RVs often have a somewhat complex electrical system for a vehicle capable of accepting power from shore power as well as a generator. While cars usually have only one accessible battery that starts the car, an RV can have two batteries.
So does an RV generator charge both kinds of batteries? It would be helpful if it did so you don’t have to do anything else to ensure your RV is maintained.
An RV generator does indeed charge house batteries, we will clarify what this means below and offer more detail.
What is a house battery in my RV?
Just so you know, we aren’t referring to household batteries. Your RV generator doesn’t directly charge AA, A, or lithium batteries – though it could if you plugged in a rechargeable.
RV’s often have two batteries: A chassis battery that starts the engine and is charged by the alternator, and a house battery that runs the internal electrical. Some RVs will have one battery doing both jobs, so we’ll assume that it’s a house and chassis battery.
Does the RV generator charge the house batteries and chassis?
Yes, it does. In some RV’s, you might have to switch something on the exterior within your generator compartment to enable it to charge both, but the RV generator should charge both batteries natively while plugged into your inverter or surge protector.
The chassis battery or house battery can have a switch that allows the battery to be charged via generator. The primary purpose of this switch is to keep a fully charged battery from receiving too much high powered charge – and to conserve generator gas.
The switch can fail, resulting in either battery generally failing to receive the power it has coming. The switch can be fixed either by a good do it yourselfer or by bringing your RV to a mechanic.
The next step is knowing where your chassis battery is located. Consult your manual, but the house battery could be in an exterior compartment. It could also be a compartment in your floor or under your stairs. You’ll want to open the compartment and check to ensure the switch is set the right way to charge.
Do I need to change anything on my generator?
Unlikely. The generator is fairly passive for charging anything. The generator only needs to be running and plugged into your RV in order to be capable of charging the house battery.
Your RV generator can indeed charge the house batteries for your RV. The generator is capable of charging most anything that can receive electrical. The biggest obstacle might actually be ensuring that the RV is properly setup to receive power at both the house and chassis battery.
If your RV only has one battery, this is easier because you’ll only have to locate and adjust one battery. Either way, your experience with turning on your generator and ensuring both your vehicle start up battery and electrical battery should be pretty easy.