The quandary with many of today’s lighter and small power systems is that they produce more than enough continuous power to run an air conditioner – but they lack the ability to handle the large surge needed to start the A/C compressor’s motor.
For example, air conditioner manufacturers typically direct their customers to use a 4,000-watt or larger generator to handle an air conditioner that typically uses less than 1,900 watts when operating.
Andy Spaziani believed there had to be a better way – so he and his team at Allentown, N.J.-based Micro-Air invented one.
They created the EasyStart 364 – an electric soft starter that the company says offers the freedom to start any RV rooftop air conditioner on low power sources, such as 2,000-watt generators, inverters and solar power systems, and even two A/C units on 30-amp shore power. It’s also designed to gently ramp the start of the A/C and protect the compressor from the wear and tear of powering up traditional air conditioning.
Additionally, the company says the power-reducing starter – which connects directly to the A/C compressor – also works to reduce power current in starting the heat in rooftop A/C units. The EasyStart 364 features a simple four-wire installation, a rugged 1-pound watertight enclosure and an extra-long wiring harness that connects to the air conditioner.
Micro-Air also touts the EasyStart 364 as being eco-friendly by permitting the A/C system to start up and run using a smaller generator reduces an RV’s carbon footprint and conserves natural resources.
Some 20,000 RVers have bought an EasyStart 364 since Micro-Air entered the U.S. RV aftermarket in 2015, according to the company, which got its start more than three decades ago supplying air conditioning thermostat controls and electronic soft starters for the marine industry.
The company has grown during that time from a two-person home-based business to a 25-person operation that proudly makes its products in the U.S.
Offering a Better Way
In the past, some RVers did use hard-start capacitors, but with limited success. Those devices are designed to give a motor extra starting torque for difficult loads, but do very little to reduce current, according to Micro-Air, which states the EasyStart 364 produces consistent reductions of 60 to 75 percent of LRA (locked rotor amps) on most rooftop air conditioning units.
Roger Krinic, a design engineer at Micro-Air and part of the team that designed the EasyStart 364, says the product has no measurable competition in the market, given that competing brands are not waterproof and do not work on inverters.
“We continue to receive overwhelming positive customer feedback on the product,” he says. “From older customers who had trouble handling larger generators to high-tech customers with solar-powered hybrid inverter systems, EasyStart impresses all.”
Without any formal advertising program, sales of EasyStart units more than doubled in 2018 and as 2019 got underway, Micro-Air was selling more than 100 per week, Krinic estimates.
Krinic says the failure rate for EasyStarts is incredibly low, with fewer than five failures among some 20,000 RV application sales.
EasyStarts retail for $299, and rooftop AC owners can take advantage of an installation kit for an additional $10.
Krinic estimates an experienced technician can install the EasyStart 364 in 15 to 20 minutes; RVers wanting to install the product themselves should allow one to two hours. Micro-Air offers dealer and customer assistance in the form of an extensive knowledge bank online and email help for the product.
Unique Warranty Program
Micro-Air offers a full two-year warranty on materials and workmanship of the EasyStart. During this time, an owner can return EasyStart for repair or replacement directly to Micro-Air and the company will ship it back free of change, according to Krinic.
Earlier this year, Micro-Air rolled out an extended warranty program. Purchasers of the EasyStart 364 can now purchase a $25 warranty that extends from the EasyStart to the purchaser’s rooftop A/C compressor for the duration of the original A/C warranty or the duration of the EasyStart 364 warranty, whichever comes first. It covers warranties voided by manufacturers for the installation of EasyStart and allays any fears that the installation of an EasyStart will void the compressor warranty.