and then attached the turn signal switch using the same clamp - kinda Mickey Mouse, but it worked
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