Best 12volt Appliances & Accessories

12volt FAQ’s

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What voltage is required to charge my motorhome or camper engine battery?

A 12V motorhome or camper engine battery can be safely charged over a range of voltages. It requires at least 12.9 volts to charge, An RV battery can be charged safely at higher voltages as long as the RV starter battery is not fully charged. Alternator voltages and RV battery chargers voltages can go up to and over 14.9V safely, as long as the RV battery is not overcharged. RV batteries can be monitored to avoid this. If you require your battery to be kept at a float voltage, then 13.5v to 13.9v is acceptable.

Can I use my vehicle battery for my campervan appliances?

Standard vehicle batteries are optimized for high current sourcing and small engine discharges. They are built with a large plate surface area allowing short burst high current discharge, using them for RV appliance requirements will cause the heavy electroplates to deplete and corrode quickly. You can click here to see RV house batteries.

How long does it take to recharge the RV engine battery after starting?

Quite quickly, RV engine batteries are rated the same as other starter vehicle batteries, in cold cranking amps so if we assume that it takes 900 amps to start an RV in a short burst it would drain the battery of approximately 3 amps thus only taking the RV a couple of minutes to recharge.

Why does my RV engine battery flatten after driving short distances?

If you only drive your RV short distances, the battery will use power to start the engine, then run a 12v heater if on, maybe you drive at night or early morning thus needing lights on or possibly leaving the stereo on while parked. Other battery hungry components are RV stabilizing jacks, a/c, electric windows, mirrors, and heated seats which all contribute to battery power loss.

What is my RV cigarette lighter voltage?

An RV cigarette lighter power socket is usually connected via a fuse to your engine alternator circuit. When your engine is running you can expect to see 13.6v to 14.4v, but if your RV engine is switched off, then you will see voltages of 13v down to 10v. You need to keep your RV engine battery charged by running the engine to allow the alternator to put back the power taken.

RV Leisure battery charging, what are my options?

There are a few options to help recharge your RV house batteries, first, you can make use of the new DC-TO-DC charge controllers which charge your house batteries from your engine battery. The second option would be solar charge via panels on the roof, this obviously works better when you have good weather.

The third option would be a wind turbine which generates power from windy weather. This is rarely used due to the problematic setup and positioning of the turbine on RVs. Finally, if you frequent campsites regularly, then a shore-power plug-in is the preferred charging point.

What is the difference between Lithium, Nicad, and Nimh Rechargeable batteries?

Portable devices such as mobile phones, laptops, and satnav units use these types of batteries. They are different power-creating technology-driven cell chemistry power technically known as Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion), Nickel Cadmium (NiCad), and, Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH). Each type of rechargeable battery chemistry has its own advantage; NiMH battery is later technology than NiCad or Lithium and offers higher energy capacity and no re-charge memory effect battery degradation which increases usage time.

It is harder to recycle NiMH batteries than its competitor. Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) is the new standard for portable power in the RV industry. Lithium (Li-Ion) batteries weigh approximately 25%-30% less than their competitors which can make a considerable difference when carrying mobile devices around. Finally, Lithium (Li-Ion) batteries are safer and more environmentally friendly.

What Size Solar Panel Should I buy?

The size of the solar panel depends on the amount of power you need to generate. Firstly you need to calculate the number of devices you need to run and calculate how much power each device uses. This is done by adding the watt rating together of all the devices you intend to use, then times that value by the time you intend to use these devices. That will give you the total watts required. You can then buy the right size solar panel for your needs.

How many leisure batteries do I need for my RV?

This depends on how many devices you intend to use on the road. Leisure batteries are designed to provide a steady current over an extended period of time. Lithium leisure batteries are able to drain completely and recover to 100% ready for use. There are different types of leisure batteries for different budgets and applications. See our leisure battery facts here.

Which is the best Solar Charge Controller?

There are many types of solar charge controllers for different applications. Each solar power system requires a controller to protect the battery storage system from damage. RV and Off-Grid self-builders buy the best performing controller they can as it needs to be upgradeable and future-proof if possible. When purchasing a solar charge controller you need to take into consideration; initial cost, expandability, product quality, manufacturer reputation, all of which can be found on forums around the internet.

Can I charge my laptop in my RV

Yes you can, You can use your 120/240v standard charger through a power inverter connected to your leisure battery or you can buy a dedicated laptop charge cable.

How do I know which value fuse to use in my 12v RV appliance?

You should use a fuse that is rated lower than the cable’s rated value. This is usually im Amps.

What size cable should I use for 12-volt appliances?

The cable should be copper conductible for the correct current capacity. Please see the chart below;

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What type of cable connectors are available?

There are spade connectors, For use when working on boats, RV’s, and other vehicles. You will need strong crimps to help increase current flow and achieve a good connection each time. You can use ring connectors when it isn’t possible to remove the top bolt or locking nut. These connectors come in the male and female configuration as well as color-coded tubing for identification.