Improving RV Battery Charge and Extending Battery Life

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Despite what the forums might say about standard RV battery life being only 2 to 3 years, your on-board, deep cycle batteries should have the capability to last you between 5 and 7 years. That is, if you take proper care of your battery and complete regular maintenance to combat invasive sulfation. There are a number of simple ways to extend the lifespan of your battery and get the most out of an RV battery charge for dry camping, and in this lesson we teach you a few expert tips for maintaining the deep cycle house batteries on your rig.

How to improve RV battery charge and maximize each battery

When it comes to things that shorten the lifespan of an RV battery, sulfurization is by far the biggest culprit. Sulfur builds up on a battery for multiple reasons, most notably improper charge and poor storage. By not maintaining at least minimal RV battery charge when the unit is in storage, sulfur attacks the lead plates of the battery and takes valuable years off its life. To help you get every bit of juice out of each battery, Dave Solberg teaches you some quick advice for increasing RV battery charge capacity and extending your battery’s life.

First, Dave explains why you should run routine maintenance on RV batteries once per month. If you have a battery system with a larger inverter, you can complete the multi-stage charge yourself, using high impact charges to break up sulfur and save crucial RV battery charge. If you’re like most RVers, you’ll probably need to take your rig to a repair center, where technicians will desulfurize and condition the battery for you.

Or, if you don’t have an inverter and you’d like to take care of your battery on your own, Dave introduces an inexpensive tool you can utilize to prolong an RV battery charge and extend the life of your battery by 200 cycles. Whichever route you choose to take, be sure to maintain your RV battery, you and your wallet will be glad you did!

Discussion
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16 Responses to “Improving RV Battery Charge and Extending Battery Life”
  1. John

    I use a battery Desulfater – it doesn’t charge – it simply suspends the sulfur – extending battery life – it does draw small amount of energy from the battery to operate – really works well – my RV batteries ( 6 – 6 volt ) are 5 years old and work as well as when they were new – my golf cart batteries are 7 years old and still hold a charge as good as new – cost for this device was $ 100 – well worth it

    Reply
    • Martin Bigg

      I am very interested in one of these battery Desulfater for my travel trailer,where can I get one of these thanks Martin

      Reply
      • Customer Service

        Hi, Martin. Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your battery question. We featured the Battery Minder which sends high impact waves into the battery to break up the sulfation and reduces gassing and liquid loss. You can go to their website for more information at: http://www.batteryminder.com however Northern Tool has the product for a better price at: http://www.northerntool.com

        Reply
  2. Viola

    I bought a 1995 Tioga Arrow on a ford. As far as I know the battery is original? I have no idea how to do anything to it. It charges as far as I can tell.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Viola. Thanks for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your battery question. If it’s a 1995 model, I doubt it’s the original battery for several reasons. First, you indicated “battery” which tells me a single 12-volt battery and Fleetwood mostly used two 6-volt batteries connected in series (pos-neg) to create a 12-volt bank. One thing I’ve learned in the RV industry is never say never so it could be an original 12-volt battery??? Check the date on the battery, it should be a punched out date or scribed with a pen. This will tell you. In any case, if it’s charging and providing power for lights and such, you just need to review the proper maintenance videos and blogs to keep it working for years to come.

      Reply
  3. Brian

    What is the model name in this video for the battery charger you show hooked up to rv?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Brian. Thank you for visiting the RV Repair Club site and the opportunity to assist with your battery charging question. The charger featured in this video was a Battery Minder that you can get at http://www.batteryminder.com or http://www.northerntool.com The model would be determined by the type and number of batteries you are going to condition.

      Reply
  4. Stephen

    I use a Ctek 25000 multi step charger, up to 25 amp. It has multiple automated modes including a conditioning mode to desulfate. I have two group 24s to I charge then condition. Charging both usually take just few hours, conditioning another hour.
    I don’t have access to continuous power or I would leave it connected while in storage.
    This works well for me hopefully the batteries are happy to.

    Reply
  5. Ken

    In your battery video you speak of a larger or 2000 and higher will act a maintainer… are you talking about a specific model or do yo mean the year 2000, I have a 2015 Forest River, does it maintain the battery.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      I was referring to the larger inverters that some companies use to provide 120-volt power to the TV, refrigerator on electricity and other appliances from 12-volt power. One model that was popular was the Freedom 2000 by Xantrex while another is Magnum Series. These have a built in converter or battery charger that is multi-stage and will properly charge and maintain the battery. Typically the larger inverter is an option on most models until you get into the larger vehicles with 4 or more batteries. Check in the front compartments as this is typically where they would be mounted.

      Reply
  6. Debbie

    Hi we live up North and head South for Feb & March, we were recently introduced to a Coleman 10 watt, 12 volt crystalline solar panel to hook up to our batteries giving them a constant charge while in storage. This was suggested and then we were told we wold not have to remove them from the coach over the Winter months. What are your thoughts?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Debbie,

      If you are storing your RV in the winter without being plugged into a 120-volt source to charge and condition the batteries, then a solar panel is a great idea. The problem with a system that provides a “constant charge while in storage” is the batteries do not need a constant charge, rather a multi-stage charge that determines the need for charging. Since it’s only a 10 watt panel, I doubt it will boil the batteries, however it will not condition them and they will sulfate and become less efficient. I would recommend getting the Battery Minder solar charger that will actually send high impact waves into the batteries and reduce sulfation. You can get it at Northern Tool, or visit http://www.batteryminders.com

      Thanks,
      David RVRC Video Membership

      Reply
  7. Bill Clark

    If I have a battery charger with 200 amp, 40 amp, 10 amp and 2 amp settings I should be able to condition the battery myself. Do you have any recommendations as to the time for each setting? The 200 amp setting will boil the fluid in a matter of minutes and should break up the sulfurization. I just don’t know how long I should keep the battery at each charge level.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Bill,

      This type of charger is not a multistage charger and will not condition the batteries, it’s a variable rate charger with the 200 amp setting being a jump start, the 40 amp and 10 amp for different battery types, and the 2 amp for a trickle charge. A multistage charger will automatically sense the condition and start with a high voltage charge of about 16-volts to boil the liquid and then it goes into a float and equalizing charge according to the battery condition. I would still recommend getting a Battery Minder from Northern Tool as it send high impact waves into the battery to condition and break up the sulfation without gassing and loss of acid.

      Thanks,
      David RVRC Video Membership

      Reply
  8. Dan

    I am interested in using the Solar Battery Charger/Maintainer/Desulfator – 12 Volts, 15 Watt Panel, Model# SCC-015 to maintain my two 6 volt batteries connected in series on my camping trailer. I assume if I leave them connected in series, I should get the 12 Volt charger? Is it better to disconnect them and get the 6 volt charger?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Dan. I would not disconnect them, since you have them connected in series (negative to positive) you have created a 12-volt bank and the Battery Minder model #SCC-015 is an excellent choice. It will condition the batteries and not create gassing or lose of acid. Check out Northern Tool as I have found them to have the best price anywhere!
      Thanks
      Dave-RVRC

      Reply