Does RV Battery Charge When Plugged in?

Have you ever wondered how you enjoy all that music, TV, chilled drinks, and use heater on your RV? There must be some source of electric power juicing up all these appliances and keeping you entertained during your trips.

An RV comes equipped with batteries that play different roles and are necessary for your motorhome to run. You must be wondering! How are these batteries different from the ones at your home? Does my RV have more than one battery? How can I easily charge and maintain the battery on my RV, and most importantly, does the RV battery charge when plugged in?

In this article, we have addressed all the questions related to your RV’s battery and some important aspects of its maintenance.

All You Need to Know About Your RV Batteries

Your RV has different appliances and other equipment that need the power to function normally, and the main source for that is the onboard batteries. Let’s get into the depth of RV batteries and understand them better.

How Many Batteries Does an RV Have? Understanding in Detail

An RV necessarily comes with 2 batteries. A deep cycle battery that powers all the appliances, such as the A/C, LEDs, TV, and heater, and a normal 12V lead-acid battery that starts the engine.

It is crucial to understand that the 12V battery which starts the RV is charged continuously when the engine is running, with the help of the alternator. Meanwhile, the deep cycle battery doesn’t get charged by the engine and has to be recharged by plugging into a power source.

A deep cycle battery is different from the other one in the sense that it provides a longer, more stable supply of power to the appliances, maintaining intensity. Similarly, it should be charged via a slow-cycle charging process to maintain the integrity of the electrolyte and prolong its life.

The starter 12V battery, on the other hand, provides short bursts of current required to supply a surge of power at once, ideal for starting an engine. It doesn’t provide long, stable power as it is only supposed to start the RV, not run any onboard appliances.

Does an RV Battery Charge When Plugged in?

In simple words and for better understanding, yes! an RV battery gets charged every time it is plugged in.

If you were confused about charging your RV battery, you must understand that whenever you plug your RV into a socket, its deep cycle battery will get charged, and the starter battery will remain unaffected. But this is usually a trickle charge and your electrolyte can quickly get decomposed, so you must maintain your battery very well, and make sure to never let it drain beyond recommended percentage.

To optimally charge your RV battery, use a three-stage charger.

How to Keep RV Battery in Perfect Condition?

Modern batteries are quite advanced and don’t require you to nurse them so often but like other electronics, they undergo wear and get depleted with time. Once you notice the appliances behaving strangely, A/C not running properly, or the fridge not keeping your drinks chilled, it is a sign that the RV battery is aging.

Anyhow, you can prevent the wear of your RV battery and prolong its life by proper maintenance and taking care of a few things. Let’s understand how to maintain the RV battery:

Do Not Overcharge
This is the bare minimum you could do to enhance your RV’s battery performance and lifespan. Overcharging is not healthy for a battery and can damage it beyond repair, resulting in quick discharge and even damaging the appliances.

Keep an eye on the battery level indicator and disconnect as soon as you hit 100%.
Disconnect the Ground Wire
The RV battery continues to get charged even if plugged in at 100% and it can quickly deplete the electrolytes, killing the lifespan and performance. Hence, it is recommended that you disconnect the ground wire when the RV is plugged into a shore power supply or home socket.
The Golden Rule of 45
According to experts, the deep cycle battery should never be allowed to deplete below 45% percent, as it can affect the electrolytes and reduce the lifespan of the battery. Additionally, a continuously depleted battery cannot power the appliances optimally and has to exert extra, which results in accelerated wear.
Prevent Parasitic Drainage
You must have noticed your smartphone’s battery getting drained due to some apps running in the background. Well, the same goes for your RV battery as well. Even if appliances are not running, they still drain the battery even in sleep mode. So you should disconnect the battery to prevent this parasitic drainage and enhance its lifespan.
Avoid Hot Temperatures
Both extremes of temperature are not good for the RV battery but things get really out of hand when the mercury goes up. Any kind of battery would drain quickly, lose the electrolyte integrity, and undergo wear in the hot climate.
So it is better if you protect your RV battery from hotspots, such as parking under direct shade, placing a heater near it, or not insulting it properly.
Get a Surge Protector
A surge protector is like a firewall that prevents the RV battery from getting overcharged and delinks when it is fully charged. It is extra protection for your RV battery and a must-have item for outdoor enthusiasts.

FAQs

Using a Three-Stage charger is the best way to charge your RV battery, and these smart chargers are becoming increasingly popular due to their speed and quality.

It is not essential to switch off the battery every time your RV is plugged in, for a short span. The RV converter bypasses the battery to supply the 12V DC power to the car. But you should not leave it plugged in for hours, in any case.

Conclusion

Your RV battery does much more than just illuminate the lights inside. It runs the A/C, heater, fridge, TV, and much more that keeps you relaxed and entertained on your boondocking trips. It is important that you know your RV battery in detail, how to maintain it, and troubleshoot in case one arises.

Does the RV battery charge when plugged in? We have established that it does. But it is important that it is not left to overcharge and is protected using a surge protector, apart from keeping it away from hot spots, and above 45% charging. Remember, your trip would only be as good as your RV’s capability, and it all depends on the battery.

Citations

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f50/battery-disconnect-or-leave-plugged-in-284738.html
https://www.forestriverforums.com/forums/f218/does-my-battery-charge-when-48195.html
https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/22754796/print/true.cfm

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