Golf Cart Voltage Reducer: (Do I Need One?)

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Modern golf carts have evolved over the years and were the first in line to adopt electric powertrains. Nowadays, the majority of golf carts are powered by 36V or 48V high-capacity batteries and powerful motors.

Apart from usage on the golf courses, people tend to install accessories, such as light bars, LED light strips, and radios in their golf carts. These accessories require a specific voltage to work properly and malfunction if the voltage fluctuates. That is where a golf cart voltage reducer comes into play.

In this article, we will discuss the voltage reducer, do you actually need one for your golf cart? Can the accessories be installed and used on a golf cart without the voltage reducer? And how you can install one on your cart?

What is a Golf Cart Voltage Reducer?

A golf cart reducer is a tool that regulates the output of voltage from the golf cart batteries. For instance, if you use a 12V voltage reducer, it would only relay 12 volts of power irrespective of how much voltage is fed to it.

A golf cart voltage reducer can be regarded as a moderator of voltage, which is installed on a golf cart and connected to the accessories.

Roykaw Golf Cart Voltage Reducer Regulator Converter 36/48V to 12V for E-Z-GO Club Car (30A/360W)

For example, if you install a 12-volt voltage reducer, it takes input from the batteries (that are usually 36 or 48 volts) and allows only 12 volts of power to pass through it, onto the accessories it is connected to. This way, fluctuation is reduced, and only the compatible voltage is supplied to the accessories.

Does My Golf Cart Need a Voltage Reducer?

If you have an electric golf cart with 36V or 48V batteries and you’re planning to install aftermarket accessories on your golf cart, you must get a voltage reducer. But if you’re going to keep your golf cart in stock condition, a voltage reducer is not necessary.

A voltage reducer is not a compulsory component, rather it can be regarded as a fail-safe for aftermarket accessories. Just like we use voltage stabilizers at our homes to protect electronic appliances from power fluctuation, a voltage reducer on a golf cart protects the add-on accessories.

Roykaw Golf Cart Voltage Reducer Regulator Converter 36/48V to 12V for E-Z-GO Club Car (30A/360W)

So if you’re confused about installing a voltage reducer on your golf cart, think about your modification plan. Adding a radio, a light bar or an LED strip would require a 12V voltage reducer, otherwise, mechanical upgrades or modifications do not require its addition to the cart.

Do You Need Voltage Reducer for Golf Cart Lights?

Yes, you need a voltage reducer for optimal functioning of extra, aftermarket golf cart lights. But the OEM lights, that are a part of the golf cart already come optimized from the factory and do not need to be connected to a voltage reducer.

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Most golf carts have a 36V or 48V power supply, usually from a set of 6x 6V batteries or 4x 12V batteries. Whereas the lights that are added to the cart are usually 12V, so direct power from the batteries would oversupply the lights and can damage them, or can even be hazardous.

Adding a voltage reducer to this circuit would moderate the power supply to the lights. For example, a voltage reducer connected to the golf cart lights would receive 36V or 48V power from batteries, but would only relay 12V to the lights, hence ensuring optimal and safe functioning.

How Do You Install a Voltage Reducer on a Golf Cart?

While installing a voltage reducer on a golf cart, it is important to wear gloves and pay close attention to the instructions, to avoid any mishap. Follow these instructions step-wise to learn how to install a voltage reducer on a golf cart;

  1. Remove the battery hatch cover by opening it beneath the cart’s hood or on the seat. Most probably you’d find a set of six 8-volt batteries.
  2. To ensure a safe installation of the voltage reducer without the risk of fire or electric shock, disconnect any terminal from any of the batteries. You can remove any battery’s positive or negative terminal without safety concerns.
  3. Make sure that you’re not in contact with any other part of the circuit, except the one you’re planning to disconnect. 
  4. In the next step, The negative terminal of the first battery should be connected to the B-terminal of the voltage reducer.
  5. Then, the (+)12-volt terminal of the voltage reducer is connected to the hot wire of an accessory, such as a light. The hot wire is usually the red one.
  6. Connect the negative (-) terminal of the voltage reducer to the accessory’s ground wire. It is usually black in color.
  7. Reconnect the cable to the battery’s terminal that you disconnected in the 2nd step.
  8. Put the hatch cover back on the battery, making sure all connections are solid and properly covered.

Although installing a voltage reducer is not a difficult task, it is advisable that you get the services of a professional electrician if you are not familiar with auto electrics.

dkplnt 20A 240W 12v Golf Cart 48V 36V to 12V Converter Voltage Regulator Reducer Transformer with Fuse

How Do You Test a Voltage Reducer on a Golf Cart?

The voltage reducer on a golf cart is checked in both the idling and revving states while keeping the cart lifted on a jack stand. A voltmeter is used to check the readings and power fluctuations in the golf cart batteries.

Follow these steps for a detailed guide:

  1. Park the golf cart on a firm, flat surface and apply the parking brake. To avoid the wheels from moving, place chocks in front of them.
  2. Place jack stands under the rear of the golf cart, then carefully lift it with a jack. Lower the jack so that the rear frame of the cart is supported by the jack stands.
  3. Locate the batteries and set the voltmeter at 20 ohms. Connect the red wire of the voltmeter to the (+) post of any of the batteries and the black wire to the (-) post of the same battery. 
  4. Check the reading on the voltmeter, it should be 12V.
  5. Press the forward control pedal and check the readings again, it should be somewhere between 14 and 16 volts. If the reading does not drop below 12 volts, the voltage reducer is faulty.
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dkplnt 20A 240W 12v Golf Cart 48V 36V to 12V Converter Voltage Regulator Reducer Transformer with Fuse

48 Volt to 12 Volt Reducer: Does My Golf Cart Need This?

Yes, you need a 48-volt to 12-volt reducer if you’re going to install aftermarket accessories, such as lights or a radio. It also protects the batteries from overcharging and fluctuations.

Your golf cart has a 36V or 48V battery setup that propels the motors and powers all the equipment. All the OEM equipment and parts come optimized for safe usage from the factory.

But when you install aftermarket accessories, such as LED strips, radio, or a light bar, these are 12V power-rated. So if you keep running these accessories without a voltage reducer, there’s a risk of oversupply and malfunctioning.

So you should get a voltage reducer for your cart if you’re going to install aftermarket accessories.

Can You Get Voltage Reducers for EZ-GO, Yamaha, and Club Car Golf Carts?

Yes, voltage reducers can be installed and used on all major golf cart brands. The purpose of a voltage reducer is to regulate the voltage output from the batteries and relay on a specified amount to the accessories, irrespective of the make or model of the golf cart.

So if you own a Yamaha, a Club Car, or an EZ-GO, you can get a voltage reducer for any of those and install it without any trouble. Moreover, these are compatible with any kind of powertrain, whether gasoline or electric.

Conclusion

Many people also modify their golf carts using aftermarket upgrades and accessories, especially light bars, radios, and LED strips.

These electronic accessories are rated at 12 volts while the golf cart batteries are rated at 26 or 48 volts. So to prevent any oversupply or damage, a voltage reducer is installed on the golf carts.

Not only does it protect the accessories, but also prevents the overheating of batteries. It is very easy to install and test a voltage reducer on your golf cart and it helps protect your investment.

So if you’re planning to upgrade your golf cart with accessories, it is ideal that you get a voltage reducer as well.