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Voltage Converter or Voltage Reducer?

voltage converter on the left and voltage reducer on the right

Most accessories that require electricity to operate use an input voltage of 12V DC. Unless you have a direct 12V battery connection (gas cart or electric cart with 12V batteries), then you need a way to reduce the carts’ overall voltage to 12V (in order to prevent damage to these electrical components). To accomplish this, you can use a voltage converter or a voltage reducer.

Voltage Converters

  • Accepts a DC Input voltage and produces a DC Output voltage of a different value
  • Draws an even current from entire battery pack
  • Great for using with Light Kits and other electrical accessories
  • Given an amperage rating for maximum draw

A DC-to-DC converter or Voltage converter, is a device that accepts a DC input voltage and produces a DC output voltage of a different value through the use of semiconductors. Converters used to power the electronics on golf cars are specifically designed to reduce the voltage to 12V. Voltage Converters are highly recommended for accessory power management as it provides an even draw across all of your batteries.

Batteries have a certain discharge range that must be maintained. If you draw power from only two batteries they discharge faster than the rest and become over discharged. When batteries reach a state of over discharge, it is only a short period of time before they are completely destroyed and in need of replacement. Converters are designed to convert a specific range of input voltage depending on the level of output voltage needed. This means they are not golf cart specific, but specific only to the output amperage flow needed.

This is determined by the number of accessories and the associated input amp requirement. For example, if you are adding a light kit and a radio to a Club Car Precedent 48V (which uses 6, 8V batteries), an average radio draws 5-10 amps. Light kits on average draw +/- 10 amps (based on head and tail lights only). So you have a total amp draw of 15-20 amps. Most voltage converters designed for golf carts have a total amperage rating of 30 amps. If you are going to run several accessories, exceeding 30 amps of total draw required, there is no issue in running multiple converters. Keep in mind that the more power you consume, the less run time you will have with your golf car before charging is required.


Voltage Reducers

  • Draws current from only two batteries
  • Used to reduce voltage output to a specific level

Voltage reducers use resistors in a divider circuit to diminish the voltage to a specific point. Most reducers only work on the negative circuit. Meaning, they reduce the negative side of a 16V circuit to approximately 5-6 volts negative. The positive input from your accessory is then wired directly to 8V positive, which gives you an output voltage of 13-14 volts. This is a negative reduction based on load, not an open circuit like a converter. This system, while effective, should only be used for light duty and when you are replacing an existing reducer and want to stay with what was originally on the golf cart.

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