BATTERY-POWERED HVAC

New power-management technology, a highly efficient AC unit and a different approach to generating heat have produced a battery-powered sleeper HVAC system that can provide a class 8 sleeper cab with 8000 BTUs of air conditioning per hour for over 12 hours, or heat for up to 10 hours on a single charge, according to Glacier Bay Inc.

ClimaCab’s power management module continuously varies the speed of the system’s compressor and fans, the company says, responding in real time to external temperature changes, load requirements, and battery-charge levels. It also allows the system’s four deep-cycle batteries to be recharged by a truck’s 135 amp alternator and separates the HVAC batteries from the truck’s “start bank” of batteries.
 
In addition, if a driver draws down the starter batteries with normal hotel loads from electrical appliances and accessories, the ClimaCab’s advanced power-management module can use its batteries to recharge the starting system.

For cold days in the sleeper, the system uses radiant heat panels to minimize power draw and provide enough heat to keep the sleeper comfortable for up to 10 hours in “below freezing temperatures,” according to the company. A fuel-fired heater is also offered as an option.

ClimaCab integrates most of its components into a single platform that mounts under the cab between the frame rails. The only in-cab components are the A/C evaporator, radiant heat panels, and a touch-screen control panel. Total weight for the system is 500 lb, including the four batteries, says Glacier Bay. Prices vary by configuration, but they’re claimed to be “significantly lower than diesel powered auxiliary power units.”

The system’s four deep-cycle AGM batteries supply a 400 amp/hour capacity, and they’re isolated from the truck’s starter batteries to eliminate non-start issues. Intelligent controls monitor the batteries for optimum charging and long life.

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