Your travel trailer battery is essential. It will keep all the appliances and devices inside your trailer working. But first, you will have to keep it charged too. Over time it will lose its charge even if you are not using your trailer.
Hence, you must find different ways to keep your travel trailer battery charged all the time. In this guide, we will list down a few sources that you can use to keep your travel trailer battery full of juice, especially when you need it.
So, scroll down to read further.
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Charging Travel Trailer Battery on the Go
There are different techniques that you can use to keep your travel trailer on the go. We are going to discuss them in detail below.
Plugging your travel trailer battery into shore power is the most common way to charge it. This outlet has a 110V capacity. You can use the onboard battery charger of your recreational vehicle and charge your battery to the full.
There will be a low flow of trickle charge once your battery is fully charged. It will keep your battery fully charged for a longer period. In most cases, you will need an RV power cord to hook your RV with the 110V shore power.
Another option that more RV owners use is a generator to charge their travel trailer battery. This method also works similarly as if you are charging your battery with 110V shore power. You can charge your trailer battery with any generator.
It can either be diesel-powered or gas-powered. If you use your generator to run your appliances on your travel retailers, your travel trailer battery will automatically charge itself. So, it is more of a continuous method of charging your travel trailer battery.
You can also go for the installation of solar panels on your recreational vehicle. Using solar power for charging your trailer battery will keep it charged. You will not have to connect it with an external outlet or a generator separately. Just make sure you have the right wattage to connect solar panels with your trailer battery. A typical solar panel unit can handle around 100 watts to 400 watts.
Your Vehicle’s Alternator
If you have been towing your trailer or recreational vehicle, you can use your truck’s alternator to charge those trailer batteries. Again, you can do this as long as your car is running.
To set it up, you will need a seven-way connection right from your truck to your trailer to charge your batteries appropriately. But you will have to keep in mind that this method is pretty slow and that might be a problem if you have a short distance to travel or if you are in a hurry.
You will have to keep in mind whether your truck or tow vehicle is designed to do so or not. But keep these methods as your emergency backup when you are driving from one camping ground to another. It is because even driving for a couple of hours will not leave your trailer battery fully charged.
Another method to charge your trailer battery is to go for a stand-alone battery charger. You will have to remove those cables from your battery and remove the battery from your trailer. In most cases, you will use this method during winters.
It is when you remove your batteries from the trailer to keep them safe from cold weather. Charge your batteries over the winter to prevent any degradation. Charging them fully and placing them on a maintenance charger will keep them ready when it is go-time in Spring.
How Long Does it Take to Charge a Travel Trailer Battery?
The time it will take to charge your trailer battery depends on how much you have used it. If it is depleted, then you will have to charge it overnight.
In case it is almost complete, it will not take much time to charge fully. The amperage of your onboard charger will also have a significant role in telling you how much time it will take to charge your trailer battery fully.
For instance, with a 15-amp onboard charger, your batteries with a total capacity of 360-amp, in case of 40 percent depletion, will take over nine and a half hours to charge your trailer battery fully. If the onboard charger is not 15-amp and is lower, it will take much longer.
If it is depleted completely, it will take about 24 hours to charge fully. The same charging rates are applicable if you are using a generator to charge your trailer battery. With solar power, the Sun’s conditions will influence the overall charging time.
The sunniest days will cause the charter to work at a rate ranging between 5-amp to 7-amp, each hour per 100 watts. In the case of a 100W panel, the panel will charge in 28 hours. If the battery was empty, you could expect it to be 100 percent charged after four days.
Your truck or tow vehicle to charge your trailer battery is a lot slower, even than solar panels. It is because your truck battery is also running your truck at the same time.
How Would you Know if Your Tow Vehicle can Charge the Trailer Battery?
If your truck features a four-pin connector, you will not charge the trailer battery using it. But, in the case of a seven-pin connector, you can charge your RV trailer battery with your truck. There is a simple way to tell if your truck can charge your trailer battery or not.
Use a multimeter for checking the voltage. You can also use a battery charge gauge on your trailer for this. For an accurate reading, check the trailer battery voltage for charging. It will work as a starting voltage and will allow you to figure out if your trailer battery is charging or not.
If the starting number is between 12V and 12.6V, you do not have to charge your battery yet. If the reading is below 12V, you can charge your battery.
Once you get your starting voltage, plug the trailer better in your truck with the seven-pin connector. Next, turn the vehicle on and then check your battery. Again check the voltage, and if it is higher than the previous number, your truck is charging your trailer battery.
Does my travel trailer battery charge when plugged in?
In the case of an onboard trailer battery charger, the battery of our recreational vehicle will charge as long as you keep it plugged in. if you have a new recreational vehicle, you might have a charger that the manufacturer has already installed. You can locate it in your power terminal or your trailer.
Should you leave your travel trailer plugged in all the time?
If you leave your trailer plugged in at all times, it will benefit you because you will be ready to go when you have decided to leave. Your batteries will be ready, and the appliances inside your trailer will keep working for your next adventure.
But keep an eye on the water level of your battery. When you keep your trailer plugged, it will result in trickle charging. Ultimately, the water levels of your battery will deteriorate. Maintain these water levels, and everything will be fine.
Can you use a trickle charger on an RV battery?
Yes, you can use a trickle charger on your RV battery. But this type of charging is usually pretty slow. The ideal battery type for this type of charging is lead-acid batteries that can sit around idle for a while. Usually, lead-acid batteries are better suited for trickle charging.
There are various techniques that you can use to charge your RV trailer battery. The best ways are to use shore power, generator, and onboard charger.
These are much faster and are excellent if your battery is completely depleted. Unfortunately, solar charging, trickle charging, and tow vehicle charging are some of the slowest methods to charge your trailer battery.
You should keep them as your emergency backup options because they can take more than a day to charge a fully depleted battery. But, that might not be a good option if you are traveling short distances or want to reach somewhere in a hurry.
I`m a current Law Enforcement Officer working within the Counterterrorism Bureau in New York State. I have been Camping for over 20 years. My styles of camping include tent, car, truck, van, and RV travel trailer. I have a YouTube channel where I teach all types of camping with an entertaining method: https://youtube.com/@TheSmallsRVAdventures