When you get back from your hike, you crank up the fan and turn on the RV microwave to prepare a meal. Only…they don’t work. What’s wrong? Your house battery is as dead as a crunchy leaf in autumn.
How do you charge RV batteries faster? As in, right away, before you get hangry? And what about safety? Should you only charge your batteries at certain temperatures? Find out here.
Ways to Charge an RV Battery
Firstly, there are a few different ways to charge an RV battery. Some methods are faster than others.
The following are four safe and effective ways to charge:
– Shore power
– Motorhome or tow vehicle alternator
– Solar energy
We will now discuss how to charge your RV battery using each method above. The information below is for 12V deep cycle RV house batteries. (Or an equivalent, such as two 6V batteries wired together.)
For optimal charging, you should get a battery charger that matches your battery type (lead acid, AGM, lithium). Some lithium smart chargers can charge lead acid, AGM, and lithium batteries.
If you use the wrong charger for your RV batteries, one of three things will happen. You’ll get a slow charge, no charge at all, or worst case, you’ll damage your battery.
A generator is another easy, albeit noisy, way to charge RV batteries. Some RVs come with them, or you can buy a portable one.
If your generator has a 120V outlet, simply plug your RV’s power cable in like you would for shore power. If it has a 220V outlet, you’ll need a converter. Make sure you follow safety precautions as detailed in the generator’s instruction manual, including checking the fuel level and air filter.
Your RV batteries can also be charged while you are on the road. However, don’t expect lightning-fast charging! The batteries only receive a small boost when you use an alternator and your towing vehicle (like a truck) to charge them. You’ll need to add a charger if you’re looking for more than just a bit.
An RV battery can be charged with solar power! Unfortunately, you can’t just leave the battery out in the sun and hope it will soak up the sun’s energy.
You don’t need much to power your home with solar. Here’s what you need:
-Solar panels (also known as a solar battery charger)
-DC/AC Inverter if you want to power AC appliances
The best part about using solar to charge your RV battery? Freedom, of course! You can take your rig anywhere, even off grid.
Fastest Way to Charge an RV Battery
If you want your battery to get its power fix as fast as possible, connect it to shore power with a battery charger.
A LiFePO4 lithium battery is the fastest charging battery you can buy for your RV. Lithium charges five times faster than lead acid. It’s like comparing a preschooler to an Olympic runner.
Using a smart charger to charge lithium batteries is another advantage. They allow you to charge at a higher amperage so you can get the job done as efficiently as possible. Additionally, you get constant current, constant voltage (CCCV) so your battery’s life span is maximized. Best of all, they stop charging automatically. Consequently, you can never worry about overcharging your battery.
How to Charge RV Batteries: The Basics
You’ll want to follow these general guidelines once you’ve decided how to charge RV batteries.
1.Keep your batteries clean, no matter what type they are. Water, oil, and dirt can cause self-discharge and short circuits.
2.Place your battery charger in a clean, accessible location.
3.Put on the parking brake when you want to charge your RV battery.
4.The battery leads must be disconnected (negative first, then positive).
5.Sulfation should be cleaned and distilled water added if necessary (only lead acid batteries).
6.Charge the battery (or converter cable) (positive first, then negative).
7.Connect the charger or converter to a power source.
8.Your phone can display the battery’s charging status if you have a smart lithium battery charger. A light on the charger will indicate when the battery is fully charged.
9.Disconnect the battery and turn off the power source.
Be sure to read any product-specific instructions before charging your batteries if you’re using a generator or solar panels.
Our next topic will be how to safely charge RV batteries.
RV Battery Charging Safety Tips
There are always safety questions that come up whenever you deal with batteries. Are you worried that you will fry your RV batteries by overcharging them, or that you will damage them by undercharging them? These are valid questions. Here are some straightforward answers to those questions:
– ep lead acid batteries in a vented place to prevent battery sulfation. (Lithium batteries don’t have this problem, since they don’t require maintenance.)
– oose a battery charger that is compatible with your battery type (lithium, lead acid, AGM), voltage, and amperage.
– you don’t use a charge controller when charging your RV batteries with solar panels, the current from your panels will have free rein to overcharge your batteries.
– your RV is being stored, disconnect your batteries. Or, extend the life of your lead acid batteries by using a trickle charger. Many RVers do this in the winter. You do not need a trickle charger for lithium batteries, since they discharge very little when not in use.
– nic lithium RV batteries can be used below freezing, but charging below freezing can cause plating/crystallization. This weakens the battery and makes it more likely to fail due to vibrations or hard use. Due to our advanced BMS (battery management system), our Ionic lithium batteries will only accept a charge when the temperature is safe.
– arge your device at temperatures below 122°F (50°C).