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Key Takeaways

  • RV batteries do charge when the RV is plugged into an electrical outlet.
  • There are three types of batteries: lead-acid, absorbed glass mat, and lithium-ion.
  • There are many different factors that affect charging speed.
  • Starter batteries are just meant to start the engine.
  • Keeping the temperature of your battery regulated is crucial to its health.

As an avid RVer, I understand the importance of keeping the batteries charged and ready for my next RV adventure. So, do RV batteries charge when plugged in?

Yes, RV batteries do charge when the RV is plugged into an electrical outlet. When your RV is connected to an electric outlet, the on-board converter/charger converts the power from the grid into 12-volt DC, and this charges the batteries.

I've gained extensive experience with RVs over the years and have learned a great deal about battery charging and maintenance. This knowledge has come in handy many times, which is why I can confidently say that I'm a reliable source of information on this subject. By sharing my insights, I hope to help fellow RV owners better understand their batteries and avoid potential charging issues that could hinder the enjoyment of their travels.



Understanding RV Batteries

When it comes to RV life and adventures, it's crucial to understand how RV batteries work.

These batteries are the lifeline for all the electrical systems in our recreational vehicles, powering everything from the lights to the refrigerator.

In this section, let's dive into the types of RV batteries, their capacity, and how to maintain their health for a long-lasting and hassle-free experience.

Types of RV Batteries

RV batteries come in two primary categories - starter batteries and deep cycle batteries.

Starter batteries, as the name suggests, are designed to start the engine quickly through by usining minimal energy. These batteries are your typical lead acid battery. However, their role in an RV is minimal.

On the other hand, deep cycle batteries are the real workhorses in an RV. These batteries are specifically designed to provide a steady flow of power to all RV appliances and systems such as RV air conditioning.

RV deep cycle batteries, which can be considered a house battery, come in three main types: flooded lead-acid, absorbed glass mat, and lithium-ion.

Flooded lead-acid batteries are the most common and economical choice, but they require regular maintenance and venting.

AGM batteries are maintenance-free, safe, and typically more expensive. Lithium batteries are the newest and most efficient but come with a higher price tag.

Different types of house batteries have their own pros and cons, so it's essential to choose the one that fits your needs and budget best. House batteries power the RV's electrical system and are integral to the RV.

An RV’s battery is an important item, so make sure you are aware of how to take care of it.

Battery Capacity and Health

Battery capacity, measured in amp-hours (Ah), tells us how much energy a battery can store.

The higher the capacity, the more power the battery provides. However, higher capacity batteries also tend to be larger, heavier, and more expensive.

The state of charge (SOC) of an RV battery indicates how much energy is left in it. The closer the SOC is to 100%, the healthier the battery.

To get the most out of your RV battery charge, never let the SOC drop below 50% before recharging. Proper charging and maintaining the SOC will prolong your battery's life.

Understanding your battery's health is crucial to ensuring you don't unexpectedly run out of power.

A battery monitor or multimeter can be used to check the battery's voltage and help you determine its health.

Batteries lose capacity over time, so it's important to replace them when their performance starts to decline.

Charging your RV battery is essential for its health and longevity. When you plug your RV in, its converter delivers 12 V DC power to charge the batteries.

Upgrading to a three-stage charger can provide a safer and smoother charging process to protect your battery's health.

Keep in mind that temperature also affects battery health. Extreme cold or heat can harm the battery, so it's essential to store and use your RV in appropriate climates to preserve the battery’s life.

Regularly maintaining and checking your RV battery, along with monitoring its SOC and health, plays a significant role in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable RV experience.

By understanding your RV batteries and caring for them properly, you can maximize their life and keep the adventure going!

Charging RV Batteries When Plugged In

As an avid RVer, I've always wondered whether my RV house battery charges when plugged into an electrical source.

After doing some research, I discovered that, indeed, they do! In this section, we'll dive into the basics of how this process works, and the factors that can affect the charging speed.

This is important knowledge to have for properly maintaining your RV batteries and ensuring they have a long lifespan.

How it Works

Whenever your RV is connected to a power source, such as shore power or ac power, its batteries will be recharged.

This happens thanks to an essential component known as the RV converter/charger, which converts the power from the grid or generator into 12-volt DC—the voltage level required by the RV batteries.

As a result, your RV's 12-volt electrical accessories, like lights, water pumps, and vent fans, will run smoothly on the stored energy.

Additionally, if your rig has an inverter, this battery power can also be converted back into 120V AC to power appliances that require alternating current, such as TVs, air conditioners, and wall outlets.

Factors Affecting Charging Speed

While it's great to know that RV batteries can recharge when plugged in, it's equally important to understand that there are factors that can impact the speed at which this occurs. Allow me to explain some of these factors to help you better manage the charging of your RV batteries:

Charging System

Different RVs come equipped with different types of charging systems, which can certainly influence charging speed.

For example, converter-chargers are a basic type of charging system that turns 12V shore power into 12V DC for your RV batteries.

These devices are rated in amps, and around 55 amps can power up your entire RV—and possibly even perform some charging.

Smart Chargers

The use of smart chargers can significantly improve the efficiency of your RV battery charging process.

A smart charger assesses the battery's state and adjusts the charge accordingly to avoid overcharging and to prolong its lifespan.

These chargers can also help speed up the charging process, reducing the strain on your batteries. Smart chargers are like utilizing the battery disconnect switch automatically.

Battery Condition

The health of your RV batteries also plays a crucial role in determining how quickly they will recharge.

Older, worn-out batteries can be less efficient at holding a charge, which will slow down the charging process. Battery condition is easy to tell with your battery connected.


Believe it or not, environmental temperature can influence how well your batteries hold up during the charging process. Extremely hot or cold temperatures can impact their efficiency and longevity, so it's essential to keep an eye on the climate during charging sessions.

So there you have it, a comprehensive look at the process of charging RV batteries when plugged in, and the factors that can affect their charging speed.

Being aware of these aspects can help you ensure optimum battery life and aid in maintaining the overall health of your recreational vehicle.