Does your Motorhome’s Engine Charge Your House Battery?



One topic that seems to be asked a lot is whether or not your RV charges your house battery as you are driving down the road. The simple answer is that some do, and some don’t.

Worse yet, many times the owner’s manuals really don’t say for sure if you have this feature or not.

Well, here are a couple methods (shown on a Class C built on a Ford E450 chassis) you can use to determine whether or not your house batteries are charged by the engine’s alternator.

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9 Comments on "Does your Motorhome’s Engine Charge Your House Battery?"

  1. thanks for that tip.

  2. George Purdy says:

    I had a "discussion" with a young guy about this, his position being that his didn't and no RV did that.
    My nephew always had one on his RVs. My neighbors does and his is a 1998. I know mine will!
    It can also be added as after market or a DIY which is nice. Can also cut down on the need for a potable charger unit. I heard of a recall on one of those not long ago.

  3. Lack of information? That is deliberately by design of the manufacturers; the last thing that they want in the world is the customer doing his own repair work and depriving their own customer service centers  of $$$  !

  4. The Deprey's says:

    nice video thanks.. i have a class a   its a 2000  year..   i have  2 house batts and one starter    i put a solar system in too..  i was wondering is my Engine  charges my house batts.. i will try that test.. thanks

  5. Jake Smart says:

    I was told not to charge two batteries of different style and or size together.

  6. guruphiji says:

    The contractor also avoids that the house battery discharge the engine battery if understood well?
    I am not finding the switch : ford e250 1994 eclipse conversion.
    Voltmeter not moving much so I guess I will have to disconnect the house battery and measure the voltage so see if the voltage is 0 when the alternator the engine not running and 12 when running. This way I will kill two birds with the same rock : I will know if the alternator charges the house and I will know if the house is isolated from the engine when the engine is off. Right?

  7. Engineer Dad says:

    (2013 Coachman Freelander 19CB with Ford E350) My Alternator doesn't charge the house batteries, but the cables and solenoid are present. I found a fuse that blows right away when replaced. I'll fix this, but thanks for the video because I was thinking about installing something and didn't realize I had it.

    I do have a question about the switch under your dash. I don't have that and I'm not sure why it is needed. If the solenoid closes with ignition on, aren't the house batteries "helping" to start your engine whether you push the button or not?

  8. Engineer Dad says:

    I do have a question about the switch under your dash. I don't have that and I'm not sure why it is needed. If the solenoid closes with ignition on, aren't the house batteries "helping" to start your engine whether you push the button or not?

  9. John Schultz says:

    Very helpful video. I have an '04 class c motorhome based on a Ford e450 chassis but I cannot find an emergency start switch. My engine battery was dead today owing to being parked in the cold for a couple of months but the house batteries are fully charged. I was thinking that there must be some way to charge the engine battery from the house battery. I wonder if such an emergency switch could be installed?

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