The energetic heart of our living cell is undoubtedly the
service battery. The market offers various solutions in this regard: it is,
therefore, necessary to know the different types of batteries and to carefully
weigh the purchase of the service battery and the devices needed to recharge
it. The first difference to take into consideration is that between three major
types of batteries:
- Starter battery
- Slow discharge battery (AGM)
- Lithium batteries
Engine starting batteries
Starter batteries are built very differently from
slow-discharge batteries, as the number and thickness of the plates inside them
Normal starter batteries have thinner and more numerous
plates since they must have the ability to provide the inrush current in
amperes sufficient to start the engine and, therefore, must deliver a large
amount of energy in a short period.
Therefore, these batteries are not suitable for the use of
the services of the living area of the camper. Although they can also be used
for this purpose, they will offer poorer and less lasting performance over time
than slow-discharge batteries, especially during the winter, when electricity
consumption rises significantly (especially if we also use stoves such as the
Trauma Combi or Webasto diesel heaters).
Slow-discharge service batteries
Slow-discharge batteries, on the other hand, have the
characteristic of being able to deliver current slowly and steadily over time.
For this, the internal construction is made up of thicker plates.
Among the slow-discharging batteries, it is worth mentioning
above all the so-called AGM RV batteries. These batteries have a greater capacity (generally greater than
100Ah) and are particularly suitable for the camper's needs. In particular, AGM
technology is ideal for withstanding numerous deep discharge cycles. These
accumulators are made internally with lead-calcium plates in which an absorbent
material soaked in acid is wrapped; this technology allows the electrolyte to
evaporate during the charging and discharging phase (when the temperature
inside increases), at the end of which the bubbles produced to mix with the
acid, leading the battery to maintain efficient performance.
- It must also be said that AGM batteries are free from
leaks and maintenance, which is sometimes necessary with normal starter
batteries (the electrolyte liquid levels should be checked annually). AGMs are
also better resistant to self-discharge: when a battery is not recharged for
long periods, it tends to discharge automatically, even if the poles are
- Among the contraindications of these batteries, we must
first mention the weight: at least 30kg for each battery. Remember that our
camper cannot exceed 3500kg of total mass unless you have a C license.
- The price, much higher than that of a normal starter
battery, is between â‚¬ 200 and â‚¬ 300.
- It is also possible
to install more than one service battery, connecting the accumulators in
parallel and thus doubling the energy reserve.
We must also consider that these super-batteries must be
recharged with equally efficient devices. Otherwise, we would have a large
reservoir of energy that we will only partially exploit. If we often rely on
campsites or on equipped areas that have electricity columns, we will have no
problems. We can recharge our batteries through the special 220V socket
available to every camper in the outer part of the cell. However, remember that
a recharge cycle can take many hours, so we do not think about "hit and
Alternatively, the market today offers many solutions for
recharging batteries services of any type:
- Solar panels:
producing clean energy in motorhomes
- EFOY fuel cells:
the ideal solution for (almost) all the energy needs of the motorhome
- Charge optimizers
(boosters): the ideal solution to charge the batteries of the camper while
- Power generators
for campers: the ideal solution for high energy requirements
Lithium batteries represent the last frontier of service
batteries for campers. These batteries have several advantages over older AGMs:
- With the same Ah declared, lithium batteries offer about
double the autonomy compared to a normal AGM battery. This is because lithium
batteries offer discharge cycles of up to 90%, while in the case of AGMs, the
maximum recommended discharge should never exceed 40%. Therefore, a 100Ah
lithium battery will offer an autonomy of about 200Ah of AGM batteries.
- Lithium batteries weigh at least half that of AGMs.
Considering the weight problems that any motorhome owner faces, that's no small
- Increased longevity: Lithium RV batteries
withstand many more charge cycles than AGMs before starting to lose their
potential. This means we will have to replace them much later than we would be
forced to do with an AGM.
- Charging Speed: Lithium batteries recharge much faster
than AGM batteries. Considering that a full charge cycle of an AGM takes
several hours, this is no small factor.
So far, the choice must fall on a 12v lithium ion battery. However, we must also consider their disadvantages:
lithium batteries have a cost far higher than a normal AGM, and additional
costs are often required to adapt our electrical system to use these batteries.
Furthermore, in case of failure, with a single lithium
battery, we would remain totally without energy, while if we had two AGMs in
parallel, in case one should fail, we could always use the other.
Until lithium batteries get cheaper, I will continue to
prefer AGM batteries. But suppose you have big weight problems with your
vehicle and want to enjoy the maximum comfort of a battery that charges faster
and guarantees greater longevity. In that case, the lithium battery is the