So, your RV or camper battery’s power cord is plugged into an electrical outlet or shore power, but it is not charging? Unfortunately, this issue happens from time to time and can be very tiring and exhausting, especially if you are traveling or need to be somewhere.
To makes things worse, fixing this problem can take up a lot of time, so it is better to be prepared and have some knowledge in handling these issues. There are several reasons why your battery is not charging.
Some of those include a blown fuse or corrosion on your battery terminals. So, let’s first see what type of batteries people use and then dive into troubleshooting the problems that cause your RV battery to stop charging.
What Type of Batteries Do People Use?
Most people use two types of batteries:
- Deep Cycle Batteries include AGM or Absorbed Glass matt and gel batteries. AGMs do not require maintenance but are more costly. On the other hand, gel batteries have a leaf-proof gel, making them ideal for marine applications. The problem with gel batteries is that they need to be charged at a slower rate, and if they overcharge, they will be rendered dead. These are essentially lead-acid batteries.
- Lithium Batteries: These are one of the best and most durable batteries, plus they are very tiny and lightweight. The downside is that they are expensive.
Common Reasons Your Battery Is Not Charging
1. Is Your Battery Hooked Up Correctly?
This is probably one of the most annoying questions someone can ask you when your trailer battery is not charging.
However, it often happens that people fail to notice that their battery is not hooked up correctly, and then they spend time looking for a reason or cause when that reason was in front of their eyes all this time.
In addition, check out the wires attached to the travel trailer battery because sometimes they get discolored, damaged, burnt, or frayed, and this can cause your battery to fail. Similarly, if you see a bare wire, that can also be a reason why you have charging problems.
If you see more of them without the tubing or touching each other, you can try sticking electrical tape over them or calling a professional. Unfortunately, this can also cause your battery to stop charging.
A blown fuse can cause a problem, so look for the inline fuses and repair or replace them immediately if possible.
2. Is Your RV Converter Functional?
Inspect your battery converter to see whether the charging problem is caused by loose, damaged, discolored wires coming from your converter. Also, if you notice that the cables are extremely hot, that may indicate that your converter is not working correctly.
Often the problem is caused by exposed or bare wires touching each other, so if you see those, replace them. After you have replaced them, check whether your battery is charging. If it is not, the problem might be elsewhere.
Other common problems with RV converters include failure in the converter’s cooling fan and the thermal converter sensor. Occasionally, turn on the fan to cool the internal components. If the fan is not working, the converter can quickly overheat.
On the other hand, the converter’s cooling fan may not receive sufficient current; that can also be an issue. If the fan is not working, you will have to replace it.
Regarding the thermal sensor, you can check the temperature using a multimeter if the converter is receiving power, but it still seems to be overheating.
In any case, we suggest you call an RV technician because you should never open the converter. If you are not knowledgeable about batteries and converters, you can harm yourself or permanently damage the battery or convertor.
3. Is There a Broken Wire on an Open Conductor? Is there a Problem with Shore Power?
A broken wire on an open conductor between the battery and the converter is another common cause for your battery not charging. Furthermore, any damage or breakage within the battery system can cause it to fail.
On the other hand, many overlook that there might be a problem with shore power. To eliminate or confirm your doubts, check the power post in case the outlet gets burnt or damaged.
4. Is There Corrosion on Battery Terminals or Circuit Boards?
This can also be caused by corrosion on the battery’s terminals or corroded battery connections, also known as oxidation or deterioration of a material caused by its interaction with the environment.
Battery terminal corrosion can result from several issues, such as overcharging your battery, leaking fluids, and an overfull battery. First, you can check the battery posts and circuit board and see whether they are clean and dry.
If you see some greenish build-up on the terminals, you have a problem. As you probably know, any broken or damaged wire in the circuit can prevent the convertor from charging your battery.
5. Is Your Battery Dead?
You might dread this, but it is also a possibility you must consider. Often, people inspect the wires, fuses, and battery terminals and conclude that everything is working okay, although the battery is still not charging. So what is the problem?
Well, maybe the battery needs to be charged, and you accidentally drained it by leaving the lights on without the engine running. In this case, try to jump-start your car to revive it. If this does not work, you will have to replace it.
On the other hand, overcharging your battery is also not beneficial, contrary to popular opinion. It causes the battery to overheat, eventually deteriorating or reducing life. Also, consider that battery might not be able to hold a charge.
Buy a digital multimeter or voltage meter to test whether you are overcharging the battery. Before you conduct the test, isolate the batteries from the electrical system by disconnecting them and then wait a few hours.
If you notice that the battery’s charge is draining quickly, you most likely need a new battery. Buy a new deep-cycle battery and do the test again.
6. Are Breakers Working Properly?
Check whether the breakers are working correctly. Luckily for you, all RV battery converters come with an instructions manual that will enable you to find and check which breaker is faulty.
Inspect their position but also touch them to see whether something is unusual. The breakers usually have 120 volts, and you can purchase them online or in-store. Then, move on to the fuses if you think the breaker is not an issue.
Look out for blown fuses and check whether the fuses are working correctly. If you notice a blown fuse, replace it.
After you replace the fuse(s), check whether your battery is charging. If the battery still needs to be fixed, check whether the switch is not cut off and tighten the cables.
7. Is There a Problem with the Converter’s Resistor or Diode?
Sometimes the root of this problem can be a faulty resistor or diode. This is because the resistor and diode are connected by turning AC power into DC voltage, which is essentially what the converter does.
It changes the current from AC power (alternative current) to DC power (direct current), unlike RV’s inverter, which does the opposite; it changes DC power into AC power, commonly used by numerous appliances.
If your converter has a faulty fan or thermal sensor, this can also be caused by a burned-out diode or resistor. When the thermal sensor is not working correctly, there is an excellent chance internal components might damage due to excessive heat.
8. Why is My RV battery Still Not Charging?
If you have inspected everything mentioned above and made the required replacements and repairs, it is most likely that you have a faulty converter. You can either call a technician or purchase a new one.
How to Maintain My Battery and Converter?
To avoid potential problems with the converter, RV battery, and battery charger, try to maintain and inspect them regularly, especially if you travel with your RV often. From time to time, check for blown fuses, damaged wires, and corrosion.
To prolong your battery’s life, keep the battery charge from dropping below 45%. Also, do not overcharge it or keep it constantly at 100%. Basically, moderation is the rule to follow.
If you need to remove corrosion, here is what you can do.
Step 1: Disconnect the battery; remove the cables from its terminals, starting with the negative terminal; make sure that you do not touch both terminals at the same time.
Step 2: Put some baking soda on the batteries terminals and then grab a soft brush dipped in water and gently tap, making sure you do not splash the mix of baking soda and water.
Step 3: Leave it for a couple of minutes to neutralize the accumulated acid. Then grab a firm brush and scrub the baking soda mix from the terminals. When you finish, take a cloth and gently dry the terminals.
Step 4: Also, if your cable clamps are corroded, apply the mix to those areas using the exact instructions.
Several things can cause your battery to stop charging, and every one of those is equally frustrating. Basically, there can be a problem with the shore power, the battery, or the converter.
The first thing you need to do is check whether the battery can hold a charge. After you eliminate this, go through other issues, reviewing the convertor’s fans, breakers, thermal sensors, wires, fuses, diodes, resistors, and terminals.
Maintenance is essential when avoiding these issues; generally, batteries can last up to four or five years if you maintain them correctly and regularly. Has this ever happened to you? Please share your experience. What was the problem that caused your battery to refuse to charge? If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask or comment.