4 Basic Steps To Charge An RV Battery The Right Way (2023)

4 Basic Steps To Charge An RV Battery The Right Way (2018)
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Hi there, hope you are doing well...

In the last article, I already mentioned about ​using your RV battery the correct way, did you like it? 

Today, I will continue to share with you other important things when using an RV battery, specifically about charging an RV battery the right way. 

Alright, let's start.

An RV battery is crucial to ensure that everything in your RV works perfectly. From starting the engine down to maintaining the electricity in the RV, these are all operational only if you have the charged battery to go with it. 

That means you'll need to charge your RV batteries properly. Depending on the type of battery you have, and how many times you take your RV out, you'll need to charge it a few times a year.

4 Basic Steps To Charge An RV Battery The Right Way - 1

As long as you're able to charge it correctly, you can enjoy a fully-operational RV without the worry of power outages. If you're still a beginner, read on as I show you how to charge an RV battery the right way.

Understanding Your RV Battery

Before we get into the necessary steps of how to charge an RV battery the right way, let's first look into how your battery works.

Best RV batteries would usually run on 12V deep-cycle energy, which discharge and recharge repeatedly without damage. Your RV battery is measured in amp hours, so one amp is drawn for one hour. Usually, it is drawn over a 20-hour period.

12V batteries charge systems around your RV. When you aren't using the battery, you are plugged to shore power, which uses 120V of alternating current power.

When your batteries discharge, they do not recharge themselves, and you have to do it on your own, ensuring that the battery levels do not go too low.

To do so, all you need to do is to plug your RV into the 120V AC outlet, which can be bought for home use or found in campgrounds. However, these require a converter and can be quite slow.

Or, you can use stand-alone battery chargers which can help maintain your RV batteries when not in use.

Also, do take note of the risks of not maintaining your RV battery. Sulfation may occur, which can damage the battery. It's caused by continuing to use your battery even at a low percentage for long periods of time.

We'll get into how you can prevent sulfation in the next section!

How to Charge an RV Battery the Right Way

Here are the basic steps to follow when charging an RV battery correctly:

1. Prepare Your RV Battery

Before anything else, turn off the RV and set the emergency brake to proven any injuries. Locate the battery, with the exact location varying from your RV model.

Now, remove its cables from your RV battery using a wrench. Remove the negative side (black wire) before the positive one (red cable).

2. Clean the Battery

To prevent the battery from charging incorrectly, you must clean it from corrosive substance. You can do this by mixing two to three tablespoons of baking soda with water, making a paste.

Apply the paste on the battery's connections, then use a wire brush, scrubbing off the corrosions.

Wipe the mixture with a rag and clean water, then apply petroleum jelly to prevent more corrosion. After that, check the water levels of your battery to see if it needs to be replaced.

If the water levels are low, pour distilled water using a funnel, filling it up until it reaches the fill line.

3. Charging the Battery

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To attach the battery charger to your RV battery, connect the positive side to the red cable first, then attach the negative side with the black cable. Plug the charger and turn it on, allowing the battery to charge completely. 

You will know when to switch off the charger when the indicator light comes on.

4. Disconnecting the Charger

Unplug your charger and remove its connections from the battery. Reconnect the battery to your RV by replacing the positive cable, tightening it using a wrench. Do the same with the negative side after.

If your RV has more than one battery, repeat the process.

Tips On Keeping Your Battery Charged

Now that you know how to charge an RV battery the right way, what are ways on how to keep it charged for longer? Here are some tips to follow:

- Make sure that when you are charging your RV battery, you are wearing eye protection and rubber gloves. Keep water and baking soda near you in case of acid spills, which can neutralize acid.

- It's best to have routine maintenance and to recharge discharged batteries ASAP.  This will help prevent sulfating.

- Avoid reducing the battery life to 20% and have it discharged only up to 50% a day. Also, never let 12V batteries discharge anything lower than 12V.  

- This is an obvious tip, but make sure that the battery is disconnected when you aren't using the RV or if the battery is in storage.

- When storing batteries, take note that it cannot handle extremely hot or cold temperatures. Check the water levels of your battery regularly during hot days will help save the battery. Add water as required if levels are too low. 

- And when you're adding water, use distilled water, as regular tap water may cause calcium sulfation. Avoid water loss by leaving vent caps on your batteries while it charges.

- If you have already used up the lifespan of your battery, don't simply throw it away. You can recycle the old batteries and sell it to junk shops to have it disposed of properly.

Wrapping It Up

It's essential to keep your RV batteries charged, some of them even requiring maintenance during the off-season! By learning the proper way on how to charge and maintain its battery life, your batteries will last for long and can be used for many drives.

Hopefully, this article on how to charge an RV battery the right way gave you more knowledge on what you should do for a fully-operational vehicle. So don't wait any longer! If your batteries need a charge, follow these steps. And if you are looking for the best RV batteries on the market the Stay on Trails blog has a good post on this.

If you have any questions or want to share your tips and experiences on how to charge an RV battery the right way, then comment below. I would love to hear what you have to think.

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Mainternance RV Battery

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