What is Parking Air Conditioner, How to Choose?

Truck air conditioner

Content Category

When summer, trucks, RVs (Recreational Vehicles), or vans also need to cool the cabinet but it seems not easy.

Meanwhile, many manufacturers focus on solving this problem, because it’s a big potential market, that is why parking air conditioner debuts.

What Is Parking Air Conditioner

Parking air conditioner is a kind of portable air conditioner used in trucks, vans, cars, RVs, or other transportation vehicles.

It refers to the equipment which uses the on-board battery DC power supply (12-48V) to make the air conditioner operate continuously, meanwhile adjust and control the temperature, humidity, flow rate, and other parameters of the ambient air in the vehicle, so as to fully meet the comfortable cooling needs of the truck or other vehicle’s driver.

Due to the limitation of vehicle storage battery and the poor user experience of heating in winter (too hot in the cab causes the driver to feel sleepy, which is very dangerous), the parking air conditioner is mainly only cooling function.


It generally includes a refrigerant-medium delivery system, cold source equipment, terminal equipment, and other auxiliary systems, specifically includes condenser, evaporator, electric control system, compressor, fan, and pipeline system.

The refrigeration system uses the safe and ECO friendly refrigerant R134a, meanwhile the parking air conditioner is a kind of energy-saving and electrically driven air conditioner.

Compared with traditional vehicle air conditioners, parking air conditioner needn’t rely on vehicle engine power, which can save fuel and reduce environmental pollution.

The terminal device uses the cold capacity from transmission to specifically cool the cab and provide a comfortable rest environment for vehicle drivers.

Parking AC Internal Structure

Classification and Installation

Parking/truck air conditioners are divided into two types: split (knapsack) and integrated.

There are two types of split parking AC:

Split Parking AC


Integrated Parking AC

Integrated Parking AC Special Working Places

Super Silence Design

Features of Split Parking Air Conditioner

1) Small size, easy to carry.

2) Position is changeable, nice appearance.

3) Easy to install, one person can do it.

Features of Integrated Parking Air Conditioner

1) Needn’t punch holes, no damage to the vehicle body.

2) No indoor unit, save space.

3) No pipeline connection, fast cooling.

According to market research, parking/truck air conditioners have become popular, not only to save fuel and money but also no pollution and emissions.

Choose Which Type Parking Air Conditioner 

Step 1: Heavy trucks and some medium trucks can install, but don’t recommend light trucks.

Step 2: Whether the model has a skylight, whether it’s a mainstream model, semi-truck, or box type, the matching parking air conditioner is selected according to the characteristics of the vehicle body.

In general, we recommend choosing an integrated parking AC when the truck with a skylight, and choosing a (knapsack ) split parking air conditioner if there is no skylight.

Step 3: Check the battery capacity, we recommend selecting 180AH or above.

Tips: According to whether with an inverter can be divided into non-inverter and inverter parking air conditioner. The latter is more expensive than the former.

Factors Affecting the Duration of Cooling

1) Battery capacity

The amount of electricity stored in the car battery directly determines the service time of the parking air conditioner.

The common battery for trucks is 150AH, 180AH, and 200AH.

2) Set Temperature

The higher the temperature set, the lower the power consumption and the longer battery lifespan.

3) External environment

The lower the outdoor ambient temperature, the less the cab heat needs to cool.

4) Vehicle body structure

The truck body is small, so the space which needs to cool is small, which means the time for high-load cooling is short, and the lifetime is long.

5) Vehicle body tightness

The more airtight the truck body is, the more power is saved. External hot air can’t enter, the cold air inside isn’t easy to lose, the temperature stability in the truck can be maintained for a long time, and the inverter parking air conditioner can run at ultra-low frequency, which is the most energy-saving model.

6) Input power

The smaller the input power, the longer the service time. Input power of the Parking AC is 700~1200W.

Low Voltage Protection

Because parking AC is directly connected to the truck battery, many drivers worry its cooling performance will be good only for a while, sometimes it’s embarrassing not to start a fire because the battery is out of power. Therefore, its “power-off voltage protection function” is particularly important.

The power-off voltage of most parking ACs is fixed, and the protection voltage is generally set between 21V -22V.

If the power-off voltage of the parking AC is set to 21.5 V, the battery discharges and the voltage decreases continuously when you use the parking AC for a long time. When the voltage reaches 21.5V, parking AC will alarm and stop.

Tips When Using Parking Air Conditioner

1) Air outlet should be upward because the cold air will sink, which will increase the cooling effect.

And the direction of the air outlet shouldn’t adjust randomly.

Parking air conditioner air outlet

Air Outlet Upward

2) Air conditioner shouldn’t work too long.

Long-time running AC will increase the refrigeration system load, and is not good for your health. You can turn it off every 2~3 hours then switch it on again.

3) Don’t sleep in a closed cab with the air conditioner on!

Because of the poor ventilation in the cab, if the CO (carbon monoxide) discharged from the engine infiltrates into the cab may cause poisoning.

4) Ventilate before turning on the air conditioner.

Before driving (in summer), firstly ventilate and cool down then turn on the internal circulation air conditioner. Pay attention to alternate use of internal and external circulation to allow fresh air entering into the cab.

5) Start the engine before turning on the air conditioner.

Must turn on the engine before switching on air conditioner (before driving), and turn off the air conditioner before switching off the engine (when parking).

6) Do not smoke in the air-conditioned cab!

When the doors and windows are closed, the smoke can’t get out and it will irritate the eyes and respiratory system.

Advantages of Inverter Parking Air Conditioner

1) Quickly reach the set temperature

Compressor of inverter parking AC can run at the max speed (means the maximum power) shortly, the cab can quickly reach the set temperature. Normal air conditioner can only operate at a fixed power.

2) Energy saving

Compared with non-inverter AC, inverter type can save 15%-30% of electricity. It can effectively extend the battery life of the parking air conditioner.

3) Low starting current

There is no impact of the starting current on the battery, which also reduces the impact of pulse interference on other electronic components in the cab.

4) Small temperature fluctuation

Change compressor speed to alter the power, in order to control temperature more stable.

Inverter Compressor Advantages

4 Misread In Use of Parking Air Conditioner

1) The lower the set temperature, the faster the cooling speed

This is a big misunderstanding, especially for inverter air conditioners. The refrigerating capacity of AC is variable, and it’s also related to the set temperature. But when the set temperature is lower 2~3 ℃ than room temperature, air conditioner will operate at the highest load, and the air conditioning operation mode will no longer change. The ultimate goal of usage is to reduce and maintain the appropriate temperature in the cab.

So the correct set temperature for the air conditioner should be the temperature at which you feel most comfortable (24 ~ 26 ℃).

Setting the appropriate temperature for parking AC is more conducive to prolonging the use time of the air conditioner.

2) Set the AC air outlet volume to minimize, so that the air outlet temperature is the lowest and the air conditioner cooling is faster

This setting will result in: when the ambient temperature is relatively high, the temperature in the cab will cool down more slowly or even with no drop.

Although the air volume is adjusted to minimize, the outlet temperature will be lower, but the air volume will be reduced at the same time.

Cooling capacity of air conditioner = air volume X (interior temperature – outlet temperature) X a constant coefficient.

From this formula, we can know: the air volume is a very important parameter that affects the cooling capacity of the air conditioner.

To make it simple, the cooling capacity of the maximum air volume may be more than 2 times that of the minimum air volume!

In this way, do you think the maximum wind temperature drop is slower than the minimum wind temperature?

3) The lower the AC outlet temperature, the better the AC cooling effect

This is a standard for most users to judge whether the air conditioner is good or bad, but it’s wrong.

When you detect the outlet temperature of your air conditioner is lower than 5 ℃, you may buy substandard air conditioning products.

Because such air conditioners will bring lots of problems, resulting in product failures.

But how much degree is the air outlet temperature of the air conditioner indeed? For a parking air conditioner, the air outlet temperature should be 8~12 ℃ lower than the interior temperature of the cab.

Remember that the comparison of cooling effect of air conditioner is based on the formula: air volume X (interior temperature – air outlet temperature ) as the final judgment standard.

When the outlet air temperature of an excellent parking AC is lower than a certain temperature value, it will automatically protect the system to ensure the long-term and reliable operation of your air conditioner.

4) The top integrated parking AC needn’t add refrigerant, and needn’t maintain at ordinary times as well

Top integrated parking AC is more reliable than split AC, which can reduce a lot of repairs, but it still has to do certain maintenance.

After summer’s operation, you should open the top cover and the return cover to clean the AC drainage channel. Otherwise, it may overflow from the air outlet and other places because of dust blockage in the coming year.

Clean up the garbage on the surface of the two heat exchangers, with water or a brush, to ensure its performance won’t decline for a long time.

Electrical connection terminal inspection: each terminal carries out dust removal, rust removal, and maintenance to ensure safe and reliable electrical connection.

We advise you use a skilled service supplier to do all cleaning and maintenance works If you have enough budget.Or Contact Us for help.

The air conditioning system had better run at least 10 minutes every 2 weeks so that all the electrical parts can work well.


Finally, you must correctly understand and use a parking air conditioner: it allows the driver to rest in the cab when parking. Drivers try to avoid parking in the sun. In addition, the original air conditioner (if have) can be used to reduce the temperature in the cab to the right degree and then turn on the parking air conditioner to maintain the temperature inside the car.

Meanwhile, using the sunshade to block the cab window glass can better reduce the power consumption of the air conditioner, and maintain the temperature in the cab.

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About Author

Vic Cheung
Vic Cheung

Hi, I'm Vic! Start working in HVACR field since 2008, our main products included: air conditioning, cold room refrigeration system, water chiller, ice machine, commercial dehydrator, dehumidifier, heat pump, electric motor, and all accessories. Since joined China Speedway Group in 2012, I worked in here more than 10 years, as the general manager of export department, we have established 50+ agent in different countries and areas.
As our experience and strong technical support, we can solve your issue once you have, and our chief engineer has worked in HVACR field since 1997. I am so proud of our knowlege is more and more popular not only for engineer, and for HVACR business new comer, DIY lovers. Hope you are enjoying our articles, if any question or comments just welcome to send me marketing at cn-beyond.com

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