Deep Cycle Batteries for RVs – Benefits & How to Install

A deep cycle battery is a lead-acid battery that constantly provides power to the automobile. They keep discharging deeply, again and again, hence they are called deep cycle battery. They are mainly used in RVs as they act as a constant source of power to the RV appliances.

A deep cycle battery is a lead acid battery that is designed to provide a sustained power for a given duration of time.

A lead acid battery is one which produces power due to a chemical reaction taking place within it.

This chemical reaction involves lead and sulphuric acid. A lead-acid battery produces enough power to run automobiles, mostly cars.

A typical lead-acid battery used in a car is mainly used for starting it. It produces enough power for this purpose.

After this, it does not discharge at all.

A deep cycle battery, on the other hand, deeply discharges repeatedly while it works. That is, it provides power continuously to the automobile.

Deep cycle batteries are very useful in vehicles which are to be used continuously, such as in RVs. RVs, or recreational vehicles, are vehicles designed to function as living quarters.

RVs are subjected to constant travel. They also continuously function so as to power appliances like furnaces, showers, generators, etc.

Hence, RVs mainly use deep cycle batteries which provide constant power to it.

How do Deep Cycle Batteries Work?

Deep-cycle batteries work by the principle of electrochemistry. The battery contains two electrodes made of lead and lead dioxide respectively. The electrodes are submerged in dilute sulphuric acid which acts as an electrolyte. A chemical reaction is brought about by the electrodes and the electrolyte which results in the production of electricity.

Deep cycle batteries are basically lead acid batteries that are capable of continuously charging and discharging.

The lead acid battery works by the principle of a galvanic reaction, that is, a chemical reaction is made to happen to bring about electrical energy.

Components of Deep Cycle Batteries

The main components in the battery are its walls, electrodes and an electrolyte.

The electrodes and electrolyte involve in the galvanic reaction while the battery walls enclose the setup.

The two electrodes are made of differing materials.

One electrode is made of soft lead or sponge lead and it acts as the positive electrode. The other electrode is made of lead dioxide and it acts as the negative electrode.

Dilute sulphuric acid is the electrolyte used in the deep cycle battery.

Deep cycle batteries have specially designed battery walls that are also resistant to corrosion. The battery walls are thicker and are made of an antimony alloy to minimize the risk of corrosion.

Deep Cycle Batteries for RVs

Charging and Discharging

Discharging

The electrodes react with the electrolyte to produce lead sulfate and water.

The lead sulphate usually coats the electrodes while the electrolyte will turn into water.

The chemical energy in the system is converted into electricity when a load is connected to the battery. Thus, the deep cycle battery produces power.

Charging

When the battery is hooked up to a power supply for charging, the current is passed in the direction opposite to the direction of current produced by the battery.

When this happens, the chemical reaction is reversed and the original reactants, that is, lead, lead dioxide, and sulphuric acid are regenerated along with some amount of hydrogen and oxygen gases.

While charging the battery, some water may evaporate when current is passed, thus resulting in a decrease in the amount of electrolyte as it regenerates.

Hence, a little amount of water is also added to the battery to compensate for this loss.

Care must be taken to not overcharge the battery. If done so, the amount of hydrogen gas generated will be dangerous and must be let out of the battery.

Types of Deep Cycle Batteries

The different types of deep-cycle batteries are the flooded lead-acid battery and the sealed lead-acid battery. Sealed lead-acid batteries can further be classified into valve-regulated lead-acid batteries, absorbed glass-mat batteries and Gel batteries.

Deep cycle batteries are classified into flooded lead acid batteries and sealed lead acid batteries.

Flooded Lead-Acid Batteries

These batteries are so called because the electrodes are made to submerge completely in the electrolyte in an unsealed container. This is done to minimize water loss during battery charging.

Flooded lead-acid batteries are the oldest and most common type of lead-acid batteries.

These batteries, when used, must be provided with good support to prevent leaking of the electrolyte.

They must also be regularly inspected and refilled with electrolyte.

Sealed Lead-Acid Batteries

Sealed batteries contain the electrode and electrolyte setup in a sealed container, with no contact with air.

Other than this property, they are very similar in structure and working to the flooded lead-acid deep cycle battery.

Sealed lead-acid deep cycle batteries use valves to let the hydrogen and oxygen gases evolved during battery charging out.

Sealed batteries are generally more expensive than flooded lead-acid deep cycle batteries. They need not kept upright as the sealing of the battery ensures that the electrolyte does not leak out of the battery.

The different types of sealed lead-acid batteries are AGM, VRLA, and Gel.

Absorbed Glass-Mat Batteries (AGM)

AGM batteries consist of fiberglass mats on the battery plates that absorb the electrolyte which increases the discharge and recharge efficiency of the battery.

Valve-regulated Lead Acid Batteries (VLRA)

These batteries contain a regulator valve that will let out the hydrogen and oxygen gases before they reach a dangerous level.

Gel Batteries

Gel batteries do not have liquid electrolyte per se. A silica additive is mixed with the electrolyte to cause to stiffen up to become gel.

An electrolyte has a lesser chance to leak compared to a liquid electrolyte, hence it is a clear property in favor of the gel battery.

Benefits of using Deep-Cycle Batteries in RVs

Benefits of deep cycle batteries rv

The main benefit of using deep-cycle batteries in RVs is that it can provide constant power to the RV and its appliances in the absence of any other power supply. These batteries have a longer life compared to a normal car battery. Sealed batteries ensure no leakage or freezing of battery electrolyte. They are virtually maintenance-free.

Most RVs use deep cycle batteries. This is because RVs are subjected to constant travel.

They also continuously function so as to power appliances like furnaces, refrigerators, dehumidifiers, showers, generators, etc.

Hence, RVs mainly use deep cycle batteries which provide constant power to it.

The AGM lead-acid deep cycle battery is used most commonly in an RV.

The main benefit a deep cycle battery offers to an RV is constant power. These batteries can be charged similar to any lead-acid (car) battery.

Unlike a car battery, deep cycle batteries are capable of discharging and recharging repeatedly and need not be replaced regularly.

Due to the presence of a sealed container containing the electrolyte in an AGM battery, there is no danger of it leaking out of the battery.

As the electrolyte is kept out of contact with air and its immediate surroundings, there is no danger of electrolyte freezing. These batteries are also virtually maintenance-free.

How to use Deep-cycle batteries in an RV?

The deep-cycle battery has to be placed in the battery space of the vehicle. Its positive terminal must be connected to the positive lead of the vehicle and its negative terminal with the negative lead. A proper ventilating space must be given to the battery to allow gases evolved due to battery charging and heat out.

Firstly, the appropriate deep-cycle battery has to be chosen for the RV based on the current rating, voltage and cost.

The batteries can then be placed in the space allotted for the vehicle battery in the RV.

The positive terminal of the battery can then be connected to the positive lead of the vehicle with the charger wire. The clamps of the wire have to be tightened.

The same process can then be repeated for the negative terminal of the battery.

The battery must be given some air so as to let the battery have a ventilation space to let the hydrogen and oxygen gases out and also for the battery to cool down.

If a flooded lead-acid battery is used, it must be kept in an upright position.

Quick video to help install the battery –

It is very important to take care and maintain your deep cycle batteries so that they provide long term power to your RV. Here is a quick video about how to take care of your batteries –

Summary

A deep cycle battery is a lead-acid battery that constantly provides power to the automobile.

They keep discharging deeply, again and again, hence they are called deep cycle battery. They are mainly used in RVs as they act as a constant source of power to the RV appliances.

The main benefit of using deep-cycle batteries in RVs is that it can provide constant power to the RV and its appliances in the absence of any other power supply.

These batteries have a longer life compared to a normal car battery. Sealed batteries ensure no leakage or freezing of battery electrolyte. They are virtually maintenance-free.

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1 Comment
  1. I’m glad you explained that because RVs are constantly traveling, they use deep cycle batteries. It seems like these batteries are designed to last for a long time, and don’t require too much maintenance. Knowing when to replace them would also be important information to know.

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