Any way you slice it, the new R-1200P Sleeping Well Arctic Plus is a big improvement over diesel-fired APUs and other battery-powered A/C systems. So says Tony Gertschen, air conditioning mechanic at Marathon Cheese in Marathon, Wisc. Marathon is equipping every new tractor in the company’s 35-truck fleet with the Sleeping Well Arctic Plus. Badger Truck Refrigeration in Eau Claire will handle the installations.
A cheese packager, Marathon Cheese runs regular routes that include 10-hour rest periods for drivers. “Our APUs were constantly breaking down,” Tony says. “Drivers either had to go without air conditioning or we had to take a truck off the road so we could service the APU.”
The all-electric 12-volt R-1200P, introduced last year, is durable, compact, and maintains a comfortable sleeper temperature for 10 to 12 hours with the engine off. Maximum power consumption is 55 amp/hr, a 26.66% reduction compared to the previous version.
The 12-volt Sleeping Well system is the best we’ve used,” Tony says. “The electrical connections are sturdy and we’re not seeing the corrosion and other problems that we’ve had with systems that say they’re built for a heavy-duty environment but really aren’t.” The single-fan condenser is quieter and more reliable than the twin-fan unit on previous Sleeping Well models, he notes, and drivers like the remote controls on the latest version.
Tony says there are tradeoffs to battery-powered A/C systems. Drivers should use the truck’s A/C to cool the sleeper 15 to 20 minutes before they shut down, and draw the curtains for insulation.
“The 12-volt Sleeping Well works great for us,” Tony says. “We get excellent reports from the drivers, and from my perspective it’s first idle-free A/C system that lives up to the claim of being ‘maintenance free.’”