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How to Use and Install a 36V Battery System

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While less common than 24V or 48V power systems, 36V battery systems are used commonly in fishing vessels and golf carts. Let’s take a closer look at 36V power systems and learn why, how, and when they’re used. 

What Is a 36V Battery System?

Simply stated, a 36V battery system is a set of batteries that operates at 36 volts. The 36-volt setup connects to the loads just like any other battery, but you can only use it for applications designed to operate at 36 volts. Most of the time, you’ll find 36V systems for a boat trolling motor or a small electric vehicle like a golf cart. 

→ New to volts? Find out What are Volts and Why They Matter

In any battery system, you’ll need a battery management system (BMS). A BMS protects your batteries from overcharging and over-discharging. Each of our Battle Born Batteries has a BMS that also “calculates the remaining charge, monitors the battery’s temperature, monitors the battery’s health,” and keeps you safe by checking for loose connections or internal short-circuiting. The BMS also maximizes functionality by balancing the charge across all the cells in the battery. 

row of 4 golf carts parked in front of a lake dock

→ Related: Golf Cart Batteries: Everything You Need To Know

What Are 36V Batteries Used For?

Like we stated above, the most common applications for 36V systems are golf carts and trolling motors. You might also see them on electric bikes.  

Robotics is another less common application for 36-volt batteries. You might see examples of 36V batteries being used for power manufacturing, medical, and safety equipment. 

Sometimes, larger engines might have three 12V batteries wired together in series. Depending on the application, you could replace the three batteries with one 36V battery. 

How to Install a 36V Battery System 

There are two ways to install a 36V battery system. You can use a single 36V battery or three 12V batteries. Both methods work, and each has different installation requirements and advantages. 

If you don’t feel comfortable wiring the batteries yourself, you should consider hiring a professional. 

One 36V Battery

Wiring a 36V battery is relatively simple, especially compared to wiring three 12V batteries in a series. It’s basically a plug-and-play scenario.

First, connect the positive (red) terminal of the 36V battery to the positive (red) lead on the motor. Then attach the negative (black) terminal to the negative (black) lead on the engine. And that’s it. Your installation is complete.

With 12V Batteries Wired in Series

Installing three 12V batteries in a series is a little more complicated than wiring one 36V battery, but anyone with wiring experience should be able to accomplish it. 

→ Be sure you know What’s the Difference Between Wiring Batteries in Series or Parallel?

wiring batteries in series diagram
Series Connection

First, you must line up your three batteries next to the motor. Then, using connector cables, connect the negative (black) terminal of the first battery to the positive (red) terminal of the second battery. Then do the same thing to connect the second and third batteries. 

At this point, you’ll have the three 12V batteries together, but you still need to attach them to your negative and positive lead lines. You’ll need to connect them to the remaining positive and negative poles on opposite ends of your series. 

Attach the positive (red) terminal of the first battery to the positive (red) lead on the motor. Then, connect the negative (black) terminal of the third battery to the negative (black) engine lead.  

If you have successfully connected all three batteries, then your 36V battery system should be ready to go.

As a bonus, you could install a power switch on the positive lead line. That way, you can completely cut off power to the batteries when you’re not using them. It’s an added safety measure that also saves a lot of battery when you’re not using your motor, extending their life spans. 

The Benefits of Using One 36V Battery vs. Three 12V Batteries

There are some benefits to using a single 36V battery instead of three 12V batteries. These advantages include saving space, simplicity in setup, and having a plug-and-play option.

Space Saver

Using a single 36V battery is a great way to save space. Although a 36V battery is slightly larger than a single 12V battery, it takes significantly less space than three 12V batteries. 

And because you’ll frequently see 36V battery systems in smaller motors where space is tight, having a compact setup is beneficial. 

Simple Setup

Installing and wiring a 36V battery is easier because there’s only one set of connection points than wiring three 12V batteries in series. Simply put: having fewer cables and connection points leaves less room for error when installing your system.

Plug and Go

A system with a single 36V battery makes it easier to simply plug in your battery and get started. And, it’s so easy because there’s only one battery with simple connections. 

Our batteries are famous for their plug-and-go capabilities. Rather than working with complex wiring systems, anyone can install a new battery and be on the move shortly. 

Battle Born Battery gc212v lithium battery

Advantages of Three 12V Batteries in Series 

A battery system using three 12V batteries can also have some advantages over a single 36V battery.


Using three 12V batteries can be more reliable than a single 36V battery system. If one 12V battery fails, the whole system won’t fail. You’ll only have to replace the battery that malfunctioned and not the entire system, which saves you time and money in the long run. 

More Common Setup

Even though a 36V battery system is simple to install, it can be easier to find three 12V batteries than a single compatible 36V option. Twelve-volt battery systems are more common, so any Walmart or auto parts store will probably have what you need, even if you’re in remote locations. If you don’t have time to special order, you’ll be glad for this in-series battery configuration. 

Ability to Charge Each Battery Individually

A system that has three 12V batteries can also be beneficial because you can charge each battery separately. This lends itself to the reliability of the system and helps to save power if you’re charging from a generator or using solar. 

Additionally, chargers for 12V batteries are more readily available than a 36V battery charger. If you need a quick charge for your 12V batteries and don’t have a charger on hand, you can walk into any auto parts store and count on them carrying the right size charger. You might not be so lucky with a 36V setup. 

Easier Installation/Mobility

Three 12V batteries can also be better because a 36V battery is bigger, which means it’s heavier. On the other hand, 12V batteries are smaller, lighter, more straightforward to install, and easier to move.

This is a bigger problem if you plan on using a lead-acid 36V battery, which can be extremely cumbersome. Three 12V lithium-ion batteries will be significantly lighter and easier to maneuver. 

→ Related: 12V Battery Types: Which One Is For You?

Using Lithium 12V Batteries for 36V System

In the past, batteries were commonly made from a lead-acid base. But, we have made some incredible technological advances, and recently, many batteries are now using lithium. In fact, lithium-ion batteries are becoming a standard recommendation in 36V systems thanks to their longer lifespan, lighter weight, safer components, and more stable power.

We offer an all-inclusive 12V, 24V, and 36V trolling motor kits perfect for your smaller motor 36V applications. It includes three premium 12V lithium-ion batteries, three chargers, and three battery straps for easy installation. The total package weighs less than 35lbs. It’s a straightforward, plug-and-go option. 

Trolling Motor 36V Battle Born Battery Kit

Ultimately, a 36V lithium battery system can be perfect for your small motor needs. We recommend using our three 12V batteries wired in series for optimal performance, better reliability, and more consistent battery power. 

For more information about our 36V battery kit, please visit our website or contact us today!

Want To Learn More About Electrical Systems and Lithium Batteries?

We know that building or upgrading an electrical system can be overwhelming, so we’re here to help. Our Reno, Nevada-based sales and customer service team is standing by at (855) 292-2831 to take your questions!

Also, join us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to learn more about how lithium battery systems can power your lifestyle, see how others have built their systems, and gain the confidence to get out there and stay out there.

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3 thoughts on “How to Use and Install a 36V Battery System

  1. What about for a Semi Truck wanting to figure out how to put a electric APU where do I start need A/C system heat and hotel load needs to be simple safe and dependable and cost effective

    1. Hi Blair, thanks for reaching out. At this time we do not produce batteries to be used in semi-truck applications.

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