Stock golf cart controllers range from 225 amps to 300 amps in size.
400 amps increases available amperage by about 25%
500 amps increases available amperage by about 40%
700 amps increases available amperage by about 60%
400 amps is good for bigger tires and additional seating on flat ground.
500 amps is good for bigger tires and additional loads where hills and soft terrain is involved. note: 80% of all upgrades fall into the 500a category. 500 amp controls are good when used with the factory motor and with most aftermarket motors. Our 500 amp controller packages include the 400 super solenoid which will run on 36 volts now and 48 v later. This is a very popular combination for users who want to upgrade voltage later.
700 amps is good for the biggest aftermarket and custom built motors.
See Series upgrades below. If you are looking for Sepex upgrades go HERE
Let's look at series drive cartshere. All golf carts made prior to 1995 are series drive.
The series drive carts are known as the workhorses of the golf cart world. Series carts produce more torque and less speed than their Sepex drive cousins.
They are the first choice for off-road use and towing.
The most common upgrades with these carts include a bigger speed control, a larger solenoid, a heavy duty forward and reverse switch, and the cable size upgrade.
There are 13 or 14 high amperage cables in a series drive. The high amperage passing from the battery pack to the motor goes through all 13 or 14 of these cables when you ask the cart to go. All of these cables and every component they are connected to need to be upgraded when putting in a larger speed control.
The reason for this is the larger speed control will allow the motor to draw more amperage and that amperage is going to flow through the entire system. If one component is left stock in an upgraded system it will soon fail.
My recommendations are based upon what I have learned from upgrading thousands of golf carts. These upgrades were used everywhere from beach-side parks to the Colorado Rockies. Many of our customers enjoy hunting and off-road exploration with their golf carts. Most of these carts are lifted with big tires and seating for additional passengers or cargo boxes. This creates the ultimate challenge for a simple battery-powered golf cart.
Many of these carts were also upgraded for neighborhood use where reliable transportation is needed.
Series cart Upgrades
Series motor are the most basic and reliable type of drive motor. All carts before 1995 are series drive. This cart has a lever type handle F&R and a mechanical switch for direction selection.
The F&R switch has big cables connected to it.
This cart is slow and strong
A real workhorse
400 amps = 200 amp solenoid & 4g cables
500 amps = 400 amp solenoid and 2g cables
700 amps = 400 amp solenoid and 2g cables
A heavy duty forward and reverse switching device is suggested with all controller upgrades.
Keep in mind the original 2 to 3 hp motor was designed to take two passengers down the fairway for game of golf. If your use is very different from this then you will need a custom aftermarket motor to produce enough horsepower to achieve the performance needed.
Begin here -
Identify the cart's drive system and learn which upgrades
do what for the cart
The first step in upgrading your golf cart is determining which drive system it has.
There are two types of drive systems used in all golf carts.
Series and Sepex
A bigger speed control will allow the motor to access more amperage. The motor will use this additional amperage to make more torque which will help in the power department but it will not increase top end speed - more voltage will increase the stock motor rpm.
42v will increase motor RPM by 17.5%
48v will increase motor RPM by 33%.
You will have to upgrade the controller and solenoid in order to be able to run 48v. The stock motor can run on 48v.
Aftermarket motors built for more torque or more speed or a combination of both torque and speed are available.
Sepex carts have a toggle switch F&R device. There are light wires connected to the F&R switch and the motor has a pig tail of wires.
These carts have a run / tow switch which cuts power to the controller.
There are 10-26 small wires connected to the speed controller.
Sepex carts are people movers and often serve as NEVs
Not as well suited to slow and heavy work as series.
Sepex cart upgrades explained HERE
Keep in mind that bigger tires and added weight adversely affect the golf carts performance.
A change in tire size equals a change in final gear ratio. Gear ratio changes directly influence the amount of load put on the motor and drive system. A 20% increase in gear ratio will equal a 20% loss of torque or power. I suggest 20 to 22 inch tires for all upgrades.
Getting too big of a tire is a common mistake.
Picture yourself pushing a small tire up a hill.
Now picture yourself pushing a much larger tire up the same hill
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