Recently cab heaters were a topic on the Team Run Smart site. In the article, there was mention of the ParkSmart HVAC system. I’ve been using the system for approximately four years now.
For those of you who are not familiar with the system, Freightliner Trucks offers its built-in ParkSmart HVAC system on the Cascadia. The new ParkSmart HVAC System offers an integrated auxiliary HVAC system for the sleeper that contains an electrically driven AC compressor and a diesel fired coolant heater. Replacing the traditional auxiliary HVAC system for the sleeper, this innovative and seamless design will function whether the truck engine is on or off. Utilizing power from the alternator, or from a second bank of batteries, the system keeps the sleeper compartment cool or warm. No additional internal ducting or external condensers are required. This system fits in the same location as the traditional auxiliary sleeper HVAC system, underneath the left hand cabinets. No auxiliary APU is required since the system provides 8 to10 hours of performance in engine off mode.
I’ve been pleased with the ParkSmart HVAC system although it does have its limitations. If you’re taking an extended 34 hour restart, you’ll run out of battery power unless you’re plugged into shore power. The same applies if you’re cooking or using excessive amounts of power. In the end, ParkSmart is not an auxiliary power unit (APU). As sure power locations become more common, the limited range and capacity of the system will no longer be an issue. When the temperature is extremely hot outside, there’s only enough capacity to keep the sleeper cool.
The up side of the system is its quietness and no additional engines to maintain as in an APU. I generally use the system for overnights and have found that it will keep the entire cab cool when the sun sets in the evening. During the winter months, the diesel fired coolant heater provides exceptional warmth along with the bonus of a warm engine as soon as you turn the key. The result means there is no need for warming the engine during cold weather. There’s only one thing I’ve added to the system (on my own) which is a cheap voltage gauge which I plug into my sleeper auxiliary power outlet. This gauge allows me to monitor the battery voltage for maximum efficiency of the unit. Another benefit to the ParkSmart HVAC system is that you can use it indoors should you be parked inside a warehouse facility.If you already use or plan to have this feature in the future, you want to make sure to read the owners manual carefully in order to attain the maximum benefit from the ParkSmart system.
Below is a picture of the ParkSmart AC unit on the back of the cab.