ATG (JanFeb09) - Checking Solenoids

QUESTION:

How do I tell if my solenoid is not working? Can you give me some pointers?

G.D. from Nashville

 

ANSWER:

Next to batteries, the most misunderstood part of a gas or electric car is the solenoid. A solenoid is nothing more than a switch. Switches are normally mechanically activated devices similar to a light or key switch. These types of switches require manual or mechanical activation. Solenoids are just switches activated by an external electrical input. A solenoid’s sole purpose is to make and break an electrical circuit on demand. The term “contactor” is also used to describe a solenoid. A solenoid has two basic circuits, the Primary and Secondary circuit. In the Primary, or activation circuit, you have two components, the activation wiring and the internal primary coil. When subjected to electric voltage the internal primary coil activates, bringing two contact points together to allow an electric current to pass through the Secondary circuit. The coil requires both the positive and negative potentials for electric voltage to pass through it and activate.  Most cars activate the solenoid with normal battery pack voltage. However, be aware  there are some older model cars that use a system of “tapped” voltage and the solenoid must be connected to a specific voltage. Taps are just different connecting points on the battery pack. The Secondary, or power circuit, is the circuit being activated by the solenoid coil. This circuit consists of large power contacts inside the solenoid that allow a heavy load of electric current to flow to the motor or starter/generator when activated. Any time you are working with a car’s electrical system, be sure you have the correct wiring diagram for the application you are testing! In the accompanying diagram, the connection terminals on the solenoid have been numbered 1 though 4 for ease of identification purposes only.

Guru JanFeb09 Pic1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the diagram, there are some other items that may or may not be on your car system, a diode and resistor. Not all applications use the diode and resistor, and that is why it is important to determine the year, make, and model of your car.

 

The diode functions as a buffer to catch voltage spikes in the Primary circuit. The resistor (250 ohms) is used to pre-charge the capacitor bank in the car controller if it uses this system. The resistor will connect to the Secondary circuit’s large terminals. Again, use the correct diagram for the system you are working on.

 

Now let’s talk trouble shooting!

 

Guru JanFeb09 Pic21) The car will not run.

A) Does the solenoid make a “clicking” sound?

If it doesn’t, we must first determine if activation voltage is present at the small terminals #1 and #2. Connect a voltmeter across the connections at #1 and #2 and activate the system. To activate the system put the car in the run mode, key switch on, car in forward and the accelerator pedal pushed. If your voltmeter displays the system voltage and the solenoid does not “click”, then the solenoid is defective and will need to be replaced.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guru JanFeb09 Pic3B) The solenoid does not “click” and you do not read system voltage. This tells us

that one of the voltage potentials is missing at connection #1 and or #2. To find out which potential is missing, leave the red lead of the voltmeter connected on terminal #2, the positive connection (usually a blue or red wire). However, wire colors may vary. Ensure proper diagnosis by using the correct diagram for the make and year of your car. Place the black lead of the voltmeter to the battery’s negative post on the number six battery (the last battery in series from the first positive battery connection to the car). Activate the system as before, if your voltmeter reads system voltage, the positive input is correct. This means the key switch, micro switches and wiring are good and you are missing the negative input.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guru JanFeb09 Pic4Continue the diagnosis process by connecting the black negative lead from the voltmeter to terminal #1 and the red lead of the voltmeter to battery #1’s positive post (the first positive connection to the car). Activate the system again. If you are not reading system voltage on your voltmeter, you have confirmed that the battery negative is missing.  Depending on the system the car is using, the missing negative will need to be traced to its source. Some systems supply the negative from a controller output (or with some Club Cars, the onboard computer). Most gas cars use the frame as “ground”. Electric cars do not use a frame “ground”. You can determine the car’s ground point by referring to the correct wiring diagram.

 

So let’s say that we were missing the positive at connection terminal #2. This means either the key switch, micro switch and/or accelerator switch is open or out of adjustment.

NOTE: Be aware that some cars use the key circuit as a negative circuit and adjust accordingly as per the correct wiring diagram. You will need to trace voltage to each individual component in that circuit and determine where the voltage is lost.

If your car uses the diode in the solenoid system, make sure you make the proper connections and orientation as the diode is polarity-sensitive!

 

Secondary Circuit (power)

 

 

 

 

Guru JanFeb09 Pic51) The solenoid does “click” and the car will not run. Disconnect the cable from terminal #4 and lay it aside. Tape the end so it doesn’t come into contact with any part of your car. Cable 4 will be the load side of the solenoid that connects directly to the controller/motor circuit. If the car uses a 250-ohm resistor, remove and tape the end of that as well.

 

2) Place the positive lead of the voltmeter on the vacated #4 terminal. Place the negative lead of the voltmeter to battery #6’s negative post. Activate the system. If your voltmeter does not display system voltage, the secondary circuit’s contacts are defective and the solenoid will need to be replaced. If you do read system voltage on your voltmeter the problem with your car is somewhere in the controller, motor, wiring/cables, shifter and/or input control, such as an inductive throttle sensor, potentiometer, or v-glide.

 

3) Solenoid does not “click” and the car runs all the time with the key on or off. Connect the voltmeter as per step number two. If you read system voltage without pushing the accelerator pedal and key off the solenoid is defective. This means the secondary contacts are stuck in the “on” position and the solenoid needs replacement.

 

 

 

 

Safety

1) Raise the rear wheels off the ground using the proper support stands BEFORE you begin your solenoid testing.

2) Disconnect the battery/battery pack when required for testing. If the car is a regenerative system, place the run/tow switch in the tow position before you disconnect the batteries.

3) If you have a proclivity towards being a pyromaniac, make sure you know where the closest fire extinguisher is!

4) Use extreme caution with higher voltage cars as severe burns can occur by accidentally shorting out connections with a hand tool.

5) Solenoid testing should be done in a well-ventilated area and extreme caution used around the batteries as hydrogen gas may be present.

6) Keep all flames and sparks away from the battery compartment and keep battery acid away from your skin and eyes as this can be a irritant.

 

There you have it! The solenoid is not some complicated mystery. Just think of it as just any other switch you may encounter that it is electrically activated.

 

TS (JanFeb09) - Modifying Your Car

By: Matt Vallez

In this issue, we’re showing off the top submissions for the Most Exotic Golf Car contest. I love this competition, and most of the entries we received were excellent. But you might be wondering exactly what makes a golf cart exotic. Does it need a custom paint job or big tires and wheels? Is it elongated with extra seats for more passengers? Obviously, I have a few of my own ideas about what makes a golf car exotic and if you read on, so will you.

 

It starts with the guts – what’s under the hood. We’ve all probably heard the famous description of anything modified as being “all show and no go.” Why would anyone want to spend the extra money and effort on a golf car just to have average performance? We’ll start with electric models. To be truly exotic, an electric golf car needs to have something more than the regular 36V or 48V motor/controller system. It needs an upgrade, and the best of the best have increased voltage. Sure, you may have problems charging higher-voltage batteries, but that’s part of the charm of owning an exotic car.

 

If it’s a gas car, it needs to have more than the stock clutches and muffler set-up. For you motorheads out there, change the clutch to a high-torque driven clutch to improve the engine revs out of the hole. Then let the motor breathe a little with a tuned header and K&N-style air filter. Take it a step further and bore out the engine, dome the head and re-jet the carburetor. That’s about as far as you can go with a stock engine. If you want to go further, you need to swap the engine for something with more horsepower. Remember, if you’re building an exotic golf car, money is no object!

 

Next we need to address the suspension, because a stock suspension will not do for an exotic. You want to make a statement, and this requires a lift of at least three inches or more (if nothing else, a three-inch lift will allow room for slightly oversized tires). If you feel the need to lift the car more than eight inches, I recommend doing so only when putting grossly oversized tires on the beast. I have seen some of these monsters in person and they make a jaw-dropping impression. The golf car becomes more of a show piece because the size and weight of the tires and wheels max out the tolerances of all the other steering and drive components. Granted, practicality is not the goal of an exotic car, but there’s a delicate balance between function and flair. Your car becomes a lot less different and cool if it breaks the steering gears or tie rods every time you take it out of the showroom.

 

Extended length is a new trend in exotic cars. Owners want to bring along more of their friends for the ride, so many models now have seating for six people. When I started in this industry, six- and eight-passenger cars were commonly used around churches or resorts with large parking lots. This year’s exotic golf car submissions included five entries with seating for six or more people! Plus, all but one featured custom work that rivaled anything done on a smaller golf car. They really are quite impressive.

 

A final word of warning and safety, because it’s important: any modified golf car that’s set up to carry four or more people should have upgraded brakes for obvious reasons. If you’re modifying a golf car by elongating it, do it right. If the fabrication work is poor, the car will be dangerous when fully loaded. David Carter of Carter and Associates in Gainesville, Florida, lengthens at least five golf cars per year and goes through great pains to make sure the final result is structurally sound. Anything less could be a death trap.

 

So what do you think about exotic golf cars? Ready to create one of your own? These cars are a passion of mine, and judging by the hard work we saw in the submissions this year, they are for many of you as well. We look forward to seeing what you come up with next time! 

Industry News - January/February 2009

TROJAN BATTERY PROMOTES FROM WITHIN FOR FUTURE SUCCESS

New COO and Vice President, Renewable Energy and Business Development Named

 

SANTA FE SPRINGS, CA – Trojan Battery Company, the world’s leading manufacturer of deep cycle batteries, announced two new management positions within the company to drive future strategies and success.

 

Jeff Elder, currently Chief Financial Officer, has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer (COO) responsible for all departmental functions within Trojan Battery. Elder has been with Trojan Battery for more than three years with expertise in Finance, Operations, and Strategic Planning. Prior to joining Trojan, Elder worked for Arthur Anderson & Co., Emerson Electric, Avery Dennison and, most recently, as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer for Dynamic Cooking Systems.

 

Bryan Godber, currently Director of New Business Development and fourth generation of Trojan family leaders, has been promoted to Vice President, Renewable Energy and New Business Development. In the past eight years with Trojan, Godber had been responsible for Planning and Purchasing, Customer Service and most recently, New Business Development. Godber will be responsible for making Trojan the leader in the fast growing Renewable Energy market as well as overseeing new business ventures.

 

“These changes will enable Trojan Battery to expand on the abilities of some proven leaders within our company and allow Trojan to move forward in some new strategic directions,” said Rick Godber, Chief Executive Officer for Trojan Battery. “Both Elder’s and Godber’s expertise will help to further strengthen Trojan’s market position, operational excellence and enhance our efforts in driving our products into new markets.”

 

Rick Godber will continue in his role as President and CEP focused on future strategic direction for Trojan Battery Company.

 

For more information on Trojan Battery Company visit www.trojanbattery.com.

 

SOLAR CARTS TO BE USED AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA – Step aside, Leonardo DiCaprio and Ed Begley, Jr. A new environmentally minded celebrity appeared on the red carpet with a green mission expected to revolutionize transportation on Hollywood studio lots.

 

Meet the solar-powered golf cart.

 

And if it can handle the steep inclines at the 415-acre Universal Studios Hollywood, the studio will replace its 300 gas-guzzling carts with the solar-powered hybrid.

 

“Green is all about doing the right thing,” said Larry Kurzwell, president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios Hollywood, at the unveiling. “This is the right thing to do.”

 

Costing $8,000 for a four-seater, the golf carts are hybrids, powered by batteries and sunshine, said Michael Margulis, Southern California representative from the golf cart manufacturer Cruise Car Inc.

 

The golf carts can go 40 to 60 miles with a fully charged battery. Just driving around all day in the sun can boost the carts’ distance by an additional seven miles each day, said Margulis.

 

Solar-powered golf carts are already buzzing around airports, college campuses, zoos and Mach Air Force Base, he said.

 

The Florida-based hybrid golf cart manufacturer was connected to the theme park and movie studio through the Environmental Media Association, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that pushes for eco-friendly messages in TV and film.

 

HSBC CHAMPIONS STARS UNVEIL WORLD’S LONGEST GOLF CART

The world’s local bank and UNICEF unveil record-breaking buggy to support education for children in the Sichuan earthquake zone

 

UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Leon Lai joined HSBC and some of the biggest names in golf to showcase the world’s longest golf cart at the HSBC Champions Charity Golf Day in Hong Kong today. The HSBC Champions BookMobile, a specially designed golf cart that functions as a mobile library, marks a partnership between HSBC and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to help rebuild education facilities in Sichuan province in China.

 

The 6.68-metre long HSBC Champions BookMobile was presented by Sandy Flockhart, HSBC Asia-Pacific Chief Executive Officer, and Peter Wong, Executive Director, Hong Kong and Mainland China, at the Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course in the New Territories. It was officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s longest golf cart on October 8. Mr. Lai and Dr. Robert Fung, Chairman, Hong Kong Committee for UNICEF, joined European Ryder Cup star Paul Casey, Asia’s leading golfer KJ Choi Kyung-Ju, Chinese golfing legend Zhang Lian Wei and two-time China Tour Order of Merit winner Li Chao in loading up the record-breaking buggy with books and educational supplies to be sent to Sichuan.

 

The unveiling was part of an HSBC charity golf day, a prelude to the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai in November. Mr Flockhart said, “In the first three years of the HSBC Champions, our focus was to establish the tournament as the best in Asia. Now we are in a position to leverage our world-class event to help the community. We are using the power of ‘Asia’s Major’ to help UNICEF improve children’s lives as Sichuan is being rebuilt.” 

 

HSBC also announced today a donation of HK$2 million (around US$257,000) to support UNICEF’s local youth and education programs in Sichuan. Including donations from HSBC business associates and customers who participated in the local charity golf days in Indonesia, the Philippines and Hong Kong, more than HK$3.8 million has been raised to support UNICEF’s local youth and education programs in the region. HSBC is appealing for support by asking the public to send their donations to the UNICEF fund raising account at HSBC: 567-354014-004.

 

Dr Fung said, “As a result of the earthquake in May, children in Sichuan have been left with no school buildings, schoolbooks and learning materials. They have been deprived of the chance to continue their education. We have received donations and assistance from the private sector but the needs are massive and ongoing. We are grateful to HSBC for spearheading such a meaningful project for Sichuan children. I hope this will inspire other corporations to similar action.”

 

Mr. Lai, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for 14 years, is an avid champion of children’s causes. Mr Lai said, “Life teaches you lessons. In the classroom you learn the skills that allow you to understand those lessons. We need to get all the children of Sichuan back in a classroom environment so they can start rebuilding their lives. HSBC has helped both directly and also indirectly by allowing us to use the platform provided by Asia’s number one golf tournament to remind everyone that the children affected by the earthquake still need your help.” 

 

As part of the launch ceremony, the star golfers wrote personal messages of encouragement inside the covers of some of the books before loading them onto the BookMobile’s shelves. 

 

DELTRAN BATTERY TENDER® HAS TEAMED UP WITH THE NATIONAL BREAST CANCER FOUNDATION

Deland, FL - Deltran Battery Tender is proud to announce the newest addition to the Battery Tender Family! The new Pink Battery Tender Plus is not just a pretty accessory. With the same amazing functions and features as the original Battery Tender Plus, the Pink Battery Tender will allow women to keep their vehicles running and looking great.

 

A large percentage of the retail price will be donated to The National Breast Cancer Foundation. Help women across the world become better educated and prepared for the fight against breast cancer!

 

The Battery Tender Plus is a 12-volt @1.25-amp battery charger designed to fully charge a battery and maintain it at proper storage voltage without the damaging effects caused by trickle chargers. Included is a quick connect harness for hard to reach areas

 

NEW DIAGNOSTICS! Red & green lights alternately flash for reverse polarity, a bad DC connection, or a sulfated battery.  The Pink Battery Tender Plus will be available by Valentine’s Day. Reserve yours now at www.batterytender.com.

 

AMERICAN CUSTOM GOLF CARS, INC. BUILDERS OF THE FINEST LUXURY GOLF AND ESTATE VEHICLES

Chino, CA - American Custom Golf Cars, Inc, the Official Worldwide Licensed Holder for the Hummer H1™, Hummer H2™ and Hummer H3™ GM-approved Luxury Golf/Estate vehicles.

 

As of July 10, 2008, American Custom Golf Cars, Inc, was granted and announced as the official worldwide holder for GM model-approved luxury golf and estate vehicles. The following models apply to such agreement; Hummer H1, Hummer H2, Hummer H3 and the Cadillac™ Escalade™.

 

American Custom Golf Cars, Inc, was placed under the spotlight with the introduction of the California Roadster, which revolutionized the custom Golf/Estate and NEV markets. With years of marketing, research and selling within the lucrative golf cart and estate vehicle industries, ACG, Inc is ready once again to impact the market by bringing back and re-introducing the original and ever-so-popular Hummer H1.

 

ACG, Inc would like to announce that the company has begun production and is making available a body kit of the Hummer H1™, starting the price range at $2950.00. With such a demand, Vice President Dan Hoogenraad stated, “The decision to bring back the very popular and original Hummer™ model which revolutionized the SUV industry was not a difficult one.”

 

With the support of our master distributors and dealers worldwide, we feel the decision to re-introduce the Hummer H1 and making a body kit available will further bring excitement to the ever-changing custom golf and estate vehicle markets.

 

For further information on the Hummer H1 body kit and availability, please contact our corporate office by email: info@californiaroadster.com.

 

GREEN NEWS FOR GOLF CART DEALERS AND OWNERS

Old-time inventor Charles Van Breemen was just awarded a patent for a product that is revolutionizing the battery power industry. The Battery Life Saver, he called it.

 

Most people are concerned about fuel efficiency. The current energy crisis makes electric vehicles, including golf carts, viable alternatives. However, the high price of batteries and their short life span make this alternative fuzzy. The good news is that his product is already making electric vehicles more efficient and is environmentally friendly. The Battery Life Saver is an electronic device that uses Wave² Restoration Technology. It doubles the life of lead-acid batteries.

A longer battery life will lead to less waste, less pollution and lower costs for dealers and customers.

 

Battery Solutions and Innovations, Inc., a new Clearwater, FL based company, will be the exclusive manufacturer for the The Battery Life Saver™ electronic device. The product is already being distributed around the world and is being used on golf carts, electric cars, off-grid solar systems, forklifts, boats and more.

 

“We’re excited for the opportunity to help people through these times of an energy crisis. This product will considerably extend the life and performance of any lead acid battery, helping everybody’s life. It is a product that’s made in the USA that will help us protect the environment,” said Emanuel Hillmann, General Manager, Battery Solutions and Innovations Inc.

 

For more information on The Battery Life Saver electronic device, visit www.batterylifesaver.com

Note: The late Charles Van Breemen, a Mechanical Engineer from the University of Portland, invented The Battery Life Saver to protect the environment by extending battery life and reduce the power needed to recharge batteries. Since his death in 2007 his wife, Elyse, has continued to make his vision a reality.

 

B&B PREFERRED TO OFFER DEALERS THREE NEW COWLS FOR THE PRECEDENT AND DRIVE CHASSIS
B&B Preferred will be adding, a new front cowl for the Yamaha Drive chassis to their line of custom cowls and body systems. This new cowl will have the modern lines of today’s automobiles and was designed by an Italian firm.

 

For the Club Car Precedent chassis, they will be offering a new front cowl that will complement all of their other cowls for the Precedent chassis. B&B Preferred will also be adding their first rear cowl for the Precedent.

 

All front and rear cowls will be packed in cartons of two, which will allow the dealers to keep their inventory and purchases at a minimum.  All three new products will be available for shipment in March 2009. Pictures and information will be available in your next Golf Car News.

CS (JanFeb09) - 2009 Custom & Exotic Car Winner

JanFeb09 Cover2009 GOLF CAR NEWS CUSTOM & EXOTIC CAR CONTEST, Best of Show winner, by Mike’s Motor Toys.

 

The projected started out with a 2009 E-Z-GO ST Express, we stripped it down to the frame and started the build. The original motor and transmission were removed and replaced by a Honda 24hp V Twin, header, cold air intake, and E-Z-GO high speed rear end. Suspension is a modified Jake’s kit with progressive coil over shocks. Custom ‘true fire’ paint was done at our shop, as well as the custom roll cage, rear tube step and Front Hummer H2 style grille guard. We also added a Venom 4,500 lb. winch with remote, custom Hummer seats, Ididit tilt steering column, hub adapter and Grant steering wheel. A custom snap cage canopy was made to fit the roll cage. The cart rolls on ITP SS wheels and 25” All Trail tires. Build time was around 1 month.

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