The solenoid in your electric golf cart functions as the main switch to connect current from the battery to your traction or pump motor. It does this by electrically closing a mechanical switch which allows for a high current connection to be made using a smaller control voltage.
A solenoid is constructed of two main components; a coil which is made from many turns of small wire and a steel plunger. When a small voltage is applied across the coil a strong magnetic field is developed which acts on the internal steel plunger. This reaction causes the plunger to close which connects a normally open set of conductive tips or “makes the switch” allowing a direct connection between your batteries and motor.
This means your solenoid ‘turns on’ every time the foot pedal in the cart is pressed. Then it turns off when you remove your foot, which normally creates a small arc across the tips when it opens under power. Over time this small arc will pit the conductive material used to create the tips causing a loss of conductivity and increase in resistance. This build up in resistance will eventually cause lessened performance and eventually, complete operational failure. Imagine how many times a day your solenoid is starting and stopping – it’s definitely one of the hardest working components in an electric golf cart.
This constant work is one of the key reasons to replace your solenoid when you are replacing the controller in your golf cart. The controller and solenoid work hand-in-hand to ensure a smooth start in your cart. A problem with one can cause a problem with the other, so to ensure an easy installation experience, replace both at the same time.
Flight Systems Industrial Products has recently begun stocking two standard OEM-comparable replacement solenoids. We have both 36 and 48 volt versions available. Be sure to contact us for a quote on including one with your next controller order.