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.


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