APU, Auxiliary Power Units, Generators

APU, Auxiliary Power Units, Generators. They go by a variety of names but they all solve the same problems. Saving money while increasing truck driver comforts when stopped for long periods of time. Most over the road trucks now include many amenities to make the truck a more tolerable environment on month long cross country dispatches. The days of having a small bunk and limited storage for the truck driver is no longer acceptable. To recruit and retain truck drivers, companies are forced to spend money on rigs with many amenities. And lets not for a minute think that they companies are doing this because they want to – for unless the rig is operated by the owner, there are few companies that would lay out the expenses for these luxury accommodations. Well, at least luxury compared to 30 or more years ago.

Today’s common 60″ condo sleeper unit was considered a ridiculous overstatement 30 years hence, but now, most drivers not getting such amenities will feel insulted, unwanted and may just refuse to make a career out of a job with that company. Owner operators or team operations appreciate the extra space of 70 plus inch units.

Of course, what good is all that extra space if all you do is store stuff? Small refrigerators, TVs with DVD players, radios and music CD players and microwaves are not uncommon. And that is on top of climate control providing heat and cooling. All of these amenities require power. The cost of idling the truck’s engine can cost upwards of a one gallon an hour, plus additional wear & tear maintenance. Thus just idling the your unit for a 10 hour break can easily cost you $40 or more in bottom line profits. Spend the weekend on layover for a Monday morning pickup and your costs can be substancial. With Truck Stop Electrification limited available at limited locations, the economical solution is a APU or Auxiliary Power Unit.

Auxiliary Power Units

There are many manufactures of APU or generator units and I will not be able to cover them all. I welcome any companies or representatives that work with Auxiliary Power Units, to provide additional information on their company’s products. Is a few of the units available. I have no personal knowledge of these units.

The Dynasys APU

: With a Dynasys auxiliary power unit (APU), drivers can maintain in-cab comfort without the noise, vibration and expense of idling. Operating costs are reduced. And compliance with anti-idling laws is achieved as an added bonus.

Externally mounted on the truck rail, Dynasys is protected in its own weatherproof enclosure and operates using the truck’s fuel supply. This compact, diesel-electric system provides dependable comfort for the driver during downtimes, reduces emissions, and dramatically lowers fuel costs during idling. An optional shore power feature also allows the driver to power the truck’s HVAC from any 110v outlet to work independently from the APU. Financing may be available.

Rigmaster Power

Provides sleeper heating & air conditioning, 120 VAC power, fits on most Class 8 trucks, can power existing block heaters.

Turn off your engine and turn on a Rigmaster. Higher fuel prices and reduced truck engine efficiencies due to changing EPA requirements and the adoption of ULSD have all worked to create a challenging operating environment for fleets and owner operators. The RigMaster APU will relieve growing operating costs and stabilize the risks of a volatile market.

RigMaster Power is a complete stand-alone Auxiliary Power Unit that runs all night on what your idling truck engine burns in two hours.

I will amend this posting if provided information on other units.

Happy Trucking, John

Rand McNally Intelliroute TND 520 Truck GPS

The Rand McNally Intelliroute TND 520 Truck GPS is as close to a trucker’s best friend as his or her trusty dog. Providing much more then just which highway to use, when to turn and how much farther to go, GPSs for commercial truck drivers have came a long time in a short time, and no doubt many new features are coming down the road.

The invention of GPS was a great thing, especially for the trucking industry. However, the early GPS systems were geared for 4-wheelers and as such while useful for truck drivers, to a point, they could also get a driver in a lot of trouble real quick. Every truck driver has to be aware of road restrictions such as height, weight or width limitations on their planned route. The first GPSs allowed for assistance with routing and route planning but after that, it was still not much more then a tool in the driver’s tool box. However, with the Rand McNally Intelliroute series of Truck GPS units, the GPS moves from being a tool in the driver’s bag of tricks but the Swiss Army Knife of all in one tools that long haul or flex route drivers need.

Highlighted features of the Rand McNally Intelliroute TND 520 Truck GPS

Weather – Show current conditions and forecast. Optionally choose from 10 different map overlays, including precipitation and wind speed.Weather and road conditions are the biggest single threat to your completing your assigned deliveries. Knowing what is going on in a timely manner permits you to consider alternate routes to avoid problem areas.

Fuel prices – View fuel prices on the map, or search by price, fuel type, or brand. When burning up 100 gallons of fuel a day, getting your maximum value for your money can add substantially to your annual net income.

Fuel log – Track fuel purchases by date and by state; calculate current and average fuel economy. When it comes time to file your IFTA reports – every 3 months – you will need much of this information. The Rand McNally Intelliroute TND 520 Truck GPS can assist you in maintaining your records accurately so you pay what you are suppose to pay but not over pay by paying fuel taxes in the wrong jurisdictions. Knowing your fuel economy can also teach you to be a better truck driver. Many drivers just drive until they need fuel and dump more in without paying attention to their driving habits, including bad habit that may be costing the money.

Team driving support – the TND250 allows you to keep timers and mileage separately for two team members. Every tool that allows the driver to maintain maximum utilization of the their log book increases your profitability. With the Rand McNally Intelliroute TND 520 Truck GPS, you have one more check and balance to assist you in not making a costly mistake. One wrong mistake on your log book could result in you being red-tagged out of service and fined $100s.


Rand McNally Intelliroute TND 520 Truck GPS

Screen shot of route

Rand McNally Intelliroute TND 520 Truck GPS

Weather screen


Highlighted features of the Rand McNally Intelliroute TND 520 Truck GPS has a large easy to read 5″ screen and comes with a windshield suction cup and charger. Once you take this co-pilot for a test drive, you will never drive solo again.


The Peterbilt 579 Class 8

Peterbilt 579

The Peterbilt 579 offers a combination of aerodynamic innovation and power-train optimizations to deliver maximum benefit to cost-conscious operators. By designing with aerodynamic performance in mind, the 579 achieves the right combination of fairings, skirts and closeouts to exceed performance requirements.

The 579 can be ordered in a Day Cab or Detachable Sleeper configuration that adds versatility for a longevity of life for high resale value. Built to last, the aluminum cab is solid and durable. An in-mold process embeds color directly into the dash, which creates a long lasting finish the all buts eliminates peeling, scratching and fading. Also, electrical wiring carriages provide support while reducing wear and tear, again increasing the overall durability of the components.

The best truck in the world if of no value if the driver is not comfortable and does not find the truck enjoyable to drive. The Peterbilt 579 excels in this area with a cab designed around the driver. With a spacious and ergonomically designed cab, everything is in reach and placed with the driver in mind. Large, easy to read, operation-critical gauges improve the driver’s ability to monitor the truck’s performance. Back-lit switches enhance nighttime visibility.

Peterbilt’s SmartNav system provides integrated truck telematics and infotainment. Providing real-time truck monitoring, truck specific navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and satellite radio, the SmartNav system maximizes driver efficiency and comfort. The SmartNav features a large, easy to read 7” touch screen and includes a fully integrated audio system with a satellite radio and Ipod, USB and MP3 capabilities.

On the road with the Peterbilt 579

Over the road drivers will be forced to spend time in their mobile home away from the home – the 579’s Sleeper, a generously sized area which holds an 82” mattress, innovative television mount, abundant storage with flexible organization, and LED lighting creating a pleasant ambiance while extending battery life.

Even the headlamps are designed with safety in mind, with best in the industry down-the-road visibility and coverage. Designed with a consistent beam distribution and excellent overall road coverage, the 579’s headlamps reduces eye fatigue. A large single piece windshield aids also aids in visibility.

Available with a Paccar MX-13 or either the Cummins ISX12 or ISX15 engines and coupled with either Fuller or Allison transmissions, the 579 offers the driver smooth operations. The entire drive-line is customizable to maximize the your Peterbilt 579 to best fit your needs and your budget.

See you local Peterbilt dealer today for a test drive of your next truck.

Disclaimer: This information provided based on information provided by peterbilt.com and other internet sources. When [if] the opportunity presents itself, we will gladly do hands review of the Peterbilt 579

Free Wireless Internet

Wireless Internet

Wireless Internet access is the newest component for a quality life for the over the road truck driver. With WiFi, the trucker can manage finances, keep in touch with family, keep abreast of news and current events, obtain entertainment and even submit load paperwork to the home office.

Because of this, more and more truck drivers are carrying lap top computers or other mobile devices such as IPads, Samsung Galaxys, Amazon Kindles and Barnes & Nobles Nooks. These devices can enhance the quality of life on while on the road as well as serving practical purposes at assisting driver’s to locate services from where to get fuel, obtain truck maintenance and locating parking, food and lodging.

For the family side of life, even simple email with family and close friends can shrink the miles and the loneliness of days or weeks on the road. Video conferencing, while never the same as being there, allows moms and dads to still be a daily part of their childrens’ lives. Another advantage is the entertainment options that are available from playing games, reading books, following the news, or reading online magazines.

Those drivers that already have portable devices already know this – those that don’t should consider them. Wireless internet access allow for personal communications while in the comfort of your cab as opposed to while sitting in a public place like a restaurant. A video chat with family can and should be a private affair, which is why your wireless internet device is so important.

Many truck stops realize the importance of wireless internet access and have installed the service as a convenience amenities. Some offer the services for free, others (Travel Stops Of America {at last check}) charged for the services at most of their locations. Many independent Truck Stops, and the number offering the services grows daily, provide wireless internet access which may be free or fee. Like all amenities, the local manager that makes the decision of what they offer and at what cost. Some simply do not offer wireless access at all, maybe because they do not see the value in providing the service which will attract drivers who will also purchase fuel, food or service.

However, even if your favorite truck stop does not offer wireless service, not all is lost. Luckily, many restaurants, some motels and occasionally other businesses have generously installed and made available to the public, open and free wireless access.

While this is by no means a complete list, and some local managers may not have the services available at their location, here are some nationwide businesses to look for when you are needing to find a signal for your computer.

McDonald’s (Provided by AT&T)
Starbucks (Provided by AT&T)
IHOP (International House of Pancakes)
Burger King
Home Depot
Einstein Brother’s Bagels
Barnes and Nobles
Best Buy Stores
Krispy-Kreme Doughnuts
Big O Tires (Service Central Automotive)
National Tire and Battery {NTB} (Service Central Automotive)
Tire Kingdom (Service Central Automotive)
Merchants Tire and Auto (Service Central Automotive)

As we learn of other large/chain companies and restaurants, we will add them to this list. We will not list individual locations or small chains, but will indicate those services likely to be available on a coast to coast basis or with a large regional foot print. Check the listing on Truck Stop Report for a local truck stop that provides Wireless Internet Access

Cargo Restraint – Dry Vans and Reefers

Cargo Restraint

Cargo Restraint – something every professional truck driver had better understand. New truck drivers might think that only Flat Bed drivers need to worry about proper cargo tie down methods and the laws that apply to such loads to keep the cargo securely in place. And those drivers would be wrong.

For obvious reasons, bulk loads hauled in open Dump Trailers are universally required to have covers over their loads. While this is generally a local or a state requirement, nearly all states are really picky about this so regardless of where you are at you need to be aware of the requirements.

Of less obvious to new drivers are the needs to secure cargo in Dry Vans and/or Reefers. Many times, you will have loads that do not occupy the entire trailer and, especially taller items, may need to be secured to the sides of the trailers to prevent the load from falling over and being damaged. It may also be necessary to segregate cargo going to different delivery locations.

In a few cases, you might have a very heavy item that you must carefully place on the trailer to maintain proper weight distribution on your axles. In these situations, you will want restrain the cargo from moving and thus affecting your weight limits.

Some different Cargo Restraint methods

If you look in the back of most trailers, you may notice a series (typically 3) rows of a metal track about 3 inches high that runs the length of the trailer and with slots cut vertically spaced about 2 inches apart. This is known as “E-Track”. With three rows, one 6” from the floor, one about 4 foot (plus or minus) above the floor and another about 6 foot, there are multiple opportunities to properly secure the load.

There are two most common methods of attaching to the E-Track, one is a flexible cargo strap that can be wrapped around the item to be secured. These straps are adjustable to fit almost any situation be it across the trailer from side to side or both ends attached to the same side of the trailer to hold the item firmly against the side.

Another option to attach to E-Track is the use of Rigid Load Bars. These are only good for going from side to side in the trailer and are especially useful for loads that do not go the entire length of the trailer and prevents the load from moving forward or backward during transport. These load bars can also be used to create a method of loading something over another part of the shipment but the upper load will rest on the load bars and not on the lower freight.

There are also friction load bars used to go from trailer side to trailer slide to prevent cargo from moving during transport, however, these are not as secure as E-Track load bars because they depend on the sides of the trailer to not flex enough that the bar becomes lose and falls out of place.

There are many sources and makers of E-Track equipment but two of the best known are US Cargo Control and CargoEquipmentCorp.com. For more information on cargo restraint in general and E-Track equipment, these two companies are excellent sources of information.

Regardless of the kind of cargo you haul, local or long distance: Cargo Restraint will be a part of your duties.

Your Future Truck Driving Job – Part 2

Truck Driving Job

Your Truck Driving Job could have you working with a lot of different types of cargo. This section reviews some common types of the trailers you may use in today’s trucking industry.

Dry Van. Most positions, especially those for entry level drivers will be in the Dry Van Over The Road (OTR) freight business. This is because it is generally the easiest and also it the majority of the freight. Look at any truck stop and you will mostly see the big boxes of van trailers. If look closely, you will notice that some of them Climate Control Units on the top front of the trailer. Those are normally called Reefer Units and will be discussed in a moment. Dry Van Cargo includes household goods as well as business and manufacturing supplies. Dry food goods are also often transported in Van units.

Reefer Vans are used to transport, especially food and medical supplies, that require temperature control. However, Reefer Vans can also be used for loads that could be loaded on Dry Vans. That is one of the appeal for some drivers is the opportunity to get more loads. However, hauling perishable items in a Reefer requires the driver pay more attention the load and react to any equipment problems. These loads are also often more time sensitive requiring faster load delivery. (Note: All freight is time sensitive and needs to be delivered on time.) It is not uncommon for Reefer Vans to pulled by team drivers allowing for long distant runs to be handled with less required down time to comply with Hours Of Service rules.


Flat Bed as the name describes is simply a long flat truck trailer. These are used for machinery, building supplies, bulky items and plus loads that do not fit on standard shipping pallets. These loads may or may not need to be tarped or covered. Many loads do require tarps being placed on them – which can be both hard and dirty work. Loads that are not properly tarped could be damaged and may be rejected by the receiver and result in the company and/or the driver responisble for damages. A version of the Flat Bed is a Drop Deck, which has a portion of the trailed lower then standard trailers allowing for the hauling higher/taller loads.

Curtain Side or Soft Sided trailers are a class of Flat Bed trailers that are used for hauling loads that need to be protected from the weather. These trailers, sort of, have built in tarping that covers the whole trailer. For loading and unloading, the driver moves the soft, flexible sides out of the way. The loads are then loaded and secured like any other flat bed load, secured with chains or straps and then the sides repositioned to protect the load. These are specialty trailers used by truckers and companies that that nearly every load must be covered.


Tanker trailers are used to haul liquids. Although often chemical (hazmat), it can also be many other kinds of fluids. In the local transport business, tankers are used for Gas/Diesel Fuel to service stations. Special endorsements are required for pulling tankers and HazMat loads. HazMat loads, however can be many different things and are also common in Dry Vans.


Bulk Transport trailers are used to move commodities that are neither liquid nor packaged for handling on standard shipping pallets. Some examples could be bulk flour, sugar, etc being shipped from the processing plant to a large commercial baking plant that makes bread, etc. Bulk could also be involved in HazMat chemical shipments used in manufacturing.


Auto Transport, ok this is self explanatory. But there are two types of auto transport. Nearly all auto moving involves moving new cars from regional distribution centers to dealers. However, there are also opportunities for drivers to move cars from city to city such as for people relocating and needing to ship as opposed to driving their cars. Being an auto transport driver means you will spend a lot of time playing monkey climbing around on the trailers to load and unload the cars including securing them for the transport. A recent earning review disclosed that auto transport drivers generally made more money each year – but spend less time actually driving because of the amount time required to load and unload.

CDL – Commercial Driver’s License Exam (CDL Test Preparation)

Dump Trailers are used to generally haul aggregate commodities such as sand, gravel and some manufacturing products. Most dump trailer work is local in support of construction projects, however, there are some Over The Road opportunities in Dump Trailers.

Oversized Loads can be a lot of different things such as large construction equipment, extra large machinery for manufacturing or anything that will not fit on a standard trailer. Everyone, at some time or another, has seen the trucks pulling trailers that look like several trailer attached together and they may have 8, 10, 12 or more axles – far more then the average OTR truck with 5 axles and 18 wheels. These jobs are generally only given to drivers with a lot of experience.


I am sure I have missed something, and I will update from time to time. Regardless of what freight you move and for whom you do it, your Truck Driving Job can be a great career.