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Old 06-16-2021, 06:13 AM   #1
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Soft Start Capacitors

It seems, like so many other components, these units have run dry in the supply chain.
Our friends are in the que for a 23' Escape trailer but the mfgr. in BC is not able to install a unit because they seem to be out of stock.

He's considering this https://www.softstartrv.com/ but I seem to recall Thompson installing one on our AC unit that was considerably less expensive.

Obviously, this is out of my wheelhouse so I defer to my learned cohorts to maybe shed some light on a product to fill the bill.

What say you? Should he just bite the bullet? Is this the way to go?

TIA for your insight.
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Old 06-16-2021, 06:36 AM   #2
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Most folks I’ve talked to buy the Microair 364, though the product you listed looks similar.

https://www.microair.net/products/ea...r-conditioners
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Old 06-16-2021, 09:14 AM   #3
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I just installed the micro-air unit on my trailer and even my small B&S 2200p starts the 15K a/c unit without any issues. FYI - I got it from Hitch Mountain.


https://www.hutchmountain.com/collec...BoCu-UQAvD_BwE
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Old 06-16-2021, 05:29 PM   #4
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I installed the product you listed on my TT and have been pleased with it. My 3500 genny had issues with the A/C at elevations above 7500', and the soft start corrected that problem.

Not cheap, but a good product with decent after sales support.
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Old 06-16-2021, 06:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith67 View Post
Most folks I’ve talked to buy the Microair 364, though the product you listed looks similar.

https://www.microair.net/products/ea...r-conditioners

If they buy direct from Micro-Air tell them to try discount code AIRSTREAM because it got me $40 off a month or so ago.

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Old 06-17-2021, 05:31 AM   #6
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Thompson installed a Coleman Soft Start on our ORV. It's labeled as AC Start Capacitor on our invoice. It was only $35. They were uncomfortable with the MicroAir.
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Old 06-17-2021, 06:06 AM   #7
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If they buy direct from Micro-Air tell them to try discount code AIRSTREAM because it got me $40 off a month or so ago.

Ray
Good call! I used one of the various coupon codes found online too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by laura970 View Post
Thompson installed a Coleman Soft Start on our ORV. It's labeled as AC Start Capacitor on our invoice. It was only $35. They were uncomfortable with the MicroAir.
I genuinely wonder why they’re uncomfortable with it? It’s not some gimmick, it legitimately decreased the LRA (locked rotor amperage) requirements on my 13.5 AC from “way too much for my Honda 2200” to “now my generator starts the AC easily, even in eco mode.” Bonus that it ramps the current up slowly too so it’s more gentle on the compressor. I installed it myself (thanks YouTube); couldn’t be easier and I’m no electrical whiz.

I consider it a must-have, even with shore power. It really is a great product.
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Old 06-18-2021, 05:07 AM   #8
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I think it's because the Coleman one is the same manufacturer as the a/c and the other doesn't warranty damage to the a/c.
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Old 06-18-2021, 05:37 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laura970 View Post
Thompson installed a Coleman Soft Start on our ORV. It's labeled as AC Start Capacitor on our invoice. It was only $35. They were uncomfortable with the MicroAir.
Just be aware that a soft-starter and a hard-start capacitor are two different things to solve two different problems.

The hard-start capacitor simply increases starting torque to compensate for the loss of torque during low-voltage conditions, or on aging units that are having a hard time starting even on closer-to-rated voltage. The original start capacitor is sized to provide an adequate starting torque with normal starting voltage range, which will be less than the rated voltage due to the high current draw. Starting torque drops like a stone with voltage reduction (as the square of the actual to rated voltage ratio) and a compressor may not be able to start at all when the voltage gets pulled down too far, even though it has almost unlimited current available from the utility. And speaking of current, a hard-start capacitor is likely to increase current draw while starting.

Soft-starters, on the other hand, limit the starting current to way below the LRA value of the compressor, with the fan already running (they start the fan first). It's far more complex than just another big capacitor and relay. This allows starting on a very limited current source, like a generator. Soft-starters have been around for a couple or few decades by now, and are used on 3-phase motors mainly. We use them on large motors run off generators (like 250 hp or more) since you'd need a giant generator just to get it started, which is expensive and wasteful in the long run. Single-phase soft starters are relatively new, but do work as advertised, but they're not cheap.

Neither system changes the running current once it's started, though.
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