By having a basic knowledge of batteries, you can maintain them properly and extend their life significantly. The batteries used in RVs are lead-acid batteries. Each cell has about 2.1 volts, whereas a 12-volt battery will have six cells with a voltage of 12.6 volts.
The batteries are made of plates and lead submersed in an electrolyte and their sole purpose is to store electricity. The size of the plates and the amount of electrolyte determines the storage a battery has.
It is of great importance to choose the right type of battery. To ignite an engine, you’d need a starting battery, also referred as chassis. Vehicle starters require a large amount of current in short bursts. This is possible due to the large number of thin plates that are exposed to electrolytes.
The house batteries are the ones used to power the RV with 12-volts. They are manufactured to provide a steady amount of current over a longer period of time. Also referred to as deep cycle batteries, they have thick plates that can be discharged and recharged.
To determine how many amps a battery can deliver and for how long, before being discharged completely, you need to take a look at the amp hour rating.
For example, if you have a battery that delivers a steady performance of 20 hours with 5 amps, then it will have a 100 amp hour rating. The reserve capacity rating, also known as RC, shows the number of minutes that the battery can deliver 25 amps at 80 degrees before dropping the amperage.
Currently, there are two types of construction for the deep cycle batteries. The first is flooded with lead acid, while the second with Valve Regulated Lead Acid.
The most common ones are the lead acid batteries that can be found in two different styles. The first style features removable caps so that you can inspect the item and perform regular maintenance.
Gell cell batteries are leak-proof, making them suitable for water applications. They use battery acid in the form of a gel to perform. However, they have certain disadvantages when it comes to being used in recreational vehicles.
Most importantly, they must be charged slowly at a lower voltage than the other batteries. Moreover, overcharging can cause great damage and they often tend to be more expensive.
Of course, the coin has two sides, so we can’t neglect the obvious advantages as well. They can be charged the same way as a standard lead-acid battery, they are waterproofed, maintenance-free and can hardly ever freeze.
Their life expectancy depends solely on how you use and maintain them. It is also important how much is charged each time. If you discharge it to only 50% every day, it will last twice as much. In most cases, the amp hour rating is cut in half to avoid a complete discharge of the battery.
So, to summarise the information above, it all depends on how you plan to use your recreational vehicle. If you are going to be constantly plugged into a power source, then you have to ensure that you’re appropriately maintaining the deep cycle batteries.
However, if you plan to get away from everything, then you’d want the highest amp hour capacities available for your RV Battery.