Sources at Truckinginfo.com report that a field test is underway regarding the use of battery-powered CPAP masks to combat sleep apnea among truck drivers.
With support from CPAP suppliers, battery manufacturers and a major truckload fleet, researchers are trying to establish whether a single dedicated battery can effectively supply enough power to run a CPAP while in the cab of a semi-truck tractor.
According to Will Watson, a consultant involved in the study, the equipment being used in the field test operates without idling the tractor’s engine or running down the main chassis batteries.
The study, which began in May, aims to outfit five sleeper-cab tractors with a dedicated battery to power a mask that runs on 12 volts DC. The battery is a Group 31 absorption glass-mat, or AGM type, mounted in a sealed box under the driver’s bunk.
“The most a battery has been discharged so far is to a 65% state of charge, well above an AGM’s tolerance level,” Watson said in a released statement. “The longest a system has worked without recharging from the truck engine’s alternator is over a three-day period while a driver was waiting for a load. The system is isolated from a tractor’s cranking batteries, and could work whether or not a tractor had shore power circuitry,” he said.
As explained by Truckinginfo.com, the 12-volt CPAP appliance is much easier and more efficient to operate than 115-volt appliances, which, in a truck, would require an inverter to work.