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My RV Battery Keeps Going Dead

by Greg Maddox
(Ardmore, ok)

I have a 2007 Western Recreation Alpine 36' home. I am staying at a campsite with 50 amp service but my battery keeps going dead (engine) and I would suspect I need to replace the batteries, but when the batteries go dead the lights to the motorhome are about 50% as bright as they were when the batteries were charged.

Could there be a wiring problem, lights are wired into the ignition system? I'm really confused.

ANSWER: Hi Greg thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page.

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I am also a bit confused, I am assuming that when you talk about lights that you are talking about the 12 volt interior lights for the house portion of the motorhome. If you are then that has nothing to do with your Motorhome's engine (chassis) battery. Those lights are powered by your RV's House Batteries when the RV is not plugged in. When you are plugged into shore power your RV's Electric Converter takes over the job of powering your RV's 12 volt electrical items.

When you are plugged into shore power your RV's Electric Converter should be charging your RV's House Batteries and on some but not all motorhomes the Chassis/Engine battery will also receive a charge.

Based on your description here is a couple of things I would check before taking it in and having a Certified RV Technician track down the problem.

1. In your RV you should have a control panel that shows the state of your house batteries. Check to make sure that your House Batteries are actually receiving a charge.

2. Check the circuit breaker on the box where your motorhome is plugged into the 50 Amp shore power and make sure all of the circuit breakers are in the on position. It is possible that you are plugged in and the circuit breakers are off. That would explain why the interior lights are going dim as you may have been running off the House Batteries only.

3. Locate your motorhome's electrical compartment and check for any blown fuses or popped circuit breakers.

4. Check your Chassis and House Batteries for loose or dirty connections. Also check all of your RV's batteries for proper electrolyte levels and top them off with distilled water as needed.

If you have checked all of the above and find nothing wrong then your RV's Converter could actually have an internal problem or wiring issues. RV Converters are not user repairable and I strongly recommend that you do not attempt to open and repair the Converter. This repair should be done by a Certified RV Technician.

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If you do end up taking it in for repairs also request that the chassis and house batteries be tested.

Hope this helps.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

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same situation different circumstance
by: joel

I too have a 2008 western rv alpine. Plugged into 30 amp shore at home. Left outside light on overnight, came out the next day and no dc power. Engine won't start. Hydraulics don't work, generator won't start.

Rv has little use, batteries look almost new, used a battery charger and managed to start the generator, left it running for 30 minutes but the batteries didn't charge up. I'm reading that perhaps the inverter is bad. For someone that isn't all that bright, is there a way to test to verify its the inverter? Currently I'm stuck and cannot move it. Email at

Ground or not Grounded
by: Steven Langridge

Make sure you check your black ground to the chassis. If you have slide out battery trays, this 4/0 or 2/0 wire ground can wiggle loose every time the battery trays are pulled out over time.

On my coach, it did loosen up to a point where the engine would not start. This loose ground would also cause a complete power black out over the whole coach. This ground also prevented battery charging.

by: Bill A

FIRST disconnect shore power plug,start with vehicle battery check with volt meter 12-dc meter, see if charger system is delivering power to battery,find the alternator hook up to battery post on back of the alternator, it be putting out at least 14-volts now before you do that check battery at rest, before you start up the engine check battery post neg to pos. it should read 12.6 volts if not the battery is no good or it is being drained, any good battery will start vehicle within 3 minutes. a load test wont mean anything it will show good but let it sit over night and will be weak, battery only last about 5 years to 6-years, time to change.

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