Our motorhome battery is perhaps our most important companion. In this post, we are going to challenge urban legend and clarify some common misunderstanding and doubts surrounding batteries.

Let’s first categorise:

Starter Batteries

They are essential for starting the engine. Their function is to power the starter motor, which consumes a large amount of battery power. That is why must have the appropriate voltage for your motorhome engine to start. The power discharged in less than 30 seconds is displayed on the battery label. 760 Amps is most common for motorhomes.

MGA Batteries

Compatible mostly for motorhomes, caravans and camper homes. They are designed for progressive power discharges. Unlike starter batteries, the power does not need to be discharged instantly. However, the charge and discharge cycles with MGA Batteries need to be greater that with starter batteries. Keep in mind that we are constantly charging and discharging. We turn appliances on and off, while at the same time we are charging solar panels, starting the engine, etc.

Question: can we install a starter battery in our home and will it work?

Answer: Yes but it is not ideal. Durability will be much less and the benefits will also be less. Another important issue is the starter battery compounds. If the internal compound of the starter battery is sulphuric acid, we run the risk of burning upholstery and even perforating floors in the event of a leak. Not advisable.

Gel battery

The fundamental characteristic of this type of batteries is their internal compound. Silicone is added to the electrolytes which forms a solid mass to prevent spillage. Furthermore, the energy efficiency is greater than that of liquid electrolyte batteries. Gel batteries can be used as both starter batteries (batteries used for start-stop technologies) and MGA batteries.

Battery charging

They should not be charged the same way as a starter battery. MGA and Gel batteries should be charged at a lower voltage than the starter batteries. That is why it is necessary for chargers to have an electronic charging circuit that guarantees optimal charge.

Since 2014, a modern feature has been added to these batteries. Alternators are equipped with “smart” technology. They charge on demand, which means they do not continuously provide all the power that our secondary battery requires. It is highly recommended that you fit a charge booster . They are electronic devices that improve both the quality and the quantity of power sent to the habitation battery. They are inexpensive and guarantee a habitation battery ideal charge while the engine is running.

Question: Can all batteries be charged with the same charger?

Answer: Yes, but it is not ideal. Proper charging extends battery life and significantly increases performance

In motorhomes that are going to be idle for a long period of time it is recommended either to install battery disconnectors switches, start the vehicle daily for half an hour or connect to the mains.