Wednesday, September 27, 2023


RVelectricity: New SoftStartUp is a game changer!

Dear Readers,
I’ve been getting emails about this product release for months … but now it can be told!

NetworkRV announces plug-in version of their SoftStartRV controller

I first began researching soft-start controllers for RV air conditioners when my readers began trying to power their RV rooftop air conditioners from portable generators.

Even though on paper it looked like a small inverter generator should be able to run a 13.5 kBTU air conditioner, in many cases the inrush/surge current needed by the compressor would cause the generator to go into overload mode and simply shut down its 120-volt AC output.

Of course, this would lead to a lot of frustration from RVers who then had to power down and restart their portable generators, often many times during the day.

First generation SSRV Controller

Screenshot comparing stock starting capacitor and SoftStartRV inrush currents

At that time, NetworkRV introduced their original SoftStartRV controller, which worked by slowly ramping up the inrush current caused by the start winding and capacitor on the air conditioner compressor.

This process took place during the starting cycle and only took a few hundred milliseconds (the blink of an eye), but it was enough to reduce the inrush current by up to 70%, thus allowing a 2200-watt inverter generator to start up to a 15,000 BTU air conditioner.

Second Generation SSRV Controller

SoftStartRV has been installed on thousands of RV air conditioners over the last four years, and quickly became the gold standard of soft start controllers.

But it soon became apparent that some RV air conditioners didn’t have enough room under the cowling for an easy installation of the original SoftStartRV controller. So last year NetworkRV introduced a smaller version with the exact same performance. At 2/3 the size of the original, the New SoftStartRV controller would fit in RV air conditioners that were cramped for space. Same great taste, less filling!

The Next Generation: SoftStartUp

Left to right: Original SoftStartRV, New/Improved SoftStartRV and SoftStartUp

Now NetworkRV has introduced the Next Generation of their SoftStart controller. It’s named SoftStartUp, and it works by plugging it into the 30-amp shore power cord rather than installing it inside of the air conditioner housing.

This allows SoftStartUp to monitor and reduce inrush current from multiple air conditioners at the same time. It also reduces peak inrush current from a residential refrigerator installed in an RV. That’s right! A SoftStartUp unit can also limit compressor inrush current on residential refrigerator compressor.

The following ad was auto-inserted by Google

How do you install the new SoftStartUp?

It’s as simple as plugging it into a 30-amp pedestal outlet and plugging your shore power cord into SoftStartUp. The SoftStartUp algorithm recognizes the inrush current of any electric motor starting up, and modulates the available peak current available for a few milliseconds.

This is what allows a smaller inverter generator to power more RV appliances at the same time without tripping the generator’s over-current protection. You can use a 15-to-30 amp dogbone adapter between a 2200-watt generator and the SoftStartUp. Just plug in your RV 30-amp shore power cord to SoftStartUp and you’re good to go.

At a campground SoftStartUp plugs in between a 30-amp pedestal outlet and your RV’s 30-amp shore power cord. It includes a Surge Protector so that’s an extra level of protection.

How does it work?

To fully understand SoftStartUp operation requires some calculus, since it’s modulating the available inrush currents in real time while maintaining the average current. But here are a couple oscilloscope screenshots showing the starting current of a standard 15kBTU air conditioner alongside of the same air conditioner plugged into SoftStartUp.

Note that the SoftStartUp is limiting the peak currents of the startup cycle, which are what normally trips the over-current protection in an inverter generator. It does not reduce the overall current draw while the air conditioner is running, only the initial inrush peak current.

The following ad was auto-inserted by Google

SoftStartUp for home emergency power

Home emergency power is an additional benefit of the SoftStartUp controller. Since it senses and controls the peak inrush current of a downstream 30-amp branch circuit, you can use your portable 3,000-watt RV generator to power more of your house appliances at the same time.

For example, say you find yourself in a blackout power situation at home due to a natural disaster or forced power shutdown. If you’ve installed a basic generator transfer switch at your residential service panel, you can use the SoftStartUp to help create a safe space in your house with power for a window air conditioner, along with a residential refrigerator and freezer.

This is especially useful if you’re caring for anyone who needs an air-conditioned room, as well a running a CPAP machine and oxygen concentrator. As I’m sure you’re aware, many Southern states are having periods of temperatures over 100 degrees F. This amount of heat is not only uncomfortable, it can be dangerous for anyone that’s not used to the high temperatures.

You need to install a generator transfer switch to do this safely

You will need to install a manual generator transfer switch in your residential service panel before the emergency occurs.

And be aware that any 3,000-watt generator is single-pole with 120-volts AC, so you can only power 120-volt appliances in your house. But that should allow you sufficient power to operate enough appliances at the same time to be safe and comfortable while keeping your food from spoiling.

Let’s play safe out there….

To get your special discount on the SoftStartUp, click 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.



  1. Per their website: SoftStartUp Is No Longer Being Offered for Sale

    Coming Summer 2023, by Popular Request, the SoftStartUp-50 Amp

  2. I bought Soft Starts for both of my A/C units. One was bad from the factory but I bought it over the winter then health issues made it so I had to have them installed. One turned out to be DOA and of course the return window was passed. So I bought another and had them installed. However, since there’s a residential fridge in the coach the breaker still trips so with installation and having to buy the additional unit I’m out $1500 and still can’t run both A/C units. I’m planning a work around by running an extension cord for the fridge and plug into the 20amp circuit on the pedestal. It’s an additional cord to run at ever setup. I hope that will work.
    I will need an additional power protector though because I have a built in unit for the whole coach.
    I wish I had this information before I spent all that money. A neighbor has done a work around by disconnecting one of his A/C units and run the wiring externally with a standard 110volt plug that he plugs into the 20 amp outlet.

    • Interestingly, running a second shore power cord to the pedestal as you describe is actually a code violation. However, lots of RV owners do this, and I’ve even seen a few dealerships offering this secondary 20-amp connection as an option. I’ll pass your comments onto my contacts at SoftStartRV and see what they can do for you. Which product did you purchase, was it the SoftStartRV or the newer SoftStartUp?

  3. Mike – I REALLY wanted to love this product and thought this was perfect for my set-up, 13500 A/C and a Honda 2200i. Didn’t work, tripped it every time on all the settings. I dealt with tech support for a week to no avail. No biggie, EXCEPT now the company has given me the total runaround about returning it for a refund. No response to my online return form requests, the website does not recognize my login info from the purchase, and the password reset system doesn’t work either! I’ve called the support line in the app and and sent emails per their instructions, and then I wait and wait and wait. Very frustrating. I personally would NOT recommend this product or the company. Based on all the other comments here perhaps you should rethink your “endorsement” too.

    • Paul,
      Sorry for your problems with this product. I talked to my contact (Doug) at SoftStartRV and he asked that you email him at since that goes directly to his desk.
      I’m trying to sort out the cause of these failures, so please email your contact info to and I’ll call for details.
      I’m not sure exactly what’s going on, but I’ll get to the bottom of it.

    • Mine works perfectly fine with a 13500 ac and I have a Honda eu2200i companion. Also have a champion 2500 dual fuel and it works fine also . You might check your 20 amp adaptor maybe it heating up causing a problem.

  4. I tried two (2) SoftstartUp pedestal mounted devices. Each one failed. The first failed with a Thyristor error after four on/off a/c cycles. I have two, roof-mounted a/c units, 15K BTU each. The first device was returned and replaced. The second device failed after one on/off a/c cycle. The app recorded both a Thyristor error and a high heat error. After a discussion with the SoftStartUp technical person I decided that a refund of the purchase price was my best option, pending future improvements to the device which might result in greater reliability. The refund sought was granted immediately.

    • Tom,
      I’ve sent you an email asking you to contact me so I can gather more intel on how and why this failure occurred. I’ll post more details here once I know more.

  5. I purchased this device to be able to run my 15K heat pump AC from a 20A outlet at a friends house. I have a 30A Class A Newmar. I have a built in Surge Guard 35530. Whenever the AC compressor starts, the Surge Guard sees the Softstartup as a voltage drop and shuts down the electronics on board the Rig, TV’s, Routers etc. Furthermore, after testing, I found that the AC starts fine without this device, and the compressor (thump) is noticeably less. I returned it.

  6. Not impressed. You need a traditional EMS that will not just be a surge arrestor but also monitor low/high voltage, reverse polarity, among other things. (I’ve been to a few campsites that had low voltage and without the traditional EMS I probably would had done serious damage)
    This does not. I also believe saying it will run two AC’s on one 30 amp is deceiving. The conditions and voltage must be perfect, and since many RV parks are old, you will find the voltage lower than normal, thus creating a higher amperage draw.
    For the crazy high price it should also be a full EMS.

  7. I purchased the new SoftStart a week ago. Went camping today with my 50A travel trailer. 30A service only at campground. Plugged SoftStart into 30A outlet on pedestal, CB was off. Used 30A to 50A adapter between SoftStart and 50A travel trailer cable. Turned on CB. Connection to trailer fine. Turned on Coleman Mach 15 AC. Everything fine. Turned on 2nd AC. After 30 minutes pedestal CB popped. 80 degrees outside. Guess I can’t run 2 AC’s!

    • The SoftStartUp and SoftStartRV technologies only reduce the inrush current during compressor startup. They do nothing to reduce the running current. It could be that you were drawing 32 to 34 amperes of current for those 30 minutes which will trip a 30-amp breaker eventually, especially in hot weather. We’re you using the SSUp app on your smartphone to set the Power Profile and monitor the current draw?
      Perhaps you have another load like the electric water heater which would push you over the 30-amp breaker capacity. Here’s my latest video on the SSUp app.

      • Thanks Mike. Didn’t work with my 4500w Champion dual fuel generator. Electric water heater not on. 12v frig was on at campground but not when I tested with generator. I’ll try again end of August at AJ’s new campground. I’ll pay more attention to App.

        • You need to set the app properly to match the power source or it may not work properly. Please try again and let me know. Thanks for the feedback…

  8. Can I plug the soft start surge protector in to my existing surge protector that checks for improper wiring? Thanks

  9. Thanks for the informative article. Question: will this work with a refrigerator (or other appliance) with digital components or LED lights?

    • Their lead design engineer has confirmed with me that it will work to reduce inrush current of a standard residential refrigerator that has a 120-volt compressor. Of course, it will have no effect on a propane/electric refrigerator. Nor will it have any effect on a 12-volt DC refrigerator with a Danfoss compressor. I’ll be testing this functionality in the next few weeks.

  10. Amazing device! Two questions: 1) Will it work in conjunction with the RVSoftStart I’ve already installed? 2) If so, is there any benefit to running the two together? I can see that if I want to use it on my small Honda gen I’ll have to set the gen on a box or something so the soft start is not on the ground…which is not a big deal.

    • The SoftStartRV and SoftStartUp work on totally different principles, but my educated guess is that they won’t interfere with each other. But I can’t imagine there would be any benefit of using both at the same time. More to study…

  11. I read through the Softstart website and could find no information if the surge protector is replaceable in the Softstartup.

  12. I look at Softstart like a big starting capacitor with a regulated discharge that can kickstart a second AC in a 30 amp setup. Moving it from the second rooftop AC to the power pole simply makes that startup capacity available thruout the whole rig. I don’t see it inhibiting the EMS as the EMS doesn’t pass current until conditions are right. In terms of the current’s path, with the Softstartup installed following the EMS, the first current allowed to pass will charge the capacitor at a rate that would not trigger the EMS to shut down due to a percieved spike. There it sits until someone triggers an abrupt current draw by switching on something like that second AC. While the current’s startup spike should be flattened by the capacitor, hopefully that old 30 amp power pole can stand the current load following startup. One might be able to run 2 ACs and perhaps the frig, but not much else.

    • Fyi. You most likely have an EMS not a surge arrestor. Big difference. If you have an existing EMS, I personally would go with the hard wired soft start. Very easy to hook up.

  13. The easier install is great. But I am a little skeptical on how well it will handle regulating current at the A/C, compared to the version that wires into the A/C. Can you explain more about any differences in this regard?

  14. I already have a soft start installed on my AC. Would this plug in model work with my existing soft start and/or be of any additional benefit? I find that my Honda EU2200i runs at full power when operating the AC…especially at higher elevations on hot days.

    • I’m pretty sure there’s no benefit to using a SoftStartUp with an existing SoftStartRV that’s been installed in an air conditioner. But I’ll be doing more research soon.

  15. Looks good, but I’m wondering about the necessity of also having a surge protector in the equation. Or does this unit negate that requirement?

  16. Mike, do you think the Softstart technology would be effective for the startup currents in a transformer-based microwave oven?
    I had to exchange my transformer oven for an inverter oven because the startup current caused my coach inverter to shut down. The startup surge is about 5X the rating, similar to A/C units… but it’s not a motor, it’s a transformer, so the physics and momentum are different. Appreciate your thoughts.

    • Yes, I think it could. I’m also going to try it on my laser printer that trips the breaker if I try to print something in my office while the window air conditioner is running. Much to learn.

  17. Before posting “can I this and that” go to the SoftStart website and get 90% of your questions answered. And yes, I did.

  18. So cannot be used with a smaller (2400 watt) inverter generator and a dog bone? I spend more of my camping time off grid, not in campgrounds.

  19. Curious why is there no mention of actually plugging this into a generator like the Honda 2200? When will this be available for purchase?

        • Mike – Do you have a link to this video? I bought one and cannot get it to work with my 2200i, throws it into overload immediately everytime even with all the other breakers off. I guess I also got a “bad batch,” as I cannot connect to the app because the key and the serial number do not match. Overall I’m pretty disappointed and planning to return it. Hoping there’s something in the video that helps me.

    • I believe that if you’re plugging it into a floating neutral generator that would still need to add a Generator Bonding Plug. I’ll try it this week.

  20. The big question is will it be available for rigs with 50 amp service and what does it cost ? Will it work inline with a surge protector without issues ?

  21. I bought one of these for our class A and it does work. However, just so people know it won’t compensate for low voltage. The RV park we stay in most often generally only has about 109 volts coming out of the pedestal which sometimes drops down to 102 in the coach depending on what you are using. So in our case we still can’t run the A/C when the voltage is low. We have a second smaller RV with the original Softstart installed and it too works well, the customer service is outstanding too!

  22. Also wanting to know how to configure the EMS. I’d figure it would be, EMS – Softstart – power cord? Thanks

  23. Mike, would the new version be used in conjunction with my EMS? In what order would they be plugged in to the pedestal (EMS-SoftStart or SoftStart-EMS)? Or does the new version replace my existing EMS completely? Thanks for your help.


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