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Old 11-17-2021, 02:48 PM   #1
fsu1tm
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Default All About Batteries

I've been lurking here on the ICON forum for awhile. So much so, I finally purchased my own I60 with Trojan T-875 FLA batteries. I've built two Leaf Lithium setups for two different Club Car DS models so going back to FLAs will take some getting used to.

While reading the ICON forum, I've noticed a lot of people asking about their batteries or even stating that they are doing things that I know will cause them problems in the long run. Things such as discharging to where the cart goes into limp mode or not charging everyday.

Since the ICON forum does not have a sticky for battery maintenance, I decided to create one by stealing the suggestions of others, especially roady89 and cheapjeep2 from the Club Car forum. Maybe the moderator will make this a sticky so it's easy to find for Noobs.

Remember, a 48V FLA battery pack will run you $600 - $1000. AGMs are even more expensive. So, take care of your batteries and you will have them for at least 5 years. I know someone from the Club Car forum that had his batteries for over 8 years before he finally switched to lithium.

I've underlined a few areas that are most important for long battery life.




Golf Cart Battery Maintenance (Lead Acid (FLA) or Absorbed Gas Mat (AGM)) - Not applicable to lithium

Battery Break-in Procedures

Brand new batteries are approximately 70 to 75% charged so once they are installed (correctly) the 1st 10 to 12 complete charge/discharge cycles are as follows:
  1. Plug charger in and leave it alone until charger shuts off by itself then drive cart to about 50% battery life and plug back in and repeat charge cycle.
  2. Very important you leave it charge until itís completely done! This is what you want to do 10 to 12 times. By the 12th time youíll notice a difference in power/speed and runtime.
  3. Thatís the break in period. While doing this keep an eye on water level. It's not unusual for a battery pack to take 16 hours to recharge.

Maintaining your golf cart batteries

Only add distilled water AFTER fully charging. The only time you should add water before charging is if the lead plates are exposed. Only then fill just above the lead plates.

It is important that all battery cells be filled properly to obtain good battery life. The water should completely cover the plates inside the battery, but should only be about 1/4 - 1/2" above the plates. Do not over fill. Over-filling can cause boil over and then you'll have to clean your batteries and possibly garage floor. *Using a battery fill bottle will eliminate the guess work. Again, always use distilled water.

Use only distilled, deionized or demineralized water to replace the lost water in batteries. Using tap water from homes or businesses can produce calcium or magnesium sulfate crystals that can fill the pores and coat the plates therefore reducing battery life


Charging your batteries

All Modern Golf carts (including the ICON) have automatic chargers that will shut off when the batteries are charged and will come back on if the batteries drop to a low charge.

Charge the batteries after each use. If you play golf; charge between rounds if possible. A good rule of thumb is: If the cart is not being used, put it on to charge.

Before you plug in the golf cart battery charger, inspect all battery cables for frays or corrosion and make sure the terminals are clean and tight.

Always plug the charger cord into the cart first and then plug into the wall.

Always vent the battery compartment and charging location while charging. Charging batteries put off hydrogen gasses. Leave the garage door open during the charging process to prevent gasses from building up. Some gurgling/bubbling is normal.

Never discharge a cartís batteries to the point that the vehicle will no longer run. This will shorten the life cycle of the batteries considerably, and may permanently damage the batteries. It is possible that the batteries will
not accept a recharge if they are completely discharged. The deeper the discharge, the harder it is on the batteries.

NEVER run your batteries below 50% State-of-Charge (SOC). Doing so will shorten the life of the batteries.

Install a good volt meter that shows actual voltage. Use this for determining SOC. A good rule of thumb for a 48V battery pack is to never go below 48 volts (see the attached JohnnyB's SOC Chart). The % of charge and voltage meter installed in the ICON instrument cluster are not extremely reliable. A dedicated volt meter is a better choice. You can buy one here (https://www.cartsunlimited.net/battery-meters.html). If you want to use the ICON instrument cluster, error on the side of caution.

Cleaning your batteries

Always neutralize the battery acid first before rinsing off with water. You can use a mixture of baking soda and water or get some battery acid cleaner from an auto parts store. Cleaning your batteries once a month is a good practice. If you minimize corrosion to the electrical system battery life can be increased and properly maintained batteries can last as long as 5 years.

Let the cleaner set for 5 to 10 minutes and rinse off with clean water. Be careful not to spray water directly into electrical components like your speed controller.

After rinsing if there are still deposits of battery acid spray again with the baking soda solution or cleaner and let it sit for at least 5 minutes before rinsing; repeat if required.

Corrosion deposits on the batteries must be removed because they can cause your golf cart batteries to self discharge or your cables to overheat. If there is evidence of corrosion get some protective gloves and a stiff bristle brush and scrub the deposits off. Dirt and debris can build up quicker on lifted golf carts because they are typically used off road.

Sometimes one pays the most for something they get for free.

1990 CC DS, Alltrax SR48500, 400A solenoid, HD F/R reversing contactor, 7M1P 60AH Nissan Leaf Lithium Pack - ICON I60 with Trojan T-875 FLAs
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Old 11-17-2021, 03:42 PM   #2
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Default Re: All About Batteries

It's a sticky. Nice write-up
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Old 11-17-2021, 05:13 PM   #3
golfboy64
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Default Re: All About Batteries

i have basically been doing most of your suggestions except I had never heard of breaking in batteries and my charger is always plugged in and i just install charger end into the cart. can you explain why it is important to plug in cart first and then charger? I have 2014 RXV just bought new us battery because they were the only 12v I could find. My old trojans lasted 41/2 years but I am a AZ snow bird so my batteries basically cook during the summer. Do you have any advice on best practice for Seasonal users
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Old 11-17-2021, 08:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: All About Batteries

It's just something I've heard as a safety feature. Hydrogen gasses produced by the batteries could be ignited by a spark when plugging in the charging cord if it's plugged into 120V first.
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Old 11-17-2021, 08:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: All About Batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by golfboy64 View Post
Do you have any advice on best practice for Seasonal users
Get a good battery maintainer for those long periods when your away. You won't have to worry about boiling batteries and it'll just keep things topped off. Before I converted my first CC DS to lithium, I used one and had great results.
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Old 11-17-2021, 09:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: All About Batteries

Oops. I did forget to include JohnnyB's chart.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Johnnie_BChart.jpg (116.7 KB, 0 views)
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Old 11-18-2021, 08:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: All About Batteries

disagree on 1 thing u need to plug your charger in to the 120 plug first then to the cart and leave the 120 pluged in when not in use.
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Old 11-18-2021, 03:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: All About Batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by kantuckian View Post
disagree on 1 thing u need to plug your charger in to the 120 plug first then to the cart and leave the 120 pluged in when not in use.
This doesn't matter for ICONs. The charging cord is just a fancy extension cord.

You can just wire a regular extension cord directly to your ICON charger if you wanted.
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Old 11-26-2021, 05:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: All About Batteries

Thanks for this post. I havent had a chance to run it down to 50 percent. As I use it for neighborhood drives with the kids, my trip drains 1 percent and during the week the most I get down is 75 percent.

If the cart is at 99 after my trip should I still keep it plugged in?
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Old 11-28-2021, 09:12 AM   #10
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Default Re: All About Batteries

Quote:
Originally Posted by 6seaterdonk View Post
Thanks for this post. I havent had a chance to run it down to 50 percent. As I use it for neighborhood drives with the kids, my trip drains 1 percent and during the week the most I get down is 75 percent.

If the cart is at 99 after my trip should I still keep it plugged in?
Yes. If you're not driving it, keep it plugged in when you can.
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