Purchased a 1200 watt generator for electric cart


I have a nice, good condition Cushman electric cart. The 6 batteries are Trojans and get me around 3 miles or so. It may offer longer distances, but, I haven't wanted to push it and need to call for a tow! :)

Anyway, I no longer qualify for a driver's license because of seizure activity. In our community, it's legal to drive an electric cart without a driver's license. As I am a professional landscape artist, I need to be able to get out of our smaller city to paint where I wish.

In an effort to get more distance, I purchased a smaller gas generator that will run for 6 hours giving 1200 watts. This generator could run while I am driving, or, simply run when I am onsite painting.

The back of the cart shall hold my Lester Charger, plugged into the cart. The charger shall be plugged into the gas generator to keep the charge.

Now, when I charge my batteries at home, I loosen and remove the caps on the batteries.

Is there a problem with running the generator while driving the cart and the battery caps left in place? Do I need to simply wait till I get to my paint location and then fire up the generator?
How long would one be able to drive with the caps in place if you think this would work?

All help, ideas, suggestions appreciated. I can't do a lot of rewiring, etc. so I really seek a simple solution. BTW, I can't legally drive a gas cart, that's not an option. A police officer said my set up would still allow me operate my electric cart even if supplemented with a generator. Crazy, aye?

And, yes, I know the Federal Government is allowing carts to run in the US and encourages municipalities to ensure drivers are licensed. That's a whole separate issue I'll be working on.

Thanks so much!

Hi, Gonzo

Well, I can't recall where I got that information, but, I know I did. About a year ago, when I first purchased the cart, I got in touch with Lester Charger Manufacturer and spoke with a fellow named George (who worked for Cushman for many years) who was so very helpful in guiding me through the charging process. I believe he may have been the person who gave me the cap removal information.

I also have another cart in Arizona, a Yamaha, with 6 Trojan batteries, and I think gel batteries as they are somewhat different than my Cushman set. I accidentally didn't take the caps off once, and I only charged them for a couple of hours on a 3 hour charge set. I did notice moisture on the batteries! It wasn't very warm outside, in the 70's, and the cart was in my cool garage.

The site of that moisture, and my batteries not being over filled, made me believe that I should have the caps off.

I was also instructed to only use distilled water to prevent sulfate build up.

This is new to me, and surely welcome others input!

Thanks for the reply, Gonzo. We'll see what happens! :)


Tennessee Squire
Where are my manners... Welcome to Cartaholics Gigi!

I too only us distilled water in my batteries.


New Member
If the cart will run with the charger plug still attached then it should be no problem to so this. If not then charging after you stop may be your only option unless you bypass this safety feature.
The question I have is will the generator with only 1200 watts run the charger on the cart. Most of the chargers draw nearly 14 amps on 120v, a 1200 watt generator will only supply 10 amps max and that may be a 1200 watt surge and not constant. IMO you would need to have something like the Honda 2000 in order to charge your batteries.
Hello! Thanks for all the kind welcomes, Gonzo, Nubs and Pimp Daddy! It's wonderful to be here.
And, I will absolutely add my art to the forum. Thank you for that advice!

This is such an helpful, polite site and I appreciate all your kindnesses and advice!
Doug, I took your advice and played a bit with the 1200 volt generator I purchased.

What I have observed is that I CAN drive the cart with the charger on the floor on the passenger side and plugged in while the generator is charging! Yay! This is a victory for me who uses this as my primary mode of transportation and in my profession, landscape artist.

The only drawback that I can see/feel is a slight pause at times or rather an abrupt slow and then it keeps moving. As I don't want to ruin anything with my cart as there is no one in my community who knows anything about my rather older cart, I think I am best suited to simply drive it on battery only and when stopped, plug into an electrical supply or start up my generator.

The noise while driving is actually a plus for me, added safety as people hear me. The noise whilst I'm painting is just okay. I rather like complete silence, but, if it's how it has to be, then, so shall it be.

Any other thoughts on what I should be looking for in this set up? I got the 1200 volt generator on Overstock.com for $170, free shipping, as I recall. It's nice peace of mind so I mayn't be stranded.

So far, so good!


New Member
Just one thing to keep an eye on is the charger, check it periodically to see if it is getting hot. A charger is designed to be plugged into an AC outlet, with an AC sinewave, a generator does not produce an AC sinewave, it produces a modified DC sinewave, this modified sinewave can cause problems on solid state equipment over a period of time, I have even seen it cause computerized equipment catch on fire. Just something to keep an eye on you may have no problem at all. As far as running the generator and charging while running I wouldn't suggest that as you are trying to charge the batteries while discharging them at the same time, that will definately cause excessive heat build up in the pack wiring. I would just charge when you arrive at your destination.
Hey, thank you, Doug. It's my security blanket...er, it was, until I just read the next post after yours.

It really is an emergency tool so I am not totally stranded when I get out painting. If all else fails, I'll use it for my cellphone so they can track my whereabouts!

Thanks, again!
Gosh, Frizbgolf, I thought I'd it all figured out!

May I ask, just how often I should check it to see if it's getting hot? Every 20-30 minutes?

I only used the generator once, and that was to test it while I was driving it. A friend told me he thought that would be the best time to use it. But, he gave no reason so I trust your answer more! And, at that time, I think I had it on for perhaps 15 minutes. And, the cart has run perfectly since.

Thanks for this information. I shall be careful and perhaps, when I get out to my paint location, I could run it for 30 minutes or so, paint some more and try another 30 minutes? I'm never more than a few miles out of town, I should think this would get me by. I really love my Cushman, she's great and I'd not like to burn her up! Since I go camping, and do take my laptop, I also appreciate your information regarding burning that up as well!!!

Now, back to Gonzo's question...when charging capped or decapped???

You all are fabulous! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!