ATG (MayJun11) - Voltage

Should I use a voltage reducer or voltage converter?
JD from Vermont


First let’s define what each one is. A voltage reducer is a devise that reduces 16/18 volts to a usable 12-volts from the negative side. This is used with two 8-volt batteries. You will not see 12-volts at open circuit, you must have a load applied to see the 12-volts.

A voltage converter is a device that converts 36/48 volts to a usable 12-volts. The advantage to this system is you are using the entire battery pack not just two batteries.

Both use a typical output amperage rating of 17 to 25 amps depending on the size you buy. Both have a tremendous amount of heat that must be dissipated. A reducer has one negative wire in and one negative wire out. A converter has a positive wire in and a negative wire in. A converter has a negative wire out and a positive wire out. Some converters use a fifth wire for key switch activation.

Before installing either system clear the car of all grounds! Grounds are created from dirt and moisture on top of the batteries, motor brush dust, wiring grounds or some sort of accessory failure. Grounds on an electric car can destroy converters or reducers very quickly. Once you have cleared the car of grounds you can install the unit.

A reducer as I said is used on two batteries. The use of two batteries can create issues for heavy duty applications. Keep in mind this system is only designed for light duty applications such as finishing 18 holes of golf, it is dark and you need to see to get home. If used in a heavy application over discharging of those two batteries will occur. During the charge cycle they cannot catch up and over time they will fail. Also over discharged batteries beyond the 80% level will destroy a battery rather quickly.

Converters on the other hand draw current equally from the entire battery pack! This will allow better charging features and avoid that two battery catch up problem. This will allow for better run time of the car and greater cost savings in the long run. However, we must point out the disadvantages of a converter. One is, the out front cost as it tends to be a little higher. Two you must be clear of grounds on the car. There are converters that do resist the ground condition better than some. This is called an isolated ground system. You must pay attention to that when buying one. Isolated ground converters as I said do resist the car grounding much better. Most aftermarket converters are of the non isolated ground style. When ordering confirm what it is!

My rule of thumb is know your customer, know the application and know the product. Is the out front cost really that much? Consider the cost of two batteries compared to the initial cost of a voltage converter?

Note: know what current demand is, as that matters to the size of converter or reducer you use. Check the condition of the car, the batteries, and accessories being used. Make sure you have a good mounting surface for heat dissipation. Follow the wiring diagram provided with the product.

Headlights and taillights pull around 2.5 amps per bulb. So you are looking at a 10 amp load with just headlights and taillights alone. As you add other accessories add up the load and determine if two reducers or converters may be needed. Typically you can run a complete street ready car with one 17 amp with a 20 amp in-rush rating.

TS (MayJun11) - AGM Batteries

By: Matt Vallez

This is a reprint of an article that first appeared in the 2010 March / April issue of Golf Car News Magazine. It has been updated and fact checked for this issue.

Battery geeks have long heralded the coming of new battery technology, to all including the golf car industry for years, 20 last I counted. During this whole time the wet cell lead-acid battery has been the mainstay of all golf car manufactures, and is currently the only battery available by the big three golf car manufactures in the electric cars they make. At press time for this release Club Car now has AGM batteries as an option on several industrial golf cars. That is about to change, there is a new challenger to the dominance of the wet cell lead acid battery and it is for real this time not just hype. The battery type is AGM or (Absorbed Glass Mat) batteries, and they are being used in production golf car vehicles by some of the lesser known manufacturers.

These AGM batteries are sealed lead-acid batteries, also referred to as VRLA (Valve-Regulated Lead-Acid) batteries. They are similar to conventional wet lead-acid batteries however the electrolyte/acid is absorbed in a fiberglass material rather than in liquid form, hence the name glass-mat. Another key difference is that AGM batteries are sealed, so that the gasses produced during operations are recombined and remain within the battery rather than being released into the atmosphere. The sealed construction means there is no water loss in AGM batteries – therefore no maintenance.

This is the most important difference between the two types of batteries. AGM batteries are like wet lead-acid batteries on steroids without the water maintenance issues. All the water related problems for normal lead-acid batteries are eliminated. That also eliminates most maintenance and most common causes of premature failure related to wet lead acid batteries. This leaves a battery that can do the job without the maintenance and problems associated with wet lead-acid batteries.

The charging of any battery is another potential problem area and it exists for all batteries, overcharging has ruined many a good set of batteries. Charging needs to be done at a rate that will not damage the battery and long enough to adequately charge the batteries. Each battery has its own algorithm. A batteries algorithm basically is the rate and duration at which it should be charged for optimum performance. AGM batteries have an aggressive algorithm most similar to wet lead-acid batteries. So in many cases the same charger used for wet lead-acid batteries will perform well for an AGM battery. Gel batteries, sometimes called sealed batteries have much different charging requirements. They usually require different chargers or chargers that have a dual setting, one being for gel batteries. One over charging of a gel battery will reduce the output permanently. Wet lead-acid and AGM batteries are also not meant to be overcharged but are not as sensitive as gel batteries to the event.

Other interesting facts about AGM batteries: Shock and vibration resistant, little self discharge per month only 1%, can be installed and operated upright or on it’s side, certified safe for land, sea or air transport by DOT, IATA, IMDG, ICAO. That is to list a few. These batteries are here now and have become a viable alternative option for wet lead-acid batteries. They are more expensive to begin with, so currently the most common use is for AGM batteries are applications where performance is more important than economy. As these batteries gain popularity, as they are, they are a serious rival to the status quo, wet lead-acid battery.

I want to thank the people at Fullriver Battery Company for contributing to this article.

Industry News - May/June 2011


Robert M. Randquist, CGCS, director of golf course and grounds at Boca Rio Golf Club in Boca Raton, Fla., was elected president of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) at the association’s annual meeting Feb. 11.

The annual meeting was held in conjunction with the GCSAA Education Conference (Feb. 7-11) and Golf Industry Show (Feb. 9-10) in Orlando. A member dues increase of $20 annually for Class A members and $10 annually for Class C members also passed. Randquist will serve as president until the 2012 annual meeting and election.

Randquist is a 34-year GCSAA member, and has been at Boca Rio Golf Club since 1998. Previously, he was superintendent at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., for 19 years, where he hosted the 1982 and 1994 PGA Championships, the inaugural 1987 USGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship and the 1995 and 1996 PGA Tour Championships. Randquist has a bachelor’s degree in metallurgical engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He serves on The Environmental Institute for Golf Board of Trustees, is a member Palm Beach GCSA, and a past president of the Oklahoma GCSA. Randquist is also a member of the Florida Turfgrass Association and the USGA Green Section committee. Visit GCSAA at


PSC would like to announce the Model 1200 FAN, a very powerful two speed fan. This fan is normally used for large trucks, buses and RV’s. The 1200 fan puts out two or three times the amount of airflow of other golf cart fans. This 12 volt fan will work with any 12, 24, 36 or 48 volt vehicles. For 8 volt batteries, when two are hooked in series to equal 16 volts PSC provides a 4 volt reducer.

Three mounting options are available. Heavy duty mounting brackets are provided for left or right windshield post mounting or a dash mount. One unique feature is that once mounted the fan may be repositioned to any new position and the fan will simply stay there, no tools are required.

For additional information please contact our web site at .


Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. wishes to express its sincere condolences for the victims of the devastating earthquake and tsunamis that struck Japan’s northeastern seaboard, and to extend its deepest sympathy to the bereaved families.

Yamaha Motor, Co., Ltd. announced its updated operating plans for its golf car factory. The operating plan listed is for March 29 and April 1st. Operating plans for April 4, and onwards will be announced April 1.

March 28: Limited production. March 31-April 1: Production suspended.


Announcement Means High Gear for Tomberlin’s Anvil and Other Low Speed Electric Vehicles

The Electric Initiative by the Tomberlin® Automotive Group (TAG) receives a ringing endorsement from Minnesota based TEAM Industries along with California based technology development company Fallbrook Technologies (Fallbrook). The companies announced a partnership to develop electric vehicle transmission prototypes. The first initiative under the agreement is for the Tomberlin Anvil™, a street-legal Low Speed Vehicle (LSV) offering a range of more than 40 miles.

“We see the partnership with TEAM and Fallbrook as a critical step forward in our efforts to evolve the market for electric vehicles. It’s an affirmation of our work to create an Electric Commuter Class Vehicle (ECCV) in America,” says Mike Tomberlin CEO of TAG. “The ECCV is aimed at the 35 mph class for use as a city car. The City Car concept will happen in America, the question is who will lead it, the US, Europe or Asia/ President Obama has made it clear this country needs to lead in technology and jobs. These partnerships are the way that private industry, not government, will lead the way.”

“We are equally committed to improve both the performance and battery life of electric vehicles,” said Rob Smithson, Fallbrook’s Vice President of Business Development and CTO. “Our NuVinci® product line is ideal for this purpose, and designed to allow an electric car motor to operate in a more efficient manner by continuously optimizing the electric powertrain for driving conditions.”

“We’re continually searching for leading suppliers capable of providing technologies to make our eco-friendly automobiles more compelling and exciting than anything else like it on the market,” said Mike Tomberlin. “That means offering improved hill climbing, acceleration and towing capacity as well as other rider benefits in our vehicles. Developing systems that enable electric vehicles to enhance performance is a key step towards achieving that goal, thus we are very pleased to support the Fallbrook-TEAM development initiative for those reasons.”

Production of the resulting powertrain will occur at TEAM Industries’ Minnesota-based facilities. “Working with Fallbrook on this initiative makes perfect sense for us,” said Tony Passanante, Senior Director of Marketing and Strategic Planning for the company. “Our core competency is designing and manufacturing systems that transmit power and put it to work quietly and efficiently.”

Unlike conventional gear and clutch transmissions, the NuVinci continuously variable planetary transmission (CVP) uses a set of rotating and tilting balls positioned between the input and output components of the transmission that tilt to vary the speed of the transmission resulting in a seamless and continuous transition to any ratio within its range.

“TEAM Industries is committed to developing innovative products that advance electric vehicle driveline systems,” said Passanante.

See more about Tomberlin at


Singapore: The beach resort city of Pattaya in Thailand will be transformed into a hub of activity for golf in November this year.

This bustling and vibrant international playground will play host to all of the annual conferences and exhibitions organized by the Asia Pacific Golf Development Conferences (APGDC).

The following are the event dates:

2011 Asia Pacific Golf Summit – October 31-November 2.

2011 Golf Course Superintendents of Asia Summit – October 31-November 2.

2011 PGA Conference of Asia – November 3-4.

2011 South East Asia & India Golf Merchandise Exposition – November 4-6

“This year’s events will all be staged back to back over a one week period stretching from October 31 to November 6,” revealed Mike Sebastian, managing director of APGDC, the owner and producer of the events. “It makes good business sense for us to cluster all the shows and to stage it as a golf pageant directed at both the industry and consumers alike,” said Sebastian

All of the events will be staged at the sprawling world-class Pattaya Exhibition and Convention Centre (PEACH). The host hotel for the events will be the plush five-star Royal Cliff Beach Resort. The theme for the 2011 conferences will be centred around “Affordable Golf”. “We believe that this theme lends itself to growing the game of golf in the region and at the same time, laying special focus on the need to ensure that operating and maintenance costs of golf courses are kept affordable – we need to change the mindset going forward that golf is no longer a recreational past time for the elite and wealthy, Sebastian said. “We are now working to put all of the programme details together and we are confident that our events are going to rock for 2011,” concluded Wong.


GRAND JUNCTION, COLORADO, FEBRUARY 15, 2011 – Fairplay Electric Cars, LLC, today announced that it will conduct a voluntary Safety Recall (NHTSA Campaign # 11V-039) involving approximately 1,600 of their 2010 & 2011 Model Year EVE LSV vehicles produced from late July of 2009 to the end of December 2010 in order to replace a 20 amp fuse with a 7.5 amp fuse and install a new fuse holder with a 20 amp fuse on the 12 volt side of the accessory system. Due to lack of proper fuses, in limited circumstances, a short in the wiring could cause the wiring to melt and potentially catch fire.

No other EVE LSV vehicles are involved in this recall, and Fairplay is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this condition.

The fuse assembly required to repair this problem will be provided to all authorized EVE LSV dealers or if required, to a qualified repair center, free of charge.

Registered owners and EVE LSV dealers of the involved vehicles will receive an interim notification advising them of this recall by first class mail beginning in mid-February of 2011, along with instructions for what to do to rectify this condition and how to minimize the possibility of a short in the wiring and asked to make an appointment with any EVE LSV dealer or qualified repair center to have the remedy performed at no charge. Fairplay will also post this information on its EVE LSV website

Registered owners and EVE LSV dealers who have not preformed the repair will receive a second notice by first class mail in approximately end of March of 2011, reminding them to perform the necessary installation of the fuse assembly.

Authorized EVE LSV dealers or qualified repair centers will install the proper fuse assembly, which includes the new 7.5 fuse, fuse holder, connectors and illustrated instructions at no charge to the owner. The estimated time of the repair is 45 minutes.

Detailed information and answers to questions are available to customers at and a special EVE LSV recall phone number 1-970-257-0346.


The popularity of those cutesy, British-made Mini Cooper cars wasn’t lost on Steve Richardson, marketing director of Fairway Golf Cars, as a way to boost golf car sales. “We wanted to offer some real diversity to golf car enthusiasts,” Richardson said, tipping his hat to Fairway General Manager Mark Stanley, who came up with the idea and production of the unique design. Production of the new Mini Cooper model, exclusive to Fairway Golf Cars, just started on the assembly line in an undisclosed location in the Coachella Valley.

In four months, Fairway Golf Cars have built seven Mini Coopers, which sell for $8,995 “in any color in the Mini Cooper range.” “The funny thing is that three of the first four we sold were bought by people who owned real Mini Coopers,” Richardson said. “There are many Mini Cooper car enthusiasts here. We have orders for another four.” The Mini Cooper golf car, which takes about 10 days to build, is one reason for solid sales of all Fairway golf carts this year .

Richardson said sales and trade-ins slowed initially two years ago as the economy soured. People were hanging on to the golf cars they had. “We have always been financially prudent and maintain a high level of personal service which brings us repeat business,” Richardson said, noting Fairway has about 30 custom golf cars in inventory.

“We see the economy slowly bouncing back,” he said. “We see a renewed interest in golf cars and in replacing their (customer’s) golf

Word-of-mouth referrals are a major reason why Fairway Golf Cars has been in business for 25 years.

“When customers come in who have purchased a car here and need a light bulb or something, we don’t charge them for those kinds of things,” Richardson said. “That’s why they come back. We treat our customers the ‘Fairway,’ which is why it’s our motto.”

CS (MayJun11) - Tomberlin’s Golf Sport Model GS

cover1Tomberlin’s Golf Sport Model GS

Building on the momentum of their market leading E-Merge® series of Low Speed Vehicles, Tomberlin® Automotive Group, Inc. has enthusiastically announced the introduction of the Golf Sport (GS) model golf car, offering all the safety features of their LSV’s engineered and introduced to the market five years ago.

After a year of purpose-built engineering, November of 2006 saw the first Tomberlin E-Merge LSV roll off the assembly line. It offered a fresh look that was well received by consumers with its pronounced grill, enclosed trunk, clear headlights and color-matched canopy. The first E-Merge accomplished Tomberlin’s objectives to provide a stylish design that would not be mistaken for others and one that would be remembered. To leverage the look they loaded it with standard features such as four-wheel hydrualic brakes, independent front suspension and an on-board charger to assure an excellent driving experience for the owner. “By the time we launched, we felt confidant we had something special”, says Mike Tomberlin.”

A key product strategy at Tomberlin was to take several features found in other powered products while keeping a more traditional wheelbase commonly associated with a golf car footprint. “There’s a reason people utilize golf cars for multiple purposes,” says Nat Newsome, Tomberlin’s marketing manager. “They are small, quiet, maneuverable and efficient. We wanted to give the people what they wanted, matched with numerous safety features and technology they were not aware of but would assure an improved ease of ownership.”

Tomberlin’s newly introduced 2011 Golf Sport (GS) model golf cars, which offer all the safety features of their LSV’s, include optional accessories which compliment the golf course and neighborhood markets, such as golf bag attachments, fold-down windshields, and the new Tomberlink’s Golf Kit consisting of a sand bucket, cooler and ball washer - all branded with the Tomberlin logo and outfitted with custom brackets. The Golf Sport Model is available immediately in several exciting colors, to include a custom OEM Dupont® paint option that offers hundreds of colors. The GolfSport also has numerous seating options, plus the outstanding Tomberlin Entertainment System headliner.

According to Newsome “safety will always be a primary influence in product creation at Tomberlin, and we will not compromise our safety standards with the new GS model golf car. Therefore, the GS will have front and rear disc brakes, seat belts, independent front suspension and an on-board smart charger.” In addition, the GS model golf car has two customized speed settings. The Golf setting is at 14 mph, and the Neighborhood setting is at 19 mph.

“A dealer will not need an automotive license to sell the GS model golf car, because it cannot be tagged due to the specialized speed settings” says Newsome. When asked why Tomberlin was entering the golf market, he stated. “It’s simple, whether we support the decision for our E-merge models to be on the course or not, it became clear our customers were using them for golf in several areas. Plus, we had significant dealer demand. In fact, The Villages Golf Cars in Florida, the largest retailer of golf cars in the world, just chose Tomberlin as their primary source for electric golf cars. The vast majority of their customers do not title or tag their vehicles. The Villages Golf Cars endorsement of Tomberlin speaks volumes to the interest consumers have in driving a safer and better performing golf car. It may be over-engineered for golf course-only use, but it will definitely meet or exceed consumer expectations.”

“The introduction of the GS will open Tomberlin’s retail market to new areas while expanding brand awareness and acceptance, consumer availability and business potential ” says Tomberlin. “We are building tremendous momentum in the market, with many upcoming announcements regarding product, innovation and new alliances. These are exciting times!”

Tomberlin concluded ” Dealers have recognized our broad offering provides them with a significant business opportunity. In fact, with over 25 LSV and golf car models available, Tomberlin has pushed the diversity envelope to the limit. “We have purpose-designed and engineered product that attracts everyone from the avid hunter and outdoorsman to grandparents. The Tomberlin brand drives showroom traffic and more fully engages a broad range of customer lifestyles. We recognize we need our dealers more than they need us, and we feel very fortunate to have well over 300 great dealers supporting us.” Visit and learn more about their product, their people and their future.

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