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Soft Starters Explained

What is a Soft Starter?

Explained simply, the term soft starter refers to an electronic device which is used to control an electric motor’s acceleration. Its purpose is to significantly cut the starting current and side-effects associated with direct motor starting.

How does a Soft Starter work?

Soft Starters predominantly use internal circuitry in order to regulate the voltage supplied to motors. Soft starters gradually apply more voltage, meaning the motor starts more slowly and elegantly, drawing much less current when starting. To put this in perspective, a directly started motor will draw 7 – 10 times the normal running current, compared to 2 – 3 times for a soft starter. Often the starting time can be adjusted by the operator. Additionally, a lot of Soft Starters have a soft stopping feature, which is the reverse of soft starting.

Why use one?

Soft starters can be very useful for a number of applications:

  • When electrical supply capacity is limited, Soft Starters can substantially limit a current spike from a starting motor

  • They can prevent jerking, tension and slipping when starting of belts, conveyors and mechanical systems

  • Soft Starters can reduce hammering and pressure spikes in pumping systems

  • With applications in which stable voltage is essential, Soft Starters can minimise voltage drops

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