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On a few A/C units, the hard start kits actually do decrease inrush current. Most times it increases inrush though as Orly mentioned. I don't know why the difference...seems like a hard start would always result in higher inrush.

A soft start kit will decrease inrush better than a hard start kit every time. Also, they start the fan first and then the compressor which also decreases inrush for the condenser unit.
 

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Here is an example of a hard start kit reducing inrush (video at bottom of page)...really odd.
 

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soft start is the way to go for sure!
I think one of the biggest takeaways from the above video for me is that he mentions hard start kits can appear to reduce inrush because the meter used to look at the inrush does not capture the true level of inrush. I had always thought that a hard start kit increased the inrush current, but after looking at several YT videos I changed my mind. Now I can see why those videos are misleading...they simply don't have (or are not using) the correct equipment. If the hard start kit shortens the startup time, then the meter may not respond appropriately to capture the peak inrush current and result in a false reading. Now I am back to believing that hard start kits are definitely not the solution for helping generators start large loads such as an A/C unit. I would agree that hard start kits do have useful applications in other instances.

The Micro-Air EasyStart controls startup current to both the run and start windings of the compressor...something that a hard start kit cannot do. Also, though he didn't go over it in the video (unless I missed it) the EasyStart unit allows the condenser fan to start first (because it is not wired to it) and then begins the startup (because of the short built-in delay) of the compressor. That also lightens the overall startup load that the gen sees.

This is a very telling graph from the above video...
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And, he also provided the simplified wiring diagram for the EasyStart...something that I could not find on their website.

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I guess like everything else, there are cheap versions of ammeters and expensive versions. You get what you pay for.

In that article it compares the start current, start duration, and torque for the compressor using the OEM run capacitor only, adding a hard start cap, and then using the soft start. Very interesting data.

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