Taking good care of your RV’s battery is essential. You want it to be in the best possible health, so all your appliances work properly while you are on the road. Disconnecting the battery before storage is essential to maintain good battery health. In this article, I will discuss how to properly disconnect an RV battery for storage.
Disconnecting an RV battery is fairly easy, but it depends on whether you have a disconnect switch or not. You can turn off the connection with the disconnect switch or use a wrench to unscrew the negative connection on the battery. Flipping a switch is just a bit easier. You can install a switch if your RV doesn’t come with one already.
In this article, I will be discussing all the little details as to how you should do the whole process. I will also be discussing RV battery disconnect switches and why you should disconnect RV battery when in storage in the first place. So, let’s get started.
RVs That Have A Battery Disconnect Switch
An RV battery disconnect switch makes disconnecting the batteries as easy as, well, flicking a switch, literally. A lot of RVs these days come with a battery disconnect switch already installed. So, you might not have to worry about installing one yourself.
If your RV came with a preinstalled switch, it’s either near the battery under the hood or somewhere else on the RV. If it is not near the batteries, it’s often located inside one of the compartments of your RV. You can check your RV’s manual to make sure where it is located or if it has one in the first place.
Once you locate the switch, it’s very easy, just turn it off. You should be able to figure it out on your own, but if you are still having difficulties, don’t worry, I will explain everything, so keep reading.
There are mainly three types of RV battery disconnect switches. Push buttons, turning switches, and switches that have keys. Let’s talk a bit about all three types.
Push Buttons: They are just, as the name suggests, buttons. You push the button to change the state from connected to disconnected. If they don’t have an indicator light, you might get confused about which state they are in, so you can make sure by trying out the appliances in your RV.
Turning Switches: Turning switches are what you can call proper switches. These are switches that you flick between on and off states. Some of these are designed in a metal blade-like structure that makes the connection visible. These are simple and last long.
Switches With Keys: These are the best ones in terms of security. These switches connect and disconnect with some kind of a key mechanism. You can pull out the key, and the battery gets disconnected. This is helpful if you are worried someone might tamper with your RV while you are away.
RVs That Don’t Have a Battery Disconnect Switch
If your RV does not have a battery disconnect switch installed, you will need to get under the hood. I highly advise you to install an RV battery disconnect switch as it will make things much more convenient. In the meanwhile, follow my directions to properly disconnect the battery.
You will need a wrench for this one. It’s a good idea to keep a set of tools with you while you are on a trip in your RV. A simple wrench will do just fine. Open up the hood of your RV and locate the battery.
We are now going to disconnect the negative connection of the battery. We will not touch the positive connection. Do not touch the positive connection with your hands or tools. Make sure to wear safety gloves and rubber shoes while working with the RV battery as it can be dangerous otherwise.
You are going to unscrew the bolt that is keeping the wire and the negative terminal connected. Now your battery is disconnected. Push the wire to a side so it doesn’t fall, and re-establish the connection again. Don’t leave the bolt inside. Your disconnection process is now done.
Installing An RV Battery Disconnect Switch Yourself
If you do not have an RV battery disconnect switch installed, you should highly consider installing one. Of course, you can get a mechanic to do it for you, but it is a fairly easy process that you can do it on your own too. Here’s how you do it.
Find The Right Switch
The first thing you need to consider when installing one yourself is that not all switches are the same. All switches are not meant to handle all sorts of power loads. You will need to get a disconnect switch that will work with the capacity and voltage of your RV battery.
Make sure you have the voltage and capacity of your battery before buying a disconnect switch. You can consult the shop you are buying from for advice. Now you just need to install the switch.
Installing The Switch
It’s just a simple process of disconnecting the negative terminal, just like I’ve described before.
After that, just connect the switch between the wire and the negative terminal and clamp the switch next to the battery, so it doesn’t move around. And you are now done!
Why Do You Need to Disconnect the Battery?
Disconnecting an RV battery is necessary to prevent battery drain while in storage. This preserves the charge inside the battery. If you do not disconnect the battery before storing it and let it drain over time, it will deteriorate and lose its longevity.
Any acid cell battery deteriorates if it is left without a charge. Even when you are not using the RV and its appliances, the battery loses charge slowly when you keep it plugged in. And you do not want your RV to be useless when you take it out of storage after a while.
You can leave it connected if you want to. It isn’t necessary, although I highly advise against it. You should disconnect the RV battery when in storage to preserve the life of the battery.
When Should You Disconnect the Battery?
There are quite a few scenarios where disconnecting your RV battery is a good idea for preserving the charge and longevity of the battery. First is the most obvious one; when you put it in storage.
If you are storing your RV for a while, then you should disconnect the battery. In an RV, you probably have all sorts of electrical machinery connected to the outlets. Even when not in use, these machines can draw in little bits of power and deplete your battery way beyond the safe range.
So, if you are planning to or already have your RV in your garage with no plans on starting it up again anytime soon, keep the battery disconnected.
Another good time to disconnect the battery is when you are connected to shore power. For example, if you are in a campsite and are connected to a camp power, it is good to disconnect the battery to preserve the charge. But, only disconnect the battery after it has finished charging.
To disconnect the RV battery when in storage is necessary if you want to increase the battery’s longevity. It is absolutely easy to do so if you have a switch installed. If not, then you can also do it easily with a wrench.
Thanks for reading till the end. Hopefully, you found this guide helpful in one way or another. I wish you safe travels, and until next time, farewell.