If your motorhome or caravan battery is not charging when connected to shore power, there are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot the issue. No need to turn to expensive professionals.
Checkand from the wiring and fuses
Check the wiring emanating from your RV converter and ensure each wire is thoroughly examined. Note the following:
Take this opportunity to check any blown inline fuses and replace them immediately if necessary.
Note: Use caution when replacing fuses and ensure the amperage remains constant. Using a higher amperage fuse could cause your RV to overheat and create a potential fire hazard.
Also assess the condition of the wires and fuses connected to your RV battery. Is there any evidence of fraying, looseness, discoloration, or contact between the wires? Any inline fuses blown? Replace accordingly.、
In complex RV electrical systems, reference to a wiring diagram can be useful, although finding one can be difficult, if not impossible. Check your owner's manual or the manufacturer's website to see if such a chart is available.
Checking the condition of the battery for corrosion
We will then inspect the battery terminals for noticeable signs of corrosion and check that the battery cables are securely attached to the battery terminals.
In my experience, this is one of the main causes of the interruption in power transfer to house batteries when the vehicle is plugged in.
Of course, it is imperative to eliminate loose connections and remove any visible signs of corrosion.
How to effectively clean corroded battery connectors:
Make a dense mixture by mixing 2 tablespoons of baking soda with an equal amount of water.
Disconnect the power and ground cables from the battery posts.
Thoroughly clean the terminals and wire connections with a wire brush and the paste to remove the corrosive substances.
Afterward, wipe the pins thoroughly with a paper towel.
Reconnect the power and ground cables to their respective battery posts to ensure a tight and secure connection.
If your RV battery is still not charging, we can proceed to the next step.
Test ofm circuit breaker
Locate the fuse and breaker panel in your RV, which is usually in the same compartment as the power converter.
Note the presence of circuit breakers on the electrical panel, similar to those you would find in a household. These breakers specifically control your RV's 120V system. To check their functionality, make sure that none of the breakers have tripped by gently touching them and checking their correct position.
Tip: Consult the owner's manual or look near the breakers for notices that detail the purpose of each breaker.
In the same area you may also find the RV's fuse box, which is similar to fuses in cars. Thoroughly examine these fuses to determine if they may have blown. If you discover blown fuses, replace them immediately and see if your RV's batteries recharge after plugging in.
If all circuit breakers are properly on and fuses remain intact, you can proceed to the next step.
Checking the battery disconnect switch
In many cases, RVs and fifth wheels are equipped with a battery disconnect switch located inside the vehicle. Make sure this switch is in the "on" position.
To verify the presence of a battery disconnect switch and where it is located, you may need to revisit the owner's manual.
Checking the condition of the LiFePO4 battery
Then we need to make sure that the cause of the problem is not the battery itself. It's possible that your RV's charging mechanism is working efficiently but the battery isn't holding its charge.
Checking your RV battery is a simple process:
Establish a connection between your battery and a battery charger to start charging. If you don't have access to a battery charger during your trip, you can use your RV or tow vehicle alternator for charging if your RV is compatible.
Press the battery disconnect switch mentioned earlier to disconnect the battery from the system, isolating it from the mains.
Let a few hours pass. You can then use a digital multimeter or voltmeter to determine the state of charge of the battery.
If you notice a significant loss of charge from the battery within this short period of time, it is likely that the battery itself is defective. Replace the deep cycle battery and then recheck your RV's charging system.
If the battery passes the test, there is only one troubleshooting step left.
Testing ofn the functionality of the power converter
First, check that your power converter is successfully producing a steady current of 13+ DC. You can do this by measuring the voltage across the battery while it is connected to a shore power source.
Using a voltmeter, you should be able to read an approximate reading of 13.5 volts across the battery.
Disconnect your RV from shore power and take another voltage reading on the battery. At this point you should see a voltage drop.
You can use this quick check to determine if your drive is working properly.
Unfortunately, if it doesn't do the job, it could be due to a variety of issues such as a bad cooling fan, a bad temperature sensor, or a bad circuit board.
It is not advisable for laypersons to attempt to disassemble or tamper with the converter. Instead, it is highly recommended to consult a certified RV technician who can use their expertise to professionally troubleshoot the issue.
Resistor or diode malfunction
Resistors and diodes play a crucial role in converting the electrical source from AC to DC. However, they are prone to failure when exposed to high temperatures. A burned component on the circuit board is a visible sign of this. If you are unfamiliar with electrical systems, it is advisable to hire a qualified professional to replace these defective parts.
Interruption of shore power supply
Rather than prematurely attributing the charging problem to your battery, it's important to investigate the integrity of the power pole, especially if it's in an RV park. Also, power columns can burn out or become damaged, which may prevent your battery from charging. If you have a problem with the electrical connection, you must inform the park management immediately so that they can take care of the problem and fix it.
Maintenance tips for your RV battery
If you're still using a traditional lead-acid battery, regular maintenance is paramount to ensure its optimal performance. Consider the following methods:
The voltage reading of a fully charged 12V battery is typically 12.6 volts. A 75% state of charge will normally show 12.4 volts, while a 50% charged battery will show 12 volts. To prolong the life of your lead-acid battery, it is strongly recommended not to discharge it below the 50% threshold. If your vehicle does not have a display panel that provides accurate voltage values, it is advisable to purchase a multimeter to measure the battery charge level.
Make a habit of inspecting the battery regularly and checking carefully for signs of corrosion. Pay attention to cleanliness and make sure that the cable connections are firmly connected. If you have lead-acid batteries with working cells, you should closely monitor the water level in the battery wells and add distilled water as needed.
Remember that these batteries can experience a self-discharge of up to 1 volt per month. Keeping the voltage meter above the 50% threshold will go a long way towards extending battery life. Always leave the battery connected to an external power source and charge it periodically. In situations where this option is not available, or if you intend to store the battery, using a battery charger or 12 volt solar charger can prove beneficial.
Consider upgrading your RV batteries with maintenance-free lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries.
These batteries offer several advantages, including longer life, faster charge times, and higher energy density. They're also lighter and more compact, making them an excellent choice for RV owners looking to reduce weight and maximize storage space.
When using lithium batteries, it is important to follow the manufacturer's charging and maintenance guidelines. Unlike lead-acid batteries, lithium batteries do not require regular maintenance, e.g. B by checking the water level or cleaning the poles. Still, it's important to keep them clean and dry to avoid potential problems. Learn more about how to charge LiFePO4 batteries and how to store them.
In addition, it is advisable to invest in a high-quality Battery Management System (BMS) that is specially designed for lithium batteries. A BMS helps to monitor and protect the battery from overcharging, overdischarging and temperature fluctuations to ensure its longevity and safety. All Power Queen LiFePO4 batteries are equipped with BMS, they are safe to use.
In summary, proper maintenance and responsible use of trolling motors and RV batteries are essential to minimize our carbon footprint and protect the environment.
By choosing energy-efficient engines, using rechargeable batteries and avoiding idle times, we can save energy and reduce emissions. Electric motors offer numerous advantages over petrol engines, including reduced emissions and noise pollution.
It is important to correctly size the motor for efficient operation and to dispose of old batteries responsibly to avoid polluting the environment. Regular maintenance such as B cleaning and securing connectors, monitoring voltage levels, and considering switching to lithium batteries can extend the life and performance of RV batteries.