How to Wire a Charge Meter on a Golf Cart

Written by david robinson
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How to Wire a Charge Meter on a Golf Cart
Monitoring your batteries prevents you from running out of power. (golf cart image by robert mobley from

Golf carts take much of the effort out of walking around the course. They carry you, and your clubs, from green to green. If all goes well, the cart transports you right round the course. However, if the batteries fail, it is a long and embarrassing walk back to the clubhouse. Fitting a charge meter helps to avoid unexpected flat batteries by showing their state of charge. Check the meter and it tells you when to get that all-important recharge.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Digital or analogue charge meter
  • Wire strippers
  • 2 terminal clamps
  • Insulated 48-volt rated wire
  • 4 "crimp on" wire connectors
  • Crimping tool, or strong pliers
  • Wrench or large screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Open the battery box, usually found at the rear of the cart. Inside you will find a row of small rectangular batteries linked together with short, thick wires to form a sort of battery chain. Carts link six or eight 6-volt batteries in series to combine their voltages and produce either 36 or 48 volts. Count the batteries, and then multiply by six to determine the voltage of your cart.

  2. 2

    Disconnect the two thick wires leaving the battery box. One wire is connected to each end of the battery chain. A strong metal clamp usually attaches the wire to the battery. Remove it using a wrench or large screwdriver. Remove the negative (-) wire first, and then the positive (+) wire.

  3. 3

    Mount the charge meter on the dashboard by following the manufacturer's instructions. Some meters stick to the surface; others need a cutout recess. If your meter is a multi-voltage model, set the slide switch on the rear to either 36 or 48 volts.

  4. 4

    Strip a quarter-inch of insulation from one end of the wire and slide a crimping terminal onto the end, pushing the bare wire fully into the tube. Secure it by crushing the tube with a crimping tool or strong pliers. Attach the terminal to the positive terminal pin on the rear of the meter. Route the wire back to the battery via any convenient route.

  5. 5

    Cut the wire so it reaches the battery and has about 2 inches of additional length. Strip a half-inch of insulation from the wire and attach it to a battery terminal clamp. Using the remaining wire, return to the meter, strip the end quarter-inch of insulation from the wire, attach a crimping terminal, connect it to the negative terminal pin on the meter, and again route the wire to the battery. Cut it to length and connect a battery terminal clamp.

  6. 6

    Attach another wire from the switched side of the ignition switch to the third meter pin. Only LED meters have a third "on/off" pin, so this is not necessary with an analogue meter. Once you are satisfied that the wires are firmly connected and routed safely to the battery, return to the battery box and connect the positive and negative wires to their respective battery terminals.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid running wires over sharp edges and around 90-degree bends, as these can damage the wire.
  • Mount the meter where it is easily seen without taking your eyes off you path.
  • Observe the correct polarity on the meter connections. It will not work if wired the wrong way.
  • LED meters must be connected via a switch or they will consume power even when the cart is switched off. Analogue meters do not use any power so they don't need a switch.
  • Cart batteries are heavy and contain acid. Treat them with respect.

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