How to know if battery is charging

LisaFree

Member
Mar 2, 2011
96
Last week when my roof wouldn't lift all the way at the campground, the cause was apparently a bad cell in my battery - which, by the way, was only one year old. While futzing around with the winch before I had the battery diagnosed, I noticed two things about the battery wiring:

1. a white wire that went from the TV plug to the battery negative terminal was partially stripped in about a 3/4" section

2. the fuse that is supposed to be inline between the battery and the camper was totally missing and I don't think it was ever present because I don't remember ever seeing it there.

I have wrapped the stripped wire with electrical tape (the wire itself appeared to be in good shape - just the insulation was stripped off, probably from rubbing against the trailer). There is now a fuse where there wasn't one before. And I have a new battery.

Since this is my first season with the camper, I don't know that the battery was EVER charging. I've popped it up and down probably ten times since I bought it in the spring. I only noticed the lift seeming to slow down when I popped it up right before the last trip. At the time I figured the battery needed to be charged since it had been about six weeks since my last trip and assumed it would charge en route to our destination. Of course that didn't happen. :(

How do I check to see if the battery is charging now? And is there any other stuff in the battery area that I should check? We have a multimeter, but I'm pretty clueless about how to use it.
 

Full Circle

Greely, Ontario, Canada
Apr 4, 2009
1,226
Greely, Ontario
Hi Lisa, it's pretty easy to check. Plug the pup into Shore Power, and grab your multimeter. Turn the dial of the meter so that it points to the lowest DC voltage setting on the meter above 12 (most of the ones i've seen have a 20 volt DC setting). Touch the electrodes to the battery posts, proper way is black negative and red to positive, although it doesn't really matter. If the meter's electrodes are reversed your voltage reading will simply be a negative number. If the battery is charging it should read somewhere around 13.4 volts.


As an aside, charging while on route is usually only a trickle charge at best. It would take a very long time to charge a weak battery, so it would depend on how long of a drive you have.
 

LisaFree

Member
Mar 2, 2011
96
Thanks Adam! I had no idea it was just a trickle charge when hooked to the TV. Some days I feel so underprepared to own a camper! Learning stuff I never really cared about learning, but most days it's worth it to be able to take the kids camping.
 




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