Deep-Cycle Batteries, Care & Use
Deep cycle batteries are designed specifically to endure repetitive deep discharges. To withstand the repeated deep cycles, the battery is manufactured with thicker plates combined with a denser chemical active material.
A “deep cycle” means using 50% – 80% of a battery’s capacity before recharging.
For longest life – batteries should be discharged to only about 50% of capacity.
During idle times, to prevent battery drain, it is best to disconnect the battery. There are items in the RV that continually consume battery power:
LP Leak Detectors & CO (Carbon Monoxide) Detectors – run continuously & do not have ON/OFF switches. They can discharge a battery in 7-10 days.
Stereos / Clocks / Radios / 12v TV – even if turned OFF have a constant draw to run memories to store preset stations, time, etc.
Converters (w/chargers) – they have dummy loads a capacitive circuits which create a continuous battery drain when the converter is not plugged in & operating.
Refrigerators – The control circuit is powered by 12v DC thus running RV Refrigerators on LP gas with the converter not plugged in and charging will cause battery to drain. With no battery, the fridge will shut down.
Fully recharge battery, as soon as possible, after each use. Leaving battery partially discharged or discharged for long periods allows the plate to harden to the point where it is very difficult to recharge the battery completely.
Batteries must be kept full of electrolyte. Check the level of electrolyte frequently – low electrolyte level dries out the plates, reducing the battery capacity significantly.
Make sure plates are covered – add distilled water – avoid over-filling.
During extended operation and battery charging, the battery must be closely monitored, as the water level will slowly go down. A battery low in fluid will not accept a charge & supply power.
Keep terminal connections & cables free from corrosion – corrosion reduces or may block power flow.
Clean terminals until shiny & coat with a heavy-bodied lubricant.
Keep the top of the battery free of dirt. Dirt can act as a conductor & cause the battery to discharge. Plain water works best for cleaning batteries.
Do not overcharge. Overcharging creates excessive heat, which may cause the plates within the cells to buckle and shed their active material.
Store fully charged in a cool, dry place.
Recharge every 60-90 days.
A battery low in charge will freeze & break during cold weather
***FROZEN BATTERIES CANNOT BE COVERED UNDER WARRANTY***
Always wear rubber gloves when working with batteries, and keep a supply of water & baking soda nearby.
If someone gets acid on their skin – flush with lots of water
If someone gets acid in his or her eyes – flush with water for 15 minutes and seek immediate medical attention.
If someone ingests acid – rinse mouth & drink a glass of water to dilute acid – seek immediate medical attention.
- We would be pleased to answer any inquiries regarding the care and maintenance of your RV battery.
Why Regular Maintenance?
What maintenance do I need to perform on my RV?
In regards to maintenance, there are checklists with recommended time frames for checking certain items on your RV. These checklists are also going to depend on what type of RV you do own. When it comes to towing an RV, then the hitching of the trailer to a vehicle and the exterior lighting of that trailer are extremely important because if these were to fail it could cause an accident. These items should be checked every time you hook up and are heading out on the road. There are certain items that should be checked on an annual basis and these include wheel bearings, brakes and appliances. There are other things that need maintained regularly as well and that is to perform a visual inspection of the exterior seals and sealants to make sure there is no way for water to enter into your trailer.
How often should I repack/lubricate my wheel bearings and have my brakes checked?
Wheel bearings should be repacked and inspected every 10-12,000 miles or every 12 months. We recommend removing your wheels and have the bearings cleaned to make sure there are no scorch marks or no pits in the bearings. If there is either of these two things, then replace both the bearing as well as the race to prevent any breakdowns while traveling. Also check the brake shoes and magnets to make sure there are no problems. Make sure the brake shoes have plenty of thickness and again have no gouges or broken pieces from the shoes and make sure your magnets are not wearing unevenly. Make sure that any broken or worn pieces are replaced and all the proper adjustments are made.
How do I winterize my RV?
The process of winterizing your RV requires draining all the water from the system and then either
1) blowing air through all the lines or
2) pumping antifreeze through the system. We recommend the latter of the two because then you are sure that all the water has been pushed out of the water lines. In some RV’s there are bypass valves in place to make the job easier. We recommend removing the line from the suction side of the water pump and putting on a spare piece of line that can be put inside an antifreeze jug. Then we need to eliminate the water heater from the system because we do not want antifreeze inside the water heater. Some units come with bypass valves to prevent this, older units the lines need to be removed from the tank and joined together so the antifreeze will go into both the hot and cold water lines. Turn on the water pump and then go to each faucet and turn on the tap until the antifreeze comes out pink. Make sure to flush the toilet and run the faucet at the exterior shower if you have one. Also make sure that you pour antifreeze down each one of the traps. The water pump can now be reconnected. The water heater can be left in bypass mode until spring. It can be left like this until after the system is flushed out and then reconnected. Always check for leaks.
How do I remove the black streaks on the sidewalls of my RV?
The streaks on the trailer are usually due to the oxidization that happens on the roof of the trailer. It is recommended to wash the roof of your RV twice a year and that will help to minimize the streaks that occur on the sidewalls of your trailer. The black streaks are usually due to sap, bird droppings or just plain dirt and when it rains or there is dew outside it can run down and create these streaks. It is also recommended to wash the exterior of the RV with a good wash and wax soap and they will help prevent some of the streaks from building up.
What is the problem if the monitor panel in my RV is not reading accurately?
Although there are different types of monitors systems in RV’s, the probe style is very common and can create false readings if there is something stuck on one of the probes inside the tank. The best recommendation for holding tanks is to use the proper type of toilet paper and toilet chemical as well. The proper type of toilet paper will break down inside the tank and the chemical will help that process as well. If you have a tank that is reading inaccurately then the tank will need to be flushed out. There are different methods to flush that tank.
1) Fill the tank half full of water and chemical and take the trailer for a drive down the road. In this case you will get a sloshing effect that will help cleanse the tank.
2) Fill the tank completely with water and chemical and let it sit so that the chemical can help break down whatever happens to be in the tank.
3) Fill the tank half full of water and then add a bagful of ice cubes. This will also act as an agitator inside the tank to help cleanse. Unfortunately when this happens this in not a warrantable situation as this is referred to as maintenance.
What is dry rot and how do I identify the signs?
Dry rot is a term used to describe wood that has decomposed and has no structural strength left. This can be caused by a plumbing leak within the water system of the RV or can be caused by a leak through the sidewall of the trailer. This could be through a window, moulding or any attachment on the exterior walls of the trailer. Some identifying signs can be stains on the inside of the unit or even softness on the ceiling or walls. Rusty and corroded screws/fasteners are another indication as well. Dry rot can spread throughout the trailer as long as water is still able to enter the trailer. Dry rot is very expensive to repair as it can be time consuming, so make sure that all attachments on the exterior of the trailer are sealed and sealed properly.
What maintenance should I perform on my battery?
The battery on your RV needs maintenance as well. Make sure the water level is up in each one of the cells. Make sure that the battery posts are clean as well as the terminal ends. Make sure your battery case is clean as you can lose voltage through a dirty battery case. There are some tests that can be performed on your battery as well which include a battery load test and a specific gravity test to make sure there are no shorted cells in the battery. If your battery is in storage it is recommended to put a battery charger on once a month to keep the battery charged.