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Aircraft Electrical Systems

Aircraft electrical systems are a critical aspect of any flying platform. They vary in cost and complexity from relatively simple 12V/14V DC circuits in light piston powered aircraft to highly complex 400Hz AC systems in large, commercial, multi-engine aircraft. There are ground power units (GPUs) on the market designed to suit each of these types of electrical systems that equally vary in terms of cost and complexity.

Regardless of the complexity of each aircraft electrical system, they all share some basic electrical components:

  1. Generators or alternators to produce electricity. The output of these components can be 14VDC, 28VDC, or 115-120VAC. They are usually engine driven, which can be costly for ground operations, so ground power units are used to avoid the need to run the engines.
  2. Distribution buses with protections, including circuit breakers and fuses, to power individual components
  3. Inverters or rectifiers to adapt the power coming from the generator to suit the requirements of certain systems that are used inside the cabin, such as coffee makers, ovens, etc.…
  4. Batteries that are charged from the generator/alternator output. Currently popular battery chemistries are Lead-Acid and Ni-Cd, with Lithium batteries gaining popularity despite some regulatory growing pains. Depending on the type of aircraft, the batteries can be used to start the engine and/or provide temporary backup power in the event of a system failure.

VDC Power specializes in manufacturing ground power units for 28VDC electrical systems. These are found in a large number of popular light to mid-size business aircraft.

Not sure which GPU will suit your needs best? Give one of our experts a call at 1.888.653.1544 and we will gladly make a recommendation.