Dry camping? Use smarts when charging your RV batteries

Dry camping? Use smarts when charging your RV batteries

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Some RVers rarely stray from an RV park and that’s a real shame. There’s a lot of beauty that can be reached only when “dry camping” or boondocking. If you’re new to the idea of RVing without hookups, this is a good reminder regarding battery life.

RV batteries take a LONG time to charge, particularly if you’re trying to charge them with the typical RV converter-charger. Here’s a scenario: “I’ve been out here a couple of days and my lights started going dim. So I fired up the generator and it’s been running for hours, but my battery is still low!”

The standard “factory equipped” converter-charger rarely sends more than 3 or 4 amps to the battery when “shore power” or generator power is available. At that rate it can take many, many hours to really charge up the RV battery. If you don’t have solar or wind power and don’t have a built-in high-current charging system, here’s how to make your RV generator help out:

Use a fairly high-current freestanding battery charger — like you’d pick up at an auto parts store — and hook it directly to the RV “house” battery — the one that operates your interior lights and water pump. If you need an extension cord, be sure to use a suitably “gauged” (heavy enough) cord for the charger.