If you have a travel trailer, a battery should be essential to run the electrical appliances. However, the topic is a bit controversial, and some people claim that you can go without a battery.
In order to know more, we need to find out why people choose batteries while others don’t. Do I need a battery for my travel trailer? I think so, and we’re about to find out why.
Perks of Using a Battery for Your Travel Trailer
Let’s start with the pros. There are critical aspects that would require using a battery for your travel trailer.
Running the Systems
You’ll need a battery in order for the taillights, marker lights, and brake lights to function properly. It’ll also power the electric wheel brakes to run efficiently.
A battery is important if you need to make sure every 12-volt appliance is running smoothly. That includes fridges, furnaces, and water pumps. Moreover, it can charge the fridge, which will assure the cooling of your food at all times.
Imagine you’re at a campsite and you need to convert the current. I know you’ll probably say that there’s shore power, but what if it fails? In this case, you’ll need to have a battery for converting the current.
Without a battery, the detectors for gas leaks (like propane and carbon monoxide) won’t work. Fire detectors won’t work as well, which isn’t the safest option if you’re on the road.
Keep in mind that you’ll need the battery if you want to use any 12-volt lighting. Otherwise, you’ll end up with regular flashlights, which might not be the most practical option at a campsite.
How Can You Go Without a Battery
If batteries have all these benefits for travel trailers, then why would people think we can go without them. Surprisingly, there are some reasons why you might not need a battery at all.
Travel Trailer Won’t Be Damaged
For starters, you won’t be damaging your travel trailer without a battery. It’ll work just fine, given that you don’t encounter any power outage.
The second reason is related to current converters. If you opt for a modern convertor, like Progressive Dynamics Power Converter with Charge Wizard, you won’t need a battery to work as a buffer.
What Are the Types of Travel Trailer Batteries
There are two types of batteries that you can choose from; deep-cycle batteries and lithium batteries.
Deep-cycle batteries are the most common and convenient option. They’re affordable, and they’re similar to car batteries. The only difference is that they provide a more stable amount of current than car batteries over a larger period.
There are 3 types of deep-cycle batteries:
These are the cheapest on the list. They need excessive maintenance and they tend to be damaged faster. This means you’ll need to clean them and check the water level frequently.
Absorbed Glass Mat Batteries
These ones demand less care than flooded-cell batteries. They charge faster and they can handle your travel trailer at only 20% of charge level (though not recommended). AGM batteries perform fine in cold weather, yet their only downside is that they tend to overcharge, which can damage them in the long run.
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Gel batteries also require less care than flooded-cell ones. They’re a good option if you use your travel trailer in freezing weather.
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Lithium batteries are more expensive, and so they’re more efficient. They require less maintenance, as they’re smaller and lighter. Moreover, you won’t need to check the water level every now and then.
In addition to all that, they have a longer lifespan than most deep-cycle batteries.
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How Long Will the Battery Last
The answer to that question depends on the type of the battery. Despite that, with proper maintenance, your battery should last for an average of 5 years. Batteries aren’t cheap so let’s see how you can get the best out of them.
How to Maintain Your Battery
If you want the batteries to last, you’ll need to check up on them regularly. I’d recommend you check them once a month if you use your travel trailer constantly.
You should always check your manufacturer’s instructions on how to maintain your battery, but this is some basic advice that works with every battery.
Done right, charging can extend the lifespan of your battery. There’s more than one way to charge the battery, either by a converter or a regular charger. However, the most accurate way to charge it is through the microprocessor-controlled charger.
No matter what way you choose, you should never overcharge your battery. Furthermore, you shouldn’t let it drain. If your battery’s charge level is below 80%, then that’s your cue to charge it. Don’t let it drop below 50%.
If you have a flooded-cell battery, the level of water decreases after every charge. You need to regularly check that and add distilled water. That way you’ll compensate for the lost water and avoid sulfation.
You’ll need to clean the battery terminals frequently, in order to remove any corrosion. You can go for a battery terminal cleaner, but there’s always a way to make that at home. All you’ll need to do is mix one cup of baking soda with one gallon of water.
During summer, most travel trailers are usually on the road. When the winter comes, they’re parked. The key to ensuring the battery won’t be harmed during winter? Smart storage.
As a rule of thumb, if you leave the battery in your travel trailer while being parked in winter, two things will happen: the flooded cells may freeze, and the battery will be drained.
To avoid all of that, you need to disconnect the battery and keep it home during winter. Make sure you give it an overnight charge every month to maintain it. That way, your battery will be ready for the road when the winter season is over.
Replacing your battery with a new one is a piece of cake. You just need to follow the instructions. Make sure you put on rubber gloves for your safety.
The first thing you should do is turn off all the systems and appliances that can use the battery’s power. Then, start by unplugging the negative cables from your battery, followed by the positive ones.
When all is set, clean the cables and the new battery’s terminals. Now install the new one by connecting the positive cables first then the negative cables, and you’re good to go.
Some people think that monitors are some kind of luxury, but in my opinion, they’re essential. A decent monitor with an LCD screen will help you determine the exact level of the battery’s charge without a hassle. Some monitors can also allow you to check the battery’s temperature.
That being said, a battery isn’t a necessity, yet it’s a backup. You might not need one with a modern power converter, but there’s no harm in having a battery. Better safe than sorry.
Now that you have all the facts you might need about travel trailers battery. Do you need a battery for your travel trailer? I think so, but it’s your decision to make after all.