Does RV Battery Charge When Plugged In?

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Imagine living without electricity in your RV on a hot day? Your RV battery is dead, and you are unable to run your RV refrigerator, AC, microwave, etc. because they all need power. In such a scenario, instead of enjoying your comping, you will start thinking of going back to your home where at least, you will have all the luxuries and amenities intended to provide you comfort.

Your RV battery is the most vital component in your recreational vehicle. With this nitty-gritty unit, almost all the devices of your rig will immediately stop functioning. So, it would be an outstanding idea to know everything about it. Especially if you camp more often, keeping your RV battery charged could be a challenging task.

So, Does RV battery charge when plugged in?

Yes, Of course, it does. Your RV battery draws charge whenever you plug in the RV. However, while an RV battery charge when plugged in means it will be a trickle charge, the battery’s electrolytes will get consumed. It means you should check the battery condition when leaving the RV plugged in for an extended time, especially during the winters.

Moreover, since you can charge an RV battery in three stages, and for a smoother charging process, it is a good practice to use a three-stage charger rather than using a built-in one.

This is the question and a valid one that I hear more often from most of the RV and travel trailer owners. This is the reason why I’m writing this article to find the best and a comprehensive answer. Below, I’ll discuss everything related to an RV battery, such as does RV battery charge when plugged in? is it bad to leave the RV plugged in for a longer period? And more.

Does RV Battery Charge When Plugged In?

So, let’s get started with the basics!

Before going further to discuss does RV battery charge when plugged in or is it ok to leave RV plugged in all the time, let’s talk about RV battery.

What is an RV Battery?

RV Battery

The RV battery is the most critical component in an RV that is intended to supply power almost the entire RV and electric appliance inside it. The power delivery rate of an RV battery will be stable as long as it is charged. However, when the charging hits 20% or low, you will have to recharge it to keep the power stability alive.

You should also know that, just like your smartphone or any other gadget that needs to be charged to function, RV battery also takes more time to charge than draining itself. It is absolutely necessary to keep your RV battery charged to maintain its peak condition.

Generally, a standard battery can be drained below 80%, but to keep the longevity with performance, it is recommended not to drain it below 40%. When taken well care of, an RV battery, it tends to run more than ten years.

There are two types of batteries – deep cycle batteries and short energy bursts batteries . A deep cycle battery supplies sustained and stable energy for more prolonged usage, while the quick energy batteries a small amount of energy for short-term usage.

However, the short energy supplying batteries are only exemplary and useful for machines that require a fair amount of short-term energy for kicking off. At the same time, the deep-cycle batteries are good and used for devices that need a continuous and stable energy supply, such as kitchen appliances, RVs, etc.

So, what is the best type of RV battery?

Different Types of RV Batteries

Well, you will find a range of different RV batteries on the market. However, some of the RV batteries are more common and come with almost all the latest travel trailers and RVs.

1. Lithium-Ion Batteries

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Lithium-ion batteries are unique and feature a cathode and anode. Lithium batteries cells can be both small and large cylinders, plastic rectangular prismatic cells, or soft plastic pouch cells. These batteries are available in different chemistries. For RV use, the most reliable and durable type is Lithium iron phosphate battery.

This Lithium battery type has lower energy density when compared to other Lithium battery types, such as Lithium Cobalt Oxide batteries. However, it is less prone to thermal runaway, more durable, and has a flat discharge curve. Moreover, for the best performance and to keep it at its peak, you will have to use acceptable charging practices and store it in moderate temperatures.

2. Deep Cycle Batteries

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An RV or travel trailer needs to have a deep cycle battery for the battery bank. These types of batteries tend to supply the consistent and stable power that you want regardless of the conditions. The design of these batteries is optimized exclusively for deep discharges at rapid rates by appliances that need more power, such as RV air condition, microwave, induction cooktops, etc.

For power-hungry appliances, you have to make sure to get more power out of the battery and then recharge it as soon as possible.

How to Keep an RV Battery Longevity?

Charging your RV battery using the wrong way means you are compromising on battery’s longevity and cutting its life span short. Here are some RV battery charging tips that you should consider,

  • Since the battery keeps charging when plugged in, which consumes the battery’s electrolytes when you store the RV plugged in for a longer period, you should disconnect the ground wire to eliminate the inevitable drainage.
  • To keep the battery longevity and extend its life span, try to keep the charge drop above 40%. Low charging (30%) will damage the battery performance, which cannot be fixed no matter what. If your RV battery doesn’t have a charge level display, you should keep checking the voltage level time by time to keep yourself aware of charge status.
  • Try to keep your battery 100% charged to get the best performance out of it. At the same time, you should also avoid overcharging it as it can destroy the battery’s electrolytes.
  • Do not store the battery is too hot or too cold temperatures for longer periods. Both too hot and too cold temperatures damage the battery health, which eventually results in destroying it. You should also examine the battery regularly during hot temperatures. If you find the electrolyte level below average, use the distilled water.

Should You Keep the Battery Switched off when the RV is Hooked Up?

You already know that the battery keeps charging when plugged in. This also means it could destroy the battery health because of the parasitic drain, which is applicable if the RV is hooked up for a longer period of time.

However, you don’t have to switch the battery off every time you hook up the RV into the electric outlet. When your RV is hooked up, the converter supplies 12V DC power to the RV without messing with the battery. The very same process occurs when you run a generator.

But I highly recommend keeping a tab on the electrolyte level regularly when you constantly hook up your RV. As soon as you find the level of the electrolyte of the battery is dropping below average, use distilled water. The bottom line is, you don’t have to remove the batteries unless you store your RV for a longer period with no use at all.

What is Deep House Battery and How to Charge a Deep House Batter?

The deep house battery is a deep-cycle battery that is capable of strong power to operate for long-term usage. It supplies sustained power for a longer period and gives its 100% until the charging drops 20% or less.

When charging a deep house battery, you can use a converter capable of converting 120V DC to 13.2V DC for 12V DC in your RV. This will also enable your RV appliances to perform efficiently in DC. However, you should also know that while a converter can offer up to 40 amp, it only charges batteries three to five amp.

In other words, if you have no other charging device except the converter, you will have to be patient and wait for several hours to recharge your RV battery.

Final Words

That’s it about answer this question on does RV battery charge when plugged in? I have discussed almost the entire RV battery system in the above post, and I sincerely believe that you will find the above information useful. It does so, do not hesitate to leave a comment below.


Do RV batteries keep charging when plugged into shore power?

Yes, while your RV is hooked up to shore power, your RV battery will automatically keep charging to run your RV appliances smoothly and efficiently.

Can I keep my RV battery charged when the RV is not in use?

Yes, to keep your RV battery charged when the RV is not in use can be done using solar panels. They will automatically keep charging your RV battery, even when the RV is not in use.

About Ted Mosby

My Name is Ted Mosby from Cleveland, Ohio. I am a freelance Architect. I live in New Jersey, USA right now and I take my RV every alternate weekend. As I am a Freelancer I can work anywhere so most of my work is done inside my camper remotely.