Last month a relatively new company Active Controls LLC contacted me to enquire if I’d be willing to test out and review one of their products called the ActiveStart. The ActiveStart is an electronic device you plug in between the RV AC power source (RV Park power, generator, or inverter) and its input power cord.
The ActiveStart is a fully featured surge protector keeping your RV safe from miswired power pedestals, high/low AC voltages, and many types of power surges. It includes Bluetooth which connects to a smartphone app providing real-time information on the incoming power. But on top of that, it is also what they call a “soft starter.” Soft starters can lower the initial surge amperage draw when high-wattage inductive loads start up, such as air conditioners, microwaves, and other appliances.
Soft Starters reduce stress on the electrical wiring and prevent blowing breakers. They also help people run air conditioners or other high-wattage starting items on a generator or inverter that previously would overload due to the instant start current demand.
ActiveStart Review – Part 1 Features & First Test using Park Power
In this part one video, I unbox and go over the features of the ActiveStart SoftStart 30 AMP – ACS30P. Then hook it up to RV park power and show you the smartphone app and its settings.
Fair Disclosure: The review sample was sent free of charge. However, I didn’t receive any monetary compensation for the video.
Pt. 2 – AC Startup in RV Park & Off Grid using Generator & Inverters
I put the soft start function to the test in this video, trying to start my Furrion RV Air Conditioner. No problems hookup to a 30 amp RV park service, but ActiveStart failed to start the AC using my off-grid power devices.
- USA Company
- Small Business
- Good Surge Protection
- Decent Build Quality
- Smartphone App
- Didn’t Start Furrion AC Off Grid
- Outdoor Use Only
- 140 VAC High Cut-off
UPDATE – July 2023 I tested the Wired-in Version
Wired-In ActiveStart Soft Starter Installation + Inverter/Generator Tests & Demos
I install a 16 amp ActiveStart soft starter module in this video into my Furrion Chill 14.5K BTU RV air conditioner. A soft starter reduces and smooths the heavy in-rush current that developers when the AC compressor first starts up. This enables you to run the AC using less powerful/smaller inverters and gas generators. I also may increase the AC compressor lifespan.
Before and after in-rush amperage tests showed a reduction from 56.92 amps all the way to 15.2 amps! I tested with my 1600W gas generator, 2000W Aolithium inverter, 2400W EcoFlow Delta Max portable power station, and a 3000W Motomaster PS inverter. I’m happy to report I could run the AC using all except the 1600W gas generator. It almost did, though, so I’d guess a 2000W or 2200W would work fine.