Owning your own caravan or motorhome means that you’ll need to become well-acquainted with the importance of leisure batteries.
So, whether you’re wondering how to charge a leisure battery on a caravan, exactly what one is, or what size battery you need for your caravan, we’ll run you through the basics and guide you through everything you need to know.
A leisure battery will be essential to power the appliances and equipment in your caravan or motorhome, providing a power source for the 12V appliances. It will be required to provide a steady level of power over a prolonged period of time, to power the likes of:
The most common type of leisure batteries are lead-acid batteries in the following forms:
There are alternative leisure batteries which include:
You should charge your caravan’s leisure battery from an external battery charger. Your caravan or motorhome will already be fitted with a charger, but this won’t be effective enough to charge your leisure battery and is just in place to keep the onboard equipment running.
A battery will need a charger with an output of at least 10% of the battery’s capacity. So, for example, a 90Ah battery will require a 9 amp charger.
Removing the leisure battery and charging it with a good charger will help it stay in good condition and working order. That means you need to know when to charge your caravan battery, how quickly, and how long for.
A good working guide is 50% of the maximum level of discharge before you recharge your battery, especially with lead-acid batteries.
Your Voltmeter reading will help you understand the approximate level of charge along the following lines:
Yes, it’s the same in motorhomes, as leisure batteries are used in both caravans and motorhomes. You should therefore follow the same guidelines when it comes to charging your leisure battery in your motorhome.
Leisure batteries should be charged slowly as they are designed to provide low currency for long periods of time. It’s not advisable to give your leisure battery a short, fast charge.
How long you should charge a caravan battery will depend on its level of discharge and the type of battery. As a guide, it could easily take one or two days.
To keep your leisure battery working in top condition for as long as possible, do all that you can to look after it and perform essential ongoing maintenance.
The performance of leisure batteries decreases over time, meaning that they probably won’t last longer than five years. To give it the best chance of lasting for as long as possible, it’s important to:
If you’re not using your caravan or motorhome, use a trickle charger to stop the leisure battery from completely losing charge when idle.
Knowing what size of leisure battery you’ll need for your caravan or motorhome will depend on how you use it. Specifically, how often your trips take you to sites without electric hook-ups or how often you decide to be completely self-contained, coupled with the appliances and devices that you use.
The categories of leisure batteries are:
Category A: This is for higher storage capacity when you frequently use your caravan or motorhome away from electrical hook-ups.
Category B: If you often use sites with electrical hook-ups but need a greater battery capacity to operate devices that require a lot of power such as motor movers.
Category C: This lower capacity battery will cover basic operation of the main equipment and appliances on board your caravan or motorhome, for short periods away from an electrical hook-up.
In theory you can use a car battery in a caravan, but it isn’t recommended. A car battery is designed to operate at close to 100% capacity, delivering power in short bursts. When using a car battery to power a caravan it will be discharged at a deeper level continuously, resulting in shorter battery life.
Remember, take your time to choose the right leisure battery to cater to your individual needs, and do all that you can to keep it maintained and in the best possible shape, so you can enjoy your caravan or motorhome to the full.