Welcome to my J.A.M. (Just Ask Mike) Session, a weekly column where I answer your basic electrical questions. If you’re a newbie who’s never plugged in a shore power cord (or ask – what’s a shore power cord?), or wonder why your daughter’s hair dryer keeps tripping the circuit breaker, this column is for you. Send your questions to Mike Sokol at mike (at) noshockzone.org with the subject line – JAM. Today I discuss the new, smaller SoftStartRV and show you in a short video how to install it, no splicing required.
I read your article a few weeks ago about the new SoftStartRV controller that’s smaller than the original version. Does it work the same as the earlier model, and do you have an installation video? My husband is pretty handy but he’s no electrician. Can you give him a little confidence boost before we pull the trigger and buy one? —Roxanne
Thanks for your question. First of all, I’ve done extensive testing on the new version of the SoftStartRV controller, which is 1/3 smaller than the original controller. From all my electrical measurements, the new smaller unit appears to operate exactly the same as the original version.
And as most of you know, I’m a big believer in this technology for reducing the electrical stress on a campground pedestal or portable generator when the air conditioner compressor kicks in with a big starting surge.
What does the SoftStartRV controller do?
The SoftStartRV controller smooths out that big starting surge from more than 50 amps to below 25 amps, which results in a quieter whoosh rather than a jarring thump when the compressor motor starts up. So you can run your RV air conditioner on a smaller generator (I use a Honda EU2200i for testing) and even power two rooftop air conditioners from a 30-amp shore power connection with less circuit breaker tripping.
Size (and safety) does matter…
Here’s the direct size comparison between the original and new (smaller) SoftStartRV controller. The wiring colors and installation procedure of the new SSRV controller are exactly the same as the original, but the new smaller size makes for easier mounting inside of some cramped air conditioner housings.
You just have to make sure you can get up on your RV roof safely, and turn off ALL electrical power in your RV including disconnecting from shore power and turning off any inverter. Please use a stable ladder of the proper height and don’t ever work alone. As I note in the video, I’ve never had a 13-foot fall, but I did fall off of a 12-foot scaffolding platform one time and nearly broke my leg. [Diane knows someone who fell off a ladder and was paralyzed for life. It doesn’t take much.] So, safety first. And if you’re not comfortable on a ladder or RV roof, please contract this installation out to an RV or air conditioner technician. It should take them less than 1/2 hour from start to finish.
The following ad was auto-inserted by Google
Download the proper wiring diagram for your RV air conditioner
To see if SoftStartRV already has the exact wiring diagram online just go to their diagram page HERE or click on the picture.
And if you can’t find your own brand and model of air conditioner on this page, don’t worry, as they’ll draw up a custom diagram just for you and post it online.
Roll the film…
Watch the 5-minute No-Splice Installation video HERE or click on the picture below.
OK, everyone. Remember that electricity is a useful and powerful force, so we all need to pay attention to safety precautions while using it.
Let’s play safe out there….
Send your questions to me at my new RVelectricity forum here.
Mike Sokol is an electrical and professional sound expert with 50+ years in the industry. His excellent book RV Electrical Safety is available at Amazon.com. For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.
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