When it comes to the speed sensor on a golf cart, there are many things to know.
Are you able to tell the difference between a good one and a bad one?
Are you aware of troubleshooting them?
How does a speed sensor work on a golf cart?
Let’s take a look at all the ins and outs when it comes to a golf cart speed sensor.
What Does A Speed Sensor Do?
The speed sensor on a golf cart is used to interpret the rpm of a motor.
From there, it then passes this information to the speed controller found in the cart.
The point of this device is to keep control of the many motor functions that exist.
This includes regenerative braking and a protection called roll away.
This protection can be very important when it comes to safety.
If the cart’s parking brake is not engaged, the cart will roll off while in the neutral position.
When it comes to regenerative braking, the motor acts as a generator, assisting in the speed setting of the golf cart to an rpm that is preset.
With the assistance of a golf speed sensor, unsafe situations are avoided.
This device is part of the motor and is used in most golf carts.
There are actually three different types of speed sensors.
They include electrical, magnetic, and mechanical.
When it comes to the motor of a golf cart, they typically use either an AC or DC motor.
With DC motors, they do not incorporate the use of golf speed sensors.
This is because they don’t have many features, so therefore it is unnecessary.
Where Can They Be Found?
Depending on the make and model of the golf cart, your cart’s speed sensor location will be different.
Typically, the speed sensor can be found on the backside of the motor.
When removing the speed sensor, unplug all the cables that are on the backside of the motor.
To do this, use a socket to take off the connector pigtail. Then, remove its plastic housing over the sensor.
Bad Golf Cart Speed Sensor Symptoms
When a speed sensor starts to lose its touch, it will start showing many symptoms that indicate it is time to fix or replace it.
Here is a list of some symptoms you will experience from a bad golf cart speed sensor:
- The golf cart will move slower than normal to the point that it seems like it is creeping along. It might move erratically in speed.
- There may be a bit of stuttering in the golf cart that is similar to when a vehicle’s battery is bad, or there’s a voltage problem that is low.
- If a golf cart has a damaged or broken magnet, then the speed sensor can go bad. It won’t function properly until it’s replaced by a new one. If a magnet is more loose than normal, it can also seem like the sensor is bad; however, all it needs is some tightening.
- A golf cart can start to go fast toward the beginning, but then slow down immensely as time passes. It does this to the point where it happens over and over in a sort of pattern. They call this limp mode.
If your golf cart seems to be experiencing any of the above symptoms, replace the cart’s sensor.
But how do you do that?
Testing a Golf Cart Speed Sensor
When it comes to testing a speed sensor for a golf cart, there are a few ways to go about it.
The two main methods are as follows:
- Activate the Row/Tow switch. To do this, you must put the golf cart in the “run” position while pushing the cart itself. If the speed sensor acts in working condition, a beep will sound, and there will be resistance from the pushing, forcing the carriage to slow down. The cart will roll if it’s a bad sensor. Keep in mind that if a golf cart is switched in “tow” setting, it will roll no matter what.
- Make sure the three-pin plug is connected to the sensor. To ensure it is connected, with the output of the green wire, place the piercing probe. After, lift 1 wheel on the cart and, using your hand, turn it 1 full rotation. Because of this, you should see voltage from 0 to 5, twenty-four times due to a full rotation.
It is also helpful to understand troubleshooting a speed controller.
These steps should help you with the process:
- Flip the switch of the golf cart to low-maintenance mode. It should be located under the seat.
- Remove the cable (negative) from the cart’s battery. It’s a black one that is connected on the battery’s post. Before you do this, the maintenance setting MUST be switched first.
- Remove the speed controller’s cover. Next, reconnect the cable (negative) from the battery.
- Be thorough and check the wire connections. All of them should have a strong connection and all attached to the proper locations. It is essential to make sure each wire is clear from any breakage, corrosion, or interference.
- Connect the negative and positive probes to the voltmeter. Make sure it is with the corresponding terminals. After, make sure you take note of the battery voltage.
- Make sure that the voltmeter’s positive probe stays above post of the solenoid. This should be closest to the battery. Look at the reading. It should show the same versus the higher voltage you noted previously. If there is a different voltage, then it’s a solenoid wiring issue.
- Do step 6 again, but this time keep the voltmeter’s probe on the post of the solenoid, apart from the battery. The voltage of the battery should show higher than the shown voltage by a minimum of 3 volts. If they have the same reading, the solenoid is not working correctly.
- Connect the negative and positive voltmeter probes to the M and B+ terminals of the golf cart speed controller to check for a rise in the voltage. It should move from zero to the better voltage when you accelerate your golf cart. If there isn’t a rise in voltage, the speed controller is faulty.
It is Time For a Replacement?
After doing all the tests to check if your golf cart speed sensor is working, you came to the conclusion that it is time for a replacement.
It is for the best.
Now you just need to figure out exactly how to go about that.
Here are four easy steps to help you replace the golf cart speed sensor:
- First, the ring needs to be removed that is holding the sensor on the motor. This will make sure you are able to pull our broken speed sensor.
- Now it is time to place the new speed sensor and the ring can be replaced as well. When you are doing this, you must switch the golf cart to “tow” mode.
- If you have trouble getting the sensor out, spray some lube to help force it off. It is possible the sensor is sticking because of grit holding it in.
- If that does not work, with a screwdriver, punch a little hole in it. Then, pick the little hole to get the sensor out.
How To Troubleshoot Your Cart’s Speed Sensor
When it comes to troubleshooting, a good push test seems to do the trick.
Here is how to do it:
- Make sure the cart’s sleep mode is not on. You must drive the golf cart a little bit to make sure that the golf cart is running properly.
- Move the F/R switch in one of the 3 positions. You must have the Run&Tow switch engaged in the “run” setting.
- You must then start a roll action by pushing the golf cart. The cart should display resistance.
- As the golf cart begins to slow down from the forced pushing, a reverse buzzer should sound beeps in a series.
If you attempt this test and your golf cart is able to be freely pushed without resistance, this means there’s no communication with the controller and speed sensor.
If this is the case, you have a golf cart speed sensor failure on your hands.
How To Troubleshoot EZGO, Yamaha, And Club Car Speed Sensors
- Under the driver’s seat, if your vehicle has one, flip the cart to maintenance mode.
- Ensure your batteries are connected.
- Check your battery to motor wiring looking for damage, kinks, loose ends, etc.,
Note and check the voltage on your batteries.
- Test the battery voltage of the speed controller by connecting the positive and negative probes with the voltmeter on the battery.
- Test the solenoid reading of the voltage in comparison with the battery. When testing a solenoid voltage reading, with the voltmeter, put it on the top of the solenoid’s post nearest to the battery.
- To note, if the solenoid and battery have the same readings, it is a solenoid problem. If the cart’s battery voltage shows more than the tested solenoid’s voltage by 3 volts or more, this is a bad resistor and should be replaced.
- Using a voltmeter, place a positive probe on the B+connection on the controller while placing the negative probe on the M connection. Initially, it should show 0, but should rise to the value of the battery voltage when you accelerate. If the voltage doesn’t change, the problem is the speed controller.
Yahama Golf Carts
- Controller: Check the controller for loose wires, and if you find some, tighten them. If you find black marks on the controller, then it will need to be replaced.
- Motor: Check the motor for loose wires. When you spin the drive belt, it should give you resistance. If there’s no resistance, then you have a seized motor with a broken driveshaft.
- Battery: Yamaha golf cart’s share a common problem with the battery. Yamaha uses rechargeable batteries that are acid-based. If the battery is having issues, be sure the terminals secure and clean. Use baking soda and water to clean them. Be sure to check the water level on the battery. On the plates, make sure they are covered with distilled water.
Club Car Troubleshooting:
- Make sure it isn’t your batteries! If your batteries are old and dead, then your golf cart will not operate. Charge them fully first and attempt to drive the unit.
- If your batteries are fully charged, and your vehicle won’t run, when you press on the accelerator pedal, then you should hear a clicking sound, which will indicate the solenoid is engaging and allowing power to flow to your controller. If there is no distinct clicking sound, then check your solenoid. Also, it could have to do with something in the accelerator device as well. But, we can eliminate the controller as being defective.
- If your batteries are fully charged, and you get a clicking sound ensuring the solenoid is allowing power to flow to the controller, then you can begin inspecting the controller
- Check all the wiring and signs of disconnection or damage. Also, most controllers will have an operation light that will begin to flash a morse code that will unveil the secrets of the problem. If that is the case and all of the above have been eliminated, then you are getting closer to determining it is the controller.
Tips For EZGO PDS Speed Sensors
- The sensor may be damaged because the connected cable was pulled too hard for some reason.
- Check the space between the magnetic disc and the speed sensor. The outer and inner snap rings have to be seated in the disc grooves. This is for proper spacing.
- The magnetic disc located on the motor shaft may have come loose. By tightening it, it may make the speed sensor function correctly again.
- If a speed sensor magnet is broken, it can cause a malfunction of the speed sensor. Replace the magnet and everything should run smoothly again. Also, be sure to check the screws that hold the plate in place. It should be intact.
You Are A Pro!
There is no need to wonder how to check and replace a cart’s speed sensor.
When it comes to all things you need to know about a cart speed sensor, you have everything you need to ensure your golf cart is running smoothly.
In no time, and after a bit of practice, you will become a pro at both troubleshooting and replacing speed sensors in your golf cart.
Your golf cart is meant to have the best driving experience, and now it finally can!