How to Charge RV Battery with Generator (in 4 easy Steps)

If you are about to purchase a generator for your camper or RV, it is good to know how to Charge an RV Battery with a Generator.

I am talking about specifics because charging batteries through generators is not as simple as it may seem.

You will need some basic knowledge, especially if you use a generator for the first time.

Importance of Charging RV Battery:

Different devices and appliances run from RV batteries, and it’s easy to understand why this happens so often.

RV batteries do much more than start your engine and power your lights and appliances.

They also keep the chassis of your RV charged when you’re not driving it so that everything has power when you get to where you’re going.

If this doesn’t happen, all the electronics inside your RV won’t work through any part of your journey.

How Long Can RV Battery Last

In general, RV batteries can last anywhere from 3 to 5 years.

If you use your RV a lot, then the life of your Battery decreases significantly.

But the lifespan of your RV battery will vary based on how often it is used and what type of batteries you have.

It’s not uncommon for batteries to last between three and five years, but if you use your RV extensively, then the battery will last far less than that.

The best way to get the most power out of your RV battery is by using a trickle charger when it’s in storage.

Benefits of RV Car Battery Charger:

There are numerous benefits of an RV battery charger. The most important ones are listed below:

  1. Increases the life span of batteries by preventing overcharging and overheating.
  2. Finds your RV in emergencies without draining out your main RV battery.
  3. Provides power for your appliances when you’re not near any power source.
  4. It provides power to your car when you’re in parking lots, rest areas, or service stations.
  5. It gives electricity for lights and appliances in your RV when you don’t have enough fuel to operate the generator or during camping seasons when campsites provide only limited electrical current.

How To Charge RV Battery With Generator

Tools Required:

The tools required to charge a battery are listed below:

  1. A battery charger
  2. Any Portable Generator
  3. Any brush to clean the terminals on the Battery
  4. A hydrometer (optional)
  5. Safety glasses and gloves (optional, but always recommended)

Steps To Charge Rv Battery With A Generator:

Let’s solve the mystery of how to charge an RV battery with a generator.

It’s the fastest way to charge RV batteries. The steps to charge an RV battery with a generator are as follows:

  1. Start your Generator
  2. Attach Battery to Battery Terminals
  3. Plug the Battery Charger into Generator
  4. Turn off The Generator

1. Start Your Generator:

Start your generator first. Ensure that you have enough power for the inverter to handle the energy output of the battery charger.

Before starting it up, please turn off any additional appliances connected to your inverter.

2. Attach Battery to Battery Terminals:

Attach the -ve (negative) cable to the -ve (negative) terminal of the RV Battery. Attach the +ve (positive) cable to the +ve (positive) terminal of the RV Battery.

Ensure that they are on securely and that you cannot see any exposed metal sparking while attaching them.

Also, ensure that the clamps are tightly secured to each terminal on your RV’s battery.

3. Plug the Battery Charger into Generator:

Once the positive and negative cables are attached to your battery, plug the battery charger into one of the outlets on your generator.

If you have a multi-outlet extension cord, you can plug in multiple batteries simultaneously.

4. Turn off Generator:

Turn off the generator once the battery charger is connected. It should begin charging your RV’s batteries.

Once you have finished charging your batteries, disconnect the red (positive) cable first and disconnect the black (negative) cable.

Usually, you should wait for at least 15 minutes between unplugging your battery charger and removing them because there is still power coming out of the generator once the charging process has stopped.

You can also switch it off.

Types of RV Battery Chargers

Some of the types of Rv battery chargers available in the market are listed below:

  1. Generator Battery Chargers
  2. Solar Battery Chargers

Generator Battery Chargers:

These kinds of batteries help to charge the RV’s batteries from a generator when you have no shore power or power from a wall outlet. 

Also, many generators do not have an output to run a battery charger, so this kind of charger is crucial to use with them.

Generator battery chargers are manual or automatic, and they come in the following two types:

  • Automatic Battery Charger

Connected to your RV’s batteries while it’s plugged into shore power, and don’t worry about overcharging your batteries.

  • Manual Battery Chargers

These chargers are cheaper and simpler to use. You plug in the manual battery charger when you want to charge your batteries and then unplug it when fully charged.

They usually have a switch to turn them off.

Solar Battery Chargers:

Solar battery chargers for RVs are designed with solar panels on top of them.

They are generally quite small and light, especially if you compare them with generator battery chargers.

Like other kinds of RV battery chargers described above, they can be manual or automatic.

Some solar RV charger models come with 12-volt adapters to charge your batteries using normal AC power outlets in case there is no sunlight available.

Charging your RV batteries fully is crucial to ensuring that they perform efficiently when used.

For this reason, it’s always advised to maintain an RV battery charger, whether it’s a solar charger or a generator battery charger.

But you must beware of imitations. Some companies are selling fake products, which can be dangerous to use.

Bad Sides of Charging an RV Battery

Charging an RV battery with a generator is not as easy as it might sound.

The main problem is that the charging voltage of generators can vary significantly, and many factors affect this.

But, in general, you will need to know what voltage your RV battery requires before you plug it in to charge.

Ensure that the combined wattage of all appliances plugged into your generator does not exceed the generator’s capacity, or else overloading could cause damage or even start a fire.

A surge protector should be used if multiple appliances are on one cord.

Also, know how much power you need at any given time.

FAQs: How to Charge RV Battery with Generator

How to charge RV batteries with a generator?

How to charge RV batteries with an inverter generator? It’s always better to use an automatic RV battery charger to avoid damaging the batteries with a generator.

However, if you wish to charge your RV batteries with a manual battery charger, then you should follow these steps:

  1. Choose the area where you will be using the generator. It’s recommended that you don’t use a generator in a closed area with no air circulation.
  2. Ensure the generator runs outside your RV about 20 feet away from your batteries.
  3. Connect the positive red cable to one of your battery charger’s clamps, and then connect the negative black cable to another clamp. Also, make sure you don’t touch the clamps together because that could lead to a short circuit.
  4. Connect the negative cable to the generator’s ground terminal and the red clamp to its positive terminal.
  5. Turn on your generator and let it run for about an hour or until your batteries are fully charged.
  6. Before shutting down your generator, disconnect it in the reverse order.

How long does it take to charge an RV battery with a generator?

An automatic battery charger should be used to charge your RV’s batteries with a generator.

If you don’t have an automatic one, then use the steps below to calculate how much time it will take your generator to charge your batteries fully:

  1. Calculate the total capacity of your RV Battery bank by multiplying the Amp Hours (Ah) rating of each Battery by the number of batteries.
  2. Divide this result by your generator’s Wattage rating to arrive at the total time required for charging your RV batteries with a generator. For example, if you have two 12V 100Ahr deep-cycle lead-acid batteries connected in parallel and you use a 4,000-watt AC generator, then the calculation is:
    2 x 100 Ahr batteries in parallel = 200 Ahr 12V battery bank
    200 / 4,000 = .5 Hours (30 minutes)

What is an RV battery trickle charger?

An RV battery trickle charger is used to charge low batteries.

This battery charger will not overcharge the Battery by switching itself off once it has reached full voltage as standard battery chargers do.

They are usually attached to the RV’s negative terminal and plugged into the power supply (110 volts) to keep your RV or any other 12-volt electronics you have running.

Why is the RV Battery not Charging from Generator?

Why your RV battery isn’t charging from your generator?

If your RV battery isn’t charging from your generator, there are a few things you can check to troubleshoot the issue.

  • Ensure that the generator is set to the “AC Voltage” setting and that the battery is turned on and receiving power.
  • Ensure the battery disconnect is not disconnected and that the converter circuit breaker is on, and fuses are good.
  • Ensure that the main breakers of the generator are not tripped.

If it still doesn’t work, there may be something wrong with your generator or RV battery.

We recommend taking it to a technician to get it checked out.

Final Verdict

There are many ways to charge your RV’s batteries with a generator.

You can use an automatic battery charger or do it manually by following the steps above.

If you choose the manual route, follow them carefully and do not touch both clamps at once because that could lead to a short circuit of your battery bank.

Whether you’re charging your RV batteries with solar chargers for RVs or using generators, make sure they stay charged if you want them to last long.

To maintain optimal performance in everyday life situations like boondocking (camping off-the-grid) on remote land, camping near waterfalls, etc., always keep fully charged 12-volt batteries available!

I hope now you know step-by-step how to charge an RV battery with the generator.

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