So, you know your RV batteries are important. Your house batteries – also known as deep cycle batteries – are what power your lights and appliances when you’re set up to camp but not connected to shore power. If you’re dry camping (or boondocking), your batteries are your power source!
But you should also know about a few other battery parts as well, like your RV battery disconnect switch. That little switch is going to play an important role in keeping your batteries running and in good condition.
What is the RV battery cutoff switch?
The battery disconnect switch for RV cuts off the electrical power between your batteries and the RV. Flipping the switch helps protect against electrical fires and theft when your RV equipment isn’t being used. It’s also important to shut off the power as a safety measure when you’re doing maintenance. Finally, it protects your RV batteries from excessive drain – even when your appliances are off, they’re still draining your batteries a little bit. Over time, this can add up! Using the RV battery disconnect preserves the batteries and helps them last longer.
When should you use the RV battery cutoff switch?
As we mentioned above, any time you’re doing work on your RV you definitely need to shut off the power first. But you’ll also want to use it if you’re planning on storing your RV for a long time. Radios, smoke detectors, refrigerators, and other appliances hooked up to your batteries consume tiny milliamps over time and that will drain your battery, even when you have them turned off.
Also, if you’re going to check the voltage of your batteries, they should be off for at least 24 hours first.
What are the best RV battery cutoff switches?
Here are a few highly rated battery cutoff switches to consider:
- The Waterwich DC 8-60v Battery Disconnect Switch Cut/Shut off Marine Battery Switch is inexpensive and a good quality switch that customers seem pleased with
- The Cllena Rotary Battery Disconnect Isolator Power Kill Cutoff Switch 300A is another inexpensive switch that reviewers liked, saying it was small and easy to install
- The Ampper Battery Disconnect Switch also gets high marks for it’s heavy duty construction, and for being easy to install and use
How do you install an RV battery cutoff switch?
Installing your own cutoff switch is a pretty quick process. Some switches require modifying the battery cover, but some don’t – it all depends on which one you get. Usually, to install the switch, you run the negative battery cable that comes from the RV to one side of the switch, and then a shorter one from the switch to the battery. When you turn the switch it will disconnect between these two cables, and you won’t have to get out a wrench every time you want that done.
Looking after your RV batteries will save you a lot of money in the end! If you take good care of them, your batteries should last you around ten years, maybe even more. Disconnecting them when they’re not needed will go a long way toward preserving their lifespan and saving you the hassle and expense of replacing them too often.
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