Last Updated on October 8, 2023 by Alex PT
Yes, you can use 12-volt batteries in golf carts instead of 6-volt batteries. However, it is important to make sure that the batteries are deep-cycle batteries and that you use the correct number of batteries to achieve the required voltage. For example, if your golf cart requires 48 volts, you will need to use four 12-volt batteries connected in series.
Can You Use 12 Volt Batteries Instead Of 6 Volt Batteries In Golf Carts?
Using 12-volt batteries instead of 6-volt batteries in golf carts is generally not recommended. Golf carts are designed to run on a specific voltage system, and swapping out the intended 6-volt batteries for 12-volt batteries can lead to several issues:
- Voltage Mismatch: Golf carts are typically designed for a 36-volt or 48-volt system, achieved by connecting multiple 6-volt batteries in series. If you replace them with 12-volt batteries, you may end up with an incompatible voltage level, leading to erratic performance or even damage to the cart’s electrical system.
- Battery Compartment Fit: Golf carts are built with compartments that accommodate 6-volt batteries, which are generally smaller in size than 12-volt batteries. Installing larger 12-volt batteries may require modifications to the battery compartment, which can be costly and complex.
- Weight Distribution: Golf cart manufacturers engineer the weight distribution to work optimally with 6-volt batteries. Switching to heavier 12-volt batteries can negatively affect the cart’s balance and handling.
- Charging System: Golf cart chargers are designed to match the voltage of the installed batteries. Using 12-volt batteries with a 6-volt charging system will result in improper charging, which can lead to overcharging or undercharging, reducing the battery lifespan.
- Performance Issues: Golf carts are designed with 6-volt batteries to provide adequate power for their intended use on the golf course. Installing 12-volt batteries may not provide the same level of performance and range, which could be frustrating during rounds.
- Warranty and Manufacturer Recommendations: Using non-standard batteries may void warranties and go against the manufacturer’s recommendations, potentially resulting in a loss of support and warranty coverage.
What Are The Differences Between 12-Volt And 6-Volt Batteries?
Other than being a type of rechargeable battery that uses liquid electrolytes, 6-volt batteries have an advantage thanks to their ability to be connected in parallel. Six-volt batteries are perfect for people who live in colder climates because of their longer lifespans and because they perform better in cold weather. They weigh about a pound more than their 12-volt counterparts, but the extra weight doesn’t really make much of a difference when it comes to using them. And on top of that, the extra weight can actually work as an added safety feature. There are four battery types available for golf carts:
- Flooded Lead Acid Batteries (filled with water)
- AGM Lead Acid Batteries.
- Gel-Cell Batteries.
- Lithium-Ion Batteries
What Are The Pros And Cons Of 6-Volt Batteries Compared To 12-Volt Batteries?
Pros of A 6-volt Lead-Acid Battery
- They can last longer than 12-volt batteries: As we said earlier, a well-maintained 6-volt battery will last anywhere from 4 to 8 years instead of the regular 12-volt which will only last 3 to 7 years.
- They have a bigger Amp Hour Rating: An amp hour refers to the amount of current a battery can supply over a fixed period of time. For example, that is how long you would be able to run your electric cart off a 12-volt battery. A 6-volt battery will provide twice as much power get you farther, and last longer than a 12-volt battery!
- They have a larger discharge and recharge capacity: 6-volt rechargeable batteries can be charged and discharged more often than 12-volt ones thanks to their larger lead plates.
- The bigger the Amp-Hour on a 12-volt, the larger it gets: When choosing a different Amp-hour rating for the 12-volt battery to compensate for the difference with your current 6-volt battery, be sure to take into account if it will fit in your current battery box.
Cons of A 6-volt Lead-Acid Battery
- A 6-volt battery is more expensive than a 12-volt battery: A 12-volt battery has a cheaper price, provided that you are willing to accept the limitations that come with it.
How To Convert A 36 Volt System Golf Cart From Six 6-Volt Batteries To Three 12-Volt Batteries
Switching over to a three 12-volt battery configuration is relatively easily done with the right steps and if everything in the backend is done right then you should have few issues. You’ll want to measure your original battery box first and see whether or not you’re going to be able to fit three new batteries in there or if you’ll have to get a new battery box altogether. If the measurements are coming out properly so that everything will fit, here are the steps you’ll need:
Step 1: Disconnect the old 12-volt set from the battery bank by removing the positive terminal first then the negative lead. Keep any wires that you would need for reconnecting the new system later.
Step 2: Once the batteries have been removed, place them in their respective battery boxes. Note the arrangement of each battery (positive end towards negative end) and ensure that they are secure and tight up against each other. Make sure you line up anything else that may potentially come your way such as jumper cables or tools. You will then want to hook one end of the red cable to the positive terminal.
- Step 3: Connect the male end of the jumper cables to each corresponding battery, starting with the negative side of Batteries 1 and 3 and then moving to the positive side of Batteries 2 and 1.
- Step 4: Connect the positive lead from the golf cart to the positive post on battery one, then place the negative lead onto a terminal on battery three.
- Step 5: When using a 12-volt step-down converter with batteries 1 and 2, it is possible that your electrical accessories and solenoids will run on just 18 volts. Consider this when deciding which voltage is best to use with the components you want to power.
How do I convert a 12V battery to 6V?
It’s possible to step a circuit down by incorporating four 10k resistors into your setup. Cut two lengths of wire, and strip each wire of 1/2 inch of insulation approximately ¼ inch from the end to either side. Attach one end of the first wire to the positive terminal on the power supply, and attach one end of the last wire you cut to the negative terminal on the power supply. Connect a resistor between each pair, with two ends of wires being on opposite sides (either right across from or diagonally) both being attached in such a way that looping around is impossible.
Why do golf carts use 6-volt batteries instead of 12-volt?
When it comes to 6-volt batteries, the voltage of a single battery isn’t as much of an issue as it is when you compare those that have higher voltages like the 8 and 12-volt batteries. US Battery conducted a study on these types of 6-volt deep cycle batteries that showed their longer runtime helped them last for 154 minutes at 56 amps versus the shorter runtimes at similar levels done with its competitor’s products. They found that 6-volt typically offers a slightly better range at this rate than its other competitors, thus making them a more efficient battery in terms of how long they can be used per charge.
Saving money on your cart’s 36-volt battery maintenance might seem like an important factor in the short term, but make certain that you stay aware of this so as not to create a bigger problem for yourself later down the road. Always plan ahead and consider the consequences – even if it is for a simple situation such as replacing an item you’d normally think twice about having repaired.