Does RV Battery Charge When Plugged In? Discover the Basics

Everything in your recreational vehicle, camper or mobile home relies on the 12V system to function efficiently. And without the RV battery in your rig, any device won’t function. At this early, you could probably notice the importance of a house battery in your rig.
If you own a camper, a travel trailer or a recreational vehicle, you might be one of those asking, “Does RV battery charge when plugged in?” The answer is yes, it does!
Whenever your recreational vehicle is plugged in, the house battery is charged. While it’s only a trickle charge, it can deplete the battery cells’ electrolyte levels.
For this reason, you should maintain and check the battery monthly when your camper or recreational vehicle is plugged in while in storage, for instance.
Also, when your recreational vehicle is connected to an outlet, your batteries are charging. The RV charger/converter that is converting the power from the grid into the 12V DC and then channeling the power to an adapter is integrated into your RV.
If you don’t have a 3-stage charger, you might want to have one because it is more effective than an in-built charger especially if using it during storage.
Remember that your battery has to charge in three stages.

  • Bulk charging is what the inbuilt charger will give, covering usually up to 90% of the charge.
  • The acceptance charge is the second charging stage, slowly tapering off as your battery becomes fully charged.
  • The final stage allows trickle charging until your batteries are fully charged. It works by keeping the trickle coming to maintain battery topping off.

Read more: Best RV House Battery

What is a house battery?

how to charge rv battery from vehicleThis type is a deep cycle, lead battery with the ability to store power and operate for a long period of time.
It is designed and made to deliver a sustained power over a long time period and operate well until it’s discharged at least 80% or at the point until it needs recharging.
If maintained properly, a deep cycle battery can last for at least 10 years. For this reason, it is good to note that it will take a minimal time to drain your batteries than to recharge them. It is why you must not also lose patience when recharging the house battery.
While manufacturers note the batteries can be up to 80% discharged, they encourage RV owners not discharging below 45% to prevent damage.
Deep cycle refers to the level of discharge. Deep cycle batteries are different from those only supplying short energy bursts. They can also work longer depending on usage before recharging is needed.
For example, a starter battery can only discharge a small percentage of up to five percent every use.
Thus, a deep cycle battery can provide us with a sustained energy, so it is ideal for specific applications requiring not just quick starting.
A few common uses for these batteries are recreational vehicles, marine applications, golf carts, off-grid renewable energy and forklifts.

Things to know about the RV battery

  • You must disconnect the ground wire if you’re planning to store the RV in order to prevent drainage.
  • If you want to prolong the life of your RV battery, you must not let it be below 45% of charge. If it does, RECHARGE IT ASAP. It will be damaging for the battery to go below 20% of charge. In some cases, it might also cease working again at 100%.
  • When fully charged, the house batteries might be able to deliver more voltage than it would otherwise.
  • You can easily inspect the charge level/status by checking the voltage it gives off. Alternatively, you can do it easily by checking the battery monitor to see the state of charge if you’re using an inverter or solar panel. On the other hand, some RV owners get a voltmeter to monitor the voltage.

Does RV battery charge when plugged in? How to prevent the batteries from being static

  • Prevent overcharging and hot temperatures: Both of these can damage and eventually kill the batteries. Monitor the battery state regularly during high usage and hot weather. Check its electrolyte levels and if needed add distilled water to save lead-acid batteries.
  • When not using the RV battery, you should put off the battery disconnect switch: After some time, your battery discharges due to parasitic loads. Some of these are clocks, TV antenna power booster, LP gas lead detectors, stereos, and appliance circuit boards. You must check and ensure that your disconnect switch is turned off if your RV is in storage or not in use to prevent discharge. And even if the battery’s in storage, it will be good to monitor and recharge it from time to time.
  • Keep sulfation at bay: The condition starts appearing when the level of the battery charge is below 80%. In order to prevent it from happening, you must recharge the battery when it reaches 80%. You must not also let the battery to go below 10.5 V. It will also help to use a battery condition and maintainer.

Reduce discharge level: You can increase your battery’s lifespan by minimizing its discharge depth.

How to Charge a Deep Cycle House Battery

charging rv batteries deep cycleAt the very least, you can use a converter that can convert the 120 V AC to 13.2V DC ideal for the 12V DC in the recreational vehicle. This tool is designed in providing 12V DC for different systems, but it isn’t a good battery charger.
All the appliances and systems in your RV can operate efficiently and correctly on the DC voltages, usually between 10.5-15V.
While the converter can offer at least 40 amps, it can only charge batteries at three to five amps. So if the converter is the only charging device you have, you need many hours to recharge your battery.
Solar charging can provide between three and five amps and work well if facing the sun directly. For those camping in the desert, they adjust the solar panel’s angel for a higher efficiency.
Generators can also charge the house batteries. Portable 500-watt generators can power a 40amp multi-stage charger and then run it a couple of hours daily.
There you have what to know about house batteries and if they’re charging when plugged in. Using this info, you can prevent your battery from damage and prolong its lifespan.
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3 Comments

  • Alicia says:

    My RV is not charging the battery, what can I do to fix it?

  • Andrew Pollard says:

    My battery usually quickly broken, probably because they haven’t run out of battery yet but I still charge or charge too many times. Your posts made me understand them better. Thank you for writing this!!

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