Power Source: What Does a Leisure Battery Do in a Campervan?

Many people confuse leisure batteries with vehicle batteries. It is easy to see why however, they have two different functions. The primary purpose of an automotive battery is to start the van’s engine, whereas a leisure battery needs to provide a constant flow of power for kicking life into appliances.

Leisure batteries are the second battery in campervans and motorhomes with 12 volt power that is suitable for appliances and equipment, and they generally do not come with them. These batteries are designed to provide a steady flow of power over a prolonged period of time, and ensure your comfort in your home on wheels. They are not the same as an automotive battery, and not to be treated the same.

Achtung Camper Campervans are fitted with a leisure battery to run your campervan electrics whilst stationary. They work automatically, charging whenever the vehicle is running or when your solar panels are in the sun, and ensuring that your leisure battery keeps operating.

If you find yourself parked up for a few days in your campervan with no power connection, the leisure battery will be able to power your fridge, lights, TV, charge your mobile phone and iPad without a problem. A leisure battery will not power a microwave or induction cooker. Depending on the weather, and the number of appliances that are in operation, you should be able to remain stationary for one to three days.

If you have not started your van for a few days, and you have been running all of these appliances there’s a good chance you will drain the leisure battery. If this occurs there are three options:

  • Go for a long, scenic drive (three hours minimum to fully recharge your battery)
  • Idle your van for approx. 30 minutes to boost the battery
  • Plug in your solar blanket, or park your van in the sun (if you have solar panels on the roof)

It is also worth noting, that every Achtung Camper Campervan and Motorhome is fitted with an Anderson plug (a moulded, heavy-duty connector designed for high current 12 volt circuits and are commonly used to create a safe and secure power connection between a caravan or campervan and a tow vehicle), which can be used to connect to a portable solar blanket. We offer the blanket as an option as part of your van conversion, or you can provide your own solar blanket. Alternatively, slimline solar panels can be installed to your van roof (215 watt in campervans and 300 watt in motorhomes).

More and more campers are opting for solar panels as a power source because it means you are able to free camp for longer periods, and without any concern of draining a battery.

The secondary function of a leisure battery, aside from powering appliances, is to correct any irregularities in the power supply, keeping you and your appliances safe.

For more information on the difference between 12 volt and 240 volt, read the following blog on campervan electrics.