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How Does a Golf Cart Battery Meter Work

Golf cart battery meters work by indicating the level of battery discharge in your golf cart. This helps to maintain your golf cart batteries properly.

Discharging golf cart batteries below 20-30 percent will wear them out faster leading to a costly replacement.

Golf cart battery meters tell you when to recharge your batteries, so you do not end up draining them completely.

There are two types of golf cart battery meters – Analog and Digital (usually LED).

The analog meter uses voltage to move its needle to indicate the level of charge. In the background, you can see “E” written on the far left that indicates empty while an “F” on the far right shows that the battery is full.

A digital meter uses LED to display the state of charge. A series of lights are shown on the display indicating the level of charge. More bars or lights indicate more charge while fewer bars or lights indicate a lower level of charge.

How to Install a Golf Cart Battery Meter

Installing a golf cart battery meter should always be performed by a professional.

This is how to install a golf cart battery meter:

Safety Precautions

  • Before you begin installing a golf cart battery meter, wear safety goggles to protect your eyes.
  • Keep away from objects that are lying or hanging loose when you use drills, high-speed rotary tools, etc.
  • Wear comfortable fitting shirts and pants.
  • Pull back your hair and tie it up tightly.

Tools needed

  • Dremel to cut the slot for meter
  • Holesaw and drill, if you have a round meter
  • Digital or Analog Voltage Meter
  • Razor knife
  • Screwdrivers
  • Wire cutters and wire stripper
  • Vice Grips or Crimper
  • Butane Torch or Lighter

List of supplies

  • Desired length of wire 14-18 Gauge
  • Heat shrink or Electrical tape
  • Butt Connectors
  • F2 terminal Connectors
  • Mounting Screws

Installation

  1. To install your meter in the dash, you’ll need ~3 pieces of 8-12 inches of wire which are 14-18 Gauges.
  2. Prep the end of your wires using crimpers.
  3. Prep the terminals and butt connectors using wire strippers.
  4. Now, attach the butt connectors and connectors to your wires.
  5. A club car precedent model golf cart will have an extra wire set in the wire harness seated behind the dash and the ignition switch. Connect the wires that you’ve prepared with these wires.
  6. If you’ve connected them properly, the meter should indicate ~48V or 51Vprovided you’ve a fully charged battery*.
  7. Now connect the signal terminal wire on the meter to the ignition. Add a jumper from the ignition switch to the tab on the battery gauge’s bottom.
    This signal wire will ensure that your meter starts working only when you turn on your golf cart.

Note: Certain golf cart models will need wires running from the positive and negative terminals on the battery bank to detect the battery bank voltage.

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A different approach would be to measure the input voltage on a golf cart voltage reducer that comes installed in some custom golf carts that have other 12Vaccessories.

Generally, there are two types of battery meters that go into a golf cart-Analog and Digital (usually LED).

Installing an Analog Meter

  1. An analog meter has a positive and negative connection terminal in each gauge. Connect the negative terminal to the negative terminal of the main battery bank.
  2. Now connect the positive terminal to the positive terminal of the “switched” side of the key switch.
  3. The “switched” side of the key switch has power only when the golf cart is running.
  4. This will ensure that the gauge is off when the golf cart is not in use.

Installing a Digital Meter

  1. The digital meters have three terminals in place of two, labelled 1,2 and 4.
  2. Connect 1 to the main battery bank’s positive terminal and 2 to its negative terminal.
  3. Connect 4’s positive terminal to the positive side or the “switched” side of the key switch to make use of the LED function of the meter.

How to Read a Golf Cart Battery Meter

To best way to read your battery meter, is to drive your golf cart up a hill. Push the pedal down as far as you can to observe how far down the needle goes. A needle in the red zone indicates that you need to recharge your batteries.

To Read a 36 Volt Golf Cart Battery Meter

  1. There are four zones in the display area of this meter. The zones are (from left to right)- red, white, green, and red zones.
  2. The white area labeled CHG indicates that your battery is charged.
  3. The red zone to the right of CHG indicates that your battery is overcharged.
  4. Green zone indicates that your battery is sufficiently charged and is good to go.
  5. The leftmost red zone indicates that your battery needs to be charged.
  6. If your batteries are fully charged and yet your meter shows that they are uncharged, there is a possibility that you’ve wired your batteries wrongly. The batteries should be wired in a series connection.

How to Reset a Golf Cart Battery Meter

To Reset Your Golf Cart Battery Meter, Follow the Steps Given Below

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  1. Disconnect the meter from your golf cart.
  2. Charge your golf cart batteries to 100 percent.
  3. Connect the meter back to your golf cart to complete the reset process.

How to Troubleshoot Golf Cart Battery Meter

Unfortunately golf cart battery meters can at times be troublesome devices. This is especially the case if you own a pre 2014 EzyGo golf cart.

While EzyGo do design some of the best golf carts ever made, issues are going to occur due to the large number of carts they sell each year.

To help you diagnose any problems, I have listed some of the more likely issues that may occur with your battery meter and how to go about fixing them:

Battery Meter Is Blinking

A flashing or blinking battery meter light means that there is an issue with the golf cart battery receiving power.

To fix any blinking issues you should first refer to the owners manual for troubleshooting tips.

The number of flashes seen can differ between different golf carts and battery meters, so there is no one solution for all issues.

However I will offer some of the more common suggestions to fix blinking issues seen on your battery meter:

Golf Cart Battery Won’t Take Charge & Meter Is Flashing

If your golf cart battery won’t hold a charge at all, and you see the meter flashing, this is cause for concern. EzyGo golf carts generally need at least 24 volts in the battery bank; otherwise the charger won’t even start.

If you’re using a 12 volt charger, you’ll need to charge 2 batteries at a time to get the 24 volts of power.

Make sure to hook the charging cables up correctly. Begin charging both batteries (only 2 at a time) in the correct series.

If in any doubt, replacing either the charger or bad batteries will usually fix this issue. Use a voltmeter to help you access the state of the cells in your batteries.

Red Light Flashes 2 times

If you see a red light flash twice on your EzyGo charger this indicates the voltage being received is too low. This could be due to a defective battery charger.
First make sure the connections are clean and attached tightly to the battery. You’ll then want to isolate each battery and check the voltage of each.

Look for any batteries that show a really low voltage reading. Then try trickle charging the battery to bring it back to appropriate voltage level.

Battery is Fully Charged but Meter Flashes 10 Times

If you have charged your batteries overnight, and your golf cart is running normal, you still may find your battery meter flashing multiple times.

This indicates defective wiring inside the battery meter. I recommend you replace the battery meter or hire a licensed electrician to fix the meter.

Battery Meter Always Shows Full

You may find your battery meter always showing a full status when you know for certain the batter is not fully charged. Follow the next steps to fix this problem.

  1. Reset the battery meter. Unhook power to the battery meter for 10 minutes. This will reset the battery meter. If the meter sis still showing a “full status”, continue on to step 2.
  2. Use a voltmeter to test the voltage on all of your 6 batteries. A battery that reads at 6.2 volts is likely faulty and needs to be replaced.
  3. If you still have no luck, and are certain it’s not a wiring issue, replace the battery meter on your golf cart.

Having problems with your golf cart batteries?

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In this easy to follow guide, we’ll talk about how to use a DMM (Digital Multi-Meter). We’ll bring order to the chaos of settings on the face of this handy automotive diagnostic tool.

Once you realize the scales in each zone, simply move the decimal place on the display, you’ll be searching for electrical circuits to test.

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We’ll also discuss how an auto ranging meter can simplify diagnosis and why these cost a little more money. Also on the financial side, I’ll review the criteria to help you select the right meter and explain why you don’t need a $500 meter to test voltage.

Automotive Meter Settings

When it comes to using a digital meter for automotive testing, the two most commonly used areas, are the DCV (Direct Current Voltage) and the resistance scale. If you look at the face of the meter, in these two zones you will find a range of settings called scales that will be selected according to what is being measured.

As an example, if you’re testing a wire or a component that should have voltage between one and 5 V, the 200 or twenty scale is most often selected.

When the 200 range is chosen there will be one number to the right of the decimal point. If you choose the twenty scale there will be two number places to the right of the decimal point.

Therefore, we can conclude that the further we move the scale to the left, the smaller amount of voltage we are reading on the display.

The most important lesson here for people to understand is that when you’re changing the settings on a digital meter you are actually moving the decimal point to the left or to the right. This allows the measured voltage too display properly.

Further to the left on the DCV scale would be 200 M. This stands for millivolts on the 200 scale. If you try to measure battery voltage when this is selected the number one or OL (out of limits) will show up.

This indicates the reading is out of range. This is because millivolt is an extremely small amount of voltage compared to battery voltage which is a larger amount.

The milli voltage scale, whether it’s 200 or 2000 is selected for components using small amounts of voltages to communicate to the power train control module (PCM). As an example the knock and wheel speed sensor are two permanent magnet generators that create their own electrical signal. You read these signals on the millivolt scale of an automotive meter.

Auto Ranging Vs. Manual Meters

When you’re using a manually adjusted digital multimeter, to select the proper scale, you need to know the amount of voltage, amperage or Ohms of resistance that normally exists in the circuit being measured.

Example, if you’re testing a throttle position sensor the range of operation is between one and 5 V. In this case you select the 200 or twenty scale. When using an auto ranging meter there’s an on-board processor sensing the type of circuit being tested.

This automatically selects the proper scale for the situation. These kinds of testers can make life a whole lot easier for a do-it-yourself mechanic, because you don’t have worry about finding the perfect setting.

The downside is the processor makes the tool itself a little more expensive. Another downside is, if the meter selects the right scale for you, it takes away the learning process.

People using a manually selected range type unit learn more about electrical diagnosis. Selecting the proper scale for the given circuit demonstrates understanding of the system that’s being tested.

This type of knowledge can be critical in locating intermittent or complex malfunctions. For this reason I recommend that a good manual ranging meter is actually a better selection for both advanced and beginner technicians.

Selecting the Right Meter for You

If you’re just looking for a digital multi meter to perform occasional car repair tests then there’s really no reason to bust the bank on expensive tools.

There are many inexpensive auto-ranging multi-meter choices in the $20-$30 range that will produce quality results when testing a wide range of components.

This is especially true when testing voltage on automotive systems. When testing for Volts the range can be broken down into three major groups.

Most 12V systems will operate the lights and a lot of the accessories like power windows, door locks and lighting systems.

When testing reference voltages that flow out to individual sensors you’ll find readings in the 1 to 5 V range. Testing sensors that produce their own signals will fall on the millivolts scale.

All of these ranges are well represented on even the cheapest meters. The more expensive auto ranging tool might include other functions that home based technicians will use sparingly.

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As an example some fancy DMM’s will have the capability of reading temperatures via a probe that plugs into a separate port on the meter.

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Another function that’s also included in more expensive tools would be the capability of reading RPMs via some type of inductive pick-up that can be clamped around a spark plug wire. These pick up pulses of current from a radiated magnetic field and return engine revolution data.

Learning Electronics is Logical

In conclusion, purchasing an automotive digital multimeter is a great investment for all levels of mechanics. Spending $300 plus on a full-blown fluke meter might not be right for everybody.

When it comes to using the meters, it’s a situation where practice makes perfect. The more you use it the more you become familiar with the settings and the tools capabilities. The interesting thing about automotive electronics is that the theory and principles are based on logic. This makes learning how to diagnose complex electrical problems within reach of people with logical thought processes.YouFixCars.com contains a lot of auto repair information geared towards those with a do it yourself mentality. For more information about what is included on this website this next link will take you to the home page.