Our old campervan has two batteries, and neither one gets much of a workout in winter.
The return of camping season in spring brings excitement and the worrisome question: will my batteries be dead?
This is the first year I knew the answer to that question before firing up the van: my new battery charger told me both batteries were charged up and ready to go!
A huge relief.
This battery charger is one of the best buys we’ve made for our old campervan.
The charger is actually made for boats. It’s known as a marine charger, an onboard trickle charger, battery maintainer and 12v-marine charger.
It works great for keeping the batteries in your RV, campervan or boat charged up and ready to go.
It charges both the van’s main battery and the auxiliary battery that serves as our power source for camping. All we have to do it plug in the van, a simple fix that provides much-needed peace of mind.
We had it installed after watching our second battery die a slow death over the past few seasons.
The battery would dwindle down to little or no power between camping trips when our van sat idle in the garage, then struggle to regain its charge as we drove to our destination. This was especially problematic if we camped close to home. A short trip wasn’t enough to power it back up.
We don’t need a lot of power, mostly because our refrigerator runs on propane. When we added the second battery, it seemed like the perfect solution. It gave us enough power for the sink pump, interior lights and the devices we charge with the cigarette lighter. We could go for days in the same spot on one charge without having to drive the van to recharge.
Too bad it only lasted a few years. 🙁
Turns out that wasn’t the battery’s fault. It was mine. 😔
I mistakenly assumed that plugging a battery in continuously would shorten its lifespan. I assumed that keeping in on all the time would wear the battery down.
But the reverse is true.
I learned that batteries fail when they’re not charged frequently as a result of sulfation, a reaction caused by the build-up of lead sulfate crystals inside the battery.
Sulfation can also happen when a battery is over-charged. That’s why it’s important to buy a battery charger like the one we bought that has a desulfator to prevent this from happening.
I’m glad we didn’t give up on our simple system … I didn’t want the hassle or expense of installing a new power setup, and I didn’t want to lose any space or drill holes in the van.
This small, smart addition was just what we needed to keep our batteries going strong.