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RVelectricity: Introducing SoftStartHome for residential air conditioners

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Dear Readers,
As you may know, I’ve been doing field and lab testing on a number of different SoftStart products over the last two years. I also designed and built a High Rate Data Logger (HRDL [“hurdle”]) so I could watch how the SoftStartRV reduced the inrush current during the compressor starting cycle. This was a real eye-opener for the industry, since HRDL could create slow-motion videos detailing how RV air conditioner compressors work and why they can trip portable generators.

That’s why the SoftStartRV units were built. They reduce the inrush current by more than 50 percent. That reduces stress on the electrical system each time the compressor starts up, which can be up to a dozen times per hour.

What about residential central air conditioners?

I’ve had dozens of inquiries on the availability of a SoftStart controller that could be used on a 240-volt central air conditioner. This would allow for a smaller 240-volt generator to power a house air conditioner during an emergency power outage. Why is that important? Well, electrical blackouts are getting to be more common due to hurricanes, flooding, fires, and even planned rolling blackouts.

Introducing SoftStartHome

This is the latest SoftStart product from NetworkRV. It can be installed on any 240-volt residential air conditioner compressor up to 6 tons. Installation is as simple as the SoftStartRV and a little safer since you typically don’t have to climb up on the roof of your house to reach the compressor. Installing the SoftStartHome should take less than 30 minutes as long as you’re handy with electrical wiring. I’m now reviewing no-splice installations and will be creating videos on the procedures.


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Does it work?

Yes, it certainly does. Here’s a first HRDL data showing how the SoftStartHome lowered the inrush current from 74 amps down to 24.86 amps. That’s a current reduction of  65%, and stops the loud bang every time the compressor starts up.

Plus, it appears that SoftStartHome could reduce kWh usage a bit. I’m still gathering data and crunching the numbers, but there is significantly less watt-seconds of energy used during each starting cycle, which could add up to a few dollars’ saving on your electric bill. Don’t quote me yet, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Find out more and purchase a SoftStartHome HERE.

Let’s play safe out there….

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. 

##RVT1078

 

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Ed Van Malden
2 days ago

Mike Sokol,
I’m interested in the SoftStartRV that I was discussing with a friend to replace a Surge Guard 34750 (EMS) that got zapped during a lightning event near our home and while the RV was plugged in at the house. The SoftStartRV he mentioned was to run 2 A/C at once with a 30A shore power connection, which may be nice on occasions when only 30A is available. I’m wondering if there is a 50A version that can substitute simultaneously for an EMS (Energy Management System) as well as a SoftStart for the 3 ea. 15K BTU units on the roof of the RV. This would consolidate the EMS shore power need and softstart ideal for times when there is only 30A shore power. I’m also wondering if my Surge Guard 40250-RVC has EMS monitoring built in, thus no need for power condition monitoring at the shore power pedistal.

Joe Goomba
26 days ago

240vac? Who’s U.S. home has that? More like 208, Mike.

Mike Sokol
26 days ago
Reply to  Joe Goomba

You are incorrect. Split-Phase power in the US is indeed 240/120 volts. But two legs of 3-phase WYE is 208/120 volts. All residential power in the US is 2-leg single-phase 240 volts with a neutral split.

Mike Sokol
26 days ago

Everyone: Be aware that if you want to measure the inrush current from an air conditioner, that you need a clamp meter with an “Inrush” current setting. A “Peak” current setting on the meter won’t give you an accurate measurement, especially when testing a SoftStart product.

Richard
27 days ago

We tried one. The bang wasn’t worth the buck in that the amperage reduction went from 60 to 50, and it shorted out after 3 months

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
27 days ago
Reply to  Richard

Sorry to hear that, Richard. I’ve emailed your comment to Mike Sokol and Doug Curtis at SoftStart. Have a great day. 😀 –Diane

Mike Sokol
27 days ago
Reply to  Richard

Are you talking about SoftStartHome? That’s the 240-volt version for residential air conditioners. It’s only been available to the public for the last month, so I don’t understand your 3 month comment.