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  1. #1
    Site Team Member traveldawg's Avatar
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    "Soft-Start" Air Conditioner Device Observations....

    No doubt we've all heard of the extreme heat in the west and even the midwest this year. We've had our share of it all through Nevada, California, and even Oregon. We've been places where the AC's almost never stopped cooling until late evening. The good news is..... the ACs kept us comfortable - in most cases.

    There is a situation we came across where the rig did get hotter than I would have liked (like 84 degrees). It occurs in a low voltage or momentary low voltage situation when a "soft-start" device is on an air conditioner (AC).

    Here are the details.....
    The ACs are both running on 50 amp service. Leg 2 (it always is leg 2) drops low (under 104 VAC) and my PEI unit shuts the power off. Within a few seconds the power recovers. But the PEI waits 136 seconds before providing power again.

    Meanwhile, until the PEI allows power to the rig again the sun is beating down on the roof and making the AC ducts even hotter than they were.

    Now, after the PEI built in delay, the ACs start up again. But the delay built into the "soft-start" units can provide an additional delay before the compressor starts (up to about 3 minutes in the MicroAir unit; I have no idea about other brands). That 3 minute delay starts when the power fails.

    So far, so good - everything is working as designed and intended.

    The issue comes in when the ACs start but the "soft-start" units delay the compressor from restarting. The AC fans come on and all they do is push really hot air in the ducts for maybe a minute or 2 before the compressors come on.

    And now the "catch" - that really hot air just makes the temps in the rig even higher! Yuk! Who wants that?

    I think it would be better if the AC's fans never came on until the compressor was allowed to come back on. At least there would be some cold air to quickly purge the hot ducts.

    That it - that's my observation. The bottom line is that I would want the entire AC to not operate until the whole unit can operate. But that isn't how the "soft-starts" work.

    I may end up removing my "soft-start" device after this trip. I hardly ever use my generators, I have 2 Honda 2000i;s so I can alway start and run one of the ACs if/when needed without the "soft-start", and even with "soft-starts" I wouldn't try to run 2 ACs. So I am not sure a "soft-start" is always the best option; at least not in my case.

    or..... here comes the geek in me..... I have designed a device to sit between the thermostat and AC unit(s) that delays any AC operation (fans or compressor) for any selectable time I choose so that once all these time delays time out the ACs will then come on in full operation.

    whew... long story. I've been 'noodling' on this for a while, just finally had a few minutes to try to explain one potential downside of the "soft=starts".
    Larry KE4DMG
    2022 F-350 KRU SRW LB - Airlift 5000+, ForScan, 37 RDS Aux Tank,
    2019 310GK-R - Sailuns; MorRyde IS; Disc Brakes; 20K Reese Goosebox
    Search kalakamods for my mods


  2. #2
    Rolling Along
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    How about this as potential hot sun mitigation? (Not cheap, no idea if it works or how easy to install/uninstall.)
    https://www.shaderv.com/
    2022 Solitude 378MBS-R
    2021 Ford F450 CC Lariat Ultimate FX4
    1966 Shasta Astroflyte (1 year restoration project that is going on year 6)

  3. #3
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    Wouldn't an Autoformer take care of that issue all together?
    2021 Solitude 375 RES-R
    2024 GMC Denali ultimate DRW

  4. #4
    Long Hauler bertschb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by traveldawg View Post
    I may end up removing my "soft-start" device after this trip.
    How many places have you stayed where the voltage dropped below 105v and your EMS cut power?
    Brian & Kellie
    2020 Solitude 310GK-R, FBP, 1,460w solar, 540ah BBGC3, MORryde IS w/disc brakes
    2020 F-350 Platinum SRW Powerstroke Tremor, 60g TF fuel tank, Hensley BD3-F air bag hitch

    Previous setups:
    2019 Solitude 373FB-R, 2019 F-350 Platinum DRW Powerstroke, Hensley BD5 air bag hitch
    2016 Reflection 318RST, 2016 GMC 3500 Denali SRW Duramax, Hensley BD3 air bag hitch

  5. #5
    Site Sponsor Rapid1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bertschb View Post
    How many places have you stayed where the voltage dropped below 105v and your EMS cut power?
    I was thinking the same thing...you have a power issue but the soft starts are the problem?
    2018 Reflection 303RLS
    2006 Chev 2500HD Duramax CC/SB/4X4
    Superglide2700 Bakflip F1

  6. #6
    Site Team Member traveldawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fsalmy View Post
    How about this as potential hot sun mitigation? (Not cheap, no idea if it works or how easy to install/uninstall.)
    https://www.shaderv.com/

    OMG - more 'stuff' to set-up and take-down. And what about the wind? Most places we were at in the SW had such strong winds such that we couldn't even put the awnings out with fear of loosing them. Still - someone was pretty clever inventing those shades. The could be helpful in certain situations for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by JKellerJr View Post
    Wouldn't an Autoformer take care of that issue all together?
    Ha! I left mine home! So yes - the Autoformer would have helped. Lesson learned - pack it and carry it all the time. Actually, in my last rig it was always in the circuit (but could be bypassed); maybe it's time to rewire a few things when I get back home.

    Quote Originally Posted by bertschb View Post
    How many places have you stayed where the voltage dropped below 105v and your EMS cut power?
    at least 3 (this summer) that I can say for sure, but I'm not sure why it matters as it can occur anyplace, anytime.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rapid1 View Post
    I was thinking the same thing...you have a power issue but the soft start are the problem?
    I never said the soft starts were a problem.... I simply relayed an issue that can arise as a consequence of using them. The intent of the post was to point out my experience and I though it might help someone in deciding if they actually need them or not. I wasn't saying the soft start was a problem or a bad thing..... In my case (since I don't dry camp much, if at all), I am not sure I need it as it has caused more issues than not.
    Larry KE4DMG
    2022 F-350 KRU SRW LB - Airlift 5000+, ForScan, 37 RDS Aux Tank,
    2019 310GK-R - Sailuns; MorRyde IS; Disc Brakes; 20K Reese Goosebox
    Search kalakamods for my mods


  7. #7
    Site Sponsor Rapid1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by traveldawg View Post


    I never said the soft starts were a problem.... I simply relayed an issue that can arise as a consequence of using them. The intent of the post was to point out my experience and I though it might help someone in deciding if they actually need them or not. I wasn't saying the soft start was a problem or a bad thing..... In my case (since I don't dry camp much, if at all), I am not sure I need it as it has caused more issues than not.
    It's not a consequence of using soft starts, it's a consequence of the low power issue. Low power at the pole will cause all sorts of issue with all sorts of stuff...to pick on soft starts, or any other single thing is, well, oh well.
    2018 Reflection 303RLS
    2006 Chev 2500HD Duramax CC/SB/4X4
    Superglide2700 Bakflip F1

  8. #8
    Setting Up Camp
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rapid1 View Post
    I was thinking the same thing...you have a power issue but the soft starts are the problem?
    My Hughs Guard Dog has cut power twice this year. First week I had my Solitude, mid-May in Bryce National Park driving home to Phoenix from Salt Lake. Wind was hitting 60mph gusts. Voltage dropped continuously throughout the night. Park operator said it was the local transformer station in town that couldnt handle the wind.
    Second time was 2 weeks ago on the California Delta. Again, voltage drops continuous all night. Busy weekend, lots of campers. Kicked out my 2 ACs several times.

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