If you love your golf cart, and a few accessories aren’t going to satisfy you then maybe its time to think about some upgrades. Through some well thought out upgrades and modifications, you can really make your golf cart your own and make its specifications ideally suited to your needs. Whether it be speed that you are after or torque, this article takes you through some of the options you need to think about before making those all important upgrades.
A few well thought through upgrades can also ensure that you are getting the best out of your golf cart and help increase its longevity. It might seem like a daunting task but read on to find out how making the best golf cart upgrades really can be pretty simple.
Table of Contents
Best Golf Cart Controller for Sepex Motors
Alltrax SR-48500 DCS 500 Amp Motor Controller Review
A fundamental requirement of modern golf carts is a speed controller, as this controls the current from the battery based on your actions on the accelerator pedal, and imposes a maximum speed limit based on the initial specifications of your model. So if you are planning on increasing your golf cart’s speed then you are going to have to invest in a golf cart controller upgrade. An excellent model for non-series golf-carts is Alltrax’s XCT-48500.
The SR controls have taken golf cart speed controllers forward into the next generation and come complete with reverse polarity protection giving you protection from mishap and mishap error as this protection is found on input and output sides. You also have an inbuilt cooling fan for further protection from overheating making this an excellent choice based on safety features alone. The 2-year warranty adds great security too.
Another excellent feature of this model is that it is suitable for both 36 and 48-volt systems, so if you are going for maximum power, this will be a great option for you. The automatic throttle calibration and option to build your own throttle and torque curves also make this model versatile to those who like something to work on installation and those who like to mess around with their own ideas on how things should be set up to work.
So if you are looking for a speed controller for your golf cart that gives you great safety features, allows you to play around with installation settings or comes ready to use, and has the necessary current regulation cut-off to enable the high speeds you wish to modify your golf-cart to be able to achieve, then this fine piece of kit from Alltrax will not let you down.
Q&A: What sort of system does this controller work with?
A: The controller is not suitable for series systems, so should be used with sepex systems.
Q&A: If I have a solenoid, will I still need a speed controller?
A: They do seem very similar, but in fact do slightly different things, so the answer is yes, unfortunately. The speed controller regulates what amps go between the battery or battery pack and the motor, whilst the solenoid acts as the on/off switch between each of these.
Best Golf Cart Controller for Series Motors
EZGO Golf Cart 73060G01 1205-117 ESCII-HD Electric Speed Controller Review
If you’re lucky enough to own an EZGO golf cart then this speed controller which works in series models is a great option. This speed controller is for those golf carts which are on the older side and have a series set up for their motor function. If you’re looking for upgraded speed, this unit is able to cope with the sort of amperage you will need to hit those high-speeds you are looking for.
When you upgrade the speed in your electronic golf cart, it is important that you invest in a speed controller that is able to sufficiently cope with the increase in amperage. With a high amp rating of 400 amps, this speed controller is a good upgrade option. It is not sufficient to purely upgrade your motor to achieve speed as without a speed controller with a higher amp rating your current speed controller will not allow you to achieve those faster speeds.
This speed controller is built for 36-volt golf cart models and the 400 amps should see you happily reach 20 miles per hour without overheating your system. This unit is also lightweight, weighing at under 6 Lbs so you won’t have to worry about putting any extra strain on your system with this installed. It also has a sleek design that means it will be unobtrusive once you have completed the installation.
You will be able to plug this unit in and play, thanks to its easy and ready to use installation, although it does not allow for that much input for you to play around with, if you are someone who likes the flexibility to test settings and establish optimum usage for your upgraded and uniquely designed golf cart.
Overall, if you are looking for an upgraded speed controller that is ready to use and easy to install and suitable for a variety of EZGO units, then this will be the perfect option for you.
Q&A: Will I need to upgrade the controller I have if I change the tires I use?
A: You may well need to, especially if you are putting bigger, heavier tyres on and plan on taking the golf cart off-road as this will increase the amperage flow. As the speed controller regulates amperage flow between the battery and the motor, the basic setup will have a limit that is likely to be surpassed with inbuilt controllers, even with such a minor adaptation.
Best Electric Motor For Golf Cart
D&D 170-003-0002 High Speed Golf Cart Motor Review
One of the first things most people want, if they are thinking about modifying their golf cart, is getting that top speed pushed up and this powerful motor from D&D Motors offers just that with an exceptional 10.1 horsepower. This is capable of pushing your top speed up to 22 miles per hour so you won’t be left lagging behind if you opt for this high-speed motor that is suitable for the Club Car DS (Series) from models made since 1992.
You’ll also see an approximate increase in torque of between10 and 20 per cent, depending on your golf cart’s model, once this is installed. This is thanks to this being a series wound DC torque motor, which contains a large coil inside capable of generating a much larger magnetic field which in turn hold armature better, thus producing the increased torque.
To reach top speeds with this motor you will need to ensure you upgrade all appropriate components of your series so that they can withstand these changes to the system. The motor itself will also only be able to push you to 22 miles per hour if you are running on a 48-volt system, so if you are running of a 36-volt system, for example, then you will only be able to reach a top speed of around 15 miles per hour.
So if you want to get started on pushing your series system to the next level and really feel the wind blowing through your head as you ride around the golf course, then this motor has the power to set you .
Q&A: Would this fit with any Yamaha golf carts?
A: Unfortunately Yamaha use a different rear axle fitting for their motors which means this battery would not be suitable. This is suitable for Club Cars from 1992 onwards.
Q&A: What is the amp draw of this motor at full power?
A: This will depend on your controller. If it is a 400-amp controller it will give 400-amps. Then, as the motor reaches speed it will increasingly pull less current. The continuous peak current that can be handled is around 100 to 110-amps. So essentially the answer is it is variable and alters depending on load.
Best Golf Cart Switch
EZGO 17421G1 Ignition Switch Kit Review
A fundamental component of the golf cart power system that is easily forgotten about is actually the key catalyst to the whole system, namely, the ignition switch. This universal model is suitable for most golf-cart models without factory lights and is specifically made for those with EZGO models (with some exclusions). It’s easy to lose and damage keys, so this is a great and inexpensive option also for those who are the clumsy and forgetful type.
This ignition switch kit comes complete with a pair of keys and the necessary components to connect your starter motor to your battery. The key component is essentially a two-terminal ignition switch which can be switched on and off. The simplicity of this kit also means it is nice and easy to install so you won’t be left grumbling when you’re fitting it.
At such a cheap price this product can often solve starting problems that have built up after a few years of use much more cheaply than you would imagine if you find yourself having stalling or running problems, so it is worth having a play around with this before splashing out on an expensive mechanic.
Unfortunately, this kit does not have the required technology to function with vehicles complete with factory lighting, so would not be suitable for your needs if that is your setup. However, it does exactly what you need of it otherwise, whether that’s using it as a replacement, or to deal with troublesome stalling issues so it will be suitable for most people’s needs.
Q&A: Does this switch have a flat side so it can be held into position during the installation?
A: There is a flat side and there is also a washer which helps to grip on when you tighten the nuts up.
Q&A: Is this key unique or a standard EZGO key?
A: This is a standard EZGO key so your old key would work which can be both a blessing and a curse depending on where you lock your car up at night.
Best Golf Cart Reversing Contactor
EZGO Ignition Switch Review
It’s easy to overlook, but important to remember, that forward and reverse switches are a critical consideration when upgrading your golf-cart (and more generally) due to the fact that all the battery current goes through them before making it to the motor. You could do a lot worse than take a look at Albright Style’s excellent range and if it is increasing cart speed that you’re after, then their 48-volt SW182 will be the best reverse switch for you.
With a maximum thermal current rating of 200 amps you won’t have to worry about wrecking the reverse switch even at your new highest speed. Remember that if you do provide a load which is to heavy for any forward and reverse switch you will cause serious damage and be forced into early replacement so it is better to invest in one with suitable capacity for your greedy power needs.
You also have to consider what additional upgrades you are going to be doing in order to choose an appropriate reversing contactor. For example, if you are planning on turning your golf-cart into an off-road beast machine with large diameter tyres, carrying heavier loads, or driving up steeper hills, then this will require more amps through the electrical system and your switch will need to reflect this.
You will need to be handy to fit this though, as it is not built solely for golf-carts, but this adds to its strengths as it is industrially designed and suitable for direct current loads, has double breaking contacts and coil power of 11 to 15-watts. So if you want a reversing switch built for your speedy desires, this will be right for you.
Q&A: What causes discoloration of copper connection studs?
A: This occurs if you have not connected things properly.
Q&A: What gauge cabling will be needed if I am aiming to increase speed or am likely to drive heavy loads or up steep hills?
A: The more strain you are putting through the system, the lower gauge you will need. 6-gauge cabling is built for two passengers and a couple of golf-bags, so if you’re increasing the strain you will need lower gauge cabling.
Best Golf Cart Solenoids
Club Car 48V, 4 Terminal Solenoid Coil Review
As you are likely to be looking to upgrade to a 48-volt system to cope with the high speeds you plan to be making your golf-cart capable of, you will want and need to choose a solenoid built for this system and with a peak rating to at least 400-amps to get you up those steep hills faster. This chunky and versatile product from the Automotive Authority LLC does just that and is versatile being suitable for DS and Precedent golf carts for 95 and 2004 and up models respectively.
You need to remember that all the motor’s amperage goes through the solenoid, so you need to be sure after all your modifications that the whole system is going to hold up to the adapted needs. If you are upgrading your controller, then upgrading the solenoid is a must as it will need to handle increased flow. This product has highquality copper contacts as well as decent silver oxide contacts, meaning it will be able to cope with increased stresses caused by upgrades such as off-roading, using bigger tyres and adding seating.
Typically golf-carts are fitted just with a 50-80 amp solenoid so you can see just how much more strain this small and seemingly innocuous little device is going to allow your system to deal with. This is thanks to the four terminals in the device which help it to deal with higher loads. The two large terminals are for high amperage cables, whilst the 2 smaller terminals ensure the solenoid activation.
So if you plan on turning your golf cart into a powerful off-road beast machine, or are building it for heavier loads, you will want to invest in this really heavy-duty solenoid that is built ready to give you the capacity you need to get you moving.
Q&A: How many amps is this solenoid?
A: The solenoid is 125Amp continuous and has a 400-amp peak flow rating.
Q&A: How heavy is this product?
A: The product is a meagre 1.1 pounds despite the extra power it unleashes in your system.
Best Voltage Reducer For Golf Cart
TecScan VOLTSeasy Golf Cart Voltage Reducer Review
Investing in a golf cart voltage reducer is a wise choice if you are upgrading your golf cart as it is necessary if those upgrades include smaller accessories. If you have a radio, a fan or perhaps some additional lighting you have added to your golf cart this TecScan VOLTSeasy Golf Cart Voltage Reducer for 36v & 48v golf carts will be a worthwhile addition to your set up.
The TecSan VOLTSeasy works by reducing the voltage provided by your batteries to the 12V that is required by your accessories. With a built-in SMART voltage indicator, this product is very easy to use as the indicator will light up when the correct voltage has been reached to safely power your 12V applications. By using this best golf cart voltage converter you will protect your accessories from being over-powered by your golf cart batteries, thereby protecting them from overheating and possibly breaking.
It is incredibly easy to install the TecSan VOLTSeasy also, you will be pleased to hear. It comes with the necessary wires and battery connectors included so you don’t need to buy these parts separately. So you soon be plugged in and protecting those accessories.
This voltage reducer measures 3 x 3 x 1.5 inches so it won’t take up a lot of important space. It is also waterproof, which is a welcome addition to this product as you can use your golf cart rain or shine without the worry about damaging it. Its safety features are also commendable, in addition to being a safety device in itself, it also has the function to automatically shut down should it detect an overload of current, overheating or a short circuit.
Q&A: Will this product work on a Club Car golf cart?
Yes, it will – this voltage reducer is universal and works on all brands of golf cart.
Q&A: Does it matter what my battery set up is to be able to use this voltage reducer?
No, this will work whether your batteries are set up as four 12V batteries, six 8V batteries, or eight 6V batteries. It is a great product for any golf cart.
Best golf cart upgrade suggestions
It might be hard to know where to start when it comes to making some upgrades to your golf cart. To start with, think about what you want to get out of your modifications. There are quite a few options out there so here we take a look at some of the best golf cart mods you can make to really improve the performance of your golf cart.
What do I need to know before considering some golf cart upgrades?
Before looking at the products on the market for upgrade potentials you first need to work out if the drive system in your golf cart is either Series or Sepex as this will determine what sort of upgrades you should go for.
Series motors: How to Rebuild a Golf Cart Motor
Series motors are the more traditional kind, so you are more likely to have a drive system in series if you’ve had your golf cart for a while, or if you have bought a second-hand golf cart. Series motors work with the armature (the part that rotates in a DC motor) and a field circuit (the wire that is connected to the armature) connected in series.
Being connected in series means that any fault in the system, or weak link, will affect the functioning of the golf cart and may even mean it stops working. To put it simply, you start with the battery which is the energy source, this needs to flow through the cables (or conductors), a solenoid (or contractor) then controls the flow of energy, and then a controller will moderate the energy amounts in order to operate the motor.
With Series motors, they go into reverse by the field circuit and the armature switching the power to two high current wires – this reverses the polarity and the magnetic field.
Sepex golf carts: How to bench test a SEPEX motor
Sepex motors work in a completely different way. In opposition to Series motors, the armature and field circuit are treated as two different circuits and work independently from each other. This means that the field windings are energised from an independent source rather than the armature (such as a motor-generator) so the field current won’t be affected by changes in the current from the armature.
With Sepex motors the process of achieving reverse is also different to Series motors. The field circuit and armature are separate in this process and the field circuit achieves reverse with the help of a solenoid in what is called a shunt system.
Upgrade options for Series golf carts
If you are looking to upgrade your Series golf cart it is likely that your intention is to increase the speed and improve the reverse function. So where to start with reaching these intentions?
As we have discussed these golf carts are wired in series, so all of the component parts affect the performance. In terms of reaching a higher speed, the parts that you need to consider upgrading are the motor, solenoid, cables, controller and reverse switch.
Upgrade options for Sepex golf carts
In terms of upgrading a Sepex golf cart – you may want to make it more suitable for off-road use or also want to increase its speed capacities. Before considering an upgrade, however, make sure that you know the level of your current system so that the upgrade options that you choose are compatible.
For Sepex motors, a standard upgrade would see you needing similar products to the Series including a new motor that is capable of reaching a higher speed, solenoid, cables and controller – but you won’t be needing the reverse switch.
More uppgrade options for golf carts
Speed controller: How does ESC (electronic speed control) work?
To understand a speed controller, the clue really is in the name. This device allows you to control the golf cart’s speed – without this as soon as you put your foot on the accelerator the golf cart will apply the full battery voltage and current to the motor and you will be launching at full speed.
With a speed controller in place, the voltage and current that is drawn from the battery is determined by an input from you via the foot pedal. Short presses/pulses on the foot pedal make the golf cart go slowly, whereas a long press makes it go fast. Modern golf carts won’t work without this mechanism in place, so it is highly likely you will already have a speed controller in your golf cart.
So, why the need to upgrade a speed controller? Well, the speed controller installed in your golf cart will have a maximum current capability – in other words, it will have a maximum speed limit that it will allow your golf cart to travel at and won’t supply any current from the battery beyond that. If you are wanting to increase the speed of your golf cart you will need to upgrade to a speed controller that has a higher maximum current capability as this will allow you to draw more speed from the motor.
Motor: How to make my electric golf cart faster
If you just replace the speed controller in your golf cart you will see a small increase in how fast it will go. However, to see a significant change in the speed capabilities of your golf cart you will need to upgrade your motor. To achieve more speed you need to look for a motor with higher revolutions per minute (RPM).
If it is more torque you are after, to improve the capacity of your golf cart to climb hills or carry more, you will need to upgrade to a motor that is specifically engineered for improving torque. Unfortunately, the way the electronics work mean you can’t get a motor upgrade that improves both speed and torque. The reason for this is that to achieve the torque these motors need to run at a lower RPM.
So, it is worth noting, that if you are looking to upgrade your motor to achieve speed you will have to sacrifice some torque as a consequence.
Bad Solenoid: Your golf cart has stopped working
Even though you may have never seen it (or heard of it for that matter) the solenoid is an essential component in powering both electric and gas golf carts. In electric golf carts, the solenoid acts as a switch that allows current from the battery to flow to the starter, and in gas golf carts it allows current to flow to get the engine started.
The solenoid is an extremely hard working device as it is in action the whole time you are using your golf cart. It also goes through multiple startups and shutdowns throughout the match.
Here we come to why you need to upgrade your solenoid if you are upgrading your golf cart system. Through upgrading your motor and controller there will be an increased current flowing through the system, and this impacts on the other parts of the system such as the solenoid. You, therefore, need to upgrade your solenoid to a product that is able to cope with the level of current provided by the motor and controller otherwise it could possibly malfunction.
You will be pleased to hear that solenoids are one of the cheapest parts of the upgrade system.
Cables: Golf cart does not start
Your golf cart cables are the lifeblood of the whole system. They deliver the power from your battery to the motor and are another essential component of making sure your golf cart moves when you turn the ignition key.
When you are working on an upgrade to either increase the speed or the torque of your golf cart the current needs to be level with increase. As with the solenoid, you need to upgrade your cables accordingly to cope with this current. For higher powered vehicles your cables will need to be thicker. When purchasing cables for your golf cart you will notice the thickness is measured in ‘gauge’ – for a thicker cable, you will need a smaller gauge number.
Forward and reverse switch: How to wire club car forward reverse switch
If your motor runs in series then you will need to upgrade your forward and reverse switch when you are upgrading the rest of your golf cart. This is an important device as all of the current from the battery passes through this before it makes it to the motor.
When installing a motor that has a higher horsepower you will need to think about investing in a forward and reverse switch that can handle the increase in current that it will be processing.
Voltage reducer/converter: How to get 12 volts from a 48 volt golf cart
While you are in the mindset of upgrading your golf cart, you may also be purchasing some additional golf cart accessories to really enhance your game – you can read more about these in our article Best Golf Cart Accessories article. If this is the case, now would be a good time to invest in a voltage reducer/converter to ensure that your golf cart really is the most sophisticated model around.
Voltage reducer/converters are an essential device if you are going to be installing accessories to your golf cart that require 12V to run (perhaps a radio or a fan). If you were to connect these directly to your 36V or 48V golf cart batteries then there would be hell to pay. This would bring too much voltage to the accessories you want to power and would either break them or severely damage them. It also would not be a good idea to connect these devices to just a few of your batteries as this would cause an imbalance between your set of batteries.
With a voltage reducer or converter, you can remove this problem, as it will reduce the voltage coming from your batteries to suit the voltage required by your accessories. It is a great device which you will have no regrets about purchasing.
This article has given you an overview of what you need to consider when upgrading your golf cart. First of all, you need to discern if your golf cart has a series or a sepex motor. Then have a think if you want your upgrade to achieve more speed or more torque. Both of these criteria will determine what type of products you are after.
Once that is sorted your world will be opened up to the likes of speed controllers, motors, solenoids, heavy duty cables and reverse switches. In this article, you can find reviews of the best ones so getting the best golf cart mods is a straightforward undertaking. You will soon be the proud owner of a golf cart that really is functioning to the best of