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How To Charge RV Battery With Generator?

Using a generator to charge your RV’s batteries helps keep the charge at a maximum without overcharging and damaging the battery. The more a battery is used, the more it must be charged to maintain total capacity.

But how do you charge an RV battery using a generator? Follow these steps to learn how to use the generator’s power to keep your RV truck rolling.

Connect the RV power chord to the generator like a campsite shore power post to charge an RV battery using a generator. A regular 30 amp/120-volt receptacle should be incorporated into your generator. If it’s 220 volts, you’ll need an adapter.

Does Running a Generator Charge an RV Battery?

Yes, you can charge an RV battery with a generator.

Your batteries can be charged by two primary power sources: your RV’s generator and shore electricity. While your generator is running, the converter or inverter on your RV will use its power to recharge your house batteries.

The best approach to charging your battery is to use the generator’s AC output to power an excellent 240-volt battery charger. This will recharge the battery much more quickly and precisely.

Furthermore, most chargers regulate themselves down, so as the charge accumulates in the battery, the charger will not be pushing the same number of amps.

Which Generator Is Utilized To Charge The Batteries?

When the engine is operating, an alternator is a sort of electric generator that charges the battery and powers the electrical system. The alternator eventually supplanted the dynamo as silicon diode rectifiers became more commonly accessible and inexpensive.

It was aided by the increasing electrical power required for automobiles, with increased loads from larger headlamps, electric wipers, heated rear windows, and other extras.

Can You Charge a Battery With a Generator?

Portable inverter generators

Yes, we recommend keeping a generator on hand because it can be utilized as a charger for your RV batteries in an emergency.

Although it takes time to recharge your battery, if you’re in a pinch, the generator may be a genuine lifesaver, turning your appliances back on to get back to having fun in no time.

Portable inverter generators are an excellent backup or alternative to your solar setup for charging your RV battery packs, especially since you can also power your appliances on 240v straight from the generator.

How Long Should a Generator Run to Charge RV Batteries?

The time it takes to charge an RV battery fully is affected by several factors, including battery capacity, generator power, number of devices used, and number of batteries to charge.

For example, if your RV or camper battery is only 20 – 30% charged, it can take up to 8 – 10 hours to fully charge. If your battery is nearly empty, setting it to total capacity may take a few hours.

How To Charge RV Battery With Generator?

Before we connect to our RV’s power cord and start the generator, we should consider a few safety considerations.

Important Safety Measures

  • Use your generator only outside, and keep it at least 3 feet away from any open windows, vents, or doors.
  • Understand how to shut off your generator in an emergency swiftly.
  • Read the owner’s manual thoroughly and become familiar with your model’s controls, receptacles, and safety precautions.
  • If you’re using a portable generator, be sure it’s on solid, level ground.
  • Examine any cords you intend to connect to the generator. If damaged, replace.

You should do the following six actions to charge your RV battery.

1. Ensure That Your Generator Is Fully Charged

Of course, you must ensure the generator has adequate electricity to function correctly. A generator gets its power from your RV’s gasoline tank. It will automatically turn off when the tank level falls below 25%, preventing it from accidentally draining your petrol.

Check the gasoline level and, ideally, fill the tank. Check the user handbook to ensure that your generator is also charged.

2. Examine Your RV Battery Connections

Before examining your battery, you must turn off your vehicle and apply the emergency brakes.

Remember that a filthy battery might deplete and damage itself over time. Remove all of the battery’s cables with a wrench. The negative cable is recommended to be removed first, followed by the positive line. Positive wires are usually black, and negative wires are always red.

The first thing to look for is bulges or leaks in the battery. Next, inspect the terminals for any dirt that has accumulated. Cleaning the terminals is a relatively straightforward procedure. First, combine baking soda and water to make a paste, then apply it with a wire brush.

3. Double Check Electrolyte Levels

An indicator in the battery should indicate the electrolyte level. Pour in distilled water until the electrolyte level reaches the ‘Full’ mark if low.

Reconnect the battery cables, positive first and negative second. Make sure the lid is securely fastened.

4. Turn Off All Lights And Devices In The RV

You want your power to go into your battery and not be consumed by your various appliances. As a result, be sure that everything within the RV is switched off.

5. Examine the Temperature

Temperature is another crucial issue to consider. If the temperature falls below 40°F, the battery’s maximum charge will be drastically reduced.

6. Connect the Generator To The Battery

Finally, secure the RV plug to the battery. Remember, this isn’t meant to be a full charge but rather to get you through until you can fully charge the battery.

You should be able to charge your battery from 40% to 80% in about 4 hours. If the generator is less than 40% charged, it will take significantly longer to set.

Charge RV Batteries In Four Different Ways

Charge RV Batteries In Four Different Ways

We’ve already discussed the common ways to charge RV batteries. Below are some of the lists that will that can be done differently.

Shore Power Combined With A Converter

This gadget converts AC from a shore power connection to DC appropriate for charging a battery. The converters are typically hidden away in a storage compartment or underbelly, close to the battery bank.

Solar Energy

With ongoing price decreases in solar panels and kits, the RV sector is witnessing far more solar power installations than just a decade ago.

Some manufacturers will install “solar ready” kits for portable solar panels, while other, newer rigs may come with solar panels already mounted on top.

RV Vehicle Engine

This implies that as you drive the rig from one location to another, the same engine that turns the wheels is simultaneously operating as an onboard generator!

This system will keep your batteries charged regardless of whether the RV is driven by gasoline or diesel, as long as everything is working correctly.

Tow Vehicle 12v Feed

It only applies to fifth wheels and travel trailers. Trailer wiring connections are used in these RVs to ensure that lights and turn signals used in the tow vehicle also cause the trailer to correspond. A 7-prong link will be found on many of the larger trailers.

What Size Generator Do I Need To Charge My RV Battery?

What Size Generator Do I Need To Charge My RV Battery?

To properly recharge a 12-volt RV battery, a generator with a capacity of 3,500 watts and an output of 8 amps is typically required. A 4,000-watt generator, on the other hand, can help you charge your battery faster.

When charging RV batteries, it is critical to keep an eye on them to ensure that they do not overcharge or overheat, which might cause irreparable damage to your battery.

Check your battery parameters to ensure you get the most significant RV generator for your needs.

How Much Power Can A 4000 Watt Generator Produce?

In a smaller home, expect roughly 4,000 watts to power essentials such as a refrigerator, stove, and some lights, and closer to 8,000 to power everything except a central air conditioning system in a house up to 3,000 square feet.

For example, an electric stove may require at least 2,000 watts, while a microwave may require 1,000.

Which Type Of Generator Is Used For Battery Charging?

To generate alternating current (AC), an inverter generator employs an engine linked to an alternator. Unlike other generators, it uses a rectifier to convert AC power to DC electricity.

These sorts of generators have the following characteristics:

  • High-tech magnets are used.
  • Advanced electronic circuitry is used.
  • Electricity is generated in three stages.
  • Outputs AC converts it to DC, and then back to AC.
  • Maintains a continuous current flow to an appliance.
  • It is more energy-efficient since the engine speed changes based on the required power.
  • Its AC can be set to any voltage and frequency when utilized with the right equipment.
  • It is usually small and light.
  • It can be transported in a car, RV, or boat.

People Also Ask

What is the best way to charge RV batteries?

Regular battery equalization is the best approach for extending battery life and improving battery performance.

For example, overcharging batteries by 10% to equalize the voltage across the interior plates is called battery equalization.

Equalization can eliminate sulfation while also reversing another issue known as acid stratification. A specialist should only perform this procedure and only around twice a year.

Why is my generator not charging my RV battery?

The battery will take longer to charge if the generator has a low voltage output. In addition, when utilizing a motor home with an installed generator, the connections between the generator and the electrical system may become dislodged or damaged.

Therefore, check that all connections are secure using a portable generator and a battery charger. 

To ensure everything is in working order, check the alligator clips (positive to positive, damaging to negative) and the charger status lights. If the battery has a deep cycle, it may be low on fluid and overheat while attempting to recharge.

In addition, the battery’s terminals may be corroded, preventing the charge from entering.

How do you hook up a generator to a battery?

Here are the steps to hook up a generator to a battery:

  1. Always connect the positive terminal first, followed by the negative. Check that the terminal screws are tight. 
  2. Ensure that it is the correct size if replacing the battery. 
  3. If you own a portable generator, you’ll need to find an intelligent charger that operates on the generator’s alternating current output.
  4. The charger will convert the 12v DC in your batteries to 120v AC and stop when they are full. 
  5.  It would help if you also considered acquiring an adjustable DC-DC converter, allowing you to charge additional devices while using the battery directly. 


Owning an RV is fun and exciting and a lot of work. It takes so much to maintain the rig; tires, water pump, generator, and batteries.

One of the most crucial components in an RV is the battery because it enables your entire system to work. Without a good battery, all the other components are useless. 

All your lights will go out, and even your radio will be dead in no time. This is why you should keep an eye on it, check it regularly, and do whatever you can to ensure that the battery performs at its best for you.


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