Generators are not really made to charge RVs. But you might end up in a situation when that’s the only option.
Or maybe you already are. In that case, there are some specific instructions one should follow to charge their RV with a generator.
For charging the battery of your RV, first fully charge the generator. Next, check if the battery contains any corrosion, and clean it properly. Then, properly check the electrolyte level of the RV battery especially if it is not factory-sealed.
Now, if you are planning to charge the battery directly from the vehicle, turn off the headlights and everything that uses DC power.
Is it Safe to Use a Generator for Charging RV’s Battery?
Although generators are not designed to charge batteries, most of them have connectors and leads. So, you can charge a 12-volt battery using a 4000-watt generator.
Now, if you follow proper procedure and keep the precautions in mind, charging an RV’s battery using a generator is completely safe.
Steps of Charging the Battery Using Generator
One of the most important facts about generators is, they are not designed to charge a DC battery (The battery of your RV). That is why you will have to follow the steps accordingly.
Although most of the generators have connections and leads, it might take a while to fully charge the battery of your RV because of having a very low amperage. The steps of charging the battery using a generator are provided below.
Step one: Charge the Generator to 100 Percent
First of all, you will have to fully charge the generator. Having a low charge might result in some dysfunctions while charging the RV battery. Or, you can simply connect the generator to an AC outlet as the charge of the generator will not degrade while juicing up the RV battery.
Step Two: Clean the Battery Properly
After charging the generator, check the connection part of the RV’s battery. Dirt and moisture aren’t great carriers of electricity, and for ensuring seamless charging, having a clean battery is a must.
Now, if you notice some white, green, or yellow fuzzy stuff on the connectors of the battery, then cleaning them properly is a must. There are various cleaning products on the market, but they are typically expensive. Fortunately, you can do it for free at home and it will work even better than any cleaning product.
Take some baking soda from your kitchen, and mix some water with it. Now, take an old brush that you don’t use anymore (it can even be your old toothbrush), and pour it inside the baking soda mix. Gently rub the brush on the connectors of the battery and the dirt should quickly go away. Clean it with a fresh dry cloth as keeping the battery dry before charging is essential.
Step Three: Check the Electrolyte level of the Battery
Most of the people out there use batteries that are factory sealed. But, if your Rv has a third-party battery, then checking the electrolyte level is essential. If the level is lower than the recommended amount, plates of your RV’s battery will get damaged and will degrade its overall lifetime. On top of that, you will have to completely replace the electrolyte of the battery.
Now, if you notice a lower amount of electrolyte inside your battery, then use some distilled water to fill it up. Slowly pour the water until the mix reaches the fill line. After that, very carefully connect the lid and other components of the battery.
Rushing this step might cause an overflow and the electrolyte will come out with the distilled water.
Step Four: Turn off the Vehicle Completely
Now, there are two ways to charge the battery of your RV. You can either charge the battery by disconnecting it from the vehicle completely or, you can do it while the battery is still attached to the vehicle.
Now, directly charging the battery will reduce a lot of hard work, but you must take some precautions before starting this process.
First, turn off the headlights and other parts of the vehicle that might consume power from the battery. Keeping them turned on may result in a slower charging rate and the battery will never reach 100 percent charge.
Another important factor that greatly impacts charging is the temperature of the surrounding environment. If it is significantly less than 40 degrees Celsius, the overall capacity of the battery will greatly degrade.
That means, even if you charge it for a long period of time, the battery will discharge rapidly. So, to avoid that, you should take the generator and the RV to a place that has an ambient temperature of 40 degrees or more.
Step Five: Tightly Connect the Battery with Generator
After that, plug the generator into an AC outlet for getting continuous current and then firmly connect the battery. If the battery is loosely connected, it might lead to a drastic fire hazard.
Now, in an ideal condition, the battery should charge up within two to four hours, but it can vary. Especially, if you live in a colder condition, the charging time can significantly increase.
Precautions of Charging the Battery Using a Generator
Charging the battery of an RV might seem a simple task. But if you are an amateur, there are some things that you need to keep in mind and do to avoid any disastrous situation.
- Know Your Battery Type
Knowing the exact type and weight is essential for properly charging the battery of your RV. Some specific batteries will charge more efficiently on some specific type of generator.
Also, the capacity of the RV’s battery should be lower than the discharging capacity of the generator, otherwise, the battery won’t fully charge.
- Use a Portable Generator
In different conditions, the battery will degrade at different rates. It is absolutely impossible to predict how long your battery will stay functional.
That is why having a portable generator at the back of your car would be best especially if you go on long journeys.
- The Fuel Tank of the Generator Must be Full
Always fill up the fuel tank of the generator before charging the battery of your RV. The battery capacity of an Rv is pretty big, so having a lower amount of fuel won’t completely charge up the battery.
- The Maintenance of the RV Should be Good
Properly maintaining your RV will definitely keep the battery healthy. If you don’t want the fuzzy stuff on the battery conductor, clean the RV on a regular basis, take it to a garage for checking the internals and try to park it on a clean surface.