“Can I recharge my RV batteries while driving?” That is the question of many newcomers when it comes to traveling in the RV. While RV did provide a more comfortable experience compare other means of travel, it requires many things to function properly. And one of them would be a sufficient energy source for the RV electric appliances and associated systems. That source would be the battery. If you also want to learn how to charge RV battery while driving, this article will be of use to you.
The battery is relied on by the entire RV electric system. Along with shore power, the battery is the primary source of energy for the vehicle. Naturally, you will start your journey with a fully charged battery and hook on shore power in RV parking lots if possible. But if you can just recharge the battery while driving, you will have more freedom deciding where to go. You don’t have to frantically look for shore power when your battery is running low. Check out the below to get started.
Several things you need to consider and prepare
Storage and maintenance
It’s no use charging the battery when its quality is no longer up to specs. Before you think about a way to charge the battery while driving, make sure the battery is still usable. Depend on the brands and manners of use, RV batteries can last around five years, given proper maintenance. For most of the case, except that the charging time will be longer than the time it takes to drain the battery. So you should stay calm and don’t get impatient when it happens to you.
Many RVs are not in use throughout the year and remain in storage. It’s is vital that you inspect the battery regularly in this period to check if it remains functional. One month interval would be enough to ensure that the RV battery doesn’t just fail on you in the middle of the road. If the battery is old and it shows sign of not being able to store energy effectively, consider a replacement right away.
RV batteries will eventually discharge its electricity due to Phantom Loads such detectors and stereos light. If possible, set the battery disconnect switch to the OFF position. This should prevent the battery from discharging while you are not using the RV. Charge the battery regularly and make sure the charge level never drop below 80%. At that level, sulfation will take place and reduce the battery lifetime. Do try not to overcharge it though since that is very harmful to the battery as well
Temperature is another thing you that you need to keep a tight watch. In hot weathers or after a long use, take a look at the battery distilled water and electrolyte levels. Repair or refill them if needed. This is all it takes to lengthen the lifetime of your RV lead acid battery.
- Charging principle
The RV battery will be automatically charged if the RV is connected to an outlet. However, if your RV doesn’t have a built-in converter that converts the electric and forward it to the adapter, you need to get a 3 stage charger. This charger is also more suitable compared to the internal charger when it comes to battery charging in storage. It will preserve the battery quality and after fully charged, the battery can give out a bit more juice
To check out the stage of charging, you can get a voltmeter to see the amount of emitting voltage. Nowadays, there are common 2 methods to charge the battery while driving: solar panels and additional batteries. You can see the charging progress either by battery monitor or the inverter. The charging time depends on the battery size, capacity, discharge rate and charging current. In most case, RV manufacturer uses 12 – Volt battery and leave extra space for additional battery
How to charge the battery while driving
Step 1: Connect the battery to the charging source using quality cables and plugs
No matter if you choose solar panel or separated batteries, you have to connect them to the RV battery. The transfer rate efficiency won’t reach 100% due to loss through the plugs and cables. This is why good plugs and cables are needed to minimize the loss. Anderson brand products are recommended due to their ability to form a stable connection and greatly reduced voltage loss.
Step 2: The VCR will be automatically disconnected and parallel the primary & auxiliary batteries
When both the batteries are at the preset level, start the truck. As the truck is on, the relay will remain open. But if the truck is off, the RV batteries will be disconnected and the charging will stop. With the 3 stage charger, the charging will proceed through exactly 3 phases. These are the Boost, Float and Absorption phase
Step 3: Charging phase
The first phase of the charging would the Boost. At this phase, the current of the charge is barely sufficient. While the frequency of the charge reduces, the battery voltage storage increases. At the next phase, which is the Float, the battery charge will drop down to approximately 97% of the charge. In the other hand, the storage phase is when there is a steady flow of voltage. The idea to keep the battery at full capacity while retaining all the DC loads. Finally, at the Absorption phase, the charge entering drop down to nearly half of the Boost and stay there for good.
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And that would be everything you should know about how to charge RV battery while driving. Not too hard to take in, right? RV can only deliver its benefits if you can keep the battery going. If you can charge the battery while driving, you don’t absolutely have to plan your trip through locations with shore power. Just follow the preparations and procedures above then you can enjoy your new found freedom on the road.
Last update on 2023-11-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API