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Motorhome house batteries were dead because five hold lights were left on. It has been pluged into ac for 24 hours and lights when turned on are quite dim. Do think the batteries have been damaged?

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It is possible the batteries were damaged but if they were healthy and not too old, they probably weren't damaged.

The in-house charger will be either an intelligent type or a low current type, both of which would be unsuitable for recharging a completely discharged battery.

The batteries should be removed and independently charged with something more suitable and in the case of a deep discharge it might be necessary to give them an electrical kick to get them started - like starting a 12 volt battery off with a 24 volt charger.

It is important to monitor the current and ensure it doesn't heat the batteries very much as that shortens their life. If the batteries aren't sealed don't be tempted to top up the liquid in the cells as the level will rise as the battery is charged.

Think of charging a battery like filling a tank - the capacity of the tank divided by the fill rate gives an indication of how long the tank will take to fill. A 100 AH battery at an average charge current of 5 amps will take 20 hours to recharge.
Realistically the average charge rate will be much less from the average battery charger and if the battery is no longer young it will take longer for the necessary internal chemical changes to take place so recharging fully is likely to take anything from a couple of days to a week.

It is important to ensure they are fully charged before being put into service again in order to avoid partial sulphation. The best method of checking is with a hydrometer but that is impossible with sealed batteries and a voltmeter provides an alternative. An accurate measurement of battery voltage can only be made when the battery has been off charge for several hours.

Posted on Apr 22, 2017

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