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Soft Start for RV AC: DIY Installation

Levi Henley Installs a soft start for RV AC

Soft Start for RV AC: DIY Installation

I want to admit right off the bat that I am not in any danger of being called an electrician. I am geeky and love science topics to a nerdy point. So much so, I will read about how electricity works and look at theory for hours because it’s fun. But if you gave me some wires and told me to wire a house, an RV, or even a stereo for that matter, I’d probably be lost without specific instruction.

So when I realized SoftStartUSA was going to send us a SoftStartRV unit that required me to cut, splice, and rewire my air conditioner in the middle of summer, I was worried. Was I really ready for a DIY installation of a soft start for RV AC?

A Soft Start for RV AC is Easy to Install

First, I asked myself, can I install this? More importantly, my wife Natalie  asked me the same question. 

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“Of course,” I told her in typical husband fashion. “No problem.” 

I knew that if my bluff was called, and I busted our A/C in 90-degree weather, I would be sleeping in a tent for a while. Fortunately, the SoftStartRV was super easy to install.

The company provided a lot of help and support. I am happy to say that I am still sleeping in the RV under my cool air conditioner. What’s more, the A/C is quieter, and I can run more appliances at once with the A/C running.

I want to take you through my installation process to show how easy it is to install a SoftStartRV unit yourself, even with little to no real-world electrical knowledge. First, though, let’s look at what a SoftStartRV is and why I think every RVer, whether they have a 30-amp or 50-amp rig, should get one.

Your RV A/C Needs a Ton of Power

When your air conditioner starts up, the compressor is allowed to use all the power it needs to start working. Amps are basically a measurement of how fast the electricity has to flow through the lines to deliver that power.

An air conditioner compressor can spike up to over 50 amps when the A/C starts. This spike is short, only about 150 milliseconds or so, but it’s enough to bog down generators. It can also starve motors like your A/C fan and compressor, and yes, even trip the park’s breaker.

For 50 amp users with two air conditioners, you are probably used to only being able to run one A/C at a time on 30 amps. This is because of the amperage spike. This is why a soft start for your RV AC is needed.

To read more about how electricity in a 50-amp and a 30-amp system works and get some tips on running your 50-amp system on a 30-amp socket, check out this article I wrote for Camper Report.

A SoftStartRV Fixes the Problem

Imagine there is a perfectly round boulder in front of you, and you want to roll it across a flat surface. You know that once you get the boulder rolling, it will be easier to keep it going. You have to transfer energy to the boulder to get it to start rolling. 

There are two ways to do this. You can try running up to the boulder and shove it hard with all your might. Or, you can walk up to it and slowly push it, adding pressure to it until it gets up to the rolling speed you want. That is basically the difference between an air conditioner with a SoftStartRV and one without a soft start for RV AC.

Levi Henley holds a SoftStartRV device

What is an AC Soft Starter?

A SoftStartRV is a soft start for your RV AC device that is installed on your RV air conditioner. It prevents the huge amp spike from the compressor by controlling the amount of voltage over time. The SoftStartRV has been documented to reduce the spike in amps from your A/C by over half. 

The absence of a big power spike in this one appliance can yield some awesome gains. More appliances can run at once with the A/C on. Two A/Cs can operate simultaneously on a 30-amp socket. Boondockers might only need to carry an 80-pound generator instead of a hefty 120-pound one and still power all the appliances they need off the grid.

Installing a SoftStartRV

Every air conditioner is wired a little differently, so where each wire goes will vary. The SoftStartRV has 5 wires to hook up to your A/C unit on the roof of your RV. The video below is my experience installing a SoftStartRV on my Coleman Mach 15 air conditioner.


Most 50-amp RVers will eventually have to deal with a 30-amp socket. My opinion is that a SoftStartRV is an essential do it yourself addition for those who want to keep cool on those hot summer camping vacations.

For those who live in an RV full-time, like my wife and I, the SoftStartRV gives us freedom. Freedom to not worry about exactly what we have running while the A/C is on. Our generator will thank us when we are dry camping too.

The soft start for RV AC was surprisingly easy to install. Even with filming, it only took 30 minutes.

The customer support system was excellent. I sent a support ticket, and within 40 minutes, I was on the phone with them. It was good old fashioned customer service, and they gave me the confidence I needed to do it myself.

Click here to get your own SoftStartRV unit.

Also, don’t forget to fill out the extended warranty form to get your free extended warranty!