Monday, December 4, 2023


RVelectricity – Just Ask Mike (J.A.M.): Side-by-side video of new SoftStartRV

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) with the subject line – JAM. Today I discuss the new SoftStartRV controller.


Dear Mike,
I have a question and figured I’d ask the JAM Man himself. I just read your article about the new SoftStartRV controller, and I wonder if it’s really that much different than the original? Does it work the same way? Does it cost any more? Is it really that much easier to install? What’s the scoop? —Timmy R.

Dear Timmy,
Your timing is great because I’m taping a new video for SoftStartRV detailing how the No-Splice installation works on my Dometic Penguin II air conditioner.

I haven’t been able to record all the raw video files needed just yet because it’s been snowing and hailing in Maryland and the temp today is in the low 30’s with the promise of a hard freeze down to 20 degrees tonight. But I can give you a sneak peek of what I’ve been working on so far. which should answer your questions.

What’s the diff, scientist?

It’s all about the size. Just Like the incredible shrinking man, the original SoftStartRV controller has been shrunk without reducing its performance at all. It ended up being about 30% smaller in size, while working exactly the same as the original design.

This isn’t as simple as one might think, because there’s a lot of voltage-related components that can’t be made smaller. So there was a bit of 3D-Tetris involved to fit a bunch of round things in a square (actually rectangular) hole.

Why is this important?

I’ve assisted on about a dozen SoftStartRV installations virtually. While most of them were smooth sailing, two of them were a bit of a challenge to fit in the somewhat limited space in many rooftop air conditioners. So, in in those cases we had to do a little blacksmithing to position the SSRV controller in the correct spot without interfering with air flow.

Specifically, in my own test bench installation on a Dometic Penguin II air conditioner, I needed to cut off one of the flanges of the controller to get enough clearance to fit inside of the air conditioner housing properly. While this wasn’t really a big deal, the team at SSRV wanted to make the customer installation experience as good as possible. Therefore, they re-engineered the design from scratch to fit it in a smaller case (no small feat, indeed).

SoftStartRV comparison video

Watch my video HERE or click on the screenshot to see how the new and improved SoftStartRV controller fits into my Penguin air conditioner compared to the original size controller.

I’ll shoot the rest of the SSRV No Splice video next week (once the weather settles down), but in the meantime this short video shows you the difference in size of the new controller.

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 For more info on Mike’s qualifications as an electrical expert, click here.

You don’t want to miss Mike’s webcasts on his YouTube channel.

For information on how to support RVelectricity and No~Shock~Zone articles, seminars and videos, please click the I Like Mike Campaign




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Bill Hatfield (@guest_173726)
1 year ago

If the Soft Start is such a great idea and does not harm the Air Conditioner over time , why are Air conditioners not built with them already ?

Bill (@guest_173728)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

Thanks for the info.

wanderer (@guest_173742)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

Huh? I thought the idea was to cut back the initial load when an A/C starts up, so that you can run a few other high draw appliances at the same time without problems, fitting it all into your 30 amp service.

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