By Mark Polk
The topic of RV batteries seems to come up a lot among RVers, and there is good reason for it. Did you know the average life for RV batteries with limited battery care and maintenance is only 2 to 3 years, and that 85% of all 12-volt batteries manufactured die before they should? That can get expensive, replacing two or more deep cycle batteries at a time.
If you really think about it it’s not just RVers who have to deal with battery problems; if you have a riding lawnmower, a motorcycle, a golf cart, an automobile, a boat or an RV you have probably experienced problems with batteries at one time or another.
Some of the reasons for these battery problems are undercharging, overcharging, not recharging a discharged battery in a timely manner, lack of maintenance, and a lack of understanding what is required to properly maintain batteries.
The #1 cause of battery failure is a condition called sulfation. When a battery is improperly charged, overcharged or undercharged, or allowed to self discharge small crystals of sulfuric acid from the battery’s electrolyte start to form on the charge plates. Over time this sulfate material cannot be converted back into active plate material and the battery is ruined.
This also occurs when a battery remains discharged for an extended period of time. These crystals act as a barrier, stopping the battery from ever accepting a full charge again regardless of how long you charge the battery. Once this happens, the power and longevity of the battery is severely reduced and your battery becomes one of the 85% that die before it should. Sulfation begins when a battery’s state of charge drops below 80%, or 12.4 volts.
I mentioned a moment ago that overcharging was one reason for batteries dying early. This is a common problem with RV’s. The RV converter has a built in battery charger and most owners are under the impression that if you leave the RV plugged in when it is being stored it will keep the batteries topped off. Keeping the batteries topped off is extremely important, but the problem is many RV converter chargers provide a constant charge of about 13.5 volts which is too high for fully charged batteries. When this happens the electrolyte is boiled off resulting in an early death for the batteries.
Another problem is not charging the batteries at all when the RV is in short or long term storage or not recharging a discharged battery in a timely manner and letting it sit in that condition for extended periods of time. Both of these problems result in early battery death too.
Even for someone with a decent understanding of batteries and battery maintenance I had a few batteries that became statistics in the past. Then I discovered a way to prevent all of these battery related problems for good. It was a product that charges, maintains and conditions the batteries.
There are a few of these products on the market. The one I use is called The Battery Minder. What I mean by conditioning the battery is that the manufacturer of The Battery Minder has developed a simple but extremely effective circuitry that can safely dissolve the sulfation on the plates and restore much, if not all of the lost power. The reason The Battery Minder works so well is because it not only charges the battery, it maintains and desulfates the battery and will never overcharge the battery.
I’m not saying that you will never have to check the water levels or routinely inspect your batteries again, but this product will simplify your battery maintenance and extend the life of your batteries. It can even reverse sulfation on batteries that are already affected by this condition, if caught in time. It’s not very often that I endorse a product but The Battery Minder is one that I have been using for many years now, and through using it I have seen proven results.
When I’m not using the RV I hook the battery minder up and let it go. Through proper charging and maintenance you can easily double the life expectancy of your RV batteries.
If you would like to learn more about your deep cycle batteries check out our Deep Cycle Batteries DVD
To learn more about how The Battery Minder works check out this video.
RV Education 101