Today, we’ll talk about one of the common questions first-time RV owners frequently ask: “Does RV battery charge when plugged in?”
Yes, it does! But we’ll break it down further below.
RV Battery Charging: Does RV Battery Charge When Plugged In?
Once you hit the road, your RV batteries are your trusty sidekick. As long as it has juice, you can continue your journey and get your much-needed power supply.
If you’ve got a powerful battery, you’ll hardly need to stop on the road. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to camp right under the stars and take a break from “civilization.”
But once you find yourself in a great RV camping site, one of the first things you usually do is to make your set-up and plug your RV in some power source.
You’re probably wondering to yourself, “Does RV battery charge when plugged in?” Why yes, it does! BUT TAKE NOTE!
Your RV batteries are also lead-acid batteries. Once plugged in, your RV converter delivers 12 V DC power to your vehicle.
Want a smoother charging process? Rather than stick to an in-built charger, you should use a three-stage charger to ensure the safety of your RV batteries’ charging process.
Unfortunately, not a lot of people know about this fact. Once you share this secret about RV batteries with your fellow camper, you’ll probably blow their mind.
Overcharge vs. Undercharge: Which is Better for Your RV?
There are two groups of people out there. The first group is those who’d rather overcharge their batteries. Better be safe than sorry, right?
While the other group always undercharge theirs, it’s better to stay at a constant charge.
There’s generally nothing wrong with the two groups. However, there are some CONSEQUENCES with overcharging and undercharging their batteries.
- Always overcharging your batteries isn’t always the best idea out there. Not only do you decrease its performance and electrolyte levels, but you also risk damaging the RV electrical system. Too much load isn’t always good.
- On the other hand, undercharging leads to a lot of consequences with how you enjoy your RV. If you’re not careful, you might end up with an empty battery. Yikes!
Just imagine what the scenario looks like on a hot summer’s day. Your appliance circuit boards are down, you’ve got no AC power, and you’re all sweaty. You’ve got no power system to help you.
What’s more is, keeping your RV batteries charged TOO LONG during the winter months can be catastrophic.
Is It Safe to Keep RV Batteries Plugged In?
Now that you’ve got your house batteries plugged in, your next question would be, “Is it safe to leave your RV battery systems plugged in?”
We’re happy to say that the answer is yes. Your house batteries trickle charge until it’s at 100%! However, there is some downside to this, especially if you keep your RV plugged for a VERY long time.
The electrolytes of your RV’s house batteries get consumed and decrease its condition. So there is a trade-off in keeping the house battery plugged at all times.
On the one hand, you’re re-charging them. On the other, you’re consuming its electrolytes. There must be a balance in between to make it a win-win situation for all, right?
Of course, there is! And this is where you come in.
You’ll need to check in on your battery once in a while. Is it still in good condition? Is it exhibiting poor performance?
Using an RV battery monitor will come in handy for this part, and it’ll be conducive to monitoring your RV house battery.
Don’t know how? The next section below tells all!
Keeping Your RV House Battery in Tip-Top Shape
At some point, your battery will show some signs of weakness. It doesn’t power as long as it used to, and the figures on your RV battery monitors aren’t any comfort.
This is usually the case with any batteries, and this isn’t much a cause of concern.
Nevertheless, there are a few tricks you can do to extend the longevity of your battery. It might take some work, but at least you don’t have to replace your house battery and spend skyrocketing costs!
Avoid Hot Temperatures
Hot temperatures are a big no-no! Whether it’s your small AAA batteries or your RV house battery, they hate it!
Because of the intense heat, there’s a noticeable decrease in the lifespan of your battery. If you’re not lucky, the heat might even take up the total charge of your battery. Yikes!
That being said, be careful with where you leave your battery system. Don’t park directly under a raging sun! And if you’re not using your RV, don’t store your batteries in a hot place.
A temperature sensor comes in handy to make sure you aren’t jeopardizing your RV! Some sensors are even Bluetooth compatible for you to track the data remotely!
And in case the electrolyte levels of your battery are too low, distilled water would be a great help!
We’re sure you’re familiar with parasites. They essentially leach on anything they can get on, and it gets pretty annoying.
If it weren’t annoying enough, you also have to worry about parasites in your RV! And no, we don’t mean the actual living tiny parasites. Instead, what we mean are your RV appliances.
Did you know they’re essentially non-living parasites for an RV owner? Allow us to explain.
Ordinarily, you’d expect your battery to be saved or reserved when your RV is switched off. Meaning, there’s nothing your RV has to power since nothing is on. Right?
That’s where the parasites come in. Your appliances like air conditioning, stereos, clocks, to name a few, are consuming your battery!
And because of this parasitic load, battery health diminishes. Parasitic loads are detrimental to your electrical systems. So…keep your battery disconnected when you’re not using it.
As we said, electrolyte levels go down each time you leave your RV’s plugged in. In the event, you can’t help but leave it in, do disconnect the ground wire.
This simple act does a great deal of help to your battery.
Magic Number 45
Want to know a simple secret to keep your batteries up and running for a long time? Don’t let the charge drop to 45%.
Once it hits 45% and below, it’s time to start charging! DON’T EVER allow it to reach 30% and down, or even drain it. If you have a battery monitor, you can always check the LCD display for battery life.
Use a Surge Protector
One of the secrets to avoiding overloading your RV battery is by using a surge protector. You don’t have to worry about blowing up your whole electrical system, and you’re guaranteed a good charge.
If you’re lucky, your RV might already come with a surge protector. But if you don’t have one yet, you can always buy one for yourself.
What Is the Best Way to Charge My RV’s Battery?
A sure way to safely charge your RV battery is to connect it to a shore power that has 12-Volts. Most RV use 12 DC voltages, and luckily you can find a lot of shore power source that provides the same.
You can expect a faster charging time with less impact on the electrolyte levels of your battery!
What are Smart Chargers?
Smart chargers (three-stage battery charger) are making their way across the world, and not just for smart devices. Even in the RV world, a smart battery is a big deal.
A three-stage battery charger comes in handy, especially if you’re concerned with the health of your RV. Your batteries charge when plugged, but the speed is significantly better when using a smart charger.
A three-stage battery charger is a great and efficient way to charge up your 12-volts batteries.
Plus, it also avoids overloading them! Once your batteries are close to reaching 100%, trickle charging takes place.
Are Deep Cycle Batteries Useful?
A deep cycle RV battery can come in handy for RV owners. Deep cycle batteries provide sustained energy so that you won’t be needing shore power anytime soon.
It can deliver sustained power even after a long time! If you want to have a longer RV battery charge, a deep cycle battery is far more convenient than using one that only delivers short energy bursts.
The best part? You don’t have to stay close to a shore power source all the time!
Should I Be Worried of Battery Sulfation?
Battery sulfation happens with a lead-acid battery. It usually occurs when the battery doesn’t get a full charge for a long time.
You’ll need to be careful and watch out over your battery if this takes place.
Do I Still Need an RV Battery if I Choose Solar Charging Battery Cells?
Today, there’s a lot of campers who choose to install solar panels on their RV. They can completely go off the grid without relying on shore power anymore!
You can choose an RV battery and a solar panel. With a solar panel installed, you essentially have a sustainable power system!
You won’t have to keep your RV battery plugged anymore, charge batteries, and be close to shore power!
Today, we answered the question of whether the batteries of your RV charge when plugged in! It does.
But again. Be sure to apply all the tips and advice we gave in this article!
Are you ready to make that big RV trip? It’s time to get that 100% battery charge before you head straight for the road!