How To Charge RV Batteries

by Phil Borges // in Car

If you are an RV enthusiast, you know the importance of properly maintaining your batteries. RV batteries provide power to the vehicle’s electrical system and store energy for use when the engine is not running. To keep your RV batteries in good condition and operating at peak performance, it is essential to charge them regularly.

How can I charge my RV batteries at home?

Some RVs have a built-in converter that can be used to charge the batteries, while others require an external charger. You’ll need to purchase an external charger if your RV does not have a built-in converter. Connect the RV’s power connection to a 120v AC electrical outlet if it has a built-in converter. The converter will automatically charge the batteries as needed. 

Can I charge my RV battery while it is connected?

Yes, your RV’s batteries may be charged while connected to the vehicle. Your RV house battery will charge while it is linked to shore power. You can also charge your RV’s engine battery while the engine is running. However, it’s essential to consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions on how to do this, as some RVs require a special charging system.

What is the difference between an RV house battery and an engine battery?

The main difference between an RV house battery and an engine battery is that it provides power to start the RV’s engine, such as when you tow it. Most RVs have a 12-volt DC electrical system, which means that the engine battery is a 12-volt battery. On the other hand, the RV house batteries provide power to operate the RV’s lights, water pump, and other 12-volt appliances when the engine is not running. In most RVs, the house batteries are deep-cycle lead-acid batteries.

How often should I charge my RV batteries?

An RV car battery undergoes continual charging and discharging cycles, so it’s important to monitor its performance and charge it accordingly. It’s typically advised to charge your RV batteries after they’ve lost 45 to 50 percent of their original capacity. However, this may vary depending on the type of battery you have. For example, some batteries may need to be charged more frequently than others. Full battery discharge and recharging are also not recommended as they can shorten the battery’s lifespan. 

Is it OK to leave RV plugged in all the time?

The electrolyte levels of your RV battery’s cells will deplete if left plugged in after it is fully charged. This can lead to sulfation, which reduces the battery’s capacity and may shorten its lifespan. Many RV batteries are equipped with a battery disconnect switch to avoid overcharging. You can manually disconnect the batteries if your RV has no disconnect switch. It’s also important to unplug any 12-volt appliances from their sockets when not in use, as they can continue to draw power from the batteries even when turned off.

How can I tell if my RV batteries need to be replaced?

RV batteries are essential for powering lights, appliances, and other electronics while on the road. Unlike car batteries, designed to start the engine, RV batteries are deep cycle batteries meant to be discharged and recharged over time. They must be replaced every three to five years because they require more maintenance than car batteries. If you notice that your RV’s electrical system isn’t working as well as it used to or that the batteries don’t seem to hold a charge as long as they used to, it’s a good idea to have them tested by a professional to see if they need to be replaced. The bottom line is that proper RV battery care is essential for keeping your RV in good working order.

How do I charge my RV batteries?

There are a few different ways to charge your RV batteries. One option is to use an onboard charger, which plugs into your RV’s electrical system and charges the batteries while you’re on the go. Another choice is to use a portable charger to keep your RV batteries charged when not in use. These chargers can be plugged into regular household outlets. You can also use solar panels to charge your RV batteries. Solar panels are an excellent option for dry camping or boondocking, as they allow you to charge your batteries without being connected to a power source.

How long does it take to charge an RV battery?

It may take 10 hours at the absolute minimum and 40 hours for the RV battery to reach a full charge. However, this can vary depending on your battery type and your charging method. For example, if you’re charging your RV batteries with a fast-charge technology like a 4-stage smart charger, it will generally take around 2 hours to fully recharge them.

Do I need to disconnect my RV battery when storing it for the winter?

You should disconnect your RV battery when storing it for the winter. This is because batteries discharge more quickly when they’re not being used. If the battery is left connected, it could completely discharge and become damaged. When a battery isn’t being used, the sulfuric acid in its electrolyte depletes, and the lead sulfate crystals form on the battery’s lead plates. These crystals prevent the battery from being able to hold a charge and can eventually cause the battery to fail. To avoid this, you should disconnect your RV battery and store it in a cool, dry place. You should also check the battery regularly to ensure it’s not leaking or damaged.

Is it possible to keep my RV battery charged with a solar charger?

It is possible to keep your RV battery charged with a solar battery charger. Solar battery chargers are a great way to keep your RV batteries charged while you’re on the go. They can be used to supplement your RV’s onboard charger or charge your batteries while not in use. You must first calculate the watts your solar charger will need to produce to keep your batteries fully charged. This is determined by the size of your RV battery, your charging method, and how frequently you intend to use your RV. Once you have this information, you can choose a solar charger to produce the necessary power. 

What are the benefits of using a solar panel to charge my RV batteries?

Solar panels are a great way to keep your RV batteries charged while you’re on the go. They’re easy to set up and can be used to charge your batteries even when you’re not plugged into a power source. Solar panels are also environmentally friendly and can save you money in the long run. Solar panels are an excellent method to lower your carbon footprint since they consume no fuel and create no emissions. Solar panels are relatively low maintenance and can last many years with proper care. 


RV batteries are an essential component of any RV, and it is important to ensure that they are properly charged to maintain peak performance. Proper charging can help to prevent damage to the RV and keep batteries in good condition, which can improve the overall reliability of the RV. There are several advantages to charging RV batteries, including extended battery life, increased safety, and improved reliability. When RV batteries are properly charged, they can provide reliable power for longer, making them ideal for extended camping trips.

About the author, Phil Borges

Phil Borges is a battery aficionado. He's written extensively about batteries, and he loves nothing more than discussing the latest innovations in the industry. He has a deep understanding of how batteries work, and he's always on the lookout for new ways to improve their performance.