Micro-Air EasyStart DIY Installation. Soft Start = Small Generator A/C or TWO A/Cs on 30 Amps!

TheRVgeeks Electrical, Great RV Products, Updates & Upgrades 27 Comments

Have you ever tried running two air conditioners at a 30-amp campsite? The spike from the second compressor starting up can trip the breaker, especially in older, more remote campgrounds. We installed a device called a “soft start” into each of our A/C units, and now the spike is gone, allowing us to run both at once, even at a 30-amp hookup. They’re also perfect for using a small generator to power a single air conditioner when boondocking.

Our 15,000 BTU Penguin heat pump air conditioners typically use about 10-12 amps while running. But it takes a lot more current to start an air conditioner than to run it. That’s due to something called “Locked-Rotor Amperage” which can require 5 to 6 times the power to get an A/C compressor to start running.

If you’ve been getting by on hot summer days with only one A/C unit at 30-amp RV parks, or if you have a small portable generator that you’d like to use to run one air conditioner on your smaller RV, a soft start can make all the difference. They’re not hard to install, especially when you watch the above DIY tutorial video for the deets! ?

SAVE $25.00!
MICRO-AIR EASYSTART DISCOUNT CODE

Micro-Air is offering RVgeeks viewers a $25 discount when you buy an EasyStart 364
direct from them at www.microair.net. Use the Discount Code “RVGEEKS” at checkout!
NOTE: The discount applies only to the EasyStart 364, but if you have multiple air conditioners, you’ll save $25 on each of them!


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Comments 27

  1. I just ordered a soft start and want to say “thank you” for the discount code! I also want to mention how easy the MicroAir website is to navigate and place orders. I look forward to receiving and installing mine.

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      1. I wanted to follow up with your after installing the EasyStart on our trailer yesterday. Firstly, it reduces the start up load on our Honda EU2000 generator so that the generator hardly even struggles upon startup. Secondly, your video instructions were actually more helpful than the Micro-Air instructions. So thank you for turning us on to this great device – it’s great!

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          That’s great news! With how hot this summer has been, and us on 30-amps most of the time, our EasyStarts have been the greatest. So good to hear you’re having the same experience, and that our video was helpful. Thanks so much for letting us know.😊

  2. Again, a great aftermarket idea manufactures fail to address!

    I have a 2008 Sightseer 29R with one Coleman 15K BTU AC/heat pump. In hot summers, the single AC does a nominal job, at best.

    I have already installed a second 14″X14″ Fantastic Fan into the roof of the bedroom to help with air flow. It works great to withdraw hot air, pulling air from the forward Fantastic Vent. Would adding the Easy Start (I presume one for each unit) enable me to replace the Fantastic Fan, add a home run electrical circuit dedicated to a 13.5K AC?

    It just might make the bedroom a ‘walk-in’ refrigerator, but I’d think it would help with making the coach more comfortable in hot regions where we travel.

    John, ditto on Mike’s comment above!

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      Hey, Bud! Sorry for the delayed response… we were offline for a couple days! Installing a second A/C unit would certainly make it a lot easier to keep the RV cool in hot climates! And running a dedicated line from the circuit breaker box, like you indicated, would be the best route, to ensure it’s not overloading another circuit. And while the “spike” on the new, smaller 13,500BTU air conditioner would likely be less than the 15,000BTU unit… we’d probably install an EasyStart on both, just to be safe (unless the new 13,500BTU unit is significantly more efficient and/or includes its own soft-start mechanism that minimizes the start-up spike (which we’d seriously doubt)… then we’d just install an EasyStart on the existing A/C unit).

  3. I see the benefit of the easy start when you have a need to reduce the start amperage. If you have one AC and plenty of generator/shore power does the easy start’s gentle ramp up help or hurt the compressor motor over time? Intuitively i would think that jolting a motor at startup would eventually harm the motor.

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      We thought the same thing, Rod… that the more gentle ramp up would help the longevity of the compressor. But Micro-Air makes no claim about that side benefit, since compressors typically fail for mechanical reasons (seal failure or crack in a weld, etc), that the gentler ramp up doesn’t necessarily help with. So if you already have plenty of generator power to start & run your A/C, we wouldn’t recommend installing an EasyStart for the off chance that it might improve the lifespan of the compressor. (but if you wanted to downsize your generator to save weight, or fuel, or for more quiet when it’s running… THAT would be a different story! ? )

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  4. Another well done DIY video. Regarding Don’s double-failure: Last July Kathy & I went to Coachella and brought our coach back to Vancouver. Remember all the heat and fires in California? It was in the high 40’s (high one hundred and teens fahrenheit) and I thought that our AC units had all packed it in. Even on solid 50 amp shore power (or our on board gen running) they did not cool the coach to a comfortable level.

    1. I started to research AC units as soon as I got home. FINALLY talked to the proper rep and was told that nothing on a roof of an RV will take the blazing heat of the desert in summer and cool to a Vancouver October. Nothing.

      The air is way too hot (46°C) and much too dry (9% humidity). Plus everything in the RV was heat-soaked. The walls, floors, seats, even the pillows on the bed. A commercial movie-set AC blower would take all day to cool everything off.

      Back in Vancouver (humidity 70%+) I got up on the roof and cleaned everything and tried them again. Of course all three worked just fine.

      P.S. Sure is easy to remember to hit the shift key for new paragraphs, especially after trying the control key the first time. Again.

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        Hey John! Sounds like you stayed South just a little late in the season. July in Coachella?! Glad those units came back to life. Unfortunately, it does sounds like Don’s actually bit the dust.

        1. We left the coach down south when we went on our European Motorhome Tour. But, yes, summer is too hot for comfortable RV living.

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            The hottest we’ve ever done was during the first week of May, 2007 in Desert Hot Springs when it was 105 for most of the week we were there. Luckily we were in a park with robust 50-amp service, but both A/Cs ran all day every day, and just managed to keep it from being unbearable inside. It made enough of an impression that I didn’t even need to look up the date to remember when it was! Yes…. there are limits to what an RV can comfortably withstand.

  5. We installed a soft start last year. We only have one AC unit but it took 2 generators to start it. Now, we’ve built a box on the bumper of our fiver for ONE generator and can run the AC at friends’ homes to boot. Currently sitting in a cool camper on a 90 degree day running off a friend’s 20 amp garage outlet. It’s the bomb!

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  6. Great job on the video, and I resemble the use of the hair dryer!! Really liked your both always stressing safety tips on the projects you tackle. Safety is not by accident, it demands a attention to detail while working. One tip for you, and fellow followers. On the AC Shrouds, the attachment points where the screws go thru, can become brittle over the years. I found that cutting strip of Eternabond tape, and placing it on the inside of the cover where the screw holes go thru, provides more stability/support to cover. Reduces impact from vibration and wind buffeting while going down the road or in ‘active’ weather. Appreciate the video! Travel safe, and stay cool!!

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      Thanks, Smitty! We like to point out the safety issues when they exist… because not everyone would know to beware if they weren’t warned! And thanks for the tip about reinforcing the screw holes on the A/C shrouds… great idea!

  7. Nice article. Both my ac’s are either past the mfr 2 yr warranty or about to expire (APR 19 JUN 19). The discount isn’t even 10% and the optional $25 extended warranty only goes until mfr warranty runs out. Since I really don’t boon dock I don’t see an advantage. Not an electrical person or ac, does a soft start have any marked improvement in making the ac last longer? I full-time and since I bought my coach used in 2014 (2012 model) I had both units fail pithing months of each other in 2017.

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      Hi Don. Sorry the discount isn’t more, but that’s what’s available! And keep in mind that the EasyStart isn’t just for when you’re boondocking and need to run your A/C units off your generator… they can also allow you to run both A/C units on just a 30-amp connection without the concern of exceeding the breaker. Or it could even let you run a single A/C on just a 20-amp connection. Of course, it all depends on how you RV… if you’re primarily a 50-amp hookup kind of person, of course this wouldn’t really provide you much benefit.

      Also, Micro-Air doesn’t make any claims about the EasyStart increasing lifespan on an air conditioner, as they say that the biggest cause of failures are usually mechanical, not electrical. It’s certainly possible that it COULD increase their life, but they aren’t promising that.

      We’re curious about the fact that you had both A/C units fail within such a short period of time. Sounds like it’s possible you’re running them when the voltage in the park is low… when that happens, resistive loads like motors & compressors draw higher amperage to make up for the lower voltage… which, over time, causes them to fail sooner (this is the primary reason we have a Hughes Autoformer to help protect us against this exact situation). Of course the problem is that, typically, when you need to run your air conditioners (it’s hot out), everyone else is, too… so the park’s voltage is likely low!!

      1. I have a good installed surge protector with the 212 sec delay but I don’t have the Hughes unit. I am a mostly 50 amp guy. First one went while on an AF base that had all its pedestals replace the 6 months before arrival. The 2nd one went on another base but was on 30 amp only so I was running them one at a time depending upon if in living area (daytime) or sleeping area (night-time) The units didn’t fail electrically, they somehow leaked the oil inside the unit through a crack in the copper wire–first indication was a foul smell and almost a misty cloud that came through my ducted vents–then it got warmer. The new Dometics came with 2 yr warranties. I loved the video–you guys make everything look so easy. I know the discount is not on you I was just trying to explain that it seemed a little steep for my personal purse with ac’s just about to go out of warranty. I did notice in your video you ac’s were the older ones with the sheet metal housings–they were the types that failed, The new ones have the foam shrouds. Sure hope our paths cross some time–love to meet you guys and I am so impressed how nice you rig looks after all these years, I like my Canyon Star but their is a real difference between mine and yours and it is not just the engine.

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          If you’re a “50 amp guy”, then you’re not likely to need the EasyStarts anyway… you’ve got plenty of power to run both A/C units, Don!! ? Sorry to hear about those failures, though. Having the refrigerant/lubricant vent like that and send a misty cloud into the RV doesn’t sound like fun! And it’s REALLY odd that BOTH would fail the same way! Bad batch from the factory?!?! Hope you have better luck with the new ones!

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      That’s because it IS easy, Pat! Double-stick tape, some cable ties, and four wires! The hardest part of the whole thing is getting up on the roof, LOL! ?

  8. The last time I checked many manufacturers will void their warranty if these devices are installed. I’m wondering if this is still true?

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