Following the part of our “Highway Hacks” monthly series about owner-operator Doug Hasner’s A/C alternative to a traditional auxiliary power unit — which employed a home window unit positioned high on/in the back wall of the sleeper — UPS-contracted owner-operator Mike Greenberg shared his own custom solution, including heating capability just in time for winter. It involves a gasoline-powered Champion generator and an HVAC typically used in buildings — the wall-mount ductless Pioneer Mini Split, also positioned on the sleeper’s back wall.
“It took me two years to figure this out,” Greenberg says. “I checked out all the different aftermarket no-idle A/C units” — auxiliary power units designed and built for trucking applications. “I checked out every ‘Mickey Mouse’ setup I saw at the truck stops.”
He was looking for simple and solid mounting, easy service and low noise, with no modifications to the truck’s bedrock systems required.
Total investment for the system was $3,900, well under most auxiliary power units purpose-built for tractors, under a third of the price of some. Installation costs, however, Greenberg emphasizes, are likely to vary considerably depending on the truck. That proved the biggest issue, for which he turned to the Custom Colors RV specialist in Port St. Lucie, Florida. “The workmanship blew me away. I have had it since July , and no hiccups.”
Benefits include simplicity, he notes, and “the components are serviceable by anyone.”
Downsides: the need to fill the generator’s tank, “and needing a fan” to circulate rising hot air from the Pioneer’s position, already relatively high on the sleeper’s back wall.