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When your RV AC unit starts up, it has to draw a ton of current to do so. Usually, about FIVE times that amount of current that is needed to RUN the AC. So, while your AC might draw 15 Amps (at 120V AC), starting it can draw upwards of 50Amps to start the compressor!

This rush of current to start your compressor is called INRUSH and it's an issue with every electric motor. Most power systems can handle this very short demand for extreme power as it only lasts a fraction of a second. However, some power supplies will completely shut down when hit with this huge demand. Many generators and inverters, in particular, have trouble with inrush current and that's where SoftStartRV comes in!

SoftStartRV

The SoftStartRV unit does just what its name implies: Softly Starts the RV AC compressor. It does this by taking that initial inrush of power and spreading it out over time. Mike Sokol (RV electricity) build a High Rate Data Logger to be able to show exactly how this works (diagram below). As you can see, it extends the start cycle out to about 330 milliseconds (1/3 of a second) from 150ms (< 1/6 of a second), and lowers the current from 52 Amps to 24Amps.

This decrease in current is what allows an AC compressor to start on shaky power that might otherwise fail.

Graph courtesy of Mike Sokol (RV Electricity)

Installation

As followers of our channel know, I'm no stranger to complex and difficult electrical projects. This is NOT one of those kinds of projects. In fact, if you can follow a few easy steps and are comfortable with the basic crimping of electrical connections, SoftStart RV provides all of that. The installation was so simple, I was surprised when I finished.

Simply find the electrical diagram on your rooftop unit, get the part number for your system, go HERE to find the installation instructions designed specifically for your AC unit, and follow the steps.

And, if you're not 100% sure about it, or if you run into questions while performing the installation, SoftStartRV is there for you! Simply open a support ticket HERE and set up a call. They will stay on the phone with you to get you through the installation!

Who Needs a SoftStartRV?

This is a tricky question. But, if you need it, you likely know.

Inrush current crash (a term I just made up while writing this), is most likely when your power supply is limited. For instance, running one AC on a 2000W generator. The generator has the power to run the 1500W AC unit but can't handle the 6000W inrush needed for just a fraction of a second. The generator craps out and shuts off.

Or, you're connected to 30A service (3600W), and want to run TWO AC units. It's the same situation. You get one of the AC units running, try to start the second one, and boom! Inrush crash!

There many scenarios, including running three AC units on a 45A generator. This is our setup. For us, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Now that we have SoftStartRV units on each, we expect to have no issues. We will update here if we do.

Other Summertime Readiness Tasks

Whether or not you can benefit from a Soft Start, there are things you CAN benefit from without a doubt!

AC Maintenance

Without a doubt, this is THE BEST THING you can do to prepare your AC for summer! We made a video about RV AC Maintenance a while back and anyone can do it!

RV AirFlow

We were skeptical about this one till we tried it. If you have a ducted AC system in your RV, this is an awesome product to improve the airflow in your AC system. We were able to measure a 45% increase in airflow to our vents after this upgrade. Be sure to check out the video HERE!

Micro-Air EasyTouch RV Thermostat

Admittedly, this one has nothing to do with improving performance. But, we wanted to mention it while we're talking about AC upgrade products. The EasyTouch thermostat replaces the stock thermostat and provides several “smart” thermostat features like programmable settings based on the time of day. But, what we most like about them is they are internet accessible (wifi with internet required)! Gone are the days of having to drive all the way home to turn the AC back on after an RV Park power glitch. Full video on this HERE.

Refridgerator Maintenance

Just like your AC units, your refrigerator uses heat and airflow to cool. Disruption of this airflow will cause inefficiencies in the system. Additionally, there are several things you can do to improve your refrigerator's performance. We cover those in a video HERE.

Generator

The last item we'd like to mention for summer prep is your generator. First off, just make sure it runs before heading out for the summer! Secondly, be sure you are up to date on the generator's maintenance schedule. This maintenance, which includes an oil change, is very simple and we cover it all HERE!

As summer approaches, we hope you are prepared and have an awesome summer RV camping! 😊

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