When you operate your rig, you’ve got a few batteries at work there. One is the chassis, or starting, battery. The others are the house, or deep cycle, batteries. The house batteries operate everything that runs in your RV when it’s parked – lights, appliances, things like that.
You have a few choices when it comes to choosing your house batteries, but today we’re going to look at marine batteries as one option.
What is a marine RV battery?
RV marine batteries are a hybrid of your starting battery and your deep cycle battery, but most people recommend them only as deep cycle batteries. They’re less expensive than a dedicated deep cycle battery, but not necessarily as good quality.
Most RV batteries bathe the lead in an acid/water solution, which you need to fill up every so often because with every charge the battery loses a little of the solution. To fix this problem and have maintenance-free batteries, manufacturers sealed the batteries completely and just left a small vent on the side.
Generally, RV batteries and marine batteries are interchangeable. Just make sure your marine battery has a larger reserve capacity and a slow discharge. Also, check that your marine battery has enough reserve to power your RV and everything you want to use inside it between charges.
Three types of marine/RV batteries
There are three different types of RV marine battery available – flooded batteries, gel batteries, and AGM batteries.
- Flooded batteries use sulfuric acid and lead plates
- Gel batteries are sensitive to overcharging and usually not preferred by boaters
- AGM batteries use glass mat separators, are maintenance-free, and aren’t affected by shock or vibrations
What to look for in choosing an RV marine battery
While all batteries are going to offer you different advantages, there are a few features to look for in any battery you choose.
- Capacity – Your battery’s capacity will be measured in AH, or ampere hours. Ampere hours measure the amount of current the battery can deliver over a certain period of time. A higher AH means your battery has the ability to store more power and work longer. Just remember this will affect the weight and size of your battery.
- Depth of discharge – This is usually a percentage that shows the specific amount of power discharged by the battery. If you’re going to use a lead-acid battery, know that the life cycle and depth of discharge are related. Deeper individual cycles also mean the battery will have fewer cycles overall.
- Voltage – The refers to the potential electrical difference. In most cases, deep cycle and starter batteries have 12v DC (direct current). In some cases, RV owners combine 6v batteries in a series to build their own 12v batteries to use.
- Charging – How will your batteries be charged? Do you need a power inverter? Will you be using a generator, solar power, or shore power to charge your batteries?
- Temperature changes – How will your battery do in low and high temperatures? You’ll want one that can provide heat in winter and air in summer, so make sure it can withstand at least some temperature differences. Also, ask how your battery does in humid conditions, in case you’re visiting areas where that’s an issue.
- Ability to withstand vibration – You also want to investigate the overall quality of your battery. A good RV battery will be able to withstand shocks and vibrations so it’s not damaged in transit.
Which marine RV battery should I choose?
First, you should determine how much power you’ll need to run your RV. Will you be running some appliances overnight? What will you be using and how much power do your appliances require? Then you can choose the proper battery.
- The VMAX857 AGM Marine Deep Cycle battery is a popular choice and slowly discharges over an average of 4-9 hours running time with only a 50-60% discharge. It uses tin-lead alloy in the inner plates, rather than calcium-lead alloy
- The Optima 8016-103 D34M BlueTop Starting & Deep Cycle Marine Battery is highly recommended, and reviewers say it can function as both a deep cycle and a starting battery. It’s fifteen times more resistant to different vibrations compared to other marine batteries and offers a quick recharge time.
- The Battle Born Batteries 12-v 100 AH LiFePO4 Deep Cycle Battery – this battery works on RVs and boats and other off-grid power systems. It’s versatile and lightweight.
Hopefully, these tips are a good start at finding the perfect marine RV battery for your rig!
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