Electric Go Cart

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Introduction: Electric Go Cart

About: Disclaimer: The author is not responsible for loss of life, limb or property. The author is not responsible for your actions. The author is not responsible for anything. In fact, the author is completely i...

I always liked mini bikes and go karts. I got my first Briggs and Stratton 3hp minibike when I was 6. by the time I was 8 i had shaved the head to make more power. I decided to make an electric powered one. That way there is less noise and more fun. I thought maybe the lack of engine noise would detract from it but it made it better. I was able to sneak up on my wife one night as she came home from work. She never heard it coming....

Step 1: Picking a Motor

I thought about using a number of different motors but I had this GE 36V motor that had a base mount very similar to the mounting pattern of the gas engine so it made life easy.

Step 2: Picking Batteries

I really the baby Hawkers or the Cyclon for their low internal resistance but I ended up going with large gel cells for range. turns out they are pretty good on power too. plus with only 3 batteries in a nice rectangle configuration I was able to make a frame from old bed frame angle iron and used a single ratcheting strap to secure them

Step 3: Picking a Controller

I wanted good control so I used a Curtis controller from a forklift. I mounted it to an old car amplifier shell as a heat sink.

Step 4: How to Back Up

At some point you will need to back up. I pulled the reversing contactors out of another golf cart and used some copper battery straps and copper tubing to mate them together in a nice neat small package. too bad the wires are so big...

Step 5: Wires and Connections

Luckily I had plenty of scrap #2 wire from an old UPS. I use the hammer style crimper tools to attach the lugs. I like to wrap the finished crimp with tape. It doesn't matter what color tape since I then cover that with heat shrink tubing. It makes the ends look really neat. Even better than the "Professionally" made battery cables I looked at. I used good quality battery disconnects to minimize losses in the high current wires.

Step 6: The Frame

I had a collection of frames and old tractor parts. There was one nice go cart with a full cage. It had solid suspension so I cut the front end off a cheap Chinese made ATV I got on Craigslist for $25 and welded it to the front. I used a tiller steering arm made from old 1" square steel tubing I got from a commercial clothes rack I found in a dumpster. For the rear I used a Collection of parts from all the go cart scraps around the yard.

Step 7: Gears

I had some Motorcycle chain laying around. I think it was from a Suzuki 750. I couldn't find a decent drive gear to match the big motorcycle driven gears then I went to Tractor Supply and found these make your own gear parts. You buy the correct size hub to match your motor and then buy the correct tooth and pitch gear and just weld them together....

Step 8: Running Gear

I ended up using some pillow blocks and kept the rear solidly mounted. I had a lot of different wheel hubs from 3 to 5 bolt models. I turned down a wheel hub on the lathe to fit a disk brake rotor. At some point its good to have brakes. I had to reverse the rear disk brake to get it to clear the ATV tires.

Step 9: Last But Not Least

A big red handle to help pull the battery cable in an emergency. Luckily I never needed it.

it even has a dashboard that was recycled from a Caterpillar diesel generator. check the movie to see its final test.

the most important feature of the dash is the big red button that drops all the contactors and shorts the motor too.

Step 10: Addendum

After a while that solid rear suspension started to hurt in the end, literally....

I cut the rear frame and welded the Dana rear end from a EZGO in place complete with nice soft leaf springs....

This also made it faster and prone to hairy wheel stands even with a 300 lb driver....

Next step is front ballast weights or maybe a plow. that way i get the weight balance and another useful tool for the winter....

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78 Comments

Where is an easy place to get the parts some what cheep like the motor I have most of the other parts but I am on a limited budget? Any suggestions?

1 reply

I get great deals on Craigslist. Some people will post a golf cart for $300 but after a while they take $50 just to get rid of it...

Sometimes a good story helps. tell them what you want to do. bring pictures of the Instructables you're trying to duplicate and you may get a better deal.

I had people bring out extra stuff and give it to me for free just to be part of it.

I need help lol I bought my 6 yr old son a electric go kart for Christmas its a 24 volt and has a 3 way speed control switch on it. here's the problem, the switch is not a "keyed" switch and when I turn my head for a minute he turns the switch over to the fastest speed, and I'm afraid he's gonna get hurt really bad. does anyone have any ideas how to get this kart to stay at the lowest speed ? I tried disconnecting the speed control switch completely, but then it stayed on the highest speed constantly, and I had to hook the speed control back up. I have no idea how to solve this issue. any ideas ?

1 reply

easiest thing would be to move or replace the switch. or bolt a plate over it....

if you want an electrical answer google the make and model and find a wiring diagram, then post the diagram

I would like to make one of my own to, I found a nice project on You Tube, but I dont know what kind of motor I shoud use...scootmobile, bicycle motor, I would hold it low cost...any tips?

My son has seizure's I would like to have some thing so he can go places on his own and be more independent he can get a driver license because of the seizure's would this work out for him to use

1 reply

How old is he? This one was a little bit hard to control.

I had a friend who had his license revoked after a brain injury. the doctors said it would be too dangerous for him to operate any motorized vehicle. Luckily here there is plenty of public transportation available. If you dont have that luxury finding an option may be tricky.

I'd check craigslist for used power chairs. They're a better base to start with. i got one for $100

I'd check with the local police too. here in New York pretty much anything with a motor that's not a wheelchair is just asking for trouble. Even modifying a wheelchair with ATV tires makes people question it.

I have an EZGO electric golf cart I use but even that is limited to use on my property.

My father once had a 3 wheel power chair modified with 2 car batteries for extra travel time. He mostly used it while visiting relatives in Florida where their gated communities have very relaxed rules.

For myself I'd look into the 3 or 4 wheeler chairs. the ones with handle bar steering. they are faster than the joystick drive power chairs and easier to modify.

If you want something stylish I'd convert a barstool racer to electric. I'd love to do that myself just don't have the time right now.....

Damn this new fangled electrickery. Stick a V8 in it!!

1 reply

I got this V8 left over from a truck.....

Actually I want to put this motor in an old Bolens tractor.

That's should make a crazy instructable.

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I think you have too.....

Seriously though, DC series wound motors are best then I go with shunt wound.

I want to make my next cart a hybrid by adding a lawnmower engine tied to a car alternator.

can i use a motor

will the motor of my scraped washing mechanic would do the same work were will i get the controler and back up in Curtis i could see a lot which could i choos

2 replies

you probably would be able to use a washing machine motor since mot are High Voltage and AC. I would source a motor first then get the controller and batteries to match since the motor may be the most expensive.

there are some companies the make high performance golf cart upgrades that sell motor and controller combos but hte price is steep.

that should have said would NOT be able to use a washing machine motor since MOST are high voltage

Up here its easy to get $50 golf carts and free go cart frames on Craigslist....

I have a very large scrap pile so I invested about $200 - $300 and most of that was electrical parts...

i am in the process of making one, wooden frame, nothing fancy like this essentially stripped down golf cart -- essentially a garden tractor electric !

1 reply

electric garden tractor is on my list too. just need more time. they're all fun projects. Good luck with yours