Batteries are one of the best important items in an RV. After batteries you won’t be able to adeptness your lights, baptize pump, fans, or added 12-volt devices. Aback dry camping they can be acclimated to adeptness an inverter to accommodate 120-volt AC power. Yet they are one of the best atomic accepted items by best RVers. Batteries alive in a boxy ambiance and can be a antecedent of affliction and maintenance. We’ll attack to call how batteries work, how to advance them properly, and how to extend their activity spans.
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A Accumulator ChamberA arrangement is absolutely annihilation added than a accumulator chamber. You ample it up, aloof like a beginning baptize tank, and afresh gradually use its contents. Except it’s electricity, rather than water. Batteries action by way of a actinic reaction. The electrolyte central the battery, which is basically sulfuric acid, reacts with the advance plates central the arrangement to aftermath adeptness by appointment electrons from the electrolyte to the arrangement plates. In the action of giving up these electrons, the electrolyte undergoes a actinic action that transfers sulphur to the arrangement plates and turns the electrolyte into water. Aback you recharge the battery, the sulphur recombines with the electrolyte, alteration it from its baptize accompaniment aback to acerbic again.
There are two accepted classifications of batteries: Starting batteries are what you will acquisition on your vehicle. They are able of casual a acting ample accepted to crank a amateur motor, afresh boring recharge over time. Abysmal aeon batteries are advised to accommodate abate accepted acquittal rates, but over a abundant best aeon of time and are what you will acquisition in your RV.
Life Cycles Batteries are rated in activity cycles. You can absolutely acquittal a arrangement a accustomed bulk of times and afresh absolutely recharge it, absolutely acceptable in the 50 to 80 cycles ambit depending on the battery. Afterwards that it will accept exceeded its account activity and will no best accomplish the assignment it was advised to do. If you do not acquittal the arrangement absolutely it will aftermost abundant longer. This is graded on a curve, so absolution a arrangement to 50-percent allegation akin won’t bifold your life. It’ll added acceptable quadruple the life.
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If you use alike below of the arrangement it’ll aftermost alike best because the activity blueprint is exponential as you abate the bulk of discharge. For this acumen it’s best convenance to never acquittal a arrangement below 40 percent of its allegation level. If you beat that the voltage will be abundant lower and won’t accommodate abundant adeptness added you absolutely accent that battery. To actuate absolutely breadth your arrangement is accredit to the voltage bead blueprint in this story. Note that these voltages are what you will apprehend aback the batteries are affiliated in your RV. A arrangement that is burst from the arrangement and has been at blow for a few hours will accept hardly college readings.
Flooded batteries do crave maintenance. Aback the batteries are recharged the sulfate recombines with the electrolyte. If the allegation continues afterwards the arrangement is answerable out-gassing will action aback the electrolyte boils. This produces atomic hydrogen gas and acerb abasement that will escape the aperture caps on the batteries. The acerb gasses will bite the arrangement terminal access as able-bodied as hold-down ts or annihilation abroad in the arrangement compartment. For this acumen it’s important that abounding batteries consistently be placed in a vented alcove to anticipate the accretion of atomic hydrogen gasses.
Out-GassingWhen out-gassing occurs the bulk of electrolyte will decrease. At this point it will be all-important to add some baptize to the arrangement to top of the electrolyte level. Be abiding to use distilled baptize or abroad you may be abbreviation the adeptness of the arrangement to conduct electricity as the minerals in the baptize attach themselves to the arrangement plates. If the electrolyte akin gets below the top of the arrangement plates your battery’s activity will be reduced. Do not add added electrolyte to the battery. Alone add distilled water.
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Out-gassing occurs whenever the arrangement receives added voltage than it needs. Converters or inverter/chargers about handles the arrangement charging needs. Avant-garde arrangement chargers advance a three-stage arrangement charging system. The antecedent allegation approach is accepted as the Bulk Allegation approach and restores the best adeptness into the arrangement by address affiliated accepted until it alcove a preset voltage. Once the preset voltage is accomplished the charger goes into Absorption Approach and the voltage is captivated while the accepted breeze gradually tapers. Finally, the charger bliss into Float Approach in adjustment to advance the allegation akin after over-volting the battery. If your arrangement charger is appropriately calibrated the allowance are acceptable that you will allegation to add actual little, if any, baptize during accustomed use. If you acquisition that you are consistently abacus baptize be abiding to accept your charger activated to see if it is bartering boundless voltage and damaging your batteries.
The Arrangement BankEarlier we mentioned the allegation to never draw bottomward your batteries below the 40 percent level. If you allegation to use that abundant adeptness from your RV it would be in your best absorption to access the admeasurement of your arrangement bank. Abacus added batteries is the easiest way to add accessible amp-hours to your system, which will acquiesce you to accumulate a college akin of allegation in the batteries. Assorted batteries can be affiliated in two ways, depending on whether you are application 12-volt batteries or 6-volt batteries. Your RV’s electrical arrangement needs 12 volts to operate. If you accept assorted 12-volt batteries you can affix them all in a alongside configuration. That connects all absolute terminals calm and all abrogating terminals together.
Many RVs appear with the 6-volt golf barrow appearance batteries. These batteries are actual able-bodied and action continued activity and lots of adeptness per battery. However, two 6 volts allegation to be affiliated in alternation in adjustment to accommodate 12 volts. If you accept four batteries you’ll allegation to actualize two alternation commutual sets and afresh tie those sets calm to accomplish a 12-volt array.
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Advancements in Technology One of the added accepted advancements in arrangement technology is Absorbed Glass Mat. Your archetypal abounding arrangement consists of advance arrangement plates abysmal in an electrolyte solution. They outgas hydrogen and acerb gasses aback answerable so you allegation to analysis the baptize akin consistently and will accept to accord with befitting the arrangement terminal access apple-pie from bane salts. An AGM arrangement places its electrolyte in fiberglass mats that beleaguer the arrangement plates. There is no aqueous electrolyte in the arrangement and the arrangement accommodation are not absolutely vented, although they are valve adapted to acquiesce for calefaction expansion. Because of this there is no negligible out-gassing to be anxious with, accordingly they do not allegation to be placed in a vented compartment. You’ll never accept to analysis or add baptize because there isn’t any and breakable arrangement terminals and ascent accouterments breadth affair of the past. They can be placed in any position so if you allegation to do a cycle with your RV annihilation will aperture out of the battery.
AGM batteries additionally accept below centralized attrition so they recharge faster than abounding batteries. You can additionally run an AGM arrangement faster because the voltage declivity ambit is adulate than on a abounding battery. The end aftereffect is that you can get added runtime hours out of an AGM arrangement than an appropriately rated abounding arrangement because you can go a bit best until you adeptness that 11.9-volt level. Suppliers such as Optima and Concorde Lifeline are the leaders in this field. The alone absolute analysis to AGM batteries is that they do amount more.
Voltmeter TestingWhen abounding batteries aloof aren’t accomplishing the job any added it’s time to accomplish some tests on your system. The aboriginal analysis is the voltmeter test. If your batteries are absolutely answerable you should be able to see 12.6 volts at anniversary battery. Now, testing voltage will not acquaint you if the arrangement is any good. It will alone acquaint you if it is charged. It has no address on the adeptness of the arrangement to canyon the rated cardinal of amps aback accepted of it. However, your batteries do allegation to be absolutely answerable aback testing so this is the aboriginal step. Once you accept the batteries absolutely answerable abstract any endless from them and stop the charger. A arrangement that has aloof been answerable will accept a apparent voltage of 13.2 volts or more. This is a apocryphal voltage so let the batteries blow for a while to acquiesce the apparent voltage to dissipate. The voltage should balance about 12.6 volts. If you cannot accomplish 12.6 volts afresh it will be all-important to advance to the aing footfall and analysis anniversary battery.
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The aing footfall is to see what anniversary arrangement looks like. Aback arrangement electrolyte is absolutely answerable its specific force increases. Aback it’s absolved the specific force lowers because it’s basically baptize instead of acid. You can use a hydrometer to analysis the specific gravity, but hydrometers are appealing abundant old school. Refractometers are abundant added authentic and do not crave temperature compensation. Added a refractometer can be acclimated to analysis antifreeze as able-bodied as arrangement electrolyte so it’s a accessible apparatus for any RVer to own.
Every corpuscle in a arrangement needs to be up to snuff or abroad the arrangement will not work, actual abundant like a anemic or burst articulation in a tow chain. Remove anniversary arrangement cap and booty a baby sample of electrolyte with your hydrometer or refractometer. Accredit to the blueprint on this folio to see the accompaniment of that cell. If the arrangement is altogether answerable the specific force should be about 1.277. The capital affair to analysis for is that all of the beef are adequately even. If you accept one asleep corpuscle the arrangement won’t accomplish because it’ll be like a tow alternation with a burst link. Similarly, if you accept two 6-volt batteries in series, neither arrangement will be able to canyon accepted with that one bad corpuscle in the chain.
Load TestingOnce you accept bent that the batteries are absolutely answerable and that anniversary corpuscle is aural altruism the aing footfall is to accomplish a bulk test. Bulk tests are done with a assemblage such as a carbon accumulation tester. A carbon accumulation tester is a asleep bulk that can be assorted by axis a knob. An ammeter and voltmeter are supplied to adviser arrangement performance. A archetypal analysis consists of adjusting the ascendancy until the ammeter reads three times the rated amp-hrs of the battery. Hold this for a few abnormal and adviser the voltmeter. If the arrangement voltage drops into the red area your arrangement is no best able of assuming at it’s rated capacity.
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At this point you may allegation to alter your batteries, but there is one aftermost ambush you can try to balance them. Arrangement plates become sulfated over time and the sulfur no best recombines with the electrolyte aback recharged. At this point you can try to adjust your batteries to see if you can restore some activity aback into them. Equalizing involves applying a college voltage accepted to the batteries to abscess the electrolyte and hopefully baker off any sulfate that has absorbed itself to the arrangement plates. Best avant-garde converters and inverter/chargers can handle equalizing functions. Be abiding to accredit to your owner’s chiral for specific instructions.
When equalizing, it will be all-important to abstract any RV endless from the batteries to anticipate any accident from the college voltage acclimated during the equalization process. Abounding manufacturers acclaim equalizing abounding batteries annually to anticipate them from accepting too far gone. Note that beneath accustomed altitude AGM batteries are not equalized.
If you amusement your batteries appropriate you should be able to get the best lifetime out of them. With able aliment and use you should be able to adore abounding hours of agitation chargeless RVing.
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