RV Batteries Part 2
What affects the life of your RV batteries? It comes down to two simple steps: how you care for them physically, and how they are used. Today in this post, we want to focus on how you use your battery.
The two things that shorten the life of any lead-acid battery (either Flooded or AGM) are how deeply a battery is discharged, and for what length of time the battery is left in that discharged state. Lead-acid batteries are designed to be either a starting battery, or a deep cycle battery.
Starting batteries should only be used as the name implies, for starting engines. These are the typical batteries that can be found anywhere and are rated in cold cranking amps, CCA. CCA is a measurement of how much electrical current the battery can deliver in a very short time at typically at freezing temperature or colder. This design is useful when starting the primary engine of your vehicle.
It takes a lot of power (or current) in a very short time to spin an engine fast enough for it to start. These batteries are designed to dump out a lot of energy very quickly to satisfy the load, however, to last a long time, these batteries must be recharged very quickly after discharge to their full state. Their charge is automatically restored by your vehicle once your engine starts. The alternator charges the battery back to mostly full within a few minutes of starting the engine and driving off.
If starting batteries are left in a discharged state for any length of time, their ability to take a charge, hold a charge, or maintain a charge in the future drastically decreases and they will not recover fully. Having a dead starting battery that is left for even a few days or a week before recharging can easily limit its future charge capability to a fraction of its original cold cranking amp rating. Using a starting battery in a situation like camping where it is being discharged over a few hours and left in a discharged state overnight will definitely shorten its useful life. Use a starting battery only in a situation where it is used to start engines and where it is charged back up to full very quickly.