The “Why” Behind the RV Battery Disconnect Switch

Many new RV models come with a built in battery disconnect switch, and even for those models that don’t have a disconnect in place, it is not uncommon for RVers to request one be added. The RV battery disconnect switch can actually serve a variety of functions that help you preserve power, keep your battery healthy, and make the most of your time on the road.

What Does a Disconnect Do?

As implied by the name, an RV battery disconnect switch provides you with a simple way to cut off the main RV circuit from your battery. Typically, this switch is located near your battery inside the battery compartment, but it may also be in a nearby maintenance bay.

Why Do You Need It?

First and foremost, the RV battery disconnect switch is a helpful safety precaution that allows you to cut off power instantly. It can protect you against electric shock while performing maintenance and allow you to conduct troubleshooting without interfering with your work.

However, the disconnect switch also serves another purpose. In case you didn’t already know, all batteries slowly discharge, even when they are not connected to a circuit. (It's important to note, however, that modern, sealed battery options like MK Battery's products have a much slower discharge rate that is almost negligible in some cases.) When they are connected to a circuit, they drain even faster because even when turned off, your appliances still draw a tiny amount of power in anticipation of a startup. This passive power loss can leave you with a dead battery when you are least expecting it.

For many people, this happens when an RV has been stored for the winter and the battery has not been disconnected. The fridge, heater, and even televisions inside the RV slowly drain the power away until the battery is dead. Unfortunately, they can also damage the battery by discharging it too far before you get around to recharging it. This process may take a week or so to occur. By installing a battery disconnect switch, and using it every time you plan to be away from your RV for more than a few days, you can ensure that your battery discharges as slow as possible, and isn’t damaged by the passive draw of the system. This will minimize any problems that you might come across when you're preparing your RV for a trip at the beginning of a new season. 

Using Your RV Battery Disconnect While Traveling

If you have parked your RV in a location where you are plugged in to power, a battery disconnect may come in handy. You can use the station to recharge your batteries when you first arrive, and then disconnect the battery so that your RV is running only on the main power supply offered by the camp ground. This will prevent your battery from taking any extra abuse while you are in a location that has power available.

If you are investing in a new RV battery this season, you should definitely learn the proper way to use your disconnect switch to maximize your battery life. If you do not currently have a disconnect switch installed, consider speaking with your local RV center about adding one. For more information about replacement RV batteries, contact MK Battery today.

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