Why install an AC Soft Start? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 11-30-2021, 09:57 AM   #1
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Why install an AC Soft Start?

When first got our Casita, the AC would wake me up every time it came on with a thump. I had bought a 3500- watt Champion generator. While running it in the backyard & notice the AC unit would cause an overload sometimes. I wanted to fix this before we went on our 3-month adventure. I read & watched the Micro-Air soft start & my daughter installed it.

I was happy to discover the AC no longer had a thump. All you hear is the fan come on & a few seconds later you can barely hear the AC come on. Plus now I did not need the heavy generator. I bought a champion 2000-watt run on gas or propane. My AC instead of 53 amp it starts with 15 amp. I was able to use the generator using a tank of propane which last 16 hours.

I liked it so much my daughter installed one on my home AC unit. My starting Amp dropped from 115 to 50.

There are a couple of companies that sell these
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Old 11-30-2021, 10:17 AM   #2
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Yep. You've discovered why they are so popular, and that they do what they are designed to do.
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Old 12-04-2021, 10:47 PM   #3
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I was one of the first to put one on our 17 Casita SD and also put one on my Home's AC too. Micro Air is where the early adapters got them and back then the inventor Mario worked for Micro Air and provided lots of help on the Casita forum. I choose the bare circuit board to same come $$'s.
https://www.microair.net/collections...-soft-starters
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Old 12-05-2021, 08:43 AM   #4
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Attention engineers! I found this post regarding a DIY soft start project. It is an interesting read. Basically, you add a series negative temperature coefficient (NTC) resistor in series with the motor and add a series NTC resistor and capacitor in parallel with the existing phase shift capacitor. A delay on energize relay is added for voltage drop out conditions. Happy reading.

https://www.forestriverforums.com/fo...ow-236115.html
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Old 12-05-2021, 11:36 AM   #5
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Carl,

As I understand it, from a brief read of your link, he basically added a current limiter and capacitor. With that method one has to decide what the lowest inrush can be that will still start the compressor under the worst conditions. It's a guess with a safety margin. The Micro Air unit adjusts the inrush based on motor RPM, it counts the motor revolutions, so it can learn and find the real minimum unrush on a particular system based on noticing that the compressor is actually accelerating, instead of just guessing what the minimum might be. As you know, the whole trick it to spread the start over a longer period to reduce the peak inrush. This also has the side benefit of reducing the compressor clunk from it responding to so much sudden power. The MicroAir goes through several cycles after installation to learn this value and can adjust to different conditions as needed, such as hot start, vs cold start, or too short of a resting period between starts that could be caused by a power interruption or poor thermostat.
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Old 12-05-2021, 02:30 PM   #6
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John,

It sounds like the microair is microprocessor based, which enables a lot of capability and simplicity for the user. If I were to use the referenced method, it would have to be customized to my size AC unit and I would probably add a time delay relay to hold off restarting after a power outage, to avoid the restart load caused by high head pressure. It would be a fun project which I may pursue some day, but since we have only used our air conditioner once, it is a $100 home depot unit and the honda 2200 starts it OK, it is not on the to do list.
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Old 12-05-2021, 04:57 PM   #7
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John,

I would probably add a time delay relay to hold off restarting after a power outage, to avoid the restart load caused by high head pressure.
That's already in it too. Its timed at 5 minutes as I recall, it's very well thought out.
The delayed start on the compressor when only the fan comes on is to bring inverter generators like the Honda units out of "ECHO" mode before the compressor starts. Kind of giving the generator a warning.
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Old 12-05-2021, 07:21 PM   #8
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Or install a Houghton. 2000 watt genny will start and run 15,000 btu model.
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Old 12-06-2021, 10:52 AM   #9
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Or install a Houghton. 2000 watt genny will start and run 15,000 btu model.
This is what I'm doing. I ordered my X22 without the AC and my new 13.5 KBTU Houghten is sitting on the front porch. They are also known for being very quiet and high quality. The 13.5 seems like overkill, but the 9,500 BTU actually uses more power.
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Old 12-06-2021, 02:18 PM   #10
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Couple of years ago I just added a capacitor to my AC for about about $50.. is this thing really worth $300?

Found my old thread on this on another site.. The capacitors were called "Hard Start Kits"

How much more 'efficient' is the soft starter?

Nm, found this thread.. probably also good if you try to run AC on batteries.

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f54/what...-c-404681.html

Quote:
Saw a video of a hard start capacitor compared to a MicroAir easy start on a 16000 BTU A/C and the hard start dropped the initial amp draw from 54 to 51 amps. The MicroAir easy start dropped the initial amp draw from 54 to 17 amps. You get what you pay for in this case.
Quote:
I ordered a Micro Air unit, and man I gotta say that is a lot better deal than the hard start caps. I wish I knew what it actually does. But they say it learns during the first 5 starts and tailors the start to what the unit wants. My AC starts right up without complaint now. We will see how restarts after a longer run go. But right now my generator loves it. no drama startups.
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Old 12-06-2021, 04:12 PM   #11
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Micro Air

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgilliam1955 View Post
While running it in the backyard & notice the AC unit would cause an overload sometimes. I wanted to fix this before we went on our 3-month adventure. I read & watched the Micro-Air soft start & my daughter installed it.
There are a couple of companies that sell these devices
I too installed the the Mico air. When ordering I picked that one quite by chance. But after reading the reviews and installing it I'm very happy with it. I use a Honda 2200 and worried about the starting load, but now it should be good. I did have trouble finding instructions for my 2017 Scamp but this group had the answer. Also the Amazon re-seller sent me TWO of them. I emailed them and they sent a UPS pickup label.
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Old 12-06-2021, 08:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Komrade View Post
Couple of years ago I just added a capacitor to my AC for about about $50.. is this thing really worth $300?..
To answer that question start here:
The EasyStart 364 Soft Starter For RV and Marine By Micro-Air, Inc.

I added one and I am not sure its worth $300 TO ME. But that is because I have only used my A/C on shore power.

I tested it and found I could run the A/C on a Champion 2500 generator on propane with the MicroAir softstart.. but I could not do the same without the softstart. So If I need to use the genny to run the A/C, with my rig I need the softstart. But on good shore power, I do not, and I am almost always on good shore power when its hot.

But I have also had problems running the A/C on shore power at campgrounds where the voltage dropped too much.. will the softstart solve that problem I do not know but it will put less load on the circuit so it should work better when the shore power is marginal.

If you want to run a 13-15 BTU A/C on a smaller generator (2000-2500).. then the $300 will help a lot. If you know you have good steady 25-30 amp service on shore power, then its not needed. If you really want A/C under most conditions then it is a good purchase. If you can deal with extreme heat and no A/C on some occasions, then maybe it is not.
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Old 12-07-2021, 06:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AC0GV View Post
There are a couple of companies that sell these devices
I too installed the the Mico air. When ordering I picked that one quite by chance. But after reading the reviews and installing it I'm very happy with it. I use a Honda 2200 and worried about the starting load, but now it should be good. I did have trouble finding instructions for my 2017 Scamp but this group had the answer. Also the Amazon re-seller sent me TWO of them. I emailed them and they sent a UPS pickup label.
My Champion 2000 watt generator also runs on propane. On Propane it drops the watts down to 1800. I had no problem running my AC on Propane. This Micro-Air is magic.
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Old 12-07-2021, 06:22 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by gordon2 View Post
To answer that question start here:
The EasyStart 364 Soft Starter For RV and Marine By Micro-Air, Inc.

I added one and I am not sure its worth $300 TO ME. But that is because I have only used my A/C on shore power.

I tested it and found I could run the A/C on a Champion 2500 generator on propane with the MicroAir softstart.. but I could not do the same without the softstart. So If I need to use the genny to run the A/C, with my rig I need the softstart. But on good shore power, I do not, and I am almost always on good shore power when its hot.

But I have also had problems running the A/C on shore power at campgrounds where the voltage dropped too much.. will the softstart solve that problem I do not know but it will put less load on the circuit so it should work better when the shore power is marginal.

If you want to run a 13-15 BTU A/C on a smaller generator (2000-2500).. then the $300 will help a lot. If you know you have good steady 25-30 amp service on shore power, then its not needed. If you really want A/C under most conditions then it is a good purchase. If you can deal with extreme heat and no A/C on some occasions, then maybe it is not.
Good information except for the load THUMP. I only installed mine because I could not stand the loud thump. Everything else was a plus.
The Micro-Air monitors the current number of ways & protects the unit.
This is from their website on the Home & RV unit.
HOME:
Quality Control and Testing Made in the USA
Safety First UL Listed and Approved
Optimization Can reduce your current by up to 75% since it optimizes itself via a learning process.
Realtime Monitoring Provides continuous runtime diagnostics for seven fault conditions, including stalls, brownouts, overcurrent, miswirings, short-cycles, etc.
Troubleshooting Easy to see diagnostic lights through our clear case or Advanced Bluetooth technology for remote troubleshooting
Protection Protects compressors from electrical anomalies that can destroy them (high and low power shutoffs)
Durability UV-rated and waterproof clear cover
Warranty Two year limited warranty
Quality Control All our EasyStart units are sent through various Quality Control processes before leaving our warehouse.
Experience Over 40K units in the field with 35 + years in the business

RV:
Take a Peek

Start Your RV Or Marine Air Conditioner On A Single Generator Or Inverter
Run 2 Air Conditioners On A 30-Amp Cord (** Each A/C requires an EasyStart unit - Results depend on the power management system and overall power requirements)
Sleep With Less Noise, And Cool All Through The Night
Run More Appliances With A/C At The Same Time
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Old 12-07-2021, 04:52 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jgilliam1955 View Post
HOME:
Quality Control and Testing Made in the USA
Safety First UL Listed and Approved

I don't care about this marketings BS, but the device really works nice. Thumbs up, even if it is actually made in China or Malaysia.
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Old 12-07-2021, 08:18 PM   #16
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Underwriters Laboratories Listing is not marketing BS. It is a legitimate assurance of reasonable electrical product safety.

from https://www.c3controls.com/white-pap...zed-ul-listed/
The UL Listed seal means that the product has been tested by UL to nationally recognized safety and sustainability standards. Additionally, it has been found to be free from a reasonably foreseeable risk of fire, electric shock in a Division 2 environment. Division 2 environment refers to an area where ignitable concentrations are used. In other words, a UL Listed approval ensures the safety and longevity of many household items under normal wear and tear with everyday use.
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