What Is The Fastest Way To Charge RV Batteries?
Your RV batteries enable you to operate many RV appliances on 12 Volt DC power while you are camping. Not everything in your RV can run on your 12 volt DC system. However, lights, pump, furnace, slides and tongue jack all operate on your 12 Volt DC power system. This system is powered by your RV batteries. Most RVs are equipped with deep-cycle lead-acid 6-volt or 12-volt batteries that need to be kept charged, even when you aren’t using the RV. Keeping batteries charged helps to avoid permanent battery damage that can happen when batteries self-discharge.
There are four ways you can charge RV batteries.
Trickle charging RV batteries is a good way to keep them topped up while they are in storage. There are two good reasons to remove your batteries when you store your RV in a remote location. One reason is that RV batteries are often targeted by thieves, even at supposedly secure storage facilities. Taking them home makes it less likely you’ll have to replace them when you go to pick up your RV.
The other reason is that you need to keep your RV batteries charged, while your RV is in storage. Lead acid RV batteries self discharge at a rate of about 4% per week. After you bring them home, it’s easy to hook them up to a Battery Tender or other trickle charger. That way you can be sure your batteries will be ready when you are ready to go. Trickle charging a deep cycle battery can take up to 10 hours, depending on how depleted it is.
Charge Your Batteries From Your Alternator
When your RV or the vehicle you tow your trailer with is running, its alternator will charge your RV house batteries with everything it’s got. However, if you are charging discharged trailer batteries with your tow vehicle alternator it’s usually a slow process. Because your alternator isn’t a specialized RV battery charger, it’s just not very fast at it. An alternator’s primary function running the vehicle’s electrical circuit; it’s secondary role is to recharge the primary battery following a start-up. When charging a practically full vehicle battery and a drained battery at the same time, alternators struggle and don’t charge very effectively.
Installing a DC-DC smart charger can really help your alternator to charge your RV house batteries much faster. DC-DC smart chargers take the alternator’s power and transform it to a higher amperage rate while analyzing the type and size of battery you have. If you plan to rely on your alternator significantly to charge your RV batteries, it’s definitely a good idea to have a DC-DC charger added to your RV electrical system.
Go Green With Solar Power
Going green with solar panels means you can charge your RV batteries for free, as long as the sun is hitting the solar panels. No sun means no battery charge. Solar power is not necessarily the fastest method of charging a discharged RV battery though. One 100W solar panel will recharge a 100Ah battery discharged to 50% in about 8 hours in full sunlight. With the right size and amount of solar panels in your setup, solar charging can be surprisingly fast, in a sunny location.
Plug Your RV Into Shore Power Or Generator
Your RV is perfectly equipped to keep its batteries charged whenever you are plugged into either shore power or a generator. Simply plugging your RV in is the fastest way to charge your RV. This is a good option if you store your rig at home or even when you are camping. When your RV is plugged in, the RV converter converts the 120 Volt AC current to 12 Volt DC current. Plugging in is definitely always the fastest and easiest method of charging RV your RV batteries.
While there are different ways to charge your RV battery, you should never deplete your lead acid RV battery beyond 50%. Plugging into shore power or a generator will give you the fastest charging time.