Welcome to Grove RV’s – “RV How-To” – series. In this blog we’re going to talk about RV battery maintenance. Let’s get started!
Proper care and maintenance of your batteries is key to enjoying your RV.
Charging Your RV Battery
There are 2 main ways to do this:
1) The most simple way… your vehicle while towing will charge your RV battery.
2) Your battery can be charged while in camp by the on board converter. In order for this to occur, your trailer must be plugged into a 120-volt power source, using your shore cord. Typically you’ll find your 120 Volt power supply on the driver’s side of your RV. It will most likely be behind a hatch, simply pull the cable out and plug it into your power source.
Alternate methods of charging your battery include: 1) a solar array, great for quiet efficient full-time power or 2) a trickle battery charger, which just gives a little bit of power to the battery. This method would be used for battery storage or when you’re in a pinch.
For a solar array, just unfold the unit and set it out on the ground, then take the cable with battery clamps and hook it to your battery.
For a trickle charger, just hook the negative and positive clamps to your battery, then plug the supply into a 120 Volt outlet.
Keeping Your RV Battery Charged
If you’re plugged in, you have no worries! You’ve got lots of power.
When you’re not plugged in (dry camping), to conserve battery power, make sure that everything is turned off when not in use. For example, all lights (don’t forget the closet and bathroom lights) and the ceiling fans.
A quick side tip: make sure to unplug your tow vehicle from your RV while parked, so that your RV does not drain your tow vehicle’s battery.
Short-Term Battery Storage
To keep your battery charged while in short-term storage (between weekend trips) turn off the battery disconnect switch if your RV is equipped with one. If not, disconnect the negative cable from the battery.
Long-Term Battery Storage
To keep your battery charged while in long-term or winter storage (for a two month period or greater):
Disconnect/take the battery right out of the trailer. Wrap some electrical tape around the positive cable. Lift the battery out and store it in your garage or basement on a block of wood away from any sources of ignition. Store at minus 10 degrees Celsius or above.
Batteries will discharge while not in use. Use a trickle charger every 30 to 45 days to maintain optimum charge on your battery (approximately 12.7 volts is a fully charged battery and is optimum).