PLC4Trucks clears hurdles

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The technology and maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations, Alexandria, Va., reports that most of the patent issues surrounding PLC4Trucks are now resolved. Recently, we reported that legal snags had threatened the industry’s tractor-trailer communication solution, PLC4Trucks (see “Communication breakdown,” CCJ, March 2001).

A patent-infringement lawsuit by Vehicle Enhancement Systems (VES), Rock Hill, S.C., against Intellon Corp., Ocala, Fla., the supplier of the integrated circuit (P-485) for the communication system was resolved late in March, and Intellon is shipping parts to suppliers.

According to TMC, VES will receive $1.50 per P-485 use in antilock brake system control modules on tractors, trailers and dollies. VES had originally asked for $5 per use.

PLC4Trucks is currently being used to light trailer ABS dash-mounted fault-indicator lamps. Eventually, the communication system could be used for comprehensive tractor-trailer communication tasks, such as monitoring reefer temperature, brake adjustment or door position, and controlling trailer-mounted accessories, such as liftgates.

Perhaps most importantly, it can also be used for electronic braking systems (or brake-by-wire), which perform better than today’s pneumatic-only systems.

Refrigerant savvy?
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, Herndon, Va., has an online version of its Refrigerant Recovery and Recycling Review and Quiz to complement its popular booklet version.

To become certified to service motor vehicle air conditioners, technicians must be trained and certified by an Environmental Protection Agency-approved organization, such as ASE. They also must pass a test demonstrating their knowledge of the equipment and procedures involved.
To register, visit ASE’s website,, and click the appropriate link. Then review the training material, with the option to exit at any point and register for the quiz. Candidates may also go straight to the quiz registration area or resume an incomplete quiz started earlier.

ASE cautions that certification earned as a result of a passing score on the online quiz only satisfies EPA requirements. It is not the equivalent of technical certification from the main ASE testing and certification program.

Notable websites
Allison Transmission, Indianapolis, offers sales and service information, parts catalogs and other company literature on its website.
Information can be accessed by vocation, transmission series, publication type or language. The site also offers a quick-search function to locate a specific item and features a host of other Allison-related resources.

At SPX’s website, users can search for tools and equipment by keyword or product number, or browse by category. Each listing includes a description, picture, product number, price and availability information. Service bulletins and application information are also available.