What is a Softstarter?

The original definition is a reduced torque starter. The industry short hand refers to a soft starter as a solid state reduced voltage starter where a voltage limit is applied to the motor during starting. The key thing to remember in operation is reduced voltage equals reduced torque equals reduced current. The major differentiating factor between a soft starter and an AC drive (VFD) is that the soft starter only affects voltage where a VFD affects voltage and frequency.

The benefits of soft starters can be broken down into electrical and mechanical benefits:

Electrical Benefits:

  • Reduces voltage drops on network
  • Minimizes starting currents
  • Eliminates current spikes
  • Allows optimization of cabling

Mechanical Benefits:

  • Minimizes stress on transmissions like gearboxes, belts and bearings
  • Minimizes maintenance time and cost, extends the life of the equipment
  • Limits the pressure waves in pump systems (i.e. water hammer)

ABB is one of the world leaders in motor control and Industrial Control Direct stocks the following two models:


ABB PSE Efficient Softstarter

Our PSE range is the perfect compromise between size and functionality. With torque control, it is the perfect option for smaller sized pump applications.

Main benefits:

  • Keep your motor safe with built-in motor protections
  • Fast and easy set-up with illuminated, language-neutral display
  • Eliminate water hammering with torque control
  • Reduce energy losses with built-in bypass

Main features:

  • Rated operational current: 18 to 370 A
  • Operational voltage: 208–600 V AC
  • Control supply voltage: 100–250 V AC


ABB PSR Compact Softstarter

The PSR soft starter range is a simple yet reliable starting solution that utilizes only the most basic of soft starting features: soft start and stop. It performs well in applications requiring many starts per hour and is perfect for installations where you need to save space.

Main benefits:

  • Small and compact starting solution
  • Can perform many starts per hour
  • Reduce energy loss at full speed with built-in bypass

Main features:

  • Rated operational current: 3 to 105 A
  • Operational voltage: 208–600 V AC
  • Control supply voltage: 24 V AC/DC or 100–240 V AC


ABB PSTX Advanced Softstarter

The PSTX combines many years of research and product development with extensive knowledge of application specific requirements and needs. The PSTX is our latest advancement in motor control and protection and adds new functionality with increased reliability to any motor starting application.

Main benefits:

  • Secure motor reliability
  • Improve installation efficiency
  • Increase application productivity

Main features:

  • Three-phase controlled
  • Operational voltage: 208-690 V AC
  • Wide rated control supply voltage: 100-250 V, 50/60 Hz
  • Rated operational current: 30…1250 A (inside delta: 2160 A)
  • Coated circuit boards
  • Torque control for excellent control of pumps


Support and History with ABB

ABB products sold by Industrial Control Direct is supported by B&D Technologies’ Applications Engineering Group (AEG). B&D Technologies was the first ABB Authorized Value Provider (AVP) in the US and is now one of three. The AVP is a global seal of approval where B&D is a vested partner and has a significantly enhanced support and engineering capability than other distributors.