What Kind of Battery Does Your RV Need?

August 19, 2020

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Summer is closing and fall is almost here. That means it’s time to get out and start exploring the highways and byways of America. There’s no better way to take a vacation—and practice safe social distancing—than hopping into your RV and heading out on the open road.

If you’re planning a road trip in your recreational vehicle, there’s one thing you shouldn’t overlook: the batteries that power both your RV and the various electronic devices that allow you to enjoy the creature comforts while camping in the great outdoors.

We’re going to look at the batteries that power your RV and provide you with information so that you can make an informed decision when it comes time to replace or buy a new one. There are two basic types of batteries that power your recreational vehicle: chassis and house.

Chassis Battery

The chassis battery is responsible for starting your engine. There is very little difference between this battery and the ones used in passenger cars, except it has a much higher Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) to help it turn over the large RV engine.

When it comes time to replace your starting battery, be sure to select on that has a similar CCA rating or higher than your current one.

You should never use a starting battery for deep-cycle applications, such as powering the misc. appliances, lights, and other electronics inside your RV as they cannot provide a steady stream of electrical current over a sustained period of time.

House Batteries

The house battery supplies the requisite 12-volts that allow all electronic devices to work correctly. These batteries are referred to as deep-cycle and are designed to be deeply discharged and recharged continually.

You can find deep cycle batteries in either 6v or 12v configurations. However, the total output must always be 12v. For example, you will need to buy two 6v batteries and run them in tandem to achieve 12v.

Unlike starter batteries, which are rated in Cold Cranking Amps, house batteries are rated in Reserve Capacity (RC) and Amp Hours (AH). This is an important distinction as it will tell you exactly how the battery will perform.

The amp hours dictate the number of amps the battery can supply for “X” amount of hours before it runs out of juice. For example, if the battery is rated at 200Amp hours, it means that it can deliver ten amps per hour for 20 hours before it’s discharged.

The Reserve Capacity rating is the number of minutes at 80 degrees F that the battery can supply 25 amps until such a point in time that it will drop below 10.5 volts. You can calculate the amp hour rating by multiplying the RC rating by 60%.

Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of an RV battery is entirely dependent upon several factors:

  • How you use it
  • How you maintain it
  • How it’s charged
  • How it’s discharged
  • How it’s stored
  • The buildup of acid

These factors combine to determine how long your battery will last before you need to buy a new one.

You can significantly extend the life of your RV house batteries by paying close attention to the cycles. A cycle is considered to be a complete discharge from 100% down to around 50%, then charged up again to 100%.

If you discharge your battery to 50% every day, it will last 2x longer than it would if you were to recharge it at 80%. Another way to increase battery life is to recharge the battery as soon as possible after it’s been depleted.

For example, if you go on a short road trip and only use 20% of the available juice in the battery when you get back home, run your electronics a bit to eat up some of the remaining power until it’s at or around 50% of capacity. Then recharge it fully to 100%.

It goes without saying, but if you rely on electrical sources for power instead of your batteries, they will last much longer. However, not all campgrounds have electrical outlets, and that severely limits the places you can visit.

If you’re really looking to “rough it” without an electrical hookup at your campground, be sure to buy the highest amp hour rated batteries you can find. In fact, if you have two or three spare backup batteries, it can help add peace of mind when you’re deep in the woods, miles away from a service station.

Continental MixTech RV Batteries

At Continental Battery, we’ve been providing our customers with high-quality batteries for well over 85 years. Our 100% maintenance-free MixTech battery is specially designed for RV and bus applications. It provides you with reliable, sustained performance and lowest total cost of ownership versus other conventional RV batteries.

We’re dedicated to developing and maintaining great and long-lasting customer relationships backed up by our superior quality products. Contact us today to learn more about our company and line of car, marine, and golf cart batteries.