GE introduces solar charger for Veriwise system

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GE has announced that its VeriWise Asset Intelligence telematics system, designed to enable carriers and shippers to monitor assets in transit, now can be equipped with a solar module that maintains the charge and substantially extends the life of the batteries that power the monitoring devices in untethered or dropped trailers. The upgrade was introduced during the Truckload Carriers Association 68th annual convention held in Orlando, Fla.

GE says the solar panel, manufactured by GE Energy, needs only two hours of direct sunlight each day to maintain the charge of the sealed lead acid (SLA) battery that powers new models of the VeriWise system. The optional solar energy module minimizes the need to re-tether the trailer every 120 days to recharge the battery, according to the company.

More important, because the solar module doesn’t permit the charge to drop below the “degradation threshold” where the battery loses recharging capability, the solar module can extend battery life well beyond the average four years and reduce maintenance costs and unproductive time off the road, the company says. Rated at 1.25 watts, with a rated voltage of 13.0 volts, the maintenance-free solar charging unit was designed specifically to match the device’s SLA battery.

“As we worked with our customers to better understand their asset intelligence needs, it became apparent that, under certain operating conditions, having to recharge the battery of an untethered trailer after only 120 days presents an operational challenge,” says Thomas Konditi, general manager of asset intelligence for GE Equipment Services. “Customers operating older tractors without a hot auxiliary pin on their seven-way connectors, or those sending a large number of event messages while the trailer is untethered, will find the solar energy module an ideal power option.” According to Konditi, one of several processors onboard the new VeriWise model is programmed to determine how and when to switch from the seven-way power to solar.

The durable solar charging panel also is designed to deflect one-inch hailstones traveling at 50 miles an hour. The module is available initially as an option for internally installed devices and will be standard on the externally mounted unit to be available later in 2006. For more information, go to www.trailerservices.com.