Paul’s Picks
From the floor of the Great West Truck Show, Senior Technical Editor Paul Abelson highlights some handy new products out there.

Most truckers have been caught on the road with a tail light or clearance/marker lamp that burned out since their last walk-around inspection. That used to get you only a fine. Now motor carriers will have lighting violations recorded under CSA and could see their compliance score creep up in the Vehicle Maintenance safety category. LoboLite( makes a line of temporary, reusable lamps that stick on to any broken or burned-out tail light, marker or clearance lamp. They are battery powered and can be switched from steady to flashing light. By placing a LoboLite directly over the burned out lamp, it becomes part of the lamp assembly so you cannot be cited for an inoperative lamp. Rectangular models are available in amber and red. The round comes in red only.

The Super Mini Booster
( is a small battery pack with cables to provide an easily connected, lightweight (under 12 pounds) jump-start device for cars and pickups. The Super Booster, available in 120 or 24-volt models can start big rig engines.

The Super Booster weighs less than 35 pounds and can be recharged and maintained through a 12-volt power plug. It can also be used to power portable 12-volt devices. It comes with two white LEDs to illuminate your work area and, on the opposite side, two red warning LEDs that can be seen up to a mile away. The LED switch can also get the red lights flashing as a warning and trouble signal. There’s a warning light to signal a low charge in the gel-cell battery.

Top Dawg Electronics ( introduced a reasonably priced (under $130) forward-looking, portable recording video camera that captures whatever you see and hear. It has a built-in 2.4-inch LCD screen that rotates 270 degrees. A 12-volt charger and a data cable is included, along with a 2GB SD card. Recording time can be increased by using up to a 32GB card, although the 2GB card should provide enough time to record most incidents. These recordings can protect drivers from fraudulent claims or citations. Even when not in view of the camera, the Dash Cam can record audio of conversations with law enforcement and a driver’s real time narration.

Vortex generators have long been accepted as aerodynamic aids. A new design called VorBlade ( was introduced by Advantechs. They are similar to AirTabs in size but different in appearance and operation. Placed on tractors’ and trailers’ trailing edges, VorBlade units improve fuel economy. When used on the top edges of a van trailer, they also improve stability in cross winds. Better lateral stability reduces side-to-side rocking, extending tire life. With full vehicle use, VorBlade claims 6.0 percent more tire life and 8.3 percent better fuel economy. They are a SmartWay member, and tests were conducted according to the SmartWay version of SAE J1321 test procedures.

For owner-operators with tractors only, VorBlade makes an easily installed, portable kit that installs on others’ trailers. The kit comes in its own carrying case. Video of an installation is available on their website, along with test data for cross wind performance and fuel economy. LL