3 Myths About THE RIGHT TRAVEL TRAILER BATTERY
Your travel trailer must have functioning electric brakes to ensure your safety on the road. This requires a travel trailer battery to power them. However, other essentials like lights, appliances, and your water pump make camping more comfortable.
How do you know which travel trailer battery is right for you? Depending on the make and model of your trailer, you will need a certain number and voltage. Use this quick guide to help you choose the best travel trailer battery for your needs.
What type of travel trailer battery do I require?
Travel trailers have come a long way in recent years, with many now featuring all the comforts of home. However, one area that can still be a challenge is power management. You need a deep-cycle battery for electrical power components in your travel trailer. It’s the same sort of battery that would be used as a house battery in an RV.
Deep-cycle batteries provide continuous power for a long period. This is not the same as a starting battery in a car, which delivers a tremendous energy surge for a short period of time.
When choosing a deep-cycle battery for your travel trailer, it’s important to consider the size of the trailer and the number of electrical appliances you plan to use. Larger trailers and those with more electrical amenities will require a higher-capacity battery.
You should also examine the climate in which you intend to use your travel trailer. For example, if you plan to camp in cold weather, you’ll need a battery designed for cold weather performance.
The power provided by a battery is direct current (DC) as opposed to the alternating current (AC) received from wall outlets in homes. If necessary, DC electricity can be converted to AC power using an inverter.. Additionally, multiple 12-volt batteries can be connected in series or parallel to create a higher voltage or more storage capacity. For example, two 12-volt batteries in series results in a 24-volt system. However, if these same batteries were connected in parallel, the voltage would remain at 12 volts, but the amount of time the device can be powered would double.
Installed on a boat, these batteries are often used in series to provide 36 volts for a trolling motor. In an RV, this battery system generally powers basic systems like lights and some appliances while plugged into shore power. However, when travelling or boondocking, the battery system is the main power source.
Types of Travel Trailer Batteries
You just bought an amazing new travel trailer, or you’re renewing your old one–batteries included. While shopping for batteries, you may have noticed many types of deep-cycle batteries to choose from. Here is a guide to help make choosing a battery easy and less confusing.
The four basic types of travel trailer batteries are as follows:
- Lead acid
Lead-acid batteries work by submerging lead plates in a container of electrolyte liquid, usually concentrated sulfuric acid. The lead-acid battery charges by transforming the negative plate into lead-antimony and the positive plate into lead dioxide. As it discharges, both types of plates turn into lead sulfate while the electrolyte changes to water.
The effects of overcharging, regular charging, and undercharging are as follows:
- Overcharging the battery with a high voltage causes electrolysis, which converts the water into its fundamental elements of hydrogen and oxygen gas (known as “off-gassing”). Overcharging an incorrectly charged flooded lead-acid battery using an equalization charge is sometimes done to put it back in operating condition.
- To maintain a lead-acid battery, it’s best to regularly charge it in multiple stages. There typically is a bulk charge, an absorption or “topping” charge, and a float charge. Even during charging, though, some off-gassing occurs. These batteries need to be toped up with distilled water regularly. Neglecting this maintenance can allow electrolyte levels to get too low and expose the plates, which leads to irreversible damage.
- On the other hand, inadequate charging has a temporary impact of preventing the battery from achieving full charge, while extended insufficient charging can result in acid stratification, with a layer of denser electrolyte and layers of very diluted electrolyte.
One of the main reasons flooded lead-acid batteries have been around for such a time is because they boast many advantages, including a low up-front cost, versatile usage, and widespread availability. Furthermore, since these battery types are well-known, everyone is familiar with them. However, they are not the best option in an RV battery bank. By following a few rules, you can still utilize them – you’ll need to install them in an accessible battery box where you can water them regularly. The key is ensuring the box is sealed off from the interior of your RV and has a vent so the poisonous gases created by batteries won’t enter your living space.
- Low cost.
- Reliable – Since 1860, continual improvement has been the norm.
- Robust – It requires no maintenance, is highly durable and resistant to overcharging.
- A small internal impedance.
- This device can handle large current loads.
- If stored without electrolyte, this product will have an indefinite shelf life.
- You can leave this battery charging on a trickle or float charge for an extended amount of time without damaging it.
- A great variety of suppliers from all around the world.
- The world’s most recycled good.
- Extremely hefty
- Too big and bulky
- Most people can only use 30-50% of their capacity.
- A monthly top-off of the electrolyte is required.
- Most efficient when charged between 70-85%
- Self-discharge is very slow, with a capacity retention of around 5% per month.
- During charging, they can overheat and become damaged.
- When charging, this product generates poisonous gas.
- This product is not compatible with fast charging.
- This battery only has a life cycle of 300 to 500 charges.
- To avoid harm, the battery must be kept fully charged.
- Freezing (case bursts, electrolyte spills) destroys it.
AGM (absorbed glass mat) batteries are lead-acid batteries that are becoming increasingly popular in RVs. AGM batteries are less maintenance-intensive than lead acid batteries and may be depleted up to 80%. However, they have a significant disadvantage: they may easily overcharge.
AGM batteries are sensitive to overcharging; if they’re overcharged, they can be damaged beyond repair. That is why a high-quality charger that switches off when the battery is completely charged is essential. Even so, AGM batteries should be checked regularly to make sure they’re not being overcharged.
An AGM battery is a good choice if you want a battery that requires less maintenance and can be discharged more.
- Charging is far more expensive than lead-acid or gel battery charging.
- The efficient capacity of 60-80%
- Because only saturated glass mats have electrolytes, spills are impossible.
- AGM cells are sealed, meaning they will not release any gases during typical use or charging.
- No hassle, no maintenance required.
- 1-3% of monthly battery capacity is retained in a discharged state.
- 95% charge efficiency
- More expensive than flooded lead-acid batteries
- Overcharging may cause it to be damaged.
Gel batteries are a step up from lead acid in that they are sealed to prevent spills. Unlike lead acid batteries, Gel batteries utilize a gel electrolyte instead of a liquid electrolyte.
- Gel-based electrolytes (which include silica) do not flow as freely as flooded lead-acid batteries.
- Gel cells are airtight, so they don’t off-gas with typical use and charging.
- Zero upkeep required
- 1-3% each month Self-discharge
- Charge with an efficiency of 85-90%.
- Tends to be more resilient to high heat than AGM.
- Flooded lead-acid and pure AGM batteries are both more expensive.
- Does not work well with fast charging
- Overcharging might render it useless.
- Different than AGM, lead-acid, or lithium batteries, they must be charged with a specific charging profile.
But a gel battery may be the right choice if you need a battery that can withstand extreme temperatures and doesn’t require maintenance.
If you have limited room in your travel trailer, lithium batteries are the smallest and lightest travel trailer battery alternative. This is not to say they are ineffective.
Their higher stability, efficiency, and safety are due to the lithium iron phosphate chemistry.
This is the quickest-charging and longest-lasting battery kind.
Lithium batteries may be charged and discharged hundreds of times before degradation occurs, meaning that they will outlast lead acid batteries.
They’re also much more efficient, so you’ll get more power out of them per pound than other battery types.
And because they don’t produce gasses while charging, they’re safer to use indoors.
So lithium is the way to go if you’re looking for a powerful, long-lasting, space-saving battery for your travel trailer.
- 80% – 100% of the total capacity
- High power density
- Exorbitant possible charge rates
- There is no memory of past events stored in the battery.
- There is no need to maintain it.
- At low temperatures, there is very little power loss.
- The very low self-discharge rate of 1-2% per month (stored partially charged = lowest discharge rate)
- Our lithium batteries are light and compact at only half the weight of lead-acid battery types.
- The charge efficiency of the battery is more than 99%.
- It has a life expectancy of 2000-5000 cycles.
- With no damage, it may be kept in a low-charge state.
- However, the most expensive up-front investment may be the lowest lifecycle cost of all categories.
- Lithium-ion batteries are prone to overheating, catching fire or even exploding.
- It cannot be charged when the temperature is low, near freezing, or below zero degrees.
- Most lithium batteries come with an internal BMS to protect them.
How Many Batteries & What Voltage?
There are two battery options for most travel trailers.: two to six 6-volt batteries or one or two 12-volt batteries. These batteries’ amp hours (Ah) can vary from 50Ah to 400Ah.
Pull-behind campers will most likely require 12V 100Ah or 12V 125Ah batteries.. Using 6-volt batteries, you can wire them in a series to obtain 12 volts.
If you’re using 12-volt batteries, you can wire them in parallel to get more amperage. This is helpful if you have several components that need to be powered for longer.
Ultimately, the voltage you’ll need is 12V, but the number of batteries and the voltage will vary depending on how many components you need to power and how long you need to power them for. Consider what type of travel trailer battery you’ll use and how many you’ll need to get the job done.
Here’s a graph to help you decide which Ionic Lithium RV Battery is ideal for your travel trailer.
Travel Trailer Battery Accessories
You want to ensure your batteries are secured in some way so they don’t damage other cargo in your trailer or get damaged.
One method is to use a travel trailer tray or battery box. These are made to resist the bumps and jolts of travel. You may secure them with bolts to protect your batteries from slipping about.
Another strategy to safeguard your investment is to use the proper charger. A charger specific to your battery type will ensure your battery charges quickly and efficiently. It will also protect it from damage.
If you use lithium travel trailer batteries, the best method to maximize their performance is to use a smart lithium charger. Smart chargers keep your batteries from being overcharged or undercharged. When the battery is full, they cease charging, allowing you to set it and forget it.
For those with more than one travel trailer battery, a bank charger allows you to charge up to four batteries simultaneously, saving you time.