Most electrical golf cart accessories are 12V, meaning that they run off of 12 volts. There are several ways to hook up your 12V battery accessories, some of which are better than others.
The cheapest and easiest way to power your 12V accessories is to connect them to two 6V batteries. This is not the most efficient method because it can lead to an imbalance in the battery pack, therefore reducing the over-all power of your golf cart.
You’d have to charge the two batteries separately with a 12V charger to bring them up to the level of the rest of the pack.
If you really plan on adding some additional electrical golf cart accessories then you will definitely want to consider your other options:
Adding an additional auxiliary battery is another option. You would need a separate 12V deep cycle battery with its own 12V charger.
This battery would be used exclusively to run all of your electrical accessories so that the power from your normal battery pack is used to keep your golf cart going. This way you know that all of your accessories are powered from a source that doesn’t affect the performance of your golf cart.
Although it’s not required, you can hook up your auxiliary battery to a junction box or an accessory box and run all sorts of accessories from there. It makes for a much cleaner and more organized install.
A voltage reducer is basically a large power resistor that drops the intended input voltage. For instance, currents from all of the batteries in a 36V or 48V battery pack are reduced to 12V, providing an even discharge from all of your batteries.
If you opt for this method you should note the power that is wasted through the use of the resistor.
Voltage Converter or Inverter
A voltage converter, or inverter, is similar to the voltage reducer but more expensive because it is more efficient. A converter uses an electronic voltage regulator to convert the input voltage down to the output voltage, for instance 36V input to 12V output.
They are considerably more efficient than a reducer and deliver a very stable output of voltage. The output from a reducer varies according to your pack voltage.
Note: You should always know the maximum load current of all your 12V accessories so that you can properly determine if your reducer or inverter is able to power them.
To do this you would need to add up the total number of amps that all of your accessories require per hour. You can figure this out by adding up the watts and dividing it by the volts.
For instance, 140 total watts divided by 12 volts equals 11.6 amps, or a 11.6 amp draw. Make sure your reducer or converter has a continuous amp output and a peak rating that is high enough that it won’t be overloaded by the amp draw from all of your electronic accessories.
If you have so many electrical golf cart accessories that you go beyond the converter limits you may as well just opt for a separate 12V auxiliary battery that can handle more output. An accessory battery does have a maximum number of amps per hour that can be drawn from it, but it is usually substantially more than can be drawn from reducers or converters.
The only disadvantage of going this route is the extra space that the additional battery requires.