What is a Dual-Purpose RV Battery?

Most people are aware that automotive batteries are used to power Starting, Lighting and Ignition (SLI), but some vehicles, including Recreational Vehicles (RVs), also rely on batteries to power onboard equipment, accessories and devices. Cranking the battery powers the starter motor to enable the engine in the RV to turn over, but starting batteries are easily rundown and rely on an engine’s alternator to restore the charge. The RV also needs auxiliary power to support house loads, which include appliances and electronic devices, not limited to climate control, entertainment systems, stoves, microwaves, refrigerators, GPS and cell phone chargers.

Many RV enthusiasts spend significant time boondocking (without a grid connection), sometimes in remote or difficult to access locations. It’s times like these where dependence on batteries is high, and durable, reliable batteries really earn their keep. Additionally, RVs that are driven only seasonally or occasionally also must run after being idle and often unmaintained for a significant amount of time. These demands justify a premium product with greater power that also dependably supports house loads, especially when traveling in remote locations. Auxiliary power for house loads requires deep-cycling capability to provide a low, but sustained, current with intense discharges that would deplete a starting battery.

Dual-purpose batteries can produce both the Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) needed to start the engine and the longer and lower discharge rates that are needed for house loads. Most dual-purpose batteries use Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) technology, in which thin and absorbent fiberglass separators are saturated in electrolyte and compressed tightly between the battery’s positive and negative plates. AGM batteries are sealed to make them leak- and spill-proof, as well as virtually maintenance-free, as they do not require watering or changing.

An advancement in AGM batteries is Thin Plate Pure Lead (TPPL) technology, found in ODYSSEY® batteries from EnerSys®. Thinner plates enable more to fit inside the battery case to provide at least 15 percent more surface area for the electrolyte to react with, resulting in twice the overall power and three times the life of conventional batteries. Dual-purpose ODYSSEY® batteries produce engine cranking pulses up to 3,125 amps for 5 seconds and deep-cycling up to 400 cycles at 80 percent Depth of Discharge (DOD) to support house loads. Capable of operating at temperatures as low as -40°F (-40°C), TPPL technology enables ODYSSEY® batteries to provide dual-purpose service: CCA needed to start the engine dependably and deep-cycling reserve power, even when the engine is not running.

ODYSSEY® batteries for RVs can get campers to their destinations safely and reliably, even after long periods of storage. Their deep-cycling power also enables the comfort and convenience of the RV’s accessories and systems, especially when there is no grid connection. The dual-purpose capability provides campers with dependable starting and house load service.

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EnerSys, the global leader in stored energy solutions for industrial applications, manufactures and distributes energy systems solutions and motive power batteries, specialty batteries, battery chargers, power equipment, battery accessories and outdoor equipment enclosure solutions to customers worldwide. Energy Systems, which combine enclosures, power conversion, power distribution and energy storage, are used in the telecommunication, broadband and utility industries, uninterruptible power supplies and numerous applications. Motive power batteries and chargers are utilized in electric forklift trucks and other industrial electric powered vehicles requiring stored energy solutions. Specialty batteries are used in aerospace and defense applications, large over-the-road trucks, premium automotive, medical and security systems applications. EnerSys also provides aftermarket and customer support services to its customers in over 100 countries through its sales and manufacturing locations around the world. With the NorthStar acquisition, EnerSys has solidified its position as the market leader for premium Thin Plate Pure Lead batteries, which are sold across all three lines of business. More information regarding EnerSys can be found at