RV batteries are perhaps the most crucial feature of your recreational vehicle, but they are often overlooked. In reality, batteries are the backbone for every electrical equipment that needs to run on a battery.
Still, there are people who often ask, “do I need a battery for my travel trailer?”
The short answer is Yes, you need a battery for your travel trailer for more efficient camping.
Although you can operate your recreational vehicle without batteries, do you really want to take this unnecessary risk???
Knowing everything related to batteries, their usage, and what is the right option you have got is the only way to enhance your RV battery’s efficiency while also extending their lifespan.
Let’s discuss this in detail to gain a clear understanding!
Why Do You Need a Battery for Your Travel Trailer?
There are tons of reasons why you need a battery for your travel trailer.
- Firstly, the most important one is that batteries are the only reliable source that supplies power to your recreational vehicle’s entire electrical system. It enables your vehicle’s electric wheel brakes, brake lights, tail lights, and marker lights to function smoothly. These features are also essential to operate your recreational vehicle legally.
- Secondly, an abundance of appliances and lights presents in your recreational vehicle needs 12V DC power to run efficiently, and the RV batteries only supply this power. The 120V AC power is needed to charge the 12V DC battery system. It then converts 120V AC power into 12V DC power to supply electricity to components, like the furnace, refrigerator, oven, water pump, etc. You should keep in mind that even though you have parked your recreational vehicle at a camping site, it still requires a battery to convert power to run the appliances smoothly. Moreover, it also makes sure to keep things smooth and functioning even when the shore power fails – possibly due to an outage.
- Thirdly, if your recreational vehicle is not equipped with a battery, propane tank detectors for leakages, carbon monoxide will not be going to operate. It is something you cannot overlook at any cast – a LIFE-THREATENING SITUATION. Moreover, you’ll be unable to use any appliance that needs 12V power, including lights, leaving you to use flashlights to keep the interior bright.
- Fourthly, as the batteries are intended to charge 12V propane appliances, you don’t really want to see your RV refrigerator out of power since it is full of fresh groceries that you have just bought. Fortunately, using this power source will enable you to keep your pre-cooled unit running – eventually saving your groceries and fresh food.
Now, I sincerely believe that you don’t need any further explanation to know how important it is to have travel trailer batteries. But you do have to know what type of battery do you need for your beloved travel trailer.
What Kind of Battery Do You Need for Travel Trailer?
Don’t let yourself get fooled by battery looks as they all look almost the same. But in reality, they set themselves apart from each other. Taking your time before deciding what battery fits your RV will be worth your hard-earned money.
You should keep in mind that all the travel trailers need deep-cycle batteries to run efficiently. In addition, golf carts, boats, and other enormous units also depend on these batteries due to their dependability and efficiency.
While speaking about dependability, these lead-acid batteries have the capacity to deliver continuous power for an extended period of time. Although you can run these batteries until they hit an 80% discharge level, you should also make sure to let them discharge over 45% to extend their lifespan.
However, deep-cycle batteries further divided into two sub-categories – sealed and conventional flooded. Both of these batteries come with their own unique features but can be compared in terms of their recharged frequency and extended lifespan.
1. Conventional Flooded Electrolyte Batteries
These batteries have low price tags, but they need more maintenance. With these batteries installed, it is a must to keep monitoring their water level and refill them when required. Moreover, these batteries corrode instantly while also has the capacity to handle a discharge rate of 50%. It means you will have to maintain and charge them more frequently.
2. Sealed Batteries
At the same time, sealed batteries have two more sub-categories. Both of them have steep price tags and need less maintenance, and last for extended periods compared to flooded batteries. Sub-categories of sealed batteries include,
- Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM)
These batteries are convenient as they do not need much care. They also charge at a much quicker rate than flooded batteries and has the capacity to handle up to 80% discharge rate. They are also capable of withstanding cold temperatures. While using AGM batteries, you should keep in mind that they are incredibly susceptible to overcharging.
- Gel Batteries
Gel batteries, on the other hand, also doesn’t need much care. They are great to have for extreme temperatures while also has the capacity to stay calm in excessive vibration. However, if you are new, you should avoid these batteries since they take much time to charge and risk getting damaged.
What Battery Size Do You Need for Travel Trailer?
There is no definite answer when it comes to what battery size is perfect for a travel trailer. It involves many factors, including the size of the camper and your power needs. However, two 6V batteries and a 12V battery are different when it comes to longevity and cost.
Although 6V batteries seem small but they perform more than you could expect. It is vital to know that a 6V battery (also referred to as a golf cart) is a real deep-cycle battery. They are designed to have more space between their 2.1V cells to make the plates thicker – essential to increase their lifespan.
Since they have higher amperage output and deeper discharge ability, they are great for boondocking and dry camping.
On the other hand, a 12V battery is a deep-cycle hybrid battery. When parallel, they charge to the weakest cells, which means they are not as popular as 6V batteries. However, they are a good addition for you if you travel from one campground to another more often.
Whether you buy a 6V or 12V battery, you should note that you will need six 6V batteries or two 12V batteries for your camper. A useful tip is wiring 12V batteries in parallel, and 6V batteries in a series configuration will allow you to achieve more amperage.
How to Keep the Longevity of Your Travel Trailer Battery? (Travel Trailer Battery Maintenance)
RV batteries are expensive, and you don’t really want to spend your hard-earned money to keep replacing your RV batteries. So, it would be nice to take good care of them to keep their longevity. Following simple tips will not increase their efficiency but will also extend their lifespan.
1. RV Battery Monitor Tool
- Read your battery bank like a fuel gauge. High precision smart battery monitor.
- Display voltage, current, ampere-hours, state of charge (SOC), time to go, and power consumption in watts.
- Built-in buzzer, high and low voltage, low ampere-hours programmable alarm.
- Backlight control, very low consumption, with automatically saving function in case of power cut.
- Come with 16 feet cable, shunt 500A. Voltage range 10 to 120V, current range -500.00 to +500.00 amps, capacity up to 9999 Ah
You should buy an RV battery monitor tool to keep yourself updated regarding your RV battery’s voltage, usage, charge levels, and remaining time. It will keep you updated regarding the overall performance of your travel trailer battery.
2. Routine Maintenance (Digital Voltmeter)
Performing routine maintenance is vital to keep your travel trailer batteries in their optimal state. You should make sure not to keep them discharged for extended periods if you really want to stretch their lifespan. In this regard, I strongly recommend buying a digital voltmeter tool to keep yourself informed regarding your travel trailer batteries status.
- Multimeter measures up to 600V AC/DC voltage, 10A DC current and 2M resistance
- Voltage tester for batteries, diodes and continuity
- Built to withstand a 3.3-foot (1m) drop and withstand daily wear and tear on the job site
- For use in basic and controlled electromagnetic environments such as residential, business and light-industrial locations
- CAT III 600V safety rating
3. Temperatures and Overcharging
Too cold, too hot temperatures, and overcharging, all these factors are equally bad for your travel trailer batteries health. When storing batteries, make sure to keep them in room temperature conditions. That said, you should also avoid overcharging them. Keep yourself informed regarding their water levels and replace electrolytes when needed. Moreover, make sure to use only distilled water rather than regular water, causing sulfation.
Regardless of where you are camping and how beautiful the campsite is, you cannot enjoy your outdoor time if your recreational vehicle has no power source. You will be unable to run appliances that are essential when camping. So, having RV batteries is the only solution that you have got to operate your travel trailer efficiently. I believe that the above-stated information will help you to know how important the batteries. If you’ve any recommendations, do not hesitate to leave a comment below.
Is it possible to operate a travel trailer without batteries?
Yes! You can operate your travel trailer without batteries, but I don’t think you are ready to take this unnecessary risk. You should also know that an abundance of travel trailer appliances will not function without a 12V DC battery system.