Wednesday, August 10, 2022


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 single SoftStartUp unit can limit compressor inrush current on multiple air conditioner and refrigerator compressors.

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.

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.

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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10 days ago

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.

Last edited 10 days ago by Chris
Jeff Lind
15 days ago

Just received mine. Going to try it with my 2500 watt portable generator this weekend.

Dana D.
16 days ago

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!

Mike Sokol
16 days ago
Reply to  Dana D.

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.

18 days ago

The Text on the graphics amp chart says 24a Max for SOFTSTARTUP, but the Graph shows 34a Max in Yellow?

Mike Leonard
18 days ago

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

Mike Sokol
18 days ago
Reply to  Mike Leonard

Yes, according to their engineering staff. I’ll be testing that for myself this week.

19 days ago

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

Last edited 19 days ago by Pete
Mike Sokol
19 days ago
Reply to  Pete

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.

Gary Stone
23 days ago

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.

Mike Sokol
22 days ago
Reply to  Gary Stone

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…

24 days ago

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

Mike Sokol
22 days ago
Reply to  Bob

I do not think the surge protector MOV is replaceable, but I’ll open one up and get a look see….

24 days ago

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.

Bob Palin
25 days ago

This looked interesting, until I saw the price…

16 days ago
Reply to  Bob Palin

Looks easy to steal too.

Chuck Woodbury(@chuck)
16 days ago
Reply to  James

Like any surge protector, it would be best to lock it to the pedestal, the RV, or whatever else of permanence is close by.

Dave Bright
30 days ago

Can I run 2 15k AC units with softstartup? No one has mentioned what size units and I wanted to clarify.

Mike Sokol
22 days ago
Reply to  Dave Bright

I believe so, but I’ll need to confirm that to be sure.

Donald N Wright
30 days ago

My Airstream is 50 amp, I do not use a generator.

30 days ago

Will the plug in version work with the hard wired 50 Amp progressive surge suppressor?

10 days ago
Reply to  Capt-Kirk

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.

1 month ago

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?

Gary Stone
1 month ago

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.

Mike Sokol
22 days ago
Reply to  Gary Stone

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.

1 month ago

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?

Mike Sokol
22 days ago
Reply to  Joe

The SoftStartUp does include 3200 Joules of MOV surge protection.

Bill D Doyle
1 month ago

Ordered mine today! Thanks Mike.

Gregory Illes
1 month ago

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.

Mike Sokol
1 month ago
Reply to  Gregory Illes

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.

1 month ago

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

Mark Bob
1 month ago

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.

Mike Sokol
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Bob

Yes, it does work with a dogbone on a Honda EU2200 generator. I’ve tested it.

Steve Harmon
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Sokol

WOO HOO!!!!! Ought to work on my Wen 2250 then, thanks!!

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