Maintaining and Understanding Your RV Batteries

RV battery BoxFor those who enjoy boondocking or bringing amenities and the comfort of home such as hair dryers, laptops and more – you’re going to need power. What’s the best way to get power through your RV? Batteries! Now as RVs are getting more technologically advanced, RV batteries are a necessity, but how well do you understand the batteries for your RV?


The basics of understanding your RV battery

At their most basic level, a RV deep cycle battery is lead acid, which means they have several cells connected in a series. Each cell produces volts which is where you get the power from. There are three major kinds of deep cell batteries for RVs available that are made out of plates and electrolytes composed of sulfuric acid, lead and water: AGM, flooded wet cell and gel cell. Each RV battery has both its advantages and disadvantages:

Flooded wet cell battery: available in 6-volt or 12-volt variations, flooded wet cell batteries are the most common RV batteries and are very affordable.

How it works: Flooded wet cell batteries vent oxygen and hydrogen gas while charging, the gases are produced from the electrolysis of water. It requires distilled water to be added and has to be in a ventilated area due to the gases.

RV Battery AGM battery: variation of a lead-acid battery that has advantages over a flooded wet cell battery including a spill-proof design, faster charging time and a longer life.

o How it works: AGM batteries have a fiberglass mat between the plates to absorb the electrolytes while charging and can be mounted in any position. They are more expensive and require a compatible battery charger.

Gel cell battery: Does not contain liquid and is therefore leak proof. It also has a high performance at many different temperatures.

o How it works: Unlike the other two batteries, the sulfuric acid in gel cell batteries is mixed with a thickening agent and forms a gel-like substance. They charge at a slower rate and are more expensive as well.

The life expectancy of RV batteries will depend on how you use them, how well they’re maintained, how they’re charged/discharged and stored. The average time of usable power for deep-cycle batteries is 20 hours but the greater the amp-hour rating, the greater the battery storage capacity. There are many sizes available, but the most common are group 24, 27 and 31.

Battery Diagram

Maintaining RV batteries

Exploded BatteryThe two most common causes for RV battery failure are overcharging and undercharging which can lead to sulfation, which is the formation of sulfate crystals that corrode battery parts. Undercharging is a result of batteries being repeatedly discharged and not fully recharged between cycles. Overcharging is when there is a severe loss of water and plate corrosion and causes overheating and loss of water. Luckily – both of these events are avoidable. Some maintenance tips include:

Checking the batteries once a month to see how they look and refilling the water if needed
Cleaning the batteries to remove corrosion (usually with a stiff wire brush or toothbrush)
Use battery sealant spray to prevent further or future corrosion


RV battery storage

PowerArmor SolarOne of the best ways to help maintain your RV battery is to make sure they’re stored properly, fully charged in an enclosed and well-ventilated area. The PowerArmor RV battery box is designed to provide a safe, lockable storage area for 12 and 6-volt battery applications. Made from 100% heavy gauge diamond plate aluminum with black high impact powder coat frame, we’re not the only ones that think this box looks and functions great.  


“It is doing a good job of keeping the battery charge. Plus, it is super easy to unlock the PowerArmor, I feel confident that my battery will still be there the next time I travel.”

-Jim Baker


When using the PowerArmor to store batteries, you benefit from having extra battery power for your RV, boat, truck camper or vehicle. An access port allows for electrical wires to pass through the side wall of the box so it easily connects to your electrical circuit system. With battery health and performance in mind, the locking battery box features a special ventilated design and acid neutralizing battery mat.


Features of the PowerArmor include:

PowerArmor Solar Prevent common and expensive storage/battery theft (lock included)
Maintains charge increasing the longevity of the batteries up to 400% to avoid premature battery replacement (solar only)
Dual use for securing batteries and other gear
Bolts to your RV, camper bumper, boat, truck, van, etc.
Heavy gauge diamond plate aluminum for maximum durability
Designed specifically to access RV batteries avoiding interference with your RV
Uses a 10 Watt solar panel (solar only)
Comes in bright tread diamond plate featuring black high impact powder coat frame
Multiple box sizes available holding up to five batteries
Adjustable dividers for custom size compartment storage (PowerArmor Max only)
Acid neutralizing battery mat to avoid corrosion
Legendary Lifetime Warranty
Proudly made in the USA


PowerArmor and PowerArmor Solar:

17-inch box can hold up to one group 24-27 battery
17-inch box can hold up to one group 24-27 battery
24-inch box can hold up to two group 24-27 batteries
26-inch box can hold up to two group 24-27 batteries, and two group 31 batteries

PowerArmor MAX: 

58-inch box can hold a combination of up to two group 24-27 batteries with two group 31, for our 31 or 27, or five group 24 batteries

RV Battery box size diagram

If you’re interested in learning more about the Torklift International PowerArmor, there are a couple of options for you! Call us at 800-246-8132 and our tech support would be happy to answer your questions about protecting and maintaining your RV batteries. Or, find one of our Certified Dealers near you by clicking here to get set up with one of these RV battery boxes and onto your next adventure.

Where to Buy

 

kerstin

Written by Kerstin Stokes:
As a graduate from the College of Idaho with a B.A. in both History and Art, Kerstin has found her passion for writing and marketing. She enjoys looking up tasty recipes, spoiling her cat Clio and daydreaming about future travels.

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Should I leave my RV battery plugged in all winter?

RV Battery Blog 1Winter is near and hopefully you’re prepping your RV so once spring season comes, your trailer still in tip top shape for camping. Have you completed everything on your checklist? Don’t forget that one of the most important steps for winter storage is to keep your batteries in good shape! A common mistake that RV owners make is leaving their battery plugged into the RV converter to maintain its charge while in storage.

 

Why shouldn’t I keep my batteries plugged in all winter?

RV Battery Blog 2Keeping your batteries plugged in all winter long results in overcharging the battery. RV battery converters charge at a constant voltage that is too high for the battery over such a long period of time. Overcharging results in a fried battery that will no longer function to its full potential. The constant high voltage causes the electrolytes necessary for battery function to boil out, leaving the battery permanently damaged. Battery replacement can cost hundreds of dollars.

 

Should I leave it unplugged all winter?

That’s also not recommended. If your battery is left sitting and discharges to low enough levels for a long period of time, it will no longer be able to perform or charge up to its full potential. The battery charge capacity is also effected and won’t hold charges for as long as it had originally. Many think a quick fix is just to simply add water and recharge. This unfortunately doesn’t help the battery regain its charging ability. You’re still stuck with a battery that isn’t operating to its full potential.

 

What can I do to AVOID either overcharging or undercharging my RV batteries?

RV Battery Blog 3Torklift has designed a high-quality locking aluminum solar battery box called the PowerArmor Solar. It features a lockable slide top that can easily be accessed no matter the mounting location.  This box comes in a bright tread diamond plate design featuring a black high impact powder-coated frame for durability. The box bolts directly to RV, trailer tongue, boat, camper bumper, etc. The PowerArmor Solar also has an access port that allows electrical wires to pass through the side wall of the box to easily connect to your electrical circuit system and keep them safe.

More features of the PowerArmor Solar include:

• Prevent common and expensive storage/battery theft (lock included)
• Maintains charge increasing the longevity of the batteries up to 400% to avoid premature battery replacement (solar only)
• Dual use for securing batteries and other gear
• Bolts to your RV, camper bumper, boat, truck, van, etc.
• Heavy gauge diamond plate aluminum for maximum durability
• Designed specifically to access RV batteries avoiding interference with your RV
• Uses a 10 watt solar panel (solar only)
• Comes in bright tread diamond plate featuring black high impact powder coat frame
• Multiple box sizes available holding up to five batteries
• Adjustable dividers for custom size compartment storage (PowerArmor Max only)
• Acid neutralizing battery mat to avoid corrosion
• Legendary Lifetime Warranty
• Proudly made in the USA

How does the PowerArmor Solar keep my batteries charged?

RV Battery Blog 4The PowerArmor Solar locking battery box features a Zamp 10-watt solar panel that extends battery life up to 400% and prevents premature battery replacement. This means that you can keep your battery plugged into the PowerArmor Solar all winter and it will trickle charge your battery – ensuring that it maintains its existing condition all winter. The slow trickle charge reduces the chances of both over and undercharging with exposure to sunlight.

 

But what if I have more than one battery?

The PowerArmor and PowerArmor Solar are offered in multiple different sizes for all your RVing and boat battery needs. Including the PowerArmor MAX that holds up to five batteries.

• PowerArmor Single*: 17-inch box can hold one group 24-27 battery (perfect for marine applications).
• PowerArmor DH and PowerArmor Solar: 24-inch box can hold up to two group 24-27 batteries. The 26-inch box can hold up to two group 24-27 batteries, and two group 31 batteries.
• PowerArmor MAX: 58-inch box can hold up to two group 24-27 batteries, two group 31, four 31 or 27, or five group 24 batteries.

Torklift’s PowerArmor Solar battery box meets all your needs and protects your batteries over the winter season. For questions or more information on the PowerArmor and PowerArmor Solar, call us at 800.246.8132 or visit our website torklift.com.

*A7720RS PowerArmor Solar Single requires use of 6-amp Regulator to avoid overcharging battery.
*Use of PowerArmor Solar does not replace general recommended inspection and maintenance of batteries.

 

shyann

Written by Shyann Guerra:

Being in an environment in which I can problem solve is where I flourish. Every answer to a problem leads me to a new concept to understand or a lesson to learn. When I'm not solving problems I enjoy camping and going to festivals with my family - from the local city center festivals to the mountains of Wenatchee at the Winter Grass, blue grass music festival. Experiencing culture is where my heart is content.  

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