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Old 07-27-2020, 08:30 AM   #1
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5-2-1 Hard Start Kit & Generator


In the process of getting an transfer switch installed to my electrical panel which will consist of a interlock kit, 30 amp power inlet box and 30 amp breaker to connect my generator when needed due to power outages from storms. I came across a YouTube video showing where someone installed a 5-2-1 hard start kit onto their AC and was able to use a 5500 watt portable generator to power the AC along with most of the house. Wasn't able to run the AC and water heater at the same time though. I'm interested in giving this a try. Have any of you had any experience with this?
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Old 07-27-2020, 08:52 AM   #2
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Re: 5-2-1 Hard Start Kit & Generator


What size is the a/c?

Hard start kit may help by reducing time compressor draws locked rotor amps but i wouldn't bother trying to start a 4 or 5 ton unit off a generator of that size.

your best option is to get a window unit for emergencies.
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Old 07-27-2020, 09:35 AM   #3
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Re: 5-2-1 Hard Start Kit & Generator


Don't believe everything you see on YouTube. Running a whole-house A/C unit on a 5K generator 'can' be done, but its not a good idea - particularly with cheap generators. And, you don't want a Hard-Start kit, you want a Soft-Start kit - lowers starting amp draw.
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Old 07-27-2020, 09:41 AM   #4
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Re: 5-2-1 Hard Start Kit & Generator


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Originally Posted by oldelectricguy View Post
Don't believe everything you see on YouTube. Running a whole-house A/C unit on a 5K generator 'can' be done, but its not a good idea - particularly with cheap generators. And, you don't want a Hard-Start kit, you want a Soft-Start kit - lowers starting amp draw.
Hard-start kits are used all the time on RV a/c units so they can start on generators. They do help.
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:21 AM   #5
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Re: 5-2-1 Hard Start Kit & Generator


I have a 3.5 ton central a/c system that is about 3 years old. Saw one guy running a 3 ton a/c with a caterpillar 5500 watt generator and another guy using a Honda EU7000 watt inverter to run a 4 ton a/c. At the moment I have a Generac RS5500 watt generator. Also have two Honda EU2200i inverters.


Here is the kit I'm referring to.


https://www.cpsproducts.com/hvacr/5-...pressor-saver/
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:38 AM   #6
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Re: 5-2-1 Hard Start Kit & Generator


In really hot weather, 13-14 seer of that size can draw close to 4000w and far more when starting.

I wouldn't risk it.
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Old 07-27-2020, 11:46 AM   #7
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Re: 5-2-1 Hard Start Kit & Generator


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In really hot weather, 13-14 seer of that size can draw close to 4000w and far more when starting.

I wouldn't risk it.
What risk are associated with it?
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Old 07-27-2020, 11:52 AM   #8
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Re: 5-2-1 Hard Start Kit & Generator


To paraphrase from Jaws: Looks like we're gonna need a bigger generator.
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Old 07-27-2020, 11:57 AM   #9
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Re: 5-2-1 Hard Start Kit & Generator


I have no problem purchasing a bigger portable generator.
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Old 07-27-2020, 12:04 PM   #10
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Re: 5-2-1 Hard Start Kit & Generator


I am sort of in the same boat as the OP. I have a 4500 W Yamaha generator. But no way I will even consider running my 3 ton A/C, but I knew that when I got it. But it will handle everything else including the gas furnace. Luckily our power company has improved their service a lot since I bought the genny and we no longer have frequent or lengthy outages. Our biggest risk for a long outage these days is for a rare winter ice storm so I am satisfied to let the A/C go since that would require a significantly bigger generator.
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Old 07-27-2020, 12:08 PM   #11
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Re: 5-2-1 Hard Start Kit & Generator


Here is a handy load reference although your actual unit may vary. I have no idea how far a hard start kit would let you get towards starting the A/C from generators too small to provide the rated starting currents.

https://www.generatorjoe.net/html/acload.html
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Old 07-27-2020, 08:02 PM   #12
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Re: 5-2-1 Hard Start Kit & Generator


I’m located down in South Texas and its hurricane season so when power goes out it’s so damn hot and humid. If I can find a way to run my a/c without breaking the bank while using a portable generator then that would be great. If not no worries, I do have a portable a/c that will at least cool down the bedroom enough to sleep comfortable. I also have no problem purchasing a larger generator.

I checked the panel on my Rheem condenser and it has L.R.A. 112 for the compressor. It’s a 3.5 ton 16 Seer.

Buddy of mine came across this easy start. Know anything about them.

https://www.microair.net/collections...nt=29181662283

Last edited by PearlWhiteGT; 07-27-2020 at 08:06 PM.
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Old 07-27-2020, 08:27 PM   #13
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Re: 5-2-1 Hard Start Kit & Generator


Not good for the generator or compressor if generator is under-powered.

Plus a 16 seer has an ecm motor in the air handler and those are very sensitive to power quality - some cheap generators put out bad quality power.
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Old 07-27-2020, 09:51 PM   #14
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Re: 5-2-1 Hard Start Kit & Generator


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Originally Posted by user_12345a View Post
Not good for the generator or compressor if generator is under-powered.

Plus a 16 seer has an ecm motor in the air handler and those are very sensitive to power quality - some cheap generators put out bad quality power.
Which generators would you recommend that put out good quality power?
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Old 07-27-2020, 09:57 PM   #15
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Re: 5-2-1 Hard Start Kit & Generator


don't know specific models, you'll have to research them.
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