Last updated on October 13th, 2023
How to get your Cool Back with a Soft Start
You are in the middle of nowhere, boondocking, it’s a beautiful night, one of the best you have witnessed in your lifetime. It’s mid-July and hotter than asphalt in southern Texas. It’s time as all things come to an end, time to go to bed.
As you are lying in bed your air condition just won’t start. It tries but nothing! Nothing is worse than sweating under the sheets so you kick them off and the ceiling fan just won’t cut it. Your partner is complaining blah blah blah.
HELLO, IT’S TIME TO GET ONE OF THOSE THINGYS YOU WERE TOLD ABOUT BUT KEPT PUTTING IT OFF.
A soft start for an RV air conditioner refers to a device or system that helps reduce the initial power surge when starting the air conditioner. When an air conditioner starts, it requires a high amount of power to kick-start the compressor and get the unit running. This sudden surge in power demand can sometimes overload the electrical system in an RV, causing issues such as tripped breakers or voltage drops.
A soft start device or system helps mitigate these power surges by gradually ramping up the compressor’s speed and reducing the initial power demand. This smoother startup reduces the strain on the RV’s electrical system, making it more efficient and preventing potential problems.
Soft start devices are available in the market, and they can be installed in RV air conditioning systems to provide this functionality. They are designed to be compatible with various air conditioner models and can help improve the overall performance and reliability of the air conditioner.
How do soft start devices work?
Soft start devices work by gradually ramping up the power supplied to the compressor of an air conditioner during startup. Instead of providing a sudden surge of power, the soft start device introduces a controlled increase in voltage and current, allowing the compressor to start more smoothly.
The specific operation of a soft start device may vary depending on the manufacturer and model, but here is a general overview of how they typically work:
- Initial Delay: When the air conditioner is turned on, the soft start device introduces a short delay before supplying power to the compressor. This delay allows the device to monitor the electrical conditions and ensure they are stable before proceeding.
- Reduced Voltage: After the initial delay, the soft start device gradually increases the voltage supplied to the compressor. It starts at a lower voltage level than the full power supply to avoid a sudden power surge.
- Controlled Ramp-up: The soft start device then gradually increases the voltage over a predefined period, typically a few seconds. This controlled ramp-up allows the compressor to start more smoothly, reducing the strain on the electrical system and minimizing the risk of tripped breakers or voltage drops.
- Full Power Delivery: Once the ramp-up period is complete, the soft start device delivers the full power supply to the compressor, allowing it to operate at normal capacity.
By controlling the power delivery during startup, soft start devices help reduce the initial inrush current and provide a smoother, more gradual startup for the air conditioner. This can help prevent electrical issues, extend the lifespan of the compressor, and improve the overall efficiency of the air conditioning system.
It’s important to note that the specific operation and features of soft start devices may vary among different manufacturers and models. The manufacturer’s documentation and guidelines should be consulted for detailed information on the specific operation of a particular soft start device.
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Do I need one for each A/C Unit?
Yes, typically, you would need one soft start device for each air conditioner unit. Each air conditioner unit has its own compressor that requires a controlled startup to reduce the initial power surge.
Installing a soft start device on each air conditioner unit individually allows for independent control and a gradual ramp-up of power for each unit. This ensures that each compressor receives the appropriate startup sequence and reduces strain on the electrical system.
It’s important to choose soft start devices that are compatible with the specific air conditioner models you have. The manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions will provide information on the number of soft start devices needed and any specific considerations for multi-unit installations.
Do these devices come with a new RV purchase?
Great question for the RV dealer during negotiations.
Soft start devices for air conditioners are typically not included as standard equipment with a new RV purchase. RV manufacturers generally install standard air conditioning units without soft start functionality to keep costs down.
If you are interested in having a soft start device for your RV air conditioner, you would need to purchase it separately and have it installed either by the RV dealer or a qualified professional.
It’s worth noting that some RV manufacturers or dealerships may offer soft start devices as optional upgrades or accessories that can be purchased alongside the RV. However, this can vary, and it’s recommended to inquire with the RV manufacturer or dealership about the availability and options for soft start devices at the time of purchase.
If a soft start device is not included with your RV purchase or offered as an option, you can still purchase a compatible soft start device from various manufacturers or authorized dealers and have it installed separately. It’s important to ensure the device is compatible with your specific RV air conditioner model and to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation.
Will installing a Soft Start device void my A/C warranty?
Installing a soft start device on an air conditioner may or may not void the warranty, as it depends on the specific terms and conditions set by the air conditioner manufacturer. It is important to review the warranty documentation provided by the manufacturer or consult with them directly to understand their policy regarding modifications or aftermarket additions to the unit.
Some manufacturers may explicitly state that any modifications or additions to the air conditioner, including the installation of aftermarket devices, can void the warranty. In such cases, installing a soft start device could potentially void the warranty coverage for the air conditioner.
However, there are manufacturers who may allow the installation of soft start devices without voiding the warranty, as long as the installation is performed by a qualified professional following their guidelines. It is essential to consult with the manufacturer or review the warranty documentation to determine their specific stance on aftermarket modifications.
To ensure warranty compliance and avoid any potential issues, it is recommended to contact the air conditioner manufacturer directly and inquire about their policy on soft start device installations. They will provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding their warranty coverage and any potential impacts of installing a soft start device on your specific air conditioner model.
Can anyone install one of these Thingys?
If you are considering installing a soft start device for your RV air conditioner, it is recommended to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or seek professional advice to ensure compatibility and proper installation.
Installing a soft start device for an air conditioner typically involves electrical work and knowledge of the electrical system in your RV or home. While some individuals with experience and knowledge of electrical systems may feel confident in installing a soft start device themselves, it is generally recommended to have a professional electrician perform the installation.
Here are a few reasons why professional installation is recommended:
- Electrical Safety: Working with electrical systems carries inherent risks. A professional electrician has the knowledge and expertise to ensure safe installation, proper grounding, and compliance with electrical codes and regulations.
- Compatibility and Wiring: Soft start devices may vary in their installation requirements and compatibility with different air conditioner models. A professional electrician can assess your specific system and ensure the soft start device is compatible and wired correctly.
- Warranty Considerations: Improper installation of a soft start device can potentially void the warranty provided by the manufacturer. Professional installation can help ensure that the device is installed correctly, preserving any warranty coverage.
- System Optimization: An electrician can evaluate your RV or home’s electrical system, taking into account factors such as circuit capacity and load calculations. They can make any necessary adjustments to optimize the electrical system for the installation of the soft start device.
By hiring a professional electrician, you can have peace of mind knowing that the installation will be done correctly and safely. The electrician will have the necessary tools, knowledge, and expertise to handle the installation process efficiently and effectively.
It is recommended to consult with a professional electrician to evaluate your specific situation, provide guidance on compatibility and installation requirements, and perform the installation of a soft start device for your air conditioner.
They are easier to install than you may think, but it does require getting on your RV roof and opening your A/C cover.
Installing a soft start device for an RV air conditioner typically involves the following steps:
- Research and Purchase: Research different soft start devices available in the market and choose one that is compatible with your RV air conditioner model. Purchase the device from a reputable manufacturer or authorized dealer.
- Read the Instructions: Carefully read the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer. It’s important to understand the specific installation process for the particular device you have purchased.
- Disconnect Power: Ensure the RV’s electrical power is disconnected before proceeding with the installation. This may involve disconnecting the RV from shore power or turning off the generator.
- Locate Air Conditioner Control Board: Locate the control board of your RV air conditioner. The control board is typically found within the air conditioning unit itself, and accessing it may require removing the unit’s cover or accessing the control board compartment.
- Follow Wiring Instructions: The soft start device will come with detailed wiring instructions. Follow these instructions to connect the device to the control board and the appropriate electrical connections. Ensure all connections are secure and properly insulated.
- Test and Verify: Once the device is installed, reconnect the power source and test the air conditioner. Verify that the soft start device is functioning correctly, and the air conditioner starts smoothly without causing any electrical issues.
Costs involved in installing a soft start device for an RV air conditioner can vary depending on the specific device chosen and whether you opt for professional installation or do it yourself. Soft start devices typically range in price from $200 to $500, depending on the brand and features.
Warranty information will vary by manufacturer, so it’s important to review the warranty terms provided by the manufacturer of the soft start device you choose. Generally, warranties can range from 1 to 5 years, offering coverage for manufacturing defects and certain malfunctions.
It’s recommended to consult the manufacturer’s documentation and guidelines specific to the soft start device you purchase for detailed information on installation, costs, warranty coverage, and any additional considerations or precautions. Additionally, seeking professional advice or assistance from a qualified technician can ensure a proper installation and address any specific requirements for your RV air conditioner model.
This video has been included for its clarification of the topic matter. Credit goes to
Hinton The Trail
This video has been included for its clarification of the topic matter. Credit goes to
What’s My Gear
A soft start device for an RV air conditioner can be a beneficial addition to your RV’s electrical system. By reducing the initial power surge when starting the air conditioner, it helps prevent issues such as tripped breakers and voltage drops, improving the efficiency and reliability of the unit.
When installing a soft start device, it is important to research and choose a device that is compatible with your RV air conditioner model. Following the manufacturer’s instructions is crucial to ensure proper installation and functionality.
The costs involved in installing a soft start device can vary depending on the specific device chosen and whether you opt for professional installation or do it yourself. Soft start devices typically range in price from $200 to $500.
Warranty coverage for soft start devices varies by manufacturer, and it is important to review the warranty terms provided by the specific device manufacturer you choose. Warranties generally range from 1 to 5 years, offering coverage for manufacturing defects and certain malfunctions.
Installing a soft start device can provide smoother startup for your RV air conditioner and help protect your RV’s electrical system. Considering the benefits and potential cost savings in preventing electrical issues, a soft start device can be a worthwhile investment for RV owners. It is recommended to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines, consider professional advice, and follow proper installation procedures to ensure a successful installation and optimal performance of the soft start device.
Don’t wait until its too late blah blah blah…
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