During the coronavirus pandemic, recreational vehicle (RV) sales soared to record levels. This makes sense, as people were racing to leave big cities outside for the pristine outdoors.
If you are one of the many new RV owners, then you might be wondering how to charge your RV battery. Don’t worry, it is not as hard or intimidating as it might seem at first. And we’re here to help you do it right!
So if you would like to learn more then keep on reading and we will take you through everything you will want to know!
How Batteries Are Charged
There are a few different kinds of RV batteries. There are lithium-ion batteries, gel batteries, AGM batteries, and traditional lead-acid batteries.
Deep cycle 12-volt batteries are charged when they are connected to a power source that has a voltage higher than twelve volts. This drives a strong current through the electrolyte and polarizes the internal lead plates.
Check out a site like Endurobattery.com to find the right battery for your vehicle.
How to Charge Deep Cycle Batteries (Step-By-Step)
In certain instances, you might need to directly charge your battery. The following steps are going to help you restore energy to the battery in a safe way.
First, you want to make sure that you are parked on level ground and you turn on the parking brake. You then want to turn the engine off as well as all internal appliances.
You then need to find the battery. If you live in a motor home, it might be powered by multiple batteries connected in parallel or in series.
You can then take out the cables from the battery leads by using a wrench. Remove the black cable from the negative terminal and then remove the red cable from the positive terminal.
If you see that there is some sulfation on the battery terminals then you should use a wire brush and paste made out of baking soda of water. Scrub the terminals clean.
You then need to check the water level and refill if necessary with distilled water. You can then attach the battery charger (or converter) cables to the battery in reverse order. This means that you first attach the red cable to the positive terminal and then the black cable to the negative terminal.
Reason for a Converter
The reason why you need the converter is that it converts AC power into DC power for the battery. Plug the charger or power converter into your power source. Turn the device on from the circuit breaker or the switch panel.
Your charger or converter typically has an indicator light to inform you that the battery is charged fully. At this stage, turn the power off and disconnect your battery by going about these steps in reverse order.
When you undercharge, you can end up with sulfation. When you overcharge, you can reduce the lifespan of the battery. You need to make sure that you are diligent.
These instructions are going to be the same whether you charge the house battery from solar panels, shore power, or a generator.
Undercharging Your RV Battery
When you undercharge your RV battery, you run the risk of running out of battery sooner than you should. This can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere without any heat or lights. In fact, you might not even be able to start your engine.
You should also know that you shouldn’t discharge your deep cycle RV battery to less than fifty percent capacity. If you drain below this amount then you will lower the lifespan of the battery.
If the battery is undercharged then it is like that your battery will be stored for long periods of time with a low charge. This can lead to sulfate crystals forming on the battery plates and terminals. This can eventually lead to unit failure.
There are a few different ways in which a battery could end up with a low charge. If you leave the battery in your motorhome then parasitic drainage might take place.
This comes from small electronics that don’t consume a lot of power and are easily overlooked. However, because they use constant power, and because you can easily forget about them, they can drain your battery as time goes on. Warning lights and clocks are examples of parasitic loads.
Overcharging Your RV Battery
Overcharging your battery can reduce its lifespan and lead to earlier replacement costs. Inside the battery are lead plates. After the battery is fully charged, the charging current can start to electrolyze the water in the solution, separating into oxygen and hydrogen gas. This gas can escape and lower the electrolyte levels in your battery.
This is harmful to your batteries but these gases are dangerous for you too. Hydrogen is very explosive and flammable. Any sparks from the battery can quickly lead to a dangerous fire.
The Importance of Knowing How to Charge Your RV Battery
Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now understand how to charge your RV battery. As we can see, it isn’t too difficult to charge this kind of battery. However, you need to make sure that you follow the instruction above so that you are safe and your batteries are correctly charged.
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