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How To Install An RV Battery

24 May 2018

rvtc battery 200Your RV Battery is the life blood of your RV when traveling. It allows you to open and close your slides, run some lights and operates the electric breaking if the trailer becomes detached from the tow vehicle. Sometimes the battery stops holding a charge and needs replacing. The steps below will help you safely change your RV battery. 

Quick tip: Lengthen the lifespan of your RV battery by allowing the battery power to drain to approx. 50% before recharging, and never store your battery in a discharged state. Storing in a discharged state causes the plates to crystallize and hardened plates won't be able to generate power. This is a surefire way to ruin your battery. Keep in mind your RV will naturally discharge while not in use, so remember to recharge your battery every 3 months even during the winter.

To install a battery, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off all power draw, including lights and accessories. If the negative cable sparks during removal, a draw is still present.
  2. Notice the position of the battery in the tray in relation to polarity.
  3. Disconnect the cables, negative first, and remove the old battery.
  4. Make sure the carrier and the hold-down hardware are free of corrosion. 
  5. If not a maintenance free battery, make sure the new battery is filled with the proper amount of electrolyte. To top up the electrolyte, simply add distilled water until the correct volume is reached. You should never have to add acid to a battery because under normal circumstances, the acid level remains the same while the water level drops during the electrolysis process.
  6. Clean the terminal posts with a wire brush until the metal shines.
  7. Install new battery in the tray with same positions for polarity as noted in step 2.
  8. Connect cables to new battery.
  9. Install hold-down hardware.
  10. Test RV lights.

Quick tip: Vibration can destroy batteries, so make sure battery is secure!

General Battery Charging Cautions

  • Be sure the area around the battery is well ventilated while the battery is being charged.
  • Ensure that the battery terminal connections are secure and not corroded.
  • Locate the charger as far away from the battery as the DC cables permit.
  • Never mount the charger directly above the batteries being charged. Gases from the batteries will corrode and damage the charger. It is also possible that the gases from the battery may cause an explosion or fire.
  • Never try to charge a frozen battery. Charging the battery when its temperature is lower than 0 degrees Celsius is inefficient and ineffective. If possible, warm the battery to room temperature before charging.

Checking For Proper Polarity

                Normally, RV 12-volt DC systems are wired using black wire as the positive (hot) and the white wire as negative (ground). In some cases, the rig can be wired using a red wire for the positive and the black as the ground. If the polarity is reversed, many 12-volt DC appliances and accessories can become damaged.

Quick tip: Simply mark the positive wire before you disconnect and you won't have to remember which colour is which.

If you have any more questions or concerns about your RV battery give us a call!

New Glasgow 902-752-3164

Sydney 902-564-9095

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