The following are answers to some of the questions frequently asked regarding Kickstart® devices:
Why are hard start devices necessary?
Hard start devices extend the life of compressors considerably by bringing them up to full speed much more quickly and efficiently. They also assist compressors in starting under very adverse ambient conditions such as low voltage or high head pressures.
Aren’t all two-wire start devices the same?
No. Kickstart® devices are the only two-wire start devices that utilize a potential relay along with the start capacitor. While other two-wire start devices also utilize start capacitors, they generally incorporate either a heat sensing device or a timer to determine when to take the capacitor out of the starting circuit. Air conditioning and refrigeration compressor manufacturers require a potential relay in combination with the start capacitor when specifying starting devices for their equipment. This is because they recognize the potential relay’s unique ability to disconnect the capacitor from the circuit at the precise moment that it is no longer needed. Any longer period of time causes damage to the compressor windings, and any shorter period of time does not provide the assistance the compressor requires, which can also cause damage.
Will a Kickstart® hard start device lengthen the life of a compressor?
Absolutely! By assisting the compressor in starting at up to ten times faster than normal, Kickstart® hard start devices significantly reduce the amount of damaging heat that is generated in the motor windings with each and every start. Over time, this reduced stress on insulation, wiring, and other critical components of the compressor has the effect of increasing its reliability and extending its useful life.
Kickstart® hard start devices are able to accomplish this by improving the electrical efficiency (also known as “power factor”) of the compressor during the instant when it starts. Without a hard start device installed, the electrical efficiency at the moment of start-up is typically less than 50%. That means that less than 50% of the available power is being utilized to start the unit. With a Kickstart® device, the electrical efficiency is boosted to over 98% enabling all of the available power to reach the compressor for smooth, fast starts.
What does “InstantTM recycle” refer to and why is it important?
In addition to the normal cycling (i.e. starting and stopping) that a compressor does to maintain a certain degree of coolness in a home, there are times when children or even adults will adjust the thermostat too frequently, causing a “short-cycling” effect. This effect can also be caused by lightning, momentary power outages, etc. “InstantTM recycle” refers to the ability of a hard start device to assist the compressor in starting regardless of the required frequency of starts. Unless a hard start device has the ability to instantly recycle, it may not be available to assist the compressor when short-cycling conditions exist which can create an extreme strain on the compressor windings and lead to compressor damage. Kickstart® hard start devices have the ability to instantly recycle, and therefore can be counted on to assist the compressor in starting regardless of the frequency of starts.
To illustrate, many two-wire devices need time to cool down or re-set after they have operated. This is because they typically use either a heat sensing device or a timer to determine when the start capacitor should be taken out of the starting circuit. It is important to note that these devices must complete their “cycle” before they are again ready to operate. Unfortunately, the time required for these devices to cool down or re-set may not coincide with the starting demands placed on the compressor. Kickstart® hard start devices, on the other hand, utilize true potential relays that have the unique ability to instantly recycle without delay no matter how quickly or frequently the compressor is required to start.
Is it true that installing a Kickstart® hard start device on an air conditioning unit in the home can prevent the lights from dimming whenever the unit starts up?
Absolutely! By allowing the unit to start more efficiently through power factor correction, Kickstart® hard start devices are an effective tool in preventing lights from dimming and enhancing overall power quality in the home.
If starting devices are so important to compressors, why doesn’t each unit come with one already installed?
At one time, all single-phase air conditioning, heat pump, and refrigeration compressors were equipped with hard start devices at the factory. Several years ago, however, manufacturers decided to discontinue that practice for most air conditioners and heat pumps in an effort to reduce costs. Refrigeration compressors, on the other hand, were considered to be so critical to homeowners (due to potential food spoilage, etc.), that hard start devices continued to be installed to ensure reliable starts time after time. With a Kickstart® device installed on your air conditioning or heat pump compressor, you can rest assured that your unit will start reliably with the least amount of stress each and every time.
Are Kickstart® hard start devices UL Recognized?
All Kickstart® devices are UL Recognized in the United States and Canada.
Are Kickstart® hard start devices approved by major compressor and equipment manufacturers?
Yes. These approvals are in writing.
What is the life expectancy of a Kickstart® device?
Since Kickstart® hard start devices use standard components approved by manufacturers (i.e. potential relay and start capacitor), the normal life of a Kickstart® hard start device will be the same as the normal life of the components it utilizes; generally 5-7 years or 500,000 starts. All Kickstart® hard start devices currently come with a 3-year warranty.
Who makes Kickstart® hard start devices?
RectorSeal® holds exclusive patent rights for all Kickstart® products. These products are assembled in the USA and abroad.