RVs have deep cycle batteries that provide steady power output when you hit the road. It means your vehicle consistently gets power and similarly loses the charge over a period of time.
So deep cycle batteries are a kind of battery that discharges regularly and needs frequent recharging.
And probably that’s when you ask “Can I Charge a RV Deep Cycle Battery With a Regular Charger?”
The answer is you can but you shouldn’t! A regular stock charger is never a good option for the deep cycle battery of your RVs.
This type of charger is neither efficient nor a good one for your battery’s longevity.
There are many more reasons why you shouldn’t be using a regular charger for your RV deep cycle batteries.
Let’s find out more on this here!
Does an RV Deep Cycle Battery Need a Special Charger?
Yes, an RV deep cycle battery needs a special charger called a deep cycle battery charger aka smart automatic charger.
These types of chargers are multi-stage chargers that can detect the fast or bulk charging mode (when the battery is mostly depleted) and switch to trickle charging mode once the RV battery is full.
With this stepped design, the charger can easily understand the battery status and apply volt/amp according to the need.
So there’s no chance of overcharging or damaging your expensive battery even if you leave the charger on for some extra hours (not recommended).
Can I charge my RV battery with a regular battery charger? If not, Why?
You don’t get a powerful short burst or high burst of charge while starting your RV. Instead, it gets steady power output with its deep cycle batteries.
So it works in a way that a regular charger can’t bring in the best results in terms of efficiency, maintenance, longevity, and so on.
Let’s break down the major reasons here to see why a regular charger isn’t a good fit for the RV deep cycle batteries.
No Voltage Adjustment
The regular inverter chargers rely on constant voltage and don’t adjust according to the battery requirements.
These chargers can also charge the batteries at a higher rate while pushing a higher voltage constantly to the battery. And that’s something the deep cycle batteries aren’t designed to handle.
As a result, your deep cycle battery could get damaged permanently due to overcharging, leaving you with a high replacement cost!
Since there’s no voltage adjustment in regular chargers, they tend to produce excess heat while charging. But the deep cycle batteries aren’t designed to deal with this excessive heating or rapid charging.
Hence, your battery won’t be fully charged or may show misleading info that it’s fully charged when it’s actually not!
So what the deep cycle RV batteries need is a stepped charging model where the extremely depleted battery gets bulk charging at first and then the charging speed gets tapered off as it progresses.
This will result in a quick and optimized charging time.
Can’t Detect Battery Status
A regular stock charger can’t detect the voltage remaining on the battery, hence its overall status. Which could result in poor monitoring.
On the other hand, the smart chargers come with a convenient LCD display to monitor your deep cycles battery conditions such as remaining charging time and current charge level.
Lack of Safety Measures
The regular inverter chargers don’t include many safety features like the smart RV battery chargers.
Some of these features are Overcharging Protection, Overheating Protection, Overload Protection, and Reverse Polarity Protection.
Due to the lack of these features in your regular charger, you could be putting your battery in great danger.
Lack of Automatic Features
The regular chargers miss out on some automatic features as well.
Your regular charger will need manual intervention to stop it when the battery is full.
But with a smart RV battery charger, your charging will stop automatically whenever your battery is full.
It can also notify you when the battery is degraded and could send you a replacement notification.
Can You Charge a Deep Cycle Battery With a 12-volt Charger?
Let’s first understand what deep cycle RV batteries are like. These are lead-acid batteries that generally have 6 cells connected in series. Charging deep cycle batteries in parallel is also possible to keep the total voltage within 12V.
Each cell generally produces around 2.1 volts and together they can produce a voltage of up to 12.6 volts and during cycling, it can reach up to 14.6 volts.
So a 12-volt charger, which comes as built-in with RV converters, can produce the required output charge for the 12V RV deep cycle battery.
The smart charger also uses the 12V output capacity, however, the working mechanism is different from what it’s for regular chargers.
But what all the 12V chargers follow is that they convert the 120-volt AC power to 12-volt DC power and then channel it to the RV adapter.
You also get chargers with 24 voltage output, but remember, you can’t use a 24v deep cycle battery charger to charge a 12V RV battery or it’ll die in minutes!
What is the Best Way To Charge an RV Deep Cycle Battery?
If you’ve cracked the right charger for your RV deep cycle battery and looking for the best way to charge it, do check out the following steps down below.
- Clean the battery terminals properly using a mild solvent like soda water and a wire brush
- Make sure all the cables are tightly attached to the terminals
- Attach the positive (red) cable to the positive terminal and the black (negative) cable to the negative terminal
- Plugin the charger to an AC or shore power outlet and turn it on
- Monitor the charging status in the indicator or display
- Turn off the charger when you see the battery indicator is full, for a smart charger the operation should stop automatically
- Now unplug the charger and disconnect the cables in the reverse order you’ve attached them; black one followed by the red
- Apply some grease or petroleum gel on the terminal to prevent future corrosion
‘Slow and steady wins the race’ comes absolutely true when it comes to charging RV deep cycle batteries.
Because these batteries require a smart multi-stage trickle charger that can bring the battery to full charge with a low and steady rate current. And once the battery is full, the charging rate is equal to its self-discharge rate.
So there’s no risk of overcharging.
But when it comes to the built-in stock charger for RV deep cycle batteries, the bottom line is — you can’t charge an RV deep cycle battery with a regular charger!
If you want some recommendations to get delivered at home, do consider the Schumacher, NOCO Genius, and TowerTop automatic battery chargers. Schumacher deep cycle battery charger is our personal favorite though.