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Soft starts


spindrift
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I expect that we'll be in locations that only provide 30A service.  With our larger RVs, I'm thinking that a soft start for my A/C units would be a wise accessory to consider, especially in our summer heat.  Have any of y'all installed one and has it performed as advertised?

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https://www.microair.net/products/easystart-364-3-ton-single-phase-soft-starter-for-air-conditioners?variant=30176048267

I have them on two of my three AC's and I have installed them on several other AC's for other people.  They are very beneficial in saving energy and running AC's on lower power sources (including inverters).  If you have limited power available, they make a big difference on start up.  Microair was the originator of the computer controlled models, but they are not the only player on the market anymore.  My only experience is with Microair though.  I can say they are very reliable from personal experience and have very good customer service.

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We installed a soft start on one of our two A/C units to reduce inrush current when running on generator.  It works well as advertised and we can start on one Honda 2000.

However, we run both Honda’s because the load of our 15k BTU unit is usually greater than one generator can sustain. Our A/C running current is often 16+ amps which is more than one generator’s output.  Running amps vary with ambient conditions and it’s possible to run our unit with one generator when the load is light but that’s not when we need it most.

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Installed 5 soft starts at the ECR this year. The 13,500 BTU starts easy on a Honda 2000. The Dometic 15,000 BTU Penguin units will start and run with a Honda 2000 but that is about all you can have on. That unit runs right at 12.5 amps when the compressor is running making it possible with a single 2,000 or 2,200 gen set but with a generator larger than that, it would not be a problem to have some other loads as well.

Edited by GeorgiaHybrid
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2 hours ago, Parrformance said:

I will order either the SoftStart or the MicroAire in the morning. shall I flip a coin, or is the consensus on the best option?

If you are interested, I can give you a discount code to order the microair version.  PM me for the details.  I don't want to get afoul of the forum rules here.

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23 minutes ago, spindrift said:

Do you have to purchase one softstart for each appliance that creates a large inrush at start-up?

Yes.  

The way it works is when the electrical load is applied, it limits and ramps up current in a couple seconds. After than, the load and any subsequent loads on that circuit gets full current. Many a/c units start the fan motor first followed by the compressor motor. You have to wire the soft start into the compressor circuit, so just that load gets the reduced current at startup.
If you wired the soft start upstream, to say two a/c units, only the fan of the first a/c to start would have reduced current and the subsequent compressor loads would start across the line with high inrush current. 

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