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Power Problems? Try These 5 RV Coach Battery Troubleshooting Tips

| Updated Aug 12, 2023

Lights not working? Battery draining? A certified RV inspector shares her top RV coach battery troubleshooting tips & maintenance advice…

In our weekly RV Lifestyle podcast, certified RV inspector Brenda from Queen Bee RV shares her expertise on common issues RVers face. In this RV Lifestyle podcast episode, Brenda shared troubleshooting tips for RV coach batteries.

An RV's 12-volt coach battery is not just for overhead lights and fans. It plays a crucial role in powering your heater, furnace, and refrigerator by coordinating with other power sources.

Therefore, it's important to troubleshoot any issues with your RV's lead acid, AGM, or gel coach batteries.

Here is the advice Brenda shared on our podcast. She walks us through the coach battery troubleshooting tips that will likely fix the problem.

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Watch the Podcast Video queued up to Brenda's segment

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We summarize Brenda's coach battery troubleshooting tips below, but you may prefer to watch the above podcast video queued up to her segment.

We also suggest you tune into our podcast for more troubleshooting tips, camping recipes, and lots of great RV-related information. A new episode airs every Wednesday!

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Coach Battery Troubleshooting & Maintenance Tips

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Brenda of Queen Bee RV really knows her stuff, and she explains everything in such an easy-to-understand way. Let's take a look at the valuable advice she shared this week.

Lights Only Working When Plugged Into Shore Power?

If your lights only work when your RV is connected to shore power, there's a chance your coach battery is dead. In this situation, the converter charger is the only thing powering the 12-volt systems.

The converter charger not only charges the 12-volt DC coach batteries when the RV is plugged into shore power but also supports high-power systems like large slide rooms. When you're plugged into shore power, the converter uses the 120-volt AC and converts it to 12-volt DC to operate all the 12-volt systems in your RV.

If your coach batteries are old, they might not be receiving much charge, and the converter is doing all the work. If the converter is your only power source, it's probably time to invest in new coach batteries.

Coach Battery Drains While In Storage?

Power Problems? Try These 5 RV Coach Battery Troubleshooting Tips 1

Did you know that the LP detector is directly connected to the 12-volt DC coach battery? Additionally, some electronic devices, circuit boards, and even the TV antenna booster can drain the battery over time.

When you put your RV away for an extended period, battery care becomes crucial.

Forgetting to turn off all the 12-volt lights before storage can quickly drain the battery. To prevent this, you can activate the battery disconnect switch.

However, even with the switch activated, the coach battery will still self-discharge at about 1 volt per month. If you can't keep your RV plugged into shore power, it's a good idea to use a smart battery charger when the RV is not in use.

Power Problems? Try These 5 RV Coach Battery Troubleshooting Tips 2

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Troubleshooting Tip: Test Your RV's Power Converter

Testing your RV's power converter can be a helpful troubleshooting tool. A fully charged 12-volt DC battery should read 12.7 volts or higher.

When plugged into shore power, the voltage reading should increase by at least half a volt, indicating that your converter is functioning properly. You can check the voltage at the battery monitor panel or by using a multimeter.

Set the multimeter to volts DC, place one lead on the battery's negative post and the other lead on the positive post. When plugged into shore power, the reading should be approximately 13.2 volts DC or higher.

Maintaining Flooded Lead Acid (FLA) Coach Batteries

Flooded lead acid (FLA) coach batteries require special maintenance to prolong their lifespan. These batteries contain water, which can evaporate over time.

If you have serviceable lead acid batteries, you need to periodically remove the water fill well caps and top them off with distilled water. The water level should touch the bottom of the fill well area and not be overfilled.

Remember to check the water level at least every 30 days, as the more you use the batteries, the more water they require.

What Is a SMART RV Battery Charger?

Stay Charged with a SMART Battery Charger for RVs

Brenda recommends connecting your RV to a battery charger when you put it in storage or whenever your RV sits for a prolonged time. A smart battery charger maintains your RV battery while protecting it from overcharging.

We have written an article on everything you need to know about smart battery chargers, and include a list of the 3 best RV smart batteries.

Learn more by reading this article…

Consider Upgrading to Lithium Batteries

Power Problems? Try These 5 RV Coach Battery Troubleshooting Tips 3

If you are a boondocker or just want to increase your off-grid RVing capability, you should really consider lithium batteries. They have made huge advancements and are entirely changing the battery game in the RV world.

We have been RVing and boondocking as much as possible for well over a decade, and we readily recommend Battle Born Batteries. They are, in our confident opinion, an RV upgrade that’s well worth the cost.

Read more about why lithium batteries are better, and why we recommend Battle Born…

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Power Problems? Try These 5 RV Coach Battery Troubleshooting Tips 4

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This ebook is a seven day guided exploration of New York's Adirondack Park and Finger Lakes.

We provide a suggested route and itinerary, links to multiple campgrounds and boondocking spots, and the best spots to see along the way.

Don’t plan your trip to Upstate New York without it! 

Power Problems? Try These 5 RV Coach Battery Troubleshooting Tips 5
Mike and Jennifer Wendland

Curious about the gear, gadgets, accessories, and RV products Mike & Jennifer use and recommend?

On this RV Lifestyle Travel blog, our RV Podcast and our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel, we mention all sorts of RV-related products and gear that we use, So we created a special page that links to them. We update this all the time.  CLICK HERE to go to it directly. Have you caught one of our Amazon LIVE events yet? Just go here and Follow us – to be notified every time we go live.

Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-08-12

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

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