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Top 7 Questions About A/C Soft Starters Answered

Published on April 13th, 2020 by Patrick Buchanan
This post was updated on May 19th, 2022

A/C Soft Starters – Sponsored by SoftStartRV

Top 7 Questions About A/C Soft Starters Answered

As A/C soft starters continue to transform the RV industry, questions about this great technology keep pouring in. Does this sound familiar? You love to camp, and enjoying your A/C comfort is important on those hot days and sticky evenings. You have two or more A/C units on your motor coach or trailer, however, there isn’t always enough power to start all your air conditioning units. 

We turned to Doug Curtis from SoftStartRV to find out what were the most common questions about these soft start devices. More importantly, we tapped into his expertise for the answers. 

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Camper Report: Many RVers ask, what A/C problems does a typical camper or trailer have?

SoftStartRV: The main problem RVers face is reducing the initial current spike to start their RV air conditioners. If you’ve got a motorcoach, 5th wheel, big travel trailer, or a toy hauler that has 2 or more A/Cs and you’re at most campgrounds with a 30-amp connection, you can only start one A/C unit because of the initial power spike to get the second A/C started. That’s a sweaty problem no one wants, having only part of their RV nice and cool. 

Camper Report: How does a soft starter work?

SoftStartRV: The SoftStartRV is an innovative device that gently smooths-out the startup power demand of the RV air conditioner’s compressor. The SoftStartRV reduces startup power demand up to an amazing 70% and it solves those A/C startup problems. 

Camper Report: What other benefits does your soft starter give to the camper?

SoftStartRV: If they are light sleepers, the thump of the A/C compressor starting up may wake them briefly, leading to a restless sleep. SoftStartRV eliminates that thump and trailer shake. They sleep more soundly. 

Camper Report: Aside from keeping cool and not waking the RVer up, are there any other benefits to an A/C soft starter?

SoftStartRV: Since their generator doesn’t have to work as hard during the A/C startup, they reduce their power management problems. Why? Because they don’t have to allocate so much power to just the compressor itself. They now have more power available to run other appliances such as their fridge, hairdryer, and blender all at the same time while they are running their air conditioners. 

Camper Report: Apart from solving tripped breakers due power management, what else can you share about an A/C soft starter?

SoftStartRV: Yes, we should mention that installation of the A/C soft start is quick for any DIY RVer. It installs inside the rooftop A/C cover and generally takes about 45 minutes per unit. We provide detailed installation instructions, color-coded wiring diagrams, and how-to video links. We have a US-based and trained technical support staff that consistently earns 5-star outstanding customer service ratings. Not a do-it-yourselfer? Any professional RV tech can install a SoftStartRV A/C soft starter and we’re growing our dealer network every week. 

An A/C soft starter can help keep you cool

Camper Report: Are there discounts for multiple air conditioner soft starters?

SoftStartRV: RV’s can come with anywhere from one to four A/C units. SoftStartRV offers special Factory Direct discounts for Camper Report and RV LIFE readers; save $30 on one SoftStart RV device, $60 on two, $90 on three, and $120 if you have four A/C’s. SoftStartRV also provides a free 90-day trial with a 100% satisfaction and return guarantee, and a 1-year warranty, extendable to 2-years – free with online registration. You’ll want one for each A/C unit you have on your RV. 

Camper Report: What else should we know about A/C soft starters? 

SoftStartRV: SoftStartRV units are fantastic for those with truck campers and small travel trailers that rely on a small generator for their power needs. Everyone knows larger generators and inverters cost more money, often over $2,000. The cost for rewiring an older 30-amp system is not cheap either. With SoftStartRV, you can use your existing power options and still start up those A/C units. 

SoftStartRV offers the best soft start RV A/C kit. Order SoftStartRV A/C soft starters with special discounts of up to $50 off each unit at:

About the Author:

40 thoughts on “Top 7 Questions About A/C Soft Starters Answered”

  1. Can only one soft start be installed (I have 2) to lessen the draw of starting up the 2nd AC compressor or do people always install them on both units when you have multiple?

  2. The cost to run a 13500 btu instead of a 5000 window unit. (Which will cool a TT or MH fine) is more more more more more more more more more more more more more more.

  3. How hard is the install? I am pretty good with electronics and electrical. But have no idea which wires are what in the A/C Unit. Does it have detailed instruction based on which brand/model you have?

  4. I have a 43 foot cedar creek 5th wheel and and in stalling solar panels on the roof to help cut down the power bill it also has 2 ac units and I’m looking for a way I could possibly run them when lost power off my solar and some though the day to help with the power bill also is the soft start something that would beniifit me and allow my solar to run the 2 ac units

  5. My main want is to be able to run at least one A/C unit while driving without having to run my generator.
    I am told that this will drop the spike to where I can run one unit off my inverter. My engine Alternator charges my inverter batteries so it should keep my batteries up.
    However this would require a DPDT switch be installed to route power from my genset 110v to my inverter 110v. This looks like a wiring hassle to me, not to mention if I forget to switch it back when not on the road it would drain my inverter batteries real fast.

    • Not knowing what the power draw of your A/C or the size of your alternator, I caution you to do more research. Common A/C units can draw 1500-1800W while running. To provide this much 120V power from an inverter that is at best 92% efficient requires 1630-1952W input. An alternator producing around 14V, would need to produce 116-140A to deliver this power. Assuming your engine and vehicle system needs 30-60A to operate the engine, lights, etc. You need an alternator capable of delivering up to 200A continuously. Alternator ratings are what they can produce at 6000 alternator rpm and is far from a continuous rating. Assume the continuous capacity is half the rated capacity and you will likely be safe. This would mean you would need a 400A rated alternator or larger which is remotely possible but very unlikely.

  6. I have the SoftStart installed on my Dometic Penguin II. It does eliminate the “compressor thump” which satisfied me. The “No cut, No splice” install was great, but maybe not for the average DIY person. That said the “reversing of these directions” which are supplied would allow you to take the SoftStart out of the A/C unit so that warranty work could be done with out anyone knowing that it had been installed. The one thing they don’t mention is that you’ll need the shortest possible 10/3 Gauge extension cord to run it on a household 20 amp circuit. I tried it on a good 12/3 extension cord and it doesn’t flow enough amperage. I did successfully run it on a 30 foot 10/3 but don’t think I would do that on a regular basis.

  7. Question: I have a Class C that runs on 30 Amp with one A/C with Heat Pump (model: Coleman Mach 10). Will I be able to run my A/C and heat pump normally with the soft start rv installed? Is there any special wiring I need to do because my A/C has a heat pump?

  8. So why aren’t a/c companies doing this already to their units? If it’s easier on their units, they should last longer and have fewer problems?

    • I had an old Westinghouse freezer that was fifty-six years old, still holding zero, when we moved and left it with the new owner. I have not had a frige or freezer last ten years, since.

      • I owned a home for 22 years before we sold and went full time RV. We had to put in 5 different fridges over that time. I remember my grandmother owned hers for more than 40. GE and all the others should be ashamed. Always, all about the money. They build them to last 3-4 years so you have to buy a new one.

  9. We have a 2020 Forest River Rockwood 2706ws with two A/C’s. If I install your soft start will it interfere with the factory warranty?

  10. I bought a Soft start and watching a Youtube video I was able to install the Soft Start in less than 30 minutes in my Coleman A/C. All the connectors are supplied. I was amazed at how little the power dropped at start up. There are lights on the Soft Start that will let you know if you wired the unit properly.
    Afterwards I installed a RV Air Flow System. It’s a Styrofoam block installed inside my RV in the cavity of my A/C unit. It insures the warm air and cold air remain segregated. They claim it increases air flow 45%. I’m very pleased with it. It significantly increased my airflow. I can’t say by how much because I can’t measure it. For a block of foam it’s very expensive at $170 but I’m very pleased with the outcome.
    I can’t wait to do an IOT&E (Initial operational test and evaluation) (Air Force talk) when we go boondocking in a couple of weeks. For less than $500 I recommend both of these units for an A/C upgrade

    • There are numerous YouTube videos on how to install your own air flow systems, made from 1″ thick Styrofoam insulation board and metal duct tape. Cost me less than five bucks and about three hours to complete, including a couple of rest periods (bad knees). Increase in air flow is noticeable.

  11. We have been told that installing a soft start with invalidate the extended warranty that we have on our trailer. Is that true?

  12. Love the soft starts. Our camper (32 ft Coachmen) has two a/c’s (15k and 13.5K). During hurricane season here in Wilmington, NC, our camper serves as our hotel when we lose power. Last yr, I was running two predator 3500’s linked together to power everything. During the evening, one of the generators quit but the other still took care of both a/c’s! Soft-starts are one of camping “must-have’s”!

  13. Will this allow a Honda eu2000 to power a typical microwave oven like those found in small travel trailers? I’m not sure how an installation would work.
    Thank you very much.

    • The soft start units only affect the current draw/startup of your airconditioner(s). It will not change the power requirements of any other appliances.

    • Soft starts work on induction motors. In concept, installing one on a microwave would damage or destroy the microwave. In practice, it would be impossible to connect.

      • I’m finding myself suddenly in the deep end, researching using these, what do you mean by “installing one on a microwave”? How are these installed? I thought it was in a different part of the electrical system. Is it more overall or individual item based?

    • My A-IPower (2000Wpeak/1600W running) generator runs my Coleman Mach 13.5 BTU AC just fine. I haven’t put it to real world test yet but during initial run in my driveway, no issues with generator during multiple on/off cycles. For reference, my 12 V batteries were fully charged, Temp outside was ~80 deg. My driveway is near sea level and no other appliances or lights were running at the time. I’m guessing running any another large appliance would overload the generator while running the AC. No issues running the AC on shore power with a long extension cord with the Soft Start.

    • I recommend. The new champion 2500 watt inverter generator. Especially if you travel to higher elevations. Approx 3% power loss for each 1k in elevation. If you do not exceed 3k in elevation a 2200 watt inverter Gen would work.

    • Depends on elevation. All generator loose 3% power per 1 k in elevation gain. Under 3 k in elevation it would likely work.


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