A camper’s battery is a key part of the whole electrical structure of a camper. Without a battery, nothing in RV would run. Likewise, all of the electric appliances depend on batteries.
These batteries can be expensive, and without proper care, they won’t last more than a year. However, a well-kept camper’s battery can run for 4-5 years. So, keeping it well-maintained will be beneficial in many ways, including lesser expenses.
9 Tips to Extend the Life of Your RV Battery
Buy A Good Camper Battery
Most inverter manufacturers recommend keeping your inverter turned off when it’s not in use. Turning your inverter off when it’s not in use will prolong the battery life. This is because the inverters need up to ten times as much amperage off the battery than it can supply.
Due to this, your battery can drain quickly if the inverter is left on for a long time. This will reduce the wear and tear on the battery. Thus, extending its lifespan.
There are automatic start devices available on the market for inverters, which only start the inverter if there’s a power failure. They also monitor the battery’s charge level to make sure there is no damage to the battery.
Unplug The Vampires
Your RV will have a parasitic or vampire drain. This occurs because of the small items powered by your battery. It can be either because of the carbon detectors, radios, or antennas. They all keep trickling the battery in small numbers. But, over time, they may impact your battery because of the constant drain.
If you aren’t using your RV, disengaging the battery connection from your RV would be the best solution. One way to do this would be to install a switch between the battery and its load. Once you store your RV, you should turn the switch off. This will make sure you have enough battery to power on your RV refrigerator before a road trip.
Use Power The 12-Volt Chassis Batteries When Possible
Chassis batteries in RV provide a high current to start your RV engine. These batteries have a great number of thin plates whose surface is visible. They supply electricity to your engine, radio, a power jack, and other such accessories. But in time of need, they can also supply power to your other 12-volt appliances. So, you can connect these batteries to your RV home to supply that extra electricity to your appliances.
One thing you need to keep in mind is that the connection is temporary. Because your battery current might lose and won’t charge to start the RV engine or the generator, you won’t discharge your chassis batteries.
Routine Maintenance and Recharging
If you store your RV truck for longer durations, make sure you perform routine maintenance and recharging of your battery. If it has a low charge level, small crystals will form on the plates. This process is known as sulfation. If your battery stays at a low-charge level for longer periods, the battery capacity will degrade.
Never Let A 12-Volt Battery Discharge Below 12-Volts
A 12-volt battery, when it’s fully charged, is at 12.7 volts. When it gets to 12-volts, the battery is at half or less of its capacity. That is the final limit of battery charge. If it gets below the 12-volts charge, the battery will lose its efficiency over time.
Prevention From Hot Temperatures and Overcharging
Summers can affect the life of your RV batteries. Lead-Acid batteries suffer the most in hot temperatures. If you own one, you should frequently check its water levels. If you find that any cell has lower water levels, it should sooner. Using distilled water will be the best solution for this, as it holds no minerals.
These batteries have a chemical make-up because of which they can charge or discharge at different rates. As a result, they may end up overcharging during hot temperatures. But if you use a hydrometer, you’ll find out your battery isn’t fully charged.
Therefore, to properly charge the batteries and ensure the batteries don’t overcharge. You should charge the batteries at places where there is a lower temperature. Checking the water levels frequently inside the battery can help too. If you keep your batteries in check, they will perform better and last longer.
To help you with this we suggest using a battery monitor.
Use A Digital Meter to Read the Charge
To read the charge on your battery, getting a digital meter would be a better solution. These provide digital voltage readings up to 1 decimal. And save you from the hassle of manually checking the voltage with a multimeter.
Although this won’t be as efficient because to get an approximate value of the voltage, you have to disconnect it from charging or load. But these digital meters will give you an approximate value of the battery.
Try Not to Let the Charge Drop Below 80%
It’s good to make sure your battery doesn’t drop below its 50% capacity. But if you want to prolong its life, you should make sure its charge is held at 80%. Because 80% is known as the golden charge of the battery. Below it, if it holds the charge for a long duration, it can lose its efficiency.
Getting An RV Solar Panel
RV solar panels have gained popularity over the past few years, and this is because they provide an easy way to reduce your energy use. When you’re driving your RV, its in-system charger will charge the batteries. But if you have parked your RV at a point, the solar panels will keep your battery charged.
Why Does My Camper Battery Keep Dying?
There are many reasons why that happens. Firstly, it can be due to parasitic drain, which continuously drains your battery even after shutting down everything. CO2 detectors, small appliances come in this.
Secondly, if you don’t charge your battery for a long time, crystals start forming inside it and affect the battery.
Thirdly, it would be due to overcharge. Some of the older or newer but cheaper chargers don’t have an automatic shut-off installed in them. So, it ends up boiling the distilled water in the battery, and its other components end up frying.
How Do You Save RV Batteries Charged in Storage?
To keep your batteries charged while in storage, you’d first need to find the size of your battery. Let’s suppose it’s 75 amps. Next, you need to calculate how much time it took to drain the battery completely. Suppose it’s 3 weeks.
Your battery would be draining about 3 amps every day. To counter this, you can get a solar panel that can produce 3 amps per day. And connect it to the battery. It will make sure your battery is charged in storage. This method is called trickle charging.
Should I Detach My RV Battery When Plugged In?
No. The only time you should disconnect your RV battery from your RV is when you are storing it. Other than that, you should not disconnect it.
Because even though you’re not using the battery, it will be charged by your tow vehicle charging system. Or the Motorhome’s charging system.
And if you disconnect, some of the main functions in your RV, such as the volt lights, etc., won’t work properly. And can cause unwanted problems.
How Long Does It Take to Charge a Dead RV Battery?
This depends upon your battery’s capacity and the rate of charge of your charger. Theoretically, if you own a 100-amp battery and you have a 10-amp charger. It requires 10 hours to fill the battery.
If you use a converter to charge your batteries, it may take up to 10 hours to fill it. But a charger’s charging rate may vary when the battery is nearly full. It can take as much as 24 hours to charge it completely.
How Often Should I Charge My RV Battery?
RV battery experts suggest charging the battery every month if you are planning to store it. This will make sure your battery is up and ready whenever you need it. But if you want to be up to date with the battery’s health, check the battery voltage every month with the help of a voltmeter.
Why Is My RV Battery Draining So Fast?
There are many reasons why your battery is draining fast. We’ll try to explain some of them. The main reason would be, you are draining it faster. It can be due to headlights left on or the CO2 meter being active when storage.
Due to this, the battery drained over time. Another could be that you might not have changed it to 100%. The battery was charged to 80% or 90%, but your charger’s voltmeter showed 100%. And it lasted 10% or 20% less than it was supposed to. Not maintaining your batteries properly can also cause an issue.
All in all, to conclude, if you want to extend its life, you can start with getting a better battery. They cost a little more than normal batteries, but they have a longer life and hold charge much better.
If you already own a battery, you can make sure it’s maintained properly. Its water levels are okay, and the terminals are properly greased. If you plan on storing it in storage for a longer time. Then we recommend using a “trickle charge” method to ensure it won’t drain in storage.
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