Review of Trucker's Workstation ™
During transit, one's head-to-hips and knees-to-feet body parts are at fairly constant angles. However, the bouncing of the air ride seat in a tractor trailer with every bump or dip causes the user's hips-to-knees body part to continually swivel through level, up and down positions over and over again. This is illustrated by the animated image rotating through the three positions.
Because the laptop rests on the user's hips-to-knees section, the laptop also continually moves through these three positions. If there was a way for the laptop to ride with the up and down air ride movement of the passenger seat, this would eliminate
This was our motivation behind buying a Trucker's Workstation™ Laptop Stand by Cyber Trucker.
Rather than transcribe all of the attributes or incentives of the product from the labels, Vicki took photos of the front and top panels from the boxes so that you can see them for yourself.
|This is a photo of the entire front panel on the workstation box.|
|This is a close-up of the left side of the front panel.|
|This is a close-up of the right side of the front panel. Notice the wording, that this product has been: "Designed, perfected and road tested by truckers."|
|This is a photo of the entire top panel on the workstation box.|
|This is a close-up of the left side of the top panel.|
|This is a close-up of the right side of the top panel.|
|This was a display of the Trucker's Workstation™ Laptop Stand by Cyber Trucker at a truck stop.|
|On the left was a brochure stand; in the middle was the boxed product; on the right was a vertical advertisement.|
Prior to our purchase, we saw several truck stops selling the product for around $300 each. On November 3, 2009, we found it on sale at the Petro in Mebane, NC, for $249.97 plus tax. Since we'd been eyeing the product for Vicki to use for awhile, we bought one.
|Back in his truck, professional driver Mike Simons looks at the top of the box...|
|...and the side of the box.|
|Then he started pulling parts out of the box.|
The first time Mike tried installing the Trucker's Workstation™ in his company-issued 2007 Freightliner Columbia, he would not let Vicki take photos of him. And it was just as well, for it was a 3-hour exercise in futility despite the supposedly clear instructions that came with the product in both hard copy and DVD formats.
As it turned out, the key to installing the product was attaching the pipes or tubes (hereafter called tubing) to the part of the passenger seat where the buckle was installed. This meant loosening the factory installed screws or bolts where the buckle was attached. None of the standard tools that we had, including a pair of vice grips, would remove these screws. For this job, Mike needed to have a ratchet with a T50 Torx head on it -- two items that we had to buy separately (the Torx head being one of a set). The T50 Torx head was critical to installing the Cyber Trucker product. The ratchet provided the torque that was needed. A power tool might also have worked.
After his 3-hour battle and making himself sore twisting himself around on the floor trying to install the workstation without the required additional tools, he put the product back into the box and it sat untouched for 2 weeks. Finally, after buying the additional tools, he tackled the project again. The photos below document the installation, our observations, and conclusion regarding this product.
|Mike removed the seat belt buckle screw on the left side of the passenger seat first, using a ratchet and T50 Torx bit.|
|Then he removed the screw from the right side, working his way carefully between the screw and the truck's interior wall.|
|Once the two side pieces were in place, he connected them in the middle in front of the seat using pliers.|
|Vicki had to lend a hand to hold the front left of the item so that Mike could connect it. For us, this was not a one-person installation.|
|Mike worked on getting the metal tubing in place so that the upright tube would hold up the laptop computer.|
|Well, the Trucker's Workstation™ Laptop Stand by Cyber Trucker looks like it's installed correctly. There's a problem, though, that isn't apparent from this angle. The upright tube is not completely upright. It is leaning toward the passenger seat back slightly.|
|It became strikingly apparent that the tubing connected at the upright tube and the other connected from the seat belt buckle screw were not long enough to meet so that the upright tube would be straight up and down!|
|No matter how hard Mike tried to make it work, the tubes would not connect and allow the upright tube to be straight up. This close-up shows the effort Mike put into trying to make the tubes connect, but how much of a gap there really was.|
Assuming that we were willing to allow the workstation to lean, we proceeded to put our laptop computer on the product. Some immediate problems became apparent.
|One of the angles that the workstation allowed had the wires and cables from the back of the laptop come in contact with the dash.|
|This close-up shows that the proximity of the wires and cables from the back of the laptop with the truck's dash could damage the former during the tractor's movement.|
Vicki was going to be the primary user of the Trucker's Workstation™ Laptop Stand by Cyber Trucker in our truck. So, she attempted to do a little work on the laptop while it was mounted in the workstation.
|This photo shows her right wrist "resting" on the front edge of the workstation. Although the metal edge is covered, it is certainly too high for Vicki to work in comfort.|
|In this photo, see how the height and angle of the front edge of the workstation could cause severe discomfort.|
|What about the left wrist? It's no better!|
|This close-up shows that Vicki would have to rest her forearm or wrist right on the covered front edge of the workstation. Both she and Mike have no doubt that continued use of this product could lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.|
According to MedTerms.com,
Carpal tunnel syndrome: A type of compression neuropathy (nerve damage) caused by compression and irritation of the median nerve in the wrist. The nerve is compressed within the carpal tunnel, a bony canal in the palm side of the wrist that provides passage for the median nerve to the hand. The irritation of the median nerve is specifically due to pressure from the transverse carpal ligament.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can be due to trauma from repetitive work such as that of supermarket checkers, checkers in other types of stores, assembly line workers, meat packers, typists, word processors, accountants, writers, etc. Other factors predisposing to CTS include obesity, pregnancy, hypothyroidism, arthritis, and diabetes.
|In case you think we're exaggerating the situation, take a look at the "drop" between the front edge of the Trucker's Workstation™ Laptop Stand by Cyber Trucker down to the level of the laptop.|
|Here is a close-up of the drop. We didn't measure it, but it is significant. If only there were some way to lower the front edge...|
|Another minor problem with the product was that the connection on the left side of the passenger seat was such that it would not allow the seat belt buckle to move so that the seat belt could be worn as it should. Instead, you can see where the seat belt binds.|
|Here is a close-up of what the problem is. The tubing is not flat far enough up to allow the belt buckle to move forward. It holds it back at a very odd angle.|
|Not only does the seat belt bind on the seat, but it becomes uncomfortable to wear at that angle.|
The final problem that we encountered is something that the Trucker's Workstation™ Laptop Stand by Cyber Trucker advertised as providing: allowing room for the USB ports to be used on the sides of the computer.
|With the laptop mounted in the workstation in the forward-most position (the one pictured where Vicki was trying to type on it), you can see that the right side of the unit almost completely covers the two USB ports on our computer.|
|This is a close-up of the covered ports.|
|And this is an even closer close-up of the covered USB ports on the right side of our laptop computer. This product would make these ports completely inaccessible. If only there were a way to adjust this...|
For all of these reasons, we ended up taking the workstation back to the Petro in Mebane for a full refund before the 30-day refund period ended. Vicki decided to just live with the bouncing of our laptop computer on her lap while we roll down the road.
As far as we are concerned, the claim that this product was "perfected" by truckers is false.
This was our experience with this product. You may have a different experience altogether.
Money saving tip: Please bear in mind that not all "universal" products fit as they are advertised to fit. You may encounter difficulties with aftermarket parts, unless they are specifically manufactured to work with a specific brand. To avoid problems, keep all parts together in the original box and keep the receipt. (We recommend putting the receipt in the box so you don't lose it.) When you make a significant purchase like this, make sure you understand the return policy. Work to get the part installed within the return period so that if it needs to be returned, you can get a full refund. If you take the product back, make sure that all of the parts are included.
When we took this product back, we were asked by the clerk if we wanted an exchange or a refund. Be aware that with some purchases or at some truck stops, you may be able to exchange the product for another item only. Know the terms ahead of time. If you are not comfortable with the terms, don't buy. You don't want to be stuck with a product that you can't use.
Caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware.
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