HOW TO: RV battery Tip by RV Education 101®

How to Charge Your RV Battery

Everything in an RV, including the lights and the appliances, is operational only through a charged RV battery. You may have to charge the battery a few times if you take your RV out on a regular basis. If you know how to charge your RV battery, you can be sure you'll have the power to enjoy all the perks of your recreational vehicle.


  1. Turn off your RV and make sure you set the emergency brake.This will prevent unintentional injury.
  2. Locate the RV battery.You could have more than one battery, depending on the size of your RV. The battery location can vary from one RV model to the next.
  3. Remove the battery cables from the battery using a wrench.Wear heavy gloves when removing the cables and always remove the black cable (the negative side) first before removing the red cable (positive side).
  4. Clean the connections on the battery from any corrosive substance.
    • Mix 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 milliliters) baking soda with enough water to make a paste.
    • Apply the paste to the connections on the battery.
    • Use a wire brush to scrub off the corrosive material.
    • Wipe the paste off with clean water and a rag.
    • Apply petroleum jelly to the terminals to prevent further corrosion.
  5. Open the fill cap on the top of the battery to see whether the distilled water level is low.If it is low, pour distilled water into the battery using a funnel. Fill up to the fill line.
  6. Attach the RV battery charger to the battery.Connect the positive side to the red connection first and then attach the negative side of the battery with the black connection or clamp the black connection to a metal piece to ground it.
  7. Plug in the charger and turn it on.
  8. Allow the charger to charge the RV battery completely.The indicator light will come on when the charger finishes.
  9. Unplug the charger and remove the connections.
  10. Reconnect the battery.First, replace the positive cable and tighten it with the wrench. Then reattach and tighten the negative side.
  11. Charge the other batteries in the same way if your RV has more than one battery.
  12. Take extra precaution not to cross group house & chassis battery systems as you could blow a charger inverter Image: Example.jpg

Community Q&A

  • Question
    If I have a car battery running my camper through a generator, how can I charge it?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You can charge your batteries by plugging your camper into a household 120-volt electric outlet at home or a campground.
  • Question
    Are the two batteries in my Winnebago connected in parallel or series? The vehicle is a class C 2013.
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Positive to positive, negative to negative is parallel; series is negative to positive, negative to positive. Parallel will not double your volts but will double your amps; series will double your volts and not your amps.
  • Question
    How can I know which battery cable is positive or negative if both have came out of the converter?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    One of them should have a red end on it, if not you need to mark it yourself. Where the cables connect to the converter you will see a "+" sign above or below the connection and a "-" on the other end.
  • Question
    My battery is not charging from the alternator. What can I do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Test your alternator to be sure it is putting out 12-14V. If it is, check your battery -- it may have bad cells and be unable to accept a full charge. Also, check your cables to and from the battery for any corrosion, as this is a sign of a bad connection. Check all grounds thoroughly -- this is the leading cause of most shorts.
  • Question
    Why would the main car battery stop working after using my RV?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Because there is no battery isolator to protect your auto battery from depleting.
Unanswered Questions
  • Does my RV battery need to be set to charge?
  • When charging the house batteries through plugging the class A into a house outlet, do I keep the inverter off or turn it on to get the charge from the house?
  • Should I engage the knife switch on my marine battery if I am going on a long trip?
  • Where is the charger for charging leisure battery in camper?
  • Do I turn the battery on when I plug-in the battery to my house?
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  • You can jump-start the battery with jumper cables if you do not have a battery charger.
  • There are different types of RV battery chargers that you can use. A 3-stage charger works well because it will slow down as it reaches a full charge, so you don't have to keep an eye on it the whole time it is charging.
  • Your battery may not require distilled water. If you have this type of battery, it will not have an access cap.
  • Make sure you have a charger with you at all times in case you need it.
  • The inverter gauge on the inverter panel will show whether your batteries have any power. If there are no lights on this gauge, you will need to charge the battery. You can usually find the inverter gauge on the passenger side under a door.
  • Read the details on the side of the battery, as well as the instructions on the battery charger, to ensure you are charging the battery correctly based on the model of charger you have chosen to use.


  • Be careful not to get any of the battery acid on your skin. It will burn. If you do get acid on your skin, wash it off with a mixture of water and baking soda.
  • Do not remove the battery cables without wearing heavy gloves, or you could get a shock.
  • Do not attempt to charge the RV battery with the RV running.
  • Do not allow the baking soda to leak into the vent holes in the battery, or it will lessen the life of the battery.
  • Only use distilled water in the battery. If you use tap water, it could cause contaminants to enter the battery, negatively affecting the performance of the battery.
  • You must remove the positive cable first. Removing it last could cause a spark.

Video: Understanding RV Electrical Systems Part I

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Date: 12.12.2018, 12:30 / Views: 44365