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Key Takeaways

  • Sometimes an RV battery might not charge right away when plugged in
  • The most common causes include bad terminal connectors or cables
  • The RV converter can also present problems
  • You can clean corrosion off cables and terminals. Don’t attempt to fix your converter though.

You’ll find yourself charging your recreational vehicle once in a while. What do you do if you find that your RV battery is not charging when plugged in?

An RV battery that is not charging when plugged in might not work because the connection is loose or dirty. The battery or electrical system could also have a blown fuse or something else. You’ll want to carefully inspect the converter as well.

We did some research on some common reasons why an RV battery would not charge while plugged into a charger. We’ll explain to you what to do when there is a problem with your battery charger.



Common Reasons Why RV Battery Not Charging When Plugged In

Faulty RV Converter

One of the most common reasons why RV batteries don't charge is due to a faulty RV converter. If the converter is not working properly, it won't be able to charge the battery even when the RV is plugged in. The converter is responsible for converting the AC power from the shore power into DC power that the battery can use.

If you suspect that your RV converter is faulty, you should test it using a multimeter. Check the voltage output of the converter to ensure that it is within the manufacturer's specifications. If the voltage is low, you may need to replace the converter.

Note that a converter is an accessory that often comes with your RV though you can buy a separate one that is more advanced. The RV converter is fairly important to an RV owner as it converts power into a type that can be taken by the RV and its battery and appliances.

We strongly recommend you don’t attempt to fix your RV converter if you aren’t familiar with electrical. Between the power running through it and the circuit board inside, you could easily get yourself hurt pretty badly.

Blown Fuse

Another reason why RV batteries don't charge is due to a blown fuse. The fuse protects the converter and the battery from power surges and other electrical issues. If the fuse is blown, it won't be able to pass power to the battery, and the battery won't be able to charge.

You should check the fuse box to see if any of the fuses are blown. If you find a blown fuse, replace it with a new one of the same amperage rating. If the fuse blows again, you may have a larger electrical issue that needs to be addressed.

Corroded Battery Connections

Corrosion on the battery terminals can also prevent the battery from charging. The corrosion can prevent the battery from making a good connection with the RV's electrical system, which can cause charging issues.

To fix this issue, you should clean the battery terminals using a wire brush or battery terminal cleaner. Once the terminals are clean, apply a small amount of dielectric grease to the terminals to prevent future corrosion.

Troubleshooting RV Battery Charging Issues

Checking the Power Source

When your RV battery is not charging when plugged in, the first thing to check is the power source. Make sure your RV is properly plugged into a power source and that the power source is working correctly. Check the circuit breaker to make sure it has not tripped. If the circuit breaker has tripped, reset it and check if the battery starts charging. If the circuit breaker keeps tripping, there may be an issue with the power source or with the RV's electrical system.

Testing the Converter

If the power source is working correctly, the next step is to test the converter. The converter is responsible for charging the RV battery when it is plugged into a power source. Start by checking if the converter is plugged in and turned on. If the converter is plugged in and turned on, use a multimeter to test the voltage output. The voltage output should be between 13.2 and 14.5 volts. If the voltage output is below this range, the converter may be faulty and needs to be replaced.

Inspecting the Battery Terminals

If the power source and converter are working correctly, the issue may be with the battery terminals. If the battery terminals and battery cables are in good condition, test the battery with a multimeter. The voltage reading should be between 12.6 and 12.8 volts. If the voltage reading is below this range, the battery may be faulty and needs to be replaced.

Preventing RV Battery Charging Problems

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to preventing RV battery charging problems. As an RV owner, I make sure to check my battery on a regular basis. I keep it clean and free from dirt and debris. I also check the water levels in the battery and top it off with distilled water as needed. Additionally, I make sure all connections are tight and free from corrosion.

Try to do maintenance, especially when you are connected to shore power.

Proper Storage

Proper storage is also important in preventing RV battery charging problems. When I store my RV for the off-season, I make sure to disconnect the battery and store it in a cool, dry place. I also make sure to charge the battery to full capacity before storing it. This helps to prevent the battery from losing its charge over time.

You might want to also consider investing in a battery disconnect switch for when you are not using or storing the battery to avoid unnecessary drainage.

Investing in a Battery Monitor

Investing in a battery monitor is another way to prevent RV battery charging problems. A battery monitor allows me to keep track of my battery's charge level, so I can take action before the battery becomes too low. It also helps me to identify any charging problems early on, so I can address them before they become more serious.

Understanding RV Batteries

As an RV owner, it's important to understand your RV's battery system to ensure it's functioning properly. In this section, I will provide an overview of the types of RV batteries and how they work.

Types of RV Batteries

There are two common kinds of RV batteries. They are called: lithium and lead acid. Lead-acid batteries are the well known types and are typically less expensive than lithium batteries. They come in two sub-types: flooded and sealed. Flooded batteries require regular maintenance, including adding distilled water to the cells and checking the electrolyte level. Sealed batteries are maintenance-free but are typically more expensive than flooded batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries are a newer technology and are becoming more popular in RVs. They are more expensive than lead-acid batteries but have several advantages, including longer lifespan, faster charging times, and lighter weight. They also do not require maintenance like flooded lead-acid batteries.

How RV Batteries Work

RV batteries are designed to store and provide DC power to your RV's electrical system. When your RV is plugged into shore power, the RV converter converts AC power to DC power and charges the battery. When your RV is not plugged in, the battery provides power to your RV's electrical system.

When you turn on a device in your RV, such as a light or a fan, it draws power from the battery. The battery's voltage drops as it discharges, and when the voltage drops below a certain level, the low-voltage disconnect (LVD) will disconnect the battery from the electrical system to prevent damage to the battery.

It's important to monitor your RV's battery level and recharge it when necessary to prevent it from discharging too much. If your RV battery is not charging properly when plugged in, there could be several causes, including a faulty RV converter, corroded battery terminals, or a blown fuse. It's important to troubleshoot the issue to determine the cause and make the correct fix.