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Unread 09-03-2014, 01:16 PM   #1
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Default New (to me) cart - bad charger or bad batteries?

Hey all, new to the golf cart world and obviously this forum. So glad to see there are resources out there for pretty much everything!

Just brought home a 97 Club Car (36V) and trying to determine where I need to drop my $$ first.

Only one of the batteries actually has a date on it (Dec 2013), but some of the others look to be older. I drove it around (paved roads) for about 3-4 miles yesterday and it went well, but definitely started to lose power.

When I plugged it in to the charger (Lestronic II), it came on for about 3 minutes and then turned off. Clearly the batteries need to be charged, but I can't get the charger to stay on. Left it plugged in overnight to see if maybe it would do something.

This morning, the cart was pretty sluggish. Pack reads 36.9V but the charger still won't kick in. Unplugged and plugged back in and the charger kicked on for about 3 minutes again. When it stopped, the pack read 37.6V. Took the cart around for about a mile but it definitely isn't charged (could barely get up the driveway).

When I got back from that drive, the pack read 33.9V so I plugged the charger back in and nothing. Didn't kick on.

I'm sure batteries are in order pretty soon here but I'm not convinced that the charger is working properly. Any advice on what to check next would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Brian
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Unread 09-04-2014, 09:08 PM   #2
Epb
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Default Re: New (to me) cart - bad charger or bad batteries?

Get a load tester and test the batteries individually or use a hydrometer and also check water levels. Autoparts store or tsc sells a load tester. I think your issue is batteries or something is drawing power on them i would spend funds on batts first.
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Unread 09-04-2014, 10:39 PM   #3
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Default Re: New (to me) cart - bad charger or bad batteries?

Thanks Epb. Here's where I'm at...

After a call back to the guy I bought the cart/charger from, he mentioned that sometimes he had to jiggle the cable on the charger to get it come on. Well, this had me a bit suspicious since all the connections are actually quite solid. But, given the behavior I saw and the fact that I wasn't able to get the charger to even power on anymore, I started down the path of troubleshooting the charger. b/c it's cheaper...

Bypassing the electronic timer DID work and the charger came on, hovering at about 17A. I left it on for 3 hours (keeping a close watch on things.) Voltage on the pack got up to 43V and the charger had worked its way down to 14A, so it seems like things were working as they should be.

I ended up unplugging the charger because I was starting to hear a faint bubbling from within some of the batteries. I really don't know if this is normal or not so, with the timer bypassed, I was just playing it safe. Logged a few miles on the cart and it seemed to be going along fine with minimal voltage drop.

So, here's the question. This is a 1997 model, does it even have an OBC? If so, is there a chance that is the problem? If not, is this simply a matter of replacing the electronic timer in the charger?

Also, is the bubbling sound normal during the later stages of charging? It seems as if the previous owner filled the batteries quite high as they are all just about to the brim.

Thanks again! Appreciate all the insight.
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Unread 09-04-2014, 11:54 PM   #4
Epb
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Default Re: New (to me) cart - bad charger or bad batteries?

Dont blame ya...charger first! A few things lead me to no obc...crows foot plug(lester), wiring diagrams in stickies, you didnt have to do a bypass. You can look at stickies wiring diagrams to verify what you have no telling what previuos owner did/didnt alter. Bypass in charger worked so maybe a simple rebuild kit and your good
Charging can take 16hrs.
Water 1/4 above plates not topped off
Bubbling will occur, but with it so full you may see more liquid than i do. Once in a while i will have a small amount.
If you feel better being around while charging then set it early am and watch them OR plug in at night outside and check in am
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Unread 09-05-2014, 09:04 AM   #5
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Default Re: New (to me) cart - bad charger or bad batteries?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Epb View Post
Dont blame ya...charger first! A few things lead me to no obc...crows foot plug(lester), wiring diagrams in stickies, you didnt have to do a bypass. You can look at stickies wiring diagrams to verify what you have no telling what previuos owner did/didnt alter. Bypass in charger worked so maybe a simple rebuild kit and your good
Yep, I've looked at a number of diagrams and this thing doesn't have an OBC. Trying to find the best source for a new electronic timer - the charger is a Lestronic II (36V/20A), I don't see a specific model number.
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Unread 09-05-2014, 03:48 PM   #6
Epb
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Default Re: New (to me) cart - bad charger or bad batteries?

See if the attached helps you locate parts and troubleshoot future. Sometimes u can take out part and find a part #. Sponsors and the web will get u to the part. I have had to buy the diodes in the lester....
Attached Files
File Type: pdf troubleshootingguide.pdf (62.1 KB, 0 views)
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Unread 09-06-2014, 09:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: New (to me) cart - bad charger or bad batteries?

Yep, that is the guide I used to learn how to bypass the relay. I doesn't give a part number, but I'm sure I can call.

In the meantime I'm able to charge the cart with the relay bypassed but I'm scared to leave it too long. The batteries bubbling is just making me nervous. I can't seem to find anything definitive on how normal this actually is. I mean, they're not boiling over or anything, just doing a good bit of gurgling.

Another question... I see Amazon has a 5A charger that seems to have gotten pretty good reviews. People say it takes longer but that is OK with me. So would you spend $100 on a new relay for the Lester or drop about the same $$ on a 5A charger?
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Unread 09-07-2014, 09:44 AM   #8
Epb
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Default Re: New (to me) cart - bad charger or bad batteries?

If u have a few of them gurgling then you most likely have bad cell(s) in other batteries and the few gurgs are taking in all the amps. Have u load tested the batteries?

Imo i wouldnt buy the 5a...spend the money on the right solution. The relay for 100 and it may last years or a dpi ~300.
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Unread 09-08-2014, 10:33 AM   #9
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Default Re: New (to me) cart - bad charger or bad batteries?

Thanks for the response. Gonna try and get the Lestronic fully operational again and take it from there.
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Unread 09-08-2014, 10:53 AM   #10
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Default Re: New (to me) cart - bad charger or bad batteries?

The Lester charger that came with my 91 worked well but sounded like a scoreboard buzzer! I called Lester for parts and advice and they made me an offer I couldn't refuse on a new E Series charger.
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