All golf carts, whether gas or electric, have a small, powerful, and important device called a solenoid. The solenoid is a relay switch, or go-between from the battery or ignition to the motor, and allows the cart to have power.
Sometimes the solenoid will go bad in a cart. This generally happens when the wiring wears out due to overheating. When this happens, cart operators sometimes choose to bypass the solenoid to get the cart to at least get back to its home base.
How to bypass solenoid on your golf cart: To bypass the solenoid, you must create a direct path for the current to reach the motor since the solenoid is bad. To do this, use the insulated wires connected to the two large terminals on the solenoid.
But beware, bypassing the solenoid in your cart should only be used in the case of an emergency, such as when your cart dies, and you are stuck. This option should only be seen as a temporary fix. Choosing this workaround can pose a risk to you and the cart itself.
Be sure to read on to the end to learn how to fix your cart and how to avoid making the problem worse.
This article will give you some vital information on the solenoid as well as bypassing it in the case of an emergency. Topics to be covered include:
- What Is the Solenoid on the Golf Cart?
- How To Test Your Solenoid on Your Golf Cart
- Reasons for Bypassing Solenoid
- How To Bypass Solenoid on Your Golf Cart
- What if your golf cart solenoid won’t click?
What Is the Solenoid on the Golf Cart?
The solenoid is a relay switch that gives a golf cart power. For an electric cart, it helps run the electrical system powered by the battery. For a gas cart, it helps with the ignition.
The typical solenoid in golf carts consists of two large and two smaller terminals. In an electric cart, the small terminals are connected to the battery voltage and activate the solenoid. When it is activated, it serves as a switch that allows the larger terminals to connect to each other.
In a gas-powered cart, the ignition serves in the place of the circuit created through the battery found in the electric cart.
Despite being a small and seemingly simple device, the solenoid is semi-complex. It consists of several parts, including an inner coil, an iron plunger, and springs that work together to open and close the electrical circuit.
Some compare the solenoid in a golf cart to the heart in a human body.
The solenoid is critical to a golf cart’s starting and continuous running. When a cart operator turns the key and presses the accelerator, the solenoid receives a signal from the control circuit, which allows the current from the battery to flow to the motor. That process enables the cart to move. A functioning solenoid is necessary for the cart to operate.
Reasons for Bypassing Solenoid
You may want to bypass the solenoid in your cart for a few reasons. The first and most common reason is in emergencies when your cart is stranded on the golf course or in your neighborhood. This would still only be seen as a last-resort solution. At a golf course, where there are a fleet of carts, it is best to have a dead cart towed back in and serviced by the cart or maintenance staff properly.
Another reason to bypass the solenoid is that it can help to rule out other potential problems with your golf cart. These could include a low battery charge, worn wiring, or a bad controller.
It is common for a solenoid to go bad; however, these other circumstances could mimic a bad solenoid.
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How To Bypass Solenoid on Your Golf Cart
You can bypass a solenoid in your cart, but this is only advised in the case of an emergency and as a temporary fix. If you do indeed want to use the bypass method to get a dead cart moving, here is what you need to do:
Step #1 Take Safety Measures
Bypassing the solenoid could be a hazardous undertaking. The risk of fire or shock is real. With that in mind, it is advisable to take the following precautions:
- Wear work gloves
- Wear safety glasses
- Have a fire extinguisher nearby
Step #2 Locate The Solenoid
Look near the battery compartment of your golf cart. The solenoid is typically mounted to the inside of the cart near this area.
Step #3 The Actual Bypassing of the Solenoid
To bypass the solenoid, you must create a direct path for the current to reach the motor since the solenoid is bad. To do this, use the insulated wires connected to the two large terminals on the solenoid.
It is critical to remember that bypassing the solenoid should only be done as a last resort and in emergencies. Bypassing is only meant to be a temporary fix. Replace the bad solenoid as soon as possible to avoid potential damage to your golf cart’s electrical system.
What if Your Golf Cart Solenoid Won’t Click?
When you start your cart and press the accelerator down, that faint click you may hear before the moment the cart moves comes from the solenoid. For example, if you have a 48v Club Car or EZGO cart and your solenoid is not clicking, could mean your cart is dead. If so, chances are it is because of a faulty solenoid.
Above, I discussed testing and even bypassing the solenoid, but another common issue is loose wiring or a problem in the activation circuit.
More severe issues can and do happen. When those situations arise, it means replacing the solenoid or other components is necessary.
How To Use The EZGO Golf Cart Wiring Diagram To Bypass Your Solenoid
An E-Z-GO golf cart solenoid wiring diagram is a visual representation of the electrical connections of the solenoid in a golf cart. It can be used to troubleshoot electrical problems, test the solenoid, or install a new solenoid.
The solenoid wiring diagram will show the location of the solenoid in the golf cart, as well as the color-coded wires that are connected to it. The color-coding of the wires helps to identify the different electrical connections.
To use the solenoid wiring diagram, you must identify the different wires connected to the solenoid. Once you have identified the wires, you can use the diagram to trace the electrical connections to the battery and the motor.
If you are troubleshooting an electrical problem, you can use the solenoid wiring diagram to help you identify the faulty connection. If you are testing the solenoid, you can use the diagram to connect the solenoid to the battery and the motor.
If you are installing a new solenoid, you can use the diagram to help you connect the solenoid to the battery and the motor.
How To Test Your Solenoid on Your Golf Cart
Before you begin the straightforward process of testing your golf carts solenoid, you will need to gather the following supplies:
- A voltmeter or multimeter
- A ½” wrench (typically)
- Work gloves
- Safety glasses
- Electrical tape
Now that you have your supplies follow these simple steps to test the solenoid in your golf cart:
- Disconnect the cables from the two large terminals. Be sure to wrap the cable ends with the electrical tape and keep the ends separate from one another.
- Switch the cart key to the off position, and make sure the cart is set to neutral. Ensure your voltmeter is set to ohms, and place a probe on both large terminals. There should be no reading.
- Set the cart to the forward position, and turn the key to the on position. Go ahead and step on the accelerator. You should hear a click coming from the solenoid. Next, set your voltmeter to measure ohms and place a probe on each large terminal. You should have a reading of 0 to 0.4 ohms. If you have a higher reading than 0.4 ohms, the solenoid has faulty contacts and needs to be replaced.
- If you did not hear a click from your solenoid, you must use the voltmeter again to test for additional issues. Set the voltmeter to DC volts on the 200 scale, and place a probe on each of the small terminals.
- Step on the accelerator with the key on and the cart in forward. If the voltmeter shows full battery voltage and there is no click, the coil inside the solenoid will need to be replaced. If your voltmeter remains at 0, then there is a problem somewhere else within the cart.
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How Do I Know If My Golf Cart Solenoid Is Bad?
If the solenoid in your golf cart is bad, your golf cart won't start or work at all. If the solenoid is beginning to go bad, you may notice your cart having trouble picking up speed. The best way to ultimately know is by running tests.
In gas carts, the large contacts may refuse to release, causing the starter to run even after turning off the ignition.
Can You Drive With A Bad Solenoid?
Yes, if the cart can start and move, you can drive a cart with a bad solenoid. However, doing so, and ignoring the issues could lead to further problems, including the cart breaking down for good, resulting in a need to change out the solenoid.
Where Is the Solenoid on a Golf Cart?
Look near the battery compartment of your golf cart. The solenoid is typically mounted to the inside of the cart near the battery compartment of your golf cart.
What if Your 36v EZGO Will Not Move and Solenoid Is Not Clicking?
If you own a 36v EZGO cart and the solenoid doesn't click, the solenoid is faulty. You can bypass the solenoid with the two large wires from the solenoid. In more severe cases, you might have to replace the solenoid or other components will be necessary.
This article served as an elementary guide to understanding solenoids, how to test them when they are not working, and how to bypass a solenoid in your golf cart, if necessary in the case of an emergency.
Solenoids in golf carts often go bad. Some may choose to bypass the solenoid to at least get the cart moving and back to where it can be properly serviced. If the bypass does indeed get the cart moving, it is crucial to understand that this is only a temporary fix and could potentially be a hazardous option.
PGA Professional Brendon Elliott is the founder of Little Linksters, LLC, and its nonprofit arm, the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development. He is the winner of 25+ prestigious industry honors, including the 2017 PGA National Youth Player Development award. Brendon is a respected coach, businessman, writer, and golf industry expert.