Unfortunately today’s entry was supposed to discuss the completion of our latest and greatest creation. However, things went a little sideways on us and so it remains on the lift unable to move under it’s own power. Thus our subject for the day is the importance of understanding your cart.
With today’s carts able to reach greater distances, and across tougher terrain, they are quickly becoming more popular amongst the outdoor enthusiasts. But like any vehicle, they are machines and are susceptible to failure from time to time. However, if you have at least a basic understanding of how your cart works, you are less likely to be walking back to camp one day.
To begin with, let us explain the history of our current problem. For this cart we stole the lithium batteries from our old 4X4 demo cart, which was also dead in the water. But after our initial diagnosis we assumed that the problem with the 4X4 was buried somewhere deep within it’s overly complicated electrical system. And so we proceed to install the lithium batteries into our new cart. And of course everything functioned flawlessly, until we were putting the final touches on the cart. As we prepared to take the cart out and test the newly installed speedometer everything just simply died.
Without going into great details, you must appreciate that this lithium pack is a particularly complicated setup, with fifteen individual cells (batteries) and chargers, plus one BMS (battery management system). Then there are four wires running between each cell and charger, and another dozen or so wires that integrate the BMS with the factory electrical system. All in all there are many possible points of failure.
While this may sound a lot like Greek to many of you, there is a point to be made. Even though this cart appears to be completely immobilized, one small wire connecting the battery pack to the run/tow switch would allow us to drive this cart home. Granted, this is not the recommended practice, as it may cause permanent damage to the batteries. But there are situations when your safety is much more important than any cart, and this is why it’s important to understand your cart.
Regardless of whether you have a gas or electric cart, there are many simple things that you can learn to make your life easier when you are faced with a breakdown. Luckily for us though, our cart is still in our shop. So next week we will simply swap out the old batteries for a new, much simpler, set of lithium batteries.