Solar Golf Cart

Solar Golf Cart
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Since our property is now powered by solar panels pretty much everything we do ends up being solar powered. A issue came up with charging our new golf cart. The problem is that the golf carts system is 36VDC. Our solar panels run at 48VDC. The inverters output 110VAC or 220VAC. I quickly ordered a used golf cart charger from ebay, but since I wanted to keep on driving the golf cart until the charger arrived. I rigged this up. Three 15W solar panels in series. They got the battery up from 36VDC to 38.6VDC today. I want each cell to hit 2.3V which means 41.4V is max charge. I'm going to let it charge all tomorrow and see how it does.


Markie B said...


Ever get that 36V solar charging system squared away?

I have a 36V utility golf cart. I'm trying to design a solar charging system using either 2 x 24V PV panels or 3 x 12V panels. The charge controller is the issue here.

What have you found?

Mikey Sklar said...

I used a 3 x 12V setup. The voltage I was getting from the panels was nearly 50V before I put a battery load on them. I think a 2 x 24V PV setup would really be too much for the batteries.

I ended up buying a 36V charger off ebay for $120 called the "Lestermatic". It must have been 40 years old, but it worked just fine. I hacked the plug it came with off and put my own washing machine type plug on it so the charger plugs right into my golf cart. I really like that the plugin has a timer option 1 hour, 2 hour, 3 hour, 4 hour, etc. A simple way around charge controller. Since my entire property is off-grid the lestermatic is still using solar power to charge the golf cart.

How many watts are you considering for the panels? I found that purchasing 12V / 45W panels were REALLY expensive $250 each at Harbor Freight. If you have a way to obtain some old 12V panels that are just 15W USED you can probably get them for less than $3 a watt and setup a reasonable charger.

5IronSolarCarts said...

The whole trick to producing a solar golf cart is finding a controler that will trickle charge the batteries without overcharging, therefore damaging them. http://5ironsolarcarts.blogspot.com

chgolfcars said...

Is that for real? Golf carts powered by solar panels? Very modern huh.

Mikey Sklar said...

@chggolfcars: it's just a trickle charge. It would take several days to charge up the battery bank.