Published Date: October 16, 2020
Last Updated on June 22, 2023 by Camper Front
Allowing your RV batteries to continue charging even after they reach full capacity will cause irreparable damage to your battery. Also, allowing your battery to run down completely before charging will also cause damage to your battery, so what do you do?
Trickle charging! This simply means a continuous, slow charge supplied to a storage battery in order to keep it in a fully charged state.
If you plan to winterize your camper, then trickle-charging your battery is the sure way to go! So, in this article, you’re going to learn how to trickle-charge RV batteries like a pro.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
How To Trickle Charge RV Batteries
Just letting your battery sit in your camper will cause it to lose its charge, and you don’t want your battery to fully drain as it is damaging to it.
Trickle charging your battery will help to restore the battery charge at the same rate it diminishes. So technically, no battery charge will be lost overall.
How Trickle Charging Works
The are two types of batteries found in an RV; the source of the most power is the deep cycle battery, powering most of the appliances in the RV, while the other type of battery is the SLI (Starting, Lighting, & Ignition) known as the “starting battery.
Both of these batteries are both lead-acid batteries; the only significant difference among them is that the deep cycle battery is meant for constant use while the SLI battery is meant to produce small bursts of energy.
Inside these lead-acid batteries is a line of several plates. And they are the alternating lead and lead oxide plates. Also inside these batteries is an electrolyte solution of sulfuric acid and water that surrounds the plates, and this solution aids the current to flow from one plate to the other.
These lead-acid batteries have small partitions in them that divide the battery up into cells, and each of these cells contributes a specific amount of votes. The number of cells present in a battery has an impact on how the voltage of the battery will be.
Due to the assembling pattern of these batteries, it charges in three different stages; the first stage is the bulk charge, which takes the battery up to 75 – 90% of its full capacity.
During this stage, the battery requires a constant current in order for it to be able to reach completion. The next stage is known as the absorption stage, and it gets the battery from the first stage of 70 – 90% to 98% of its full charge.
Like the first stage, this stage requires constant current in order for it to be completed. The third and final stage is the low vote stage, this gets to the final level of 100%, and it also keeps it from depleting.
This is the part trickle charging comes in; employing a trickle charging method will keep replenishing your charge, so it remains fully charged and is not depleted.
Read Also: Here’s Why RV 12-Volt System is Not Working
Importance Of Trickle Charging
Trickle charging is very crucial for your battery’s lifespan, as it is recommended that your batteries should not consistently drop below 80% as it may lead to acid stratification.
As stated earlier, lead-acid batteries are filled with an electrolyte solution of sulfuric acid and water, and the sulfur aids the movement of current through the battery plates.
Allowing your battery to get below 80% frequently will cause the acid to be pushed to the bottom of the battery while the water floats at the top. This causes the battery to receive more salvation at the bottom and to experience uneven currents.
Most importantly of all, you should never allow your battery to become depleted more than 50% of its charge. Allowing your battery to go lower than 50% will cause the buildup of lead sulfate between the plates, and this causes the inhibition of current flow.
This is known as battery salvation, and it causes irreversible damage to your battery. So making sure you set up your battery to trickle charge while it is stored will save you the hassle of getting a new battery at the next camping season.
RV Battery Trickle Charging Process
Before you put your camper into storage for the season, it is very important it has a full charge, and you need to get a suitable charger for trickle charging, so the battery level stays full throughout the storage period.
These chargers work in a way that they stop when the battery is full and starts charging the moment it detects depletion, this is very important has it helps to prevent overcharging your battery, which can also be harmful to your battery’s lifespan.
Batteries are surely going to become weak and overused to the point it’s no more useful, but with the right maintenance approach, you can push forward the date of that occurrence.
With proper maintenance, you can make use of your battery for up to 5 years, and without that, you could be in the market for a new battery just after 12 months. Finding out how to trickle charge RV batteries before they go into storage will prolong the battery’s lifespan.