If you’re an RV owner hoping to keep your vehicle in top condition, you will need to learn a few things about its batteries. Indeed, many RV owners are happy to install a battery and pay little attention to its upkeep until it fails a year or so later. What they fail to realize, however, is that deep cycle batteries are designed to last a number of years if they receive adequate care and attention. Read on to find out what you need to know about RV batteries.
What exactly are RV batteries?
RV batteries are lead-acid batteries. This means that rather than making electricity, they store electricity. An RV battery is typically comprised of lead plates and lead oxide stored in an electrolyte substance made up of sulfuric acid and water. The bigger the lead plates and volume of electrolyte in the battery, the more charge it can store.
Choosing batteries for your RV
Before you get started with your RV, it is important that you select the right kind of battery for your purposes. Indeed, the variety of battery needed to get an engine up and running is different from the kind of deep cycle battery already mentioned. Starting batteries (sometimes referred to as chassis batteries) are able to provide a large current in short, intermittent bursts and should not be used for deep cycle purposes.
Once the RV is up and running, you can make the switch to house batteries. These are deep cycle batteries that offer a steady current over an extended period of time. They have thicker plates than starting batteries, meaning that they can be recharged and discharged on a regular basis.
There are two main types of deep cycle batteries: valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries and flooded lead-acid batteries. The latter is the most commonly used variety of battery and comes in maintenance-free and serviceable styles.
VRLA batteries tend to come with the electrolyte suspended either in fiberglass-mat or a special gel. Gel batteries usually work best for marine applications as they are leak-proof. For other applications, absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries tend to be a better option. Indeed, gel cell batteries often charge at a slow rate and at a lower voltage, with overcharging potentially causing lasting damage to their cells.
AGM batteries, such as those offered here at Lifeline Batteries, boast a number of advantages. They are leak-proof just like gel batteries whilst boasting similar charging rates as standard lead-acid batteries. What’s more, they require little maintenance and are virtually impossible to freeze. This makes them fantastic options for RV owners living out in colder climates.
Looking after you batteries
Once you have selected your RV battery, you will need to take care of it. This is because its lifespan very much depends on how well you look after it, regardless of whether it is of a serviceable or maintenance-free variety. How well you look after your battery depends on how you maintain it, how it is discharged and recharged, and the conditions under which it is stored.
Typically, one battery cycle should amount to a discharge level from 100% down to around 50%. Indeed, it is important to consider how deeply you cycle the battery on a regular basis. If the battery does down to about 50% charge for every cycle, it will have a much longer lifespan than if it is recharged once it hits 80%. Of course, you don’t want to completely discharge a battery before charging it up again as this can harm its life expectancy.
How you look after your battery and decide when to charge it depends largely on how and when you use your RV. If you are a keen camper that has frequent access to electrical sources, then you merely need to think about properly maintaining the lifespan of your battery. If you prefer trips into the wilderness, however, you will need to think about fitting as many amp hour capacities as you can on your vehicle. This could mean investing in a large battery. The bigger the battery, the more amp hours you have access to.
Avoiding battery failure
Whilst no battery lasts forever, you can avoid battery failure for many years by avoiding overcharging or undercharging your battery. Undercharging often results from batteries being repeatedly discharged to a very low percentage and not being fully recharged at the start of a new cycle. Indeed, if a battery is not fully recharged, the sulfate material within it will start to form into crystals that cannot be converted back into active plate material. If this happens, the battery will be rendered unusable. This can also happen if the battery remains discharged and unused for a long time.
Overcharging, on the other hand, can cause plate corrosion within batteries and, again, render them unusable. To avoid both of these eventualities, try to get into a steady and healthy charging routine that suits your lifestyle.
Get in touch with Lifeline Batteries today to learn more about RV batteries
Are you looking for a reliable new battery for your RV? Get in touch with Lifeline Batteries today to find out more and to purchase a battery suited for all weather conditions.