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Should I Disconnect My RV Battery When Plugged in?

Written by Philip Lopez

Fact checked by Paul Lemaire

should i disconnect my rv battery when plugged in

After a long summer trip on the road, I’m planning to store my RV for a few months. It makes me wonder, should I disconnect my RV battery when plugged in?

It’s actually alright to keep the RV power bank connected when plugged in as long as your motorhome is equipped with a modern converter or battery tender. These devices help charge the batteries at the correct voltage and prevent overcharging.

To extend the life of your battery, consider installing a disconnect switch.

We’ll discuss this matter in detail below.

Is It Bad to Leave Your RV Plugged in All the Time?

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There’s no harm in leaving your RV plugged in 24/7 if you’re using it on the road. Keeping the camper plugged in will keep your food in the fridge in good condition.

It also allows you to set the thermostat just right to reduce humidity and use other electronic devices.

When you’re storing the RV at home for a long time, you can still keep it plugged in as long as it’s equipped with a modern converter or a battery tender.

  • Modern converter: Unlike older converters, the newer models provide a multi-stage charging capacity to supply sufficient voltage and prevent overcharging the batteries.
  • Battery tender: This type of charger tops off the battery whenever it drains and prevents the batteries from charging for too long.

Can I Disconnect My RV Battery When Not in Use?

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Yes, you should unhook your RV battery when it’s not in use, especially under the following conditions:

1. Converter Lacks Overcharge Protection

If you own an outdated RV, you probably have a converter without overcharge protection.

Hence, you need to disconnect your power bank to prevent RV battery overcharging. It’s dangerous to overcharge your RV battery because it may result in device failure.

2. Charging With A Separate Smart Charger

One way to keep your RV working on the open road is to ensure that your RV batteries are correctly charged. You can plug into a generator or shore power to quickly charge the batteries.

If you want a more flexible setup, you can keep a separate smart charger at hand to charge your battery at any time and place.

In this case, you’ll need to unplug the RV and then disconnect the RV battery.

3. Storage

Disconnecting the batteries can help extend their life, especially if you put the RV in the garage for a long time. I don’t leave my RV plugged in when not in use because parasitic loads are going to drain the batteries.

The Importance of an RV Battery Disconnect Switch

A camper battery disconnect switch helps prevent parasitic loads from hurting the health of your battery. More specifically, it cuts off the power supply between your RV battery and devices inside your RV.

As a result, your camper battery maintains its charge even when you leave the vehicle unplugged for many months.

Having a battery disconnect switch is pretty convenient. Instead of disconnecting the negative cable of your RV battery each time you cut the power, you can simply use an RV battery disconnect switch on or off when plugged in. This switch is located close to the batteries.

Aside from storage, you can use the switch when you want to repair your electrical system. It also comes in handy when installing batteries, so you won’t run yourself into any live wire.

Turn the switch “off” when you want to cut the power and hit “on” to start the electricity back up.

Conclusion

So, should I disconnect my RV battery when plugged in? You can, but you don’t have to, as long as your RV has a newer converter model or a battery tender to prevent overcharging.

For extra convenience, consider installing a disconnect switch to cut off power safely and easily.

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