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Mod #72: Battery Watering System

Posted By ModMyRV On February 20, 2009 @ 1:42 pm In electrical | 15 Comments

How often do you just sit and ponder the level of water in your RV batteries? If you are like the average RVer, you probably don’t give it much thought. The majority of flooded lead acid battery failures are caused by under or improper watering. RVs are particularly hard on batteries, constantly discharging and charging them on a frequent basis, causing them to lose water over time. And if your RV has a cheap or poorly behaving charger, your batteries can suffer an untimely death due to the charger boiling the batteries dry. One way to prevent this from happening and to ensure the long term health of your batteries is to mod your RV with a battery watering system.

Mod Difficulty:

A battery watering system provides your batteries with just the right amount of water, never over or under filling them. It works through an arrangement of hoses and valves that replace the standard battery caps. A simple squeeze bulb hand pump provides the water supply via a quick disconnect to the water supply hose. Several batteries can be safely and simultaneously filled from a remote position without ever having to touch a battery or remove a cap. And automatic control valves ensure each cell is closed when the precise water level is reached.

Installation of the battery watering system is very easy. Here are the basic steps to follow for the Pro-Fill system:

  • The Pro-Fill valves are preinstalled on manifolds that will fit batteries with a standard spacing of 2 11/16″. If your battery has a nonstandard spacing you will need to replace the manifolds with the included swivel T’s. To remove the valves, carefully rotate and twist as shown. Attach swivel T’s to valves by carefully pushing while rotating each swivel until it snaps in place.
  • Remove the existing valve caps from your batteries, then install the manifolds, turning each valve 1/4 turn to lock them into place.
  • Link the manifolds and valves together with the Pro-Fill tubing. Now cut the desired length of tubing from the open end of the included 5′ section.
  • Attach fill line to an open barb. If you are installing on more than two batteries, try to locate the fill line towards the middle of the system.
  • Cover any remaining barbs with red end caps and installation is complete.

Pretty simple, eh? Other battery watering systems, like the AquaPro, install in much the same way. To operate:

  • Insert the squeeze bulb filler assembly into a jug of distilled water. Prime bulb by squeezing until it is filled with water.
  • Remove the dust cap from the water supply line and connect it to the squeeze bulb filler assembly by snapping the quick couplers together.
  • Squeeze the bulb with firm pressure to begin pumping water into the battery cells. When the bulb becomes firm, all cells are full.
  • Immediately disconnect the squeeze bulb filler assembly from the water supply line and replace the dust cap.
  • Any water remaining in the squeeze bulb filler assembly may be pumped back into the distilled water jug. One end of the squeeze bulb filler assembly may be inserted into the other to keep the line clean and to provide a convenient way to hang the filler in a safe place between uses.

This mod detailed a basic watering system that will help most RVers with there battery maintenance woes. There are other solutions as well, such as an automated watering system that electronically determines when batteries need water. These systems are typically used with solar installations having large battery banks, but may serve you well if your RV has a monster battery bank.

TipWater after charging. Water must always be added after fully charging the battery. If your battery charger has an equalize function it is best to add water after equalizing the battery. Prior to charging, there must be sufficient water to cover the plates. If the battery has been discharged (partially or fully), the water level should still be above the plates.
TipElectrolyte levels drop during discharge and rise during charge. In addition, charging generates heat, fluid expansion and explosive gases. Watering a battery before charge (or with a low charge level) can lead to boil over resulting in potential damage of the watering system, battery and vehicle.

ModMyRV recommends these parts for this mod:
Aqua Pro’s Single Point Battery Watering System
Pro-Fill RV Edition

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