How To Charge RV Battery With Generator?

A recreational vehicle, better known as RV, uses the power of a deep-cycle battery to run onboard facilities. There must have been few times you found yourself disappointed with a drained battery while camping without a power source to recharge it. This experience can be quite bitter and frustrating. A generator can create a dependable alternative power source for you while out camping. Therefore, it is important to learn how to charge RV battery with generator.

A generator can also be pre-installed into the RV to help charge the battery. Once all the right steps are taken, a generator can provide a viable charge to keep your RV facilities running for a reasonable period of time during camping. You surely don’t want to find yourself with a drained battery another time.

In this article, we are going to discuss the most important tool to help in charging your RV battery. Also, we will discuss the simple steps to follow so there can be a seamless charging process.

What to know about Charging RV Battery with Generator?

Before embarking on any exercise, it is important to know everything there’s to know about the exercise. In this case, learning certain things will help in completing the task of charging a RV battery seamlessly. We will discuss them below:

1. Converter

You need a device that can help you convert the volts from the generator to 12 volts and that’s where the inbuilt converter comes in. This electrical device has the ability to convert 120 volts AC power to 12 volts DC electrical power for your battery.

2. Generator

This is a diesel, propane or gasoline-powered machine that is deployed in an RV to generate 120 or 240 volts AC power. It can be a portable generator and it can also be an inbuilt generator.

3. Battery

Most RV deep-cycle batteries are 12 volts. However, there are also 6-volt batteries. It is important to know the type of battery in your RV. This will better inform you on how to charge it correctly and the number of hours to attain full charge.

4. Three-way battery charger

This is an excellent alternative to the converter. It is completely automatic and charges RV battery quicker regardless of the generator power. Hence, you can be certain of this charger delivering a faster charge. It also has the ability to enhance the lifespan and performance of your deep-cycle battery. Newer models of RVs now have this type of charger in them. You can also purchase them from a store to replace your current converter.

5. Recharge time

Many factors determine the power required from a generator and the amount of time it will take for the RV battery to reach full charge. The important ones include converter output rating, how much battery has gotten discharged and battery size. Therefore, you should know that the recharge time of battery depends on these factors which you should consider before charging.

It is also important to note that generators are not specifically made to charge 12 volts batteries such as those of RVs. They have an output of 8 amperes, which is quite slow to charge deep-cycle batteries. In addition, to make charging faster, disconnect other appliances using current in the RV so all power can be concentrated on charging the battery. Also, inbuilt generator charges battery faster than portable generator.

Steps to follow when Charging RV Battery with Generator

Steps to follow when Charging RV Battery with Generator

Below, we will outline the necessary steps to guide you in charging your RV battery with a generator:

Step 1: Fuel the generator

Ideally, there’s no way you can charge your RV deep-cycle battery with a generator that is not adequately fueled to perform. It is important that your generator is ready to face the task ahead. So check the level of the oil or gas. If it is low, fill it up to a to the highest level. If you have any challenge about doing this, you should check your user manual. The manual can show the steps and processes to fill up your generator tank.

Step 2: Clean the battery

Keeping your battery clean is a task you must take very serious. Leaving your battery dirty can cause an avoidable damage which you definitely don’t want. First, turn your vehicle off and activate the emergency brake to avoid any troubles while cleaning. Also detach the negative (black) and positive (red) cables from the battery before you embark on this process. Remember to remove the negative cable before the positive cable for safety.

There may be leaks, bulges, crank, or corrosion on the battery so ensure you carry out a thorough check on it. You can employ a combination of baking soda, water and a small brush to get rid of any dirt buildup on any part of the battery. Use the brush to apply the soda paste on the dirty parts of the terminals. Ensure that you get rid of all the dirt before cleaning it with a wet cloth. Getting rid of corrosion will require using a wire brush. You can then leave the cleaned parts to dry.

It is important to note that the care given to a battery will directly affect the capacity of charge. Keeping it clean will also extend its life.

Step 3: Get the battery ready

After getting the battery clean, the next call is to prepare it for plugging into the generator. There are some important things to look out for before you can plug it into the generator to ensure maximum result. Check the level of the electrolyte to see if it needs to be refilled or not. If it does need to be refilled, get a distilled water and fill it up to the highest point.

Remember that when cleaning the battery, you had disconnected the cables but now is the time to return them back to where they belong. Meanwhile, this time, you should connect the positive cable before the negative one. Ensure you secure them tightly to the battery terminals.

Step 4: Disconnect other devices

Like we advised earlier, to ensure the battery charges to the generator’s capacity, all appliances in the RV should be turned off. That is to say, you shouldn’t have anything switched on in order to concentrate the power of the generator on the battery.

Step 5: Plug the battery

Now, it is time to recharge your battery. It is best to employ a three-way charger regardless of if the battery is charged, half-charged or drained. Connect the plug of the RV to the generator and turn it on.  


Charging an RV battery with generator is a quite tedious task that involves a lot of processes. At the same time, it is a great alternative to power your charger during camping. In learning how to charge RV battery with generator, it is important you understand that your battery must be kept clean as much as possible to charge properly and also have an extended life. You should also keep other RV appliances off when charging so they don’t drain the generator further. Hence, your battery will charge faster. Meanwhile, you should only turn on the generator in a well-ventilated area to ensure your safety.

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