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Why Does My RV Battery Keep Dying?

    Updated December 12, 2022

    Making sure your batteries are charging properly is one of the most crucial things to do when traveling in an RV. If your batteries are not fully charged, you will have to utilize your gas power to run things like your lights and appliances. Your batteries depleting while they are plugged in is a problem that many RV owners have experienced. There are several possible causes for this issue, but the most frequent one is that your breaker, converter, or inverter has been tripped by anything, preventing the batteries from charging even while it is plugged in.

    The majority of customers decide to use their motorcoach’s shore power to recharge their batteries. The reset button will frequently be pressed or the circuit breaker will trip, which will stop the batteries from charging. If this is the only issue, you should be able to reset everything, which will solve your issue. Checking the DC voltage output would be your next step, though, if this doesn’t seem to be the cause of your problem. It’s possible that the voltage needed to charge your batteries requires more than what your shore power can provide.

    Travelling in an RV has a very rustic and exhilarating feel about it. Nothing can ruin a road trip more than an RV battery that won’t maintain a charge. Unfortunately, there are a variety of reasons why your battery can be losing charge, so identifying the cause may need some trial and error. However, there is no need to give up because solutions to RV battery problems are simple to find.

    Why Does My RV Battery Keep Dying?

    You may have heard that a battery’s life can be shortened by overcharging it, however sulfation also applies to undercharging a battery. Sulfation, or the buildup of lead sulfate in your battery, not only reduces its lifespan but also has the potential to destroy it entirely.

    It’s crucial to remember that this is one of the key factors as to why lithium batteries perform better in a solar setup than lead-acid batteries. Quite frequently, your RV solar panels may be unable to fully charge your batteries (due to factors beyond your control, like the weather). Lead-acid batteries might be harmed over time by incomplete charging if your solar system is being used to recharge them. This can be the cause of your RV battery’s recurring failure.

    You must be particularly diligent about keeping on top of it when a battery needs this kind of maintenance. Your flooded lead-acid battery has to have the caps removed slowly so you can examine the fluid levels. Your battery’s plates shouldn’t ever be left out in the open. In order to charge your battery if it is dehydrated, you must first add distilled water to it (using plain tap water could seriously damage the battery). This is a very frequent cause of RV batteries failing, and it’s all because of improper maintenance.

    Sulfation, the accumulation of lead sulfate crystals on a battery’s surface or inside its lead plates, is a highly common occurrence, however it can be delayed or less likely to happen with proper battery care. Sulfation, as we mentioned above, can also happen if you store your battery at high temperatures (often above 75 °F), but it usually happens as a result of continuous undercharging. Sulfation frequently results in early battery failure, which not only lowers battery capacity and performance but can also be the cause of your RV battery failing repeatedly.

    The sign of a battery that continues dying will most likely occur if your battery has a parasitic drain. A parasitic battery drain basically happens when your electrical system keeps drawing power from the battery even when everything is off (including the engine). You most likely have a parasitic battery drain when everything is off but power is still being drawn from the battery.

    Now, on occasion, this does occur on a regular basis. Computers, radios, and other “electronic” devices contain internal clocks that require power to run continuously in order to maintain accuracy. However, if the parasitic drain exceeds what is typical for a car or electrical system, your RV battery may continue to die. This affects the durability and performance of your battery.

    Why is my RV Battery Overcharging

    Overcharging is another reason why your RV battery keeps dying. Typically, user error is the cause of this (for example, using a battery charger incorrectly). An alternator’s failure to appropriately manage the battery charge could potentially lead to overcharging. It can also be the result of using incorrect charge voltage settings or overcharging the battery.

    Your battery may completely fail if it is overcharged, the positive battery plates may corrode, and water usage may increase. Even worse, an overcharged battery may heat up to the point where it melts or swells. When hydrogen, a highly flammable gas produced as a byproduct of charging, begins to build up inside the battery’s enclosed cells, the casing may bulge or gas may leak. An explosion could be caused by a single, minuscule spark igniting the gasses.

    How Long Should I Charge My RV Battery?

    It’s crucial to make sure your RV’s batteries are charging, but you might be wondering how long this process should take. In case of emergencies, all of your batteries in your motorcoach should be fully charged before you travel anywhere. It’s also not a good idea to let your batteries run down below halfway. The amp and voltage of your battery will determine how long it takes for a battery to charge, though.

    The majority of RV owners advise charging batteries 24 to 48 hours before your journey to ensure they are completely charged for your next camping vacation because battery charging times may be so variable. Some folks decide to merely charge a few batteries and recharge the remaining ones while they are going using shore power. This is entirely acceptable, but you should ensure that they can charge rapidly in the event that your primary batteries run out.

    Remember that larger amp batteries (between 50 and 85) can take much longer to charge, particularly if they are entirely dead when you go to charge them. Although there are battery chargers that will charge them more quickly, it will still take time. Your batteries should always charge within the specified time if you take care of them. However, it may be more difficult to charge your batteries quickly if you allow them to become completely depleted or exposed to cold or freezing temperatures.