Once I completed my 3000 watt inverter installation I started looking for a soft start for the AC. While my inverter was capable of starting and running the AC even without it, its kinder on the batteries and everything else not to spike the current.
And being able to run the AC more reliably from a 20 amp outlet is nice.
There are a couple competing models but I decided on the Micro-air for a few reasons. The latest model sold by Hutch Mountain has some strong points. (At the time I purchased mine Hutch Mountain was the only vendor selling the newest model. Not sure if that has changed but the Amazon link below is for the Hutch version – they also have terrific support although I didn’t need it.) If you don’t have Bluetooth its not the new model!
- The new model has a Bluetooth interface so you can actually monitor that its working correctly. Otherwise you may never know!
- The install kit is WAGO connectors – instant gratification and no crimping.
- The Micro-air learn mode is really unique as it programs to your specific AC
There are excellent instructions from Micro-air. Sandy Johnson is a prolific writer of guides and her instructions were also very helpful: LTV Install guides
Although I have a strong electronics background I was still a bit intimidated. Models and years vary, and my roof is covered with solar so its a bit of an awkward reach.
I stumbled on this video which I found to be the easiest guide to follow: MicroAir EasyStart 364 Install.
Watching the video showed just how trivial the install is with the new WAGO kit.
Following the video was nearly perfect, but they failed to mention what to do for heat pumps. Using the instructions provided by Micro-Air I simply removed the purple wire from the old start cap and added that to the common of the run capacitor. Also for my unit I had to mount the box on the other side of the AC following the path of the compressor wiring, behind the tubes, as you see described in other guides. . Lastly for my RV the blue wire that they extend from the other side of the AC was already present in the electrical box so that step wasn’t necessary.
The video above describes it better than I can, and except for the heat pump connection and mounting the box on the other side, worked perfectly for me
So if you have been considering installing a soft start for you AC watch the video! But also read the guides and Micro-Air instructions to be sure you understand everything.
Once installed I drove home, where I have a 30 amp outlet, as the learn process recommends a good 30 amp connection. Then I simply started and stopped the AC 5 times as described in the manual.
The Bluetooth interface helps confirm everything is working as expected:
The Bluetooth app is a little clunky and inconsistent but worked well enough.
AC starts are silent now. I actually can’t tell if the compressor is running or starting. And running my house AC off of my 300 AH of Renogy Lithium batteries is a thrill that still hasn’t worn off!(Links are Paid)