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Old 08-15-2022, 06:04 PM   #1
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Soft start for AC?

I just bought a Generac 3300 Inverter Generator to run my 13500 BTU AC. Unfortunately, it cannot keep up and fails after only a few minutes. Since I cannot return the Generac, I am considering installing a Soft Start or something similar. I am a bit reluctant though as I feel like I just wasted $800 on a useless generator and donít want to feel the same about the Soft Start which is $300. Any experience with one of these? Do they actually work as advertised? Is there any potential long term damage to the AC by using one?
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Old 08-15-2022, 06:06 PM   #2
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Old 08-15-2022, 06:15 PM   #3
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Buy a SoftstartRV. I have them on both my AC units now. I can easily run both on 30A now. My startup current spike is basically gone.
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Old 08-15-2022, 06:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by emmmin View Post
I just bought a Generac 3300 Inverter Generator to run my 13500 BTU AC. Unfortunately, it cannot keep up and fails after only a few minutes. Since I cannot return the Generac, I am considering installing a Soft Start or something similar. I am a bit reluctant though as I feel like I just wasted $800 on a useless generator and donít want to feel the same about the Soft Start which is $300. Any experience with one of these? Do they actually work as advertised? Is there any potential long term damage to the AC by using one?
A soft start only reduces the start-up current draw. If your AC is starting and runs for a few minutes it would not do you any good.

The prime reason for a soft start is to lower the startup amperage starting the AC. Most use it to be able to run a second AC on 30 amp. The draw from a 13500 startup can reach 19 to 24 amps. Then drops to about 12 or 13. So if you're drawing 13 amps, and try to pull another 19 to start the second AC you're over 30 amps and the main breaker will trip. If you can get the second one started, 13 + 13 is 26 and you are under the limit.

3300 watts is 27.5 amps. You need to put a clamp-on load meter on it and see what it is doing. Either you are drawing a lot of amps before the AC starts. How much is your power converter drawing? If your batteries are not 100% charged a charger/convertor can draw 15 to 20 amps. Or the Generac is not putting out enough power to get your AC all the way up and therefore the startup load never drops.

$800 is not much to spend on a generator. To reasonably run an AC you should have one in the 4500 - 5000 range, considering other things that might be running.
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Old 08-15-2022, 07:14 PM   #5
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30 amp RV service is 3600 watts. That runs 1 air conditioner, 1 microwave, 1 fridge and 1 converter/charger all at the same time.

You have a 3300 watt generator or is it ?

That may only be the surge rating. The specs will show running watts, that's your concern.

Before spending money, get up on the roof and clean the condenser coils under the AC cover. Flush them out with a garden hose.
I did that on my old class C and the amp draw dropped from 19 amps to 16 amps and I was no longer tripping my brothers 20 amp house breaker .


PS: Just looked up the specs, it's a 2500 watt rated running generator, 3300 watt startup.
Still should run the AC but make sure it's clean and things like the water heater is off.

RV type fridge is about 5 amps, so switching to gas will help alot.

Converter/chargers onlt draw a few amps if the batteries are charged and my old 55 amp converter/charger drew 8 amps at max output.
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Old 08-15-2022, 08:41 PM   #6
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The soft start makes a night and day difference--BUT ONLY in the moment when the A/C's compressor is kicking on. If your A/C is able to turn on then it dies minutes later, that's a bit unusual and probably not something the soft start will solve.

A/C's will be generally harder to power as they warm up or it gets hotter outside so it could be that you're just over the wattage limit. My A/C would fire up in the morning with my 3200 watt gen but on a super hot day, I'd hear it die when the compressor cycled off-to-on later in the day. The soft start completely resolved that issue.

For your situation, I'd make sure other things aren't taking power (flip your fridge and water heater to gas!).
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Old 08-15-2022, 11:29 PM   #7
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I have the smaller Generac 2500 (2200 running).
It runs a Dometic 15000BTU with Micro Air easy start.

You should have no problem...
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Old 08-16-2022, 03:32 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the responses. Some further detailsÖ my AC is brand new so I donít think it is an issue of it being dirty. I only have one AC unit, not two. Everything else is turned off except for the battery charger as there is no switch for that on the control panel. I will look for a breaker for that but donít know of any other way to turn that off. I have a 2020 Gulf Stream Vista Cruiser 23RSS.
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Old 08-16-2022, 03:53 AM   #9
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The generator claims a starting wattage of 3300 and running wattage of 2500 which according to what I have read should power the 13500 BTU AC.
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Old 08-16-2022, 04:57 AM   #10
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Best advice is to pickup a Kill A Watt meter and see if it's a generator issue or a AC unit issue.

The Kill A Watt measures amps, volts, and HZs. It's $25 and plugs In between the generator and RV.
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Old 08-16-2022, 08:27 AM   #11
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What exactly happens when it “fails after a few minutes” ? Does the motor keep running with no output? Breaker trip? Air conditioner shuts down? EMS indicates low voltage and shuts off?
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Old 08-16-2022, 08:32 AM   #12
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Your Gererac should easily operate a 13,500 BTUH A/C unit. What else are you trying to operate at the same time? You will have to put the fridge on propane as well as the water heater. It cannot operate with both of those and the A.C unit. If you want to run the microwave, shut off the A/C unit.

It will help the A/C operation, to put the fan motor on continuous and not auto.

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Old 08-16-2022, 11:38 AM   #13
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What exactly happens when it ďfails after a few minutesĒ ? Does the motor keep running with no output? Breaker trip? Air conditioner shuts down? EMS indicates low voltage and shuts off?
The generator struggles for a for a few minutes (red engine warning light comes on) and then eventually shuts off completely. The breaker never trips on the RV. As noted, nothing else is on, nor is anything even plugged into the outlets. I am going to look tonight to see if there is a breaker for the battery charger in case that is the culprit. There is no on/off switch for that on the control panel.
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Old 08-16-2022, 12:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by emmmin View Post
The generator struggles for a for a few minutes (red engine warning light comes on) and then eventually shuts off completely. The breaker never trips on the RV. As noted, nothing else is on, nor is anything even plugged into the outlets. I am going to look tonight to see if there is a breaker for the battery charger in case that is the culprit. There is no on/off switch for that on the control panel.
That's fine, but you are basically engaged on a fishing expedition at this point, as in, "Try this and see if it works."

As stated already, the first step in the real solution is to find out how much load you are putting on that generator, using the Kill-o-watt or similar current measuring device. Then you know the answer. Either the generator is not performing as rated, or the A/C is not performing as rated, or you have another load that you have not accounted for.
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