How to charge a leisure battery?

Author Name – Ben Garner

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When camping, boating or any other leisure activities you need to know how to charge a leisure battery. These are also known as RV (recreational vehicle) batteries. They are smaller and less powerful than marine or engine starting batteries, but they still have the same electrolyte, electrodes and case. The main difference is that leisure batteries are designed for continuous use instead of only occasional starts and stops.

This article will explain the different ways you can charge a leisure battery. There are some technical terms in here but we have kept it as simple as possible to understand easily from start to finish.

Check the charge of your leisure battery

The first step is to check the charge of your battery. This way you can decide which method you will use to charge it. If your battery is very low on charge you may need to jump-start the battery and then trickle charge it. If your battery is partially charged you can try trickle charging it from an AC outlet or solar panel. This is the most common way people charge their batteries.


Charging from an external source

If your battery is completely discharged, then you will need to charge it externally. This is done by connecting a charger to the battery so it can be powered from the mains. Most leisure batteries are 12 volts. So you can connect it to a 12-volt outlet or you can connect two 6 volt batteries in series to make a 12-volt battery. If you connect two batteries in series, you will need to add a diode to prevent the batteries from discharging back through the charger.


Charging from the alternator

If your battery is only slightly discharged, then you can charge it from the alternator. This is a very simple and cost-effective way of charging a battery. As soon as you start your engine, the alternator will begin to charge the battery. You can also connect a charger to the battery while the engine is running, but the charging rate will be much slower.

You can use a voltmeter to check the voltage on the battery terminals. If it shows 13 volts you are getting a full charge, but if it shows around 12 volts you are only getting a partial charge.


Trickle charging from a solar panel

If you want to charge your battery in a cheap and eco-friendly way, you can use a solar panel. This will take around 48 hours to fully charge a 12-volt battery. You can connect a solar panel to the battery with a diode. The solar panel will charge a small capacitor or DC/DC converter that will then charge the battery.


Trickle charging from an AC outlet

If you don’t have access to solar panels and it is an overcast day, then you can use an AC outlet to charge your battery. This is the most common way that people charge their batteries. Again, you will need a DC/DC converter to step down the voltage from the AC outlet to charge the battery. You can use the same method as above with the solar panels, but you will need a diode to prevent the AC from discharging back through the battery.


Where to buy a new leisure battery?

Whilst it’s very important to charge a leisure battery to ensure smooth running, as it gets old you may want to replace it. Here at National, we offer a wide range of Platinum leisure batteries. All of our leisure batteries come with a 2-year warranty, so if your battery is faulty we can repair it or replace it.

To order a new leisure battery online, click the button below.

Leisure Batteries

For all other vehicle batteries, click the link below.

Car Batteries

We also offer mobile battery fitting. To find out more, click the button below.

Mobile Battery Fitting

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