Fridge, 12V Cooler, Or Ice Cooler?

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Don's Comment
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I am curious as to what everyone is currently using for their food storage. Are you using a mini fridge, a 12V cooler or an ice chest? It appears most drivers are going to mini fridges. If the fridge compressor is cycling, won't doing so drain the truck's batteries if the truck isn't running? Let's say you are on a 34 hour reset, so you decide to go visit some local sights and will be away from the truck for 10-12 hours. How do you prevent the truck batteries from being drained?

P.S: No, I haven't a clue about how they work.

Dave Reid's Comment
member avatar

I have a mini fridge and a 12v color. I sure wouldn't hassle with an ice chest, although plenty of drivers do for some reason.

The mini fridge is wired into a circuit provided by the good folks at Freightliner. The circuit automatically disconnects power to the fridge when the battery voltage drops a bit. What I do is only open the fridge door when the truck is going to be running soon therafter, or is on idle management.

The 12v color I keep next to my driver seat for drinks that I can reach while driving. I have it plugged into an AC adaptor and then that plugged into the same UPS that I have my CPAP and stuff connected to. Most of the time I leave it plugged in, but if I'm going to be parked for a long time without the idle management system running, then I unplug it. I have the cooler plug and the AC adaptor receptable looped adjacent to the cooler for convenience.

This setup works well for me.

If I did not train, I'd also have a supplemental electric fridge/freezer lashed down on the upper bunk. I've seen some drivers with those things on the passenger seat. A good one of those units is very expensive though - like close to a grand. There are cheaper ones but they are not so great.

The fridge I have was provided by the company. It is a good one and would be very expensive to buy on your own.

The 12v cooler I have was about $80. It is a Koolatron brand and unlike many others, the cooling unit is in the lid, which makes the interior very roomy.

It is good to think about these things and make a plan that works for you. They save time and money, and sometimes are very necessary in emergencies. I recently had to wait nearly two days to roll because the road was closed due to a storm. There have been times when the road is closed for several days. Truck stops run out of food, and/or you might not even be able to park near one.

I am curious as to what everyone is currently using for their food storage. Are you using a mini fridge, a 12V cooler or an ice chest? It appears most drivers are going to mini fridges. If the fridge compressor is cycling, won't doing so drain the truck's batteries if the truck isn't running? Let's say you are on a 34 hour reset, so you decide to go visit some local sights and will be away from the truck for 10-12 hours. How do you prevent the truck batteries from being drained?

P.S: No, I haven't a clue about how they work.

I am curious as to what everyone is currently using for their food storage. Are you using a mini fridge, a 12V cooler or an ice chest? It appears most drivers are going to mini fridges. If the fridge compressor is cycling, won't doing so drain the truck's batteries if the truck isn't running? Let's say you are on a 34 hour reset, so you decide to go visit some local sights and will be away from the truck for 10-12 hours. How do you prevent the truck batteries from being drained?

P.S: No, I haven't a clue about how they work.

CPAP:

Constant Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a breathing assist device which is worn over the mouth or nose. It provides nighttime relief for individuals who suffer from Sleep Apnea.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Pete B.'s Comment
member avatar

I'm using the Coleman electric cooler... works great. It says not to use it as a refrigerator, but I do anyway. I unplug it about once a day for a few hours, so the fan doesn't ice up. I lay it on its bottom, like a chest, not standing vertical. Don't have to stack things as much that way. I've had it for almost a year; I do keep a supply of spare fuses on hand... but they're cheap. Sometimes they'll go bad once a week, or last a month. The one I have in there now is going on over a month. I recently spilled the contents of my crock pot in my truck, and it splashed onto the fan/motor area of the cooler, so I took it apart and cleaned it out; I mean, really cleaned it out! There was a ton of dust and grit that had built up inside the motor/fan blades; now it's purring like brand new again. I've been meaning to buy a filter and attach it to the intake area of the grill. I've never had anything spoil. The only danger is that it can get too cold; I've had lettuce freeze, which ruins it. Less than $100 at WallyWorld.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

I have a Walmart dorm size fridge strapped to my top bunk. It holds several times more stuff than a standard truck fridge mounted in the cabinet. Plus I get to use that cabinet space for other stuff. Some folks say these fridges won't hold up to the vibrations and bouncing of a truck. But mine has been running strong for a year and a half now, and costs less than a third of the price of a truck fridge. So even if this one does die on me, I can buy two more brand new ones and still pay collectively less than a single standard truck fridge. Of course this option only works if you don't use the top bunk for sleeping. No teaming or training.

My company equips each truck with an APU (auxiliary power unit). When the batteries begin to get low, the APU will kick on automatically and recharge the batteries. So even when I'm home for a week, I can leave my fridge on, and the heater on enough to keep everything inside the truck from freezing, without worrying about the batteries dying.

0710713001523812096.jpg

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Don's Comment
member avatar

What if a company truck doesn't have an APU/EPU?

I have a Walmart dorm size fridge strapped to my top bunk. It holds several times more stuff than a standard truck fridge mounted in the cabinet. Plus I get to use that cabinet space for other stuff. Some folks say these fridges won't hold up to the vibrations and bouncing of a truck. But mine has been running strong for a year and a half now, and costs less than a third of the price of a truck fridge. So even if this one does die on me, I can buy two more brand new ones and still pay collectively less than a single standard truck fridge. Of course this option only works if you don't use the top bunk for sleeping. No teaming or training.

My company equips each truck with an APU (auxiliary power unit). When the batteries begin to get low, the APU will kick on automatically and recharge the batteries. So even when I'm home for a week, I can leave my fridge on, and the heater on enough to keep everything inside the truck from freezing, without worrying about the batteries dying.

0710713001523812096.jpg

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Turtle's Comment
member avatar
What if a company truck doesn't have an APU/EPU

I don't really know, to be honest with you. Some companies have the Opti idle, where the big engine will fire up if the batteries get low. I know that the systems in some trucks will shut down the peripherals (fridge, inverter, heater, etc.), leaving enough power to start the truck.

I only have experience with Prime, so I can't speak with certainty on any other companies. The fact that Prime provided inverters and APUs was actually a deciding factor for me when choosing a company.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APUs:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Chris M's Comment
member avatar

I have a Walmart dorm size fridge strapped to my top bunk. It holds several times more stuff than a standard truck fridge mounted in the cabinet. Plus I get to use that cabinet space for other stuff. Some folks say these fridges won't hold up to the vibrations and bouncing of a truck. But mine has been running strong for a year and a half now, and costs less than a third of the price of a truck fridge. So even if this one does die on me, I can buy two more brand new ones and still pay collectively less than a single standard truck fridge. Of course this option only works if you don't use the top bunk for sleeping. No teaming or training.

My company equips each truck with an APU (auxiliary power unit). When the batteries begin to get low, the APU will kick on automatically and recharge the batteries. So even when I'm home for a week, I can leave my fridge on, and the heater on enough to keep everything inside the truck from freezing, without worrying about the batteries dying.

0710713001523812096.jpg

Your setup is identical to mine but your fridge is bigger lol.

I've got the 1.7 cu fridge from Walmart. It has held up just fine so far. My truck has a factory inverter that my fridge is plugged into. When I go home, I leave it plugged in and running. At Easter the truck was shut off from Thursday morning, to Sunday night. I turn the main power switch off, but because the inverter is connected straight to the batteries, it continues to run. No battery issues at all.

I think people tend to over-think the battery issues when they first start driving. It's not like your car's battery. Your truck has 3-4 large batteries. Those things can handle a refrigerator without issue. If you do start having issues, then your batteries are going bad and they need to be replaced, whether you're running a fridge or not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

PackRat's Comment
member avatar

I have a plug in 12 volt cooler in the passenger seat, a built it fridge and a small fridge, that I got from a Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $40, strapped down in my top bunk storage area.

Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

After going through several chep Walmart mini fridges, I bought a Dometic portable freezer and positively love it. It can be used as either a fridge or a freezer and is made to withstand the vibration of the truck, unlike be all those fridges that the compressor went out at the most inopportune times due to vibration. Mine is a 12volt, uses very little power and doesn't come close to draining batteries and is extremely quiet.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Diver Driver's Comment
member avatar

I can't speak for the Igloo 12v cooler, but unless you like throwing food away, or can get to Walmart every time you want to cook, skip the Coleman. Absolute junk. I've had to replace the fan in mine, and I'm about to have to do it again.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

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