Last week, after watching Stephen’s video conversion, I was interested in his comment mentioning his Aircon unit as a soft start specifically designed for off grid situations.
It got me thinking.. Few years ago I remember reading something about soft start electronic units for houses where the A/C did manage to constantly trip the safety switch. Looking for soft start in Google, did give two distinct unit plus the usual whirlpool thread, where you get to read both side of the coin..
Now the first thing I noticed is that it doesn’t matter how hard I searched, it seems that there are no Air conditioning units with soft start out of the box. What it looks like, is that electricians do add the soft start kit to whatever Air con brand or unit you may want. If you know of a commercial split unit brand that already come with soft start, I would like to hear it..
Very quickly lets get the scam out of the way..
The picture above is the Hyper Sure Start for around $260 USD. In just 3 minutes I also find the Dometic Smart Start III and the picture below does show you what it looks like..
Yes.. I know.. The similarity is uncanny, but fear not as Dometic managed to price “their” unit at a very honest and competitive $570 USD. I’m just speechless about how this company gets away with this kind of behaviour.. I think is safely to assume that your best bet is to simply buy directly from the company that does make the product and simply ignore the other repulsive and offensive company.. If you have bought one of these Dometic unit, I feel your pain. I was raped with the Dometic Fridge, so you are not alone..
At the end of the day it seems that for around $375 Australian dollars, (or $823 if you want the Dometic outside plastic packaging 😂), you can have any brand of air conditioning converted to soft start so that they can be used off grid. The connection it is pretty straight forward but you will need to open the A/C unit as all these soft start units are hard wired between the power input and the actual A/C compressor, so perhaps it makes more sense to get an electrician to sell you the unit with the soft start already built in.
As mentioned above, I can’t seem to find any of this A/C unit with the soft start already built in, so I can’t say which option offers more value for money.
I have also found a couple of Australian company that do import both units, but because their price is again nearly double the OEM price, I won’t even mention their name or post their link here.
If you are building your RV, there is off course another option that is those stand alone soft start unit that are normally mounted in houses where space or location is not a problem. Connections are very similar, but the unit does sit outside the A/C, making the connections a bit more customisable.. The ABB soft start PSR 9-600-70 is available starting from $290 USD (on Amazon), so the Hyper Sure Start, still offer the best value out there..
Just to mention another option, we also have the Australian company RS (well they are actually from the UK, but they used to have a store up here in Queensland as well). Not sure if they are still in New South Wales and Victoria, but they are however present online, and they offer a DIN rail version soft start unit.. The RS Pro 12 A Soft Starter, could be easily implemented in your existing safety switch box
rail, provide you have three free slots. It retails at $363 AUD, so it is priced right and it does offer a 2.2kW kick start. So it is less powerful than the Hyper, but it would still do the job for the average A/C unit provide you haven’t finish the electric in your vehicle.
Who knows, this could be one of next year projects..