One of the common things all RVers should know about is where to find their motorhome’s battery disconnect switch.
Most newer RVs come equipped with a battery disconnect switch, but even if yours doesn’t have one you can have one installed.
Your RV disconnect switch is incredibly important, especially if you store your motorhome for extended periods. Yet, often RVers don’t know where this switch is because you can install it in various locations.
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What Is A Motorhome Battery Disconnect Switch?
Firstly, let’s look at what a battery disconnect switch is before we give you the answer to what exactly a motorhome battery disconnect is. Essentially, a battery disconnect switch allows a person to conveniently temporarily switch off the electrical power fed to a circuit.
An RV battery disconnect switch works the same way. When you flip a disconnect switch, you quickly and easily stop your battery from feeding power to the main circuits in your motorhome.
With this switch installed, you don’t need to manually disconnect your RV battery bank when ready to store it.
What Are The Seven Places You Should Check For A Battery Disconnect Switch In Your RV?
Now that you know what an RV battery disconnect switch is, we can discuss the seven places you might find the one installed in your motorhome:
1. Underneath The Tongue On A Non-Motorized RV
If you have a toy hauler, travel trailer, or fifth wheel, you should check underneath the tongue of your motorhome.
Often manufacturers will place the RV disconnect switch underneath the tongue, so it’s the best place to look first if you own a non-motorized RV.
Usually, Forest River will install a battery switch in this location.
2. Behind Propane Tanks
In recent years, many motorhome manufacturers have had the battery disconnect switches placed behind propane tanks, and it’s safer than you think.
For example, many Forest River motorhomes have an RV battery disconnect switch installed behind a propane tank or underneath a propane tank rack on the driver’s side of a motorhome.
It’s not challenging to locate, and you should be able to find it easily enough.
3. Near The Engine
Arguably, one of the most common locations for an RV battery disconnect switch to be installed is near the engine. This is because it is near a motorhome’s batteries and can be easily accessed by RVers. Find your engine and look for a switch near it.
If you are in an emergency, you can flip it and wholly disconnect your battery or turn it off but keep your battery connected and ready to use.
Usually, it’s best to speak with your motorhome’s manufacturer if your battery disconnect switch is found in this location so that you know how to wholly disconnect or only switch off.
4. Near The Entrance Door
If you have a newer motorhome, the first place you should look for a battery disconnect switch is near the entrance door.
In recent years, in the industry, this switch is often known as the ‘salesman switch’ because it will turn on the motorhome’s power on and off, making it easy to power on or power off appliances and outlets when entering and leaving an RV.
Most of the time, the battery disconnect switches near the entrance door are rocker switches that can be easily toggled when entering and leaving.
5. Below The Drivers Seat
It’s rare, but some older motorhomes have an RV battery disconnect switch below the driver’s side seat.
If you have an older motorhome, you should look inside the cab on the door side below your driver’s seat to see if you can find a small round known. This knob is usually the battery disconnect switch.
6. In The Control Panel
Unsurprisingly, many RVers find their motorhome battery disconnect switch in the control panel.
For example, many Fleetwood motorhome owners have stated that their battery disconnect switch is inside a control panel with rocker switches and LED lights showing when a switch is on or off.
If you have a Fleetwood, you should look for a switch labeled ‘Aux Battery’ in the control panel, as this is likely the switch you need to flip when you need to switch off the power in your motorhome.
You should also note that some motorhomes have a separate battery disconnect switch for the slides that can also often be found in the control panel.
7. Inside A Pass-Through Storage Compartment
If you have bought a second-hand motorhome, one of the first places you need to check to find an RV battery disconnect switch is in a pass-through storage compartment.
Many RVers choose to install a battery disconnect switch inside a front pass-through storage compartment because it makes it easier to switch everything off when storing a motorhome.
Additionally, people choose this location because it is protected against the weather and isn’t visible to other people. This means that no individual or criminal can tamper with it while you’re traveling.
How Does Your Motorhomes Battery Disconnect Switch Work?
Knowing how your battery disconnect switch works in your motorhome can alert you if something is wrong with it. Firstly, your RV disconnect switch will be strategically placed between a cable and the negative battery terminal.
A battery disconnect switch will stop the flow of electricity fed to your motorhome through the negative battery cable. It effectively severs the power connection between the 12-volt fuses distributed throughout your motorhome that power your appliances, outlets, and amenities.
Flipping the switch on your battery disconnect switch disengages the electricity flow to all your 12-volt circuits in your RV from your RV. This will keep your battery from being drained and allow it to last longer.
Why Do You Need A RV Battery Disconnect Switch?
So now that you know where to search for a battery disconnect switch in your motorhome, you’re likely questioning why you even need to know where it is. Well, it’s a good idea to get acquainted with this switch for several reasons.
The biggest reason you need to know where your battery disconnect switch is located in your home is that it’s a safety precaution. This switch will allow you to immediately turn off the electricity in your motorhome.
Essentially, this means you can perform maintenance tasks safely, and you will be protected against electrical shocks while trying to determine various motorhome problems.
Another reason you need to know where your motorhome’s battery disconnect switch is because it plays an essential purpose. This switch allows you to turn off your battery and stop it from feeding electricity, preventing it from draining.
An RV battery connected to a circuit drains incredibly fast because your motorhome’s various appliances and outlets will draw significant power.
Ultimately this passive power loss from your appliances and outlets can cause the battery in your motorhome to die prematurely, leaving you stranded or needing a new one when you take your RV out of storage. When you use the disconnect switch, you prevent all this from happening.
So it’s best to ensure you remember to flip the switch if you are going to be away from your motorhome for more than a few days at a time. With the switch flipped, your battery will discharge slower and be less likely to be damaged by the passive draws from your motorhome.