RV Battery Power Management

How long can you run lights, TV, furnace water pump etc., before battery recharging is needed? Getting the most from your batteries is a mix of conservation, intelligent charging and proper care.

Follow the steps below to determine how many days you can rally or boondock before cranking up the generator. It’s best to do this test when you have an electrical hookup available so you can recharge the batteries as soon as possible.

  1. Start with fully charge batteries.
  2. Switch the refrigerator to run on propane.
  3. Turn off unnecessary 12 volt appliances.
  4. Record the time.
  5. Shut off converter/charger (or unplug your RV if there is no way to switch off the converter/charger).
  6. Run your 12 volt appliances and lights as you normally do.
  7. Occasionally check the battery voltage with a digital volt meter and when you reach 12.25 volts which is approximately 50% of charge, turn your battery charger back on.
  8. Check the time.

You now know how long you can run the RV, in “normal” use, without charging, before a “deep cycle” condition.

You may want to read more about Battery Power Management at RVbasics.com
And these articles:


“RV Electrical Systems: A Basic Guide to Troubleshooting, Repairing and Improvement” covers both AC and DC electrical systems and is another must have. Excellent 12 volt coverage and the best source on 120 volt AC systems. If it’s not covered in this book, you can probably get along without it. The authors go into extraordinary detail without getting into engineering “lingo” and they tell you things nobody else does, and those things many authors assume you already know — that you don’t. RV Electrical Systems is available at Amazon.


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