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Old 02-16-2021, 05:44 PM   #1
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Softstart for AC unit

Has anyone ever used the softstart product for their RV AC. We live in Ontario Canada and until covid is in the rear view we will be spending out summers on Manitoulin Island. We are on a 20 circuit and not able to use our AC. We don't need it alot as the nights are generally chilly being right on Lake Huron. The days do get hot and would like to use this product to run ac through the day at times. Anyone use it when power supply is an issue
Thanks from the snowy north.
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Old 02-16-2021, 06:00 PM   #2
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We used the microaire 364 in our TT for several years. We never ran off generator, but lots of folks say this will allow operation from a smaller generator. They claim you can run two ACs off a 30 amp cord if both have the microair.

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Old 02-16-2021, 06:36 PM   #3
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Thanks desert boat. The micro air is a little cheaper too.
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Old 02-16-2021, 07:49 PM   #4
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I just bought 2 from MicroAir.net, Easy Start 364. Use code KYD1 for a $25.00 discount off each one at checkout.
The code is from Keep Your Dream YoutTube channel.
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Old 02-16-2021, 07:53 PM   #5
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I just bought 2 from MicroAir.net, Easy Start or Soft Start #364. Use code KYD1 for a $25.00 discount off each one at checkout.
The code is from Keep Your Dream YouTube channel.
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Old 02-17-2021, 10:52 AM   #6
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This looks like a simple kick start capacitor. All central AC units have these. I don't see why you can't wire one in yourself and install it in a waterproof gang box. Home Dopey and Blows both carry these capacitors as well as the waterproof gang boxes. Should cost under $30 to make it yourself. https://www.homedepot.com/s/HVAC%2520capacitor?NCNI-5
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Old 02-17-2021, 11:04 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by SetauketJeff View Post
This looks like a simple kick start capacitor. All central AC units have these. I don't see why you can't wire one in yourself and install it in a waterproof gang box. Home Dopey and Blows both carry these capacitors as well as the waterproof gang boxes. Should cost under $30 to make it yourself. https://www.homedepot.com/s/HVAC%2520capacitor?NCNI-5
The difference between a "kick start capacitor" and the MicroAire unit is that the MicroAire unit ramps up the starting current until the motor is going fast enough to switch to the "Run Capacitor". MicroAire has posted a video that shows how their unit reduces the starting inrush significantly while the "kick start" capacitor actually can increase the inrush.

The only thing the capacitor does is shorten the amount of time the current flows but at the expense of higher current.


I put a MicroAire unit in my A/C and my generator loves me for it.
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Old 02-17-2021, 11:14 AM   #8
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From my reading, the MicroAir requires 5 starts on shore power after installation as the unit learns the requirements for your AC unit. The SoftStart for Southwire does not have the learning requirement. So, MicroAir might have a lower power draw during startup than the SoftStart which must use a generic ramp profile.
Mike Sokol has done an investigation of the SoftStart unit and shows the current draw at startup of that unit. As I recall without the Softstart there was actually a max current draw of over 45 amps. With the unit, max draw was around 20 amps. It takes about 14 amps to keep the AC unit running once started.
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Old 02-17-2021, 11:23 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TitanMike View Post
The difference between a "kick start capacitor" and the MicroAire unit is that the MicroAire unit ramps up the starting current until the motor is going fast enough to switch to the "Run Capacitor". MicroAire has posted a video that shows how their unit reduces the starting inrush significantly while the "kick start" capacitor actually can increase the inrush.

The only thing the capacitor does is shorten the amount of time the current flows but at the expense of higher current.


I put a MicroAire unit in my A/C and my generator loves me for it.
So you're saying that they have a Motor Run Capacitor in them and not a kick start? Motor Run Capacitors will run you a few $ more $15 - $100 depending upon the range of operation.

Personally we ran our TT off of a 15amp outlet during a two day blackout this past summer (this was before I installed a 30amp 125 outlet). Our home has a standby generator which runs our entire home (well pump too), with the exception of our 2ton and 3ton AC units. We had the AC (Coleman Mach 3 Plus AC 48000 series), 32" TV and a few lights on and had no issues. Luckily we were able to keep cool until the power went back on.
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Old 02-17-2021, 11:26 AM   #10
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Thank-you for the reply. I do appreciate
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Old 02-17-2021, 11:38 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by SetauketJeff View Post
So you're saying that they have a Motor Run Capacitor in them and not a kick start? Motor Run Capacitors will run you a few $ more $15 - $100 depending upon the range of operation.
My understanding, most recent RV AC units come with a kick start capacitor. The MicroAir and SoftStart units replace them with a computer control mechanism. To get the AC unit started, the kickstart quickly sucks in a bunch of current and then dumps it out to boost the current flow to the motor. The first step exceeds the current capacity of the smaller generators and causes them to drop out.

As side benefits of the starters, the slower ramp up of the motor significantly lowers bang noise when the AC starts up. There is a potential to extend the life of the unit because of the lowered stresses.
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Old 02-17-2021, 11:59 AM   #12
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So you're saying that they have a Motor Run Capacitor in them and not a kick start? Motor Run Capacitors will run you a few $ more $15 - $100 depending upon the range of operation.

Personally we ran our TT off of a 15amp outlet during a two day blackout this past summer (this was before I installed a 30amp 125 outlet). Our home has a standby generator which runs our entire home (well pump too), with the exception of our 2ton and 3ton AC units. We had the AC (Coleman Mach 3 Plus AC 48000 series), 32" TV and a few lights on and had no issues. Luckily we were able to keep cool until the power went back on.

No, both start and run capacitors that were installed in the factory are still there. The MicroAire unit merely modifies how the current passes from start capacitor to motor.

Without the MicroAire my 3500 watt generator had to "grunt" a little when starting the A/C unit. It could do the job OK but with the MicroAire the generator shows far less signs of load.

Sounds like you have a much larger generator that is able to handle surge currents better than the most common ones used for camping.
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Old 02-17-2021, 12:29 PM   #13
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TitanMike,

Got ya, thanks. CIRCA 1978 Onan commercial generator (Gasoline, LP, NG) is an historic workhorse. Installed when the house was built. But not 50 years old like my Super Bee <<<.

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Old 02-17-2021, 02:29 PM   #14
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Running a 15 btu AC (SoftStart installed) with a Westinghouse XI 2200 - 1800 net without any problem- not sure I could run the micro & AC at the same time but not a problem to alternate - trust me when I say the SoftStart is a lot more than a simple capacitor
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Old 02-17-2021, 02:44 PM   #15
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Have a '19 Rockwood 2104s with single AC unit. Would my Honda 2000i run the single AC if I installed either of the softstart systems referenced in this thread?
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Old 02-17-2021, 02:58 PM   #16
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IMO the SoftStart 364 YES they are very helpful if you call them I’m sure their answer will also be yes - I think the manufacturer is MicroAir.
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Old 02-17-2021, 03:01 PM   #17
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Have a '19 Rockwood 2104s with single AC unit. Would my Honda 2000i run the single AC if I installed either of the softstart systems referenced in this thread?
I'd say yes too. It's one of MicroAire's advertising points.
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Old 02-17-2021, 03:28 PM   #18
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I added a hard start capacitor and fan relay. It smoothed out the initial bang at startup, I think the capacitor knocked off ~5amps and delaying the fan also helped. My 15k a/c unit struggled to start with a single Yamaha 2000 but YMMV. The route I took was inexpensive and easy to install. Got the info off this message board from more senior members. It's worth a look, even for just the fan delay if you go another route for the capacitor.

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ch-100154.html

http://www.forestriverforums.com/for...ac-100548.html

https://youtu.be/NVkCjPh7Nd8
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Old 02-17-2021, 03:33 PM   #19
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I've heard some reports that these reduce the efficiency of the A/C. Since I live in Texas, that would be an issue if that's true. Can anyone confirm if this is true or not?
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Old 02-17-2021, 04:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SetauketJeff View Post
This looks like a simple kick start capacitor. All central AC units have these. I don't see why you can't wire one in yourself and install it in a waterproof gang box. Home Dopey and Blows both carry these capacitors as well as the waterproof gang boxes. Should cost under $30 to make it yourself. https://www.homedepot.com/s/HVAC%2520capacitor?NCNI-5

Those are Hard Start Capacitors, meant for a motor that won't turn under it's own power without a hard push.The capacitor merely shifts the voltage 90 degrees and dumps it into the motor at startup. All the hard starters do is dump a little more Amps on the Compressor to get it started rotating and likely will not work with a small generator if the generator won't run the A/C to start with. Soft Starters actually slowly ramp up the current until the compressor is running full throttle at which point the current stops increasing and stabilizes. The generator will not bog down and quit
if the running current is around 15Amps and you have shaved the 40 to 50Amp compressor spike from the motor with the soft starter. No, you won't find a reduced voltage motor starter at HD or Lowes ... perhaps an electrical supply house can help you out or figure out what you want and buy direct from the manufacturer.
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