If there’s one upgrade your RV needs this summer, it’s a soft start. This handy tool is good for running appliances that require a lot of energy, like air conditioners.
This device can help keep you nice and cool all summer. Whether you’re boondocking or staying at a campsite, you won’t need to worry about running your AC night and day.
Discover how this small tool could be the power boost your rig needs.
Let’s start it up!
What Is an RV Soft Start Versus a Hard Start?
Starting a motor generates an incredible amount of electrical current. Depending on the engine’s health and the appliances used in your RV, this powerful burst of energy can cause damage. It can also trip circuit breakers. That’s where a soft start comes in handy.
This device reduces the amount of power needed to start a motor. It alters your engine’s torque, allowing for a lower voltage level. Once the motor starts, the device begins running and gradually feeds more power to the engine, and it can then operate as usual. This process allows you to run appliances where you normally couldn’t.
A soft start shouldn’t be confused with a hard start, which actually increases the amount of power used to start a motor. These devices are used for large appliances like commercial air conditioning units.
The soft start devices can increase the lifespan of your appliances and electronics. In fact, they decrease the amount of current on startup by close to 70%. These tools work best with small generators but can even be used with solar power.
Do You Need a Soft Start for Your RV’s AC?
Air conditioners draw a considerable amount of energy. As a result, many motorhome AC units will hard start without sufficient power.
Since many RVers rely on small power sources, soft starts can prevent repeated hard starts from happening. They’re actually smart devices, meaning the longer you use one, the more it “learns” how your AC unit handles voltage.
This device can be a lifesaver if you’re trying to conserve power or have limited access to electricity. Dry camping can put a lot of strain on small portable power sources. You don’t want to damage generators or appliances, especially when boondocking in remote areas.
With a soft start, you can run your RV’s AC unit without worrying about potential damage. Talk about peace of mind!
Pro Tip: We’ve used multiple brands of soft starters. RV Soft Start is the most economical and easiest to install. We’ve put it to the test and have seen great results.
The Benefits of the RV Soft Start
Soft starts are great for protecting valuable appliances. But these smart tools also do a whole lot more than just that. So let’s look at a few of the perks offered by this handy device.
#1 Prevent Breaker Trips
Air conditioners require a large amount of current to operate, especially at startup. Insufficient power can cause your AC unit to hard start. Aside from causing long-term damage to your appliances, these hard starts can also trigger power surges which can trip a circuit breaker or even ruin a generator. This is a common problem in RVs, even with small appliances.
An RV soft start solves this problem. Since the device measures and manages your power, it feeds voltage to your unit at a steady rate. Decreasing that high initial current load ensures a gentle startup that won’t trip breakers.
#2 Run Two AC Units At the Same Time
Your RV can get pretty stuffy during the summer months. Sometimes even in the best circumstances, a single air conditioner isn’t enough to keep you cool inside.
But what if you could run two units at once? With a soft start, that can be a reality.
The device’s self-optimizing capabilities use the smallest amount of current necessary to start an appliance. This means there’s not much difference between powering one AC unit or two. A soft start allows you to operate both air conditioners on a 30-amp hookup. Normally, you’d need 50 amps for this. You can even run two units on your vehicle’s inverter system.
#3 The AC Can Run from a Smaller Generator
Having a generator for extra power is a game-changer for RV living. However, there are limits to what they can do. For example, most air conditioners require more power than a small generator can provide.
A soft start allows a generator as small as 2200 watts to handle an AC unit. As a bonus, the device reduces the overall noise. Since this tool allows voltage to flow more smoothly, the compressor can cycle off and on more gently. No more annoying background noise from your generator.
Pro Tip: We took a closer look to answer Why is my AC Blowing Warm Air?
#4 Soft Starts Reduce the Load on RV Generators and Inverters
Chances are you rely quite a bit on your generator and inverter when camping off-grid. These tools are important for boondocking. To stay safe and comfortable, you want them to work properly. Soft starts help protect these precious power sources.
Even a hybrid inverter pulling current from multiple sources isn’t immune to a power surge. The soft start helps get the volts running without overloading a delicate system. You can even simultaneously run multiple high-voltage appliances like hair dryers and blenders.
#5 Quieter AC Startups
As mentioned, soft starts can reduce the noise from generators. But air conditioners can also be pretty noisy.
Soft starts reduce AC noise as well. Remember, these devices are “smart,” meaning they “learn” how your appliance runs over time. After a few startups, the tool will know precisely how much power the unit needs to turn on. This results in a much quieter startup.
As an added bonus, you’ll probably notice decreased overall noise. This is because your air conditioner will use power more efficiently, reducing the number of thumps and other noises associated with the compressor.
Soft Start it Up
A soft start can add months or even years to your AC’s lifespan. But it offers so many more benefits as well. Whether it’s a quieter generator, running multiple appliances, or avoiding power surges, these devices are well worth the upfront cost.
If you visit hot climates or boondock frequently, consider adding this small but mighty device to your rig. It’ll make your life on the road a whole lot easier.
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