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Recognizing Various Models of Ground Power Units

March 22, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by: Start Pac

Summary: GPUs, or ground power units, can come in a variety of shapes and voltage readouts. This article will discuss these units in-depth.

An airplane starting unit, otherwise known as a ground power unit, is an important piece of equipment that is used by maintenance teams and even aircraft owners. They supply a consistent stream of power to an aircraft to power the onboard electronics and such in place of the APU. Then, the owner of the airplane can conduct ay tests or repairs that they need while giving the APU a break.

Models

A portable power pack can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many popular airports have ground power units built into the runway for easy access. Most of these units are connected to a centralized source of electricity that functions at high capacity. Then you have your portable units that can either be placed on a cart or moved around on a dolly if need be. They range in sizes and shapes but can still handle an immense amount of pressure due to the sturdy mechanism.

Most portable models are somewhat small in size, but don’t underestimate the amount of power that it can produce. Depending on the model of the aircraft, you could see anything from 24 volts up. There are also various models of GPUs including hybrid units that use both gas and electricity to operate. Another example would be a lithium ground power unit, which is one of the more high-tech and experimental power sources that is extremely popular with aircraft enthusiasts these days.

How GPU works in Aircrafts

December 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Start Pac

 

Generally, most starter motors and generators operate on turbine engines that work alongwith 30 volts without causing any damage. The highest amount of amperage draw is felt at the moment when the starter is activated. The amperage figure could climb up to 1000 amps on certain gas turbine start up engines.

 

As the startup continues, requirements in terms of amperage drop down throughout the activation cycle. A battery would need to be in good state by this time in order to minimize a voltage drop as a considerable load is applied during the start up. Usually as a load is applied to a battery, the voltage would tend to drop if the load is increased. In order to effectively start turbines, the voltage drop would need to be kept to a minimum.

 

Lower battery voltage levels will exude a lesser amount of amperage. Certain starter motors might even pull batteries down to 15 volts at the first phase during the activation of start up. Most engines manufacturers would recommend a volt of around 28.5 at start if this is available in order to limit any voltage drop to a minimum.

 

In order to achieve this, external ground power units (GPU) are used. In this particular case, it can be beneficial to the turbine engine as 20% of the energy is sent to the starter motor which makes the start more rapid and generates less heat. This increases the turbine life.

 

Start Pac is a company specializing in starting and ground power units. Some of their products offerings also include portable battery packs and aircraft maintenance equipment.

How GPU works in Aircrafts

December 13, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by Start Pac

Generally, most starter motors and generators operate on turbine engines that work alongwith 30 volts without causing any damage. The highest amount of amperage draw is felt at the moment when the starter is activated. The amperage figure could climb up to 1000 amps on certain gas turbine start up engines.

As the startup continues, requirements in terms of amperage drop down throughout the activation cycle. A battery would need to be in good state by this time in order to minimize a voltage drop as a considerable load is applied during the start up. Usually as a load is applied to a battery, the voltage would tend to drop if the load is increased. In order to effectively start turbines, the voltage drop would need to be kept to a minimum.

Lower battery voltage levels will exude a lesser amount of amperage. Certain starter motors might even pull batteries down to 15 volts at the first phase during the activation of start up. Most engines manufacturers would recommend a volt of around 28.5 at start if this is available in order to limit any voltage drop to a minimum.

In order to achieve this, external ground power units (GPU) are used. In this particular case, it can be beneficial to the turbine engine as 20% of the energy is sent to the starter motor which makes the start more rapid and generates less heat. This increases the turbine life.

Start Pac is a company specializing in starting and ground power units. Some of their products offerings also include portable battery packs and aircraft maintenance equipment.

How a Ground Power Unit Works

December 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by: StartPac

Airplanes are grounded for minutes, sometimes hours at a time. The planes are shut off during this time to allow crews to perform diagnostics, and for the admission of passengers. As you sit down on the plane, you’ll notice lights come on and various mechanical noises come from the cabin. This is the normal sound of the airplane receiving a jumpstart and whirring to life. A ground power unit is needed to complete this procedure, giving the engines the spark they need to jolt to life.

Turbine Systems

Jet engines run on a system of turbines, where air is forced through to create spinning. The force of the air creates the spin, so much power is needed to lift the jet off the ground. The engines will provide this power, but they need the initial jump to begin spinning and forcing air through. That’s where turbine starting units come into play.

These units are typically portable, mounted to trailers and dragged across the tarmac. They may be mounted to the ground as well. They have a connector that fits into any standard plane, so one power unit can typically service an entire fleet of planes just based on connection type. However, these units have charges and fuel levels of their own. It’s not uncommon to find several hundred of these units in a major commercial airport for efficiency’s sake.

Power in Airplanes

Cars run on batteries, and they are charged as you drive. The battery holds enough of a charge to turn the engine over, then your car does the rest of the charging itself as you move. Planes don’t work like that.

Planes use an auxiliary power unit to power the rest of their system, so you can think of jumpstarting a plan as something you do in phases. The first step is hooking the APU up to the ground unit, then the APU is fired up. That energy is then used to power the remaining flight systems and get the plane ready for take off. An APU is like turning the key halfway on a car. The plan can perform most of its cabin functions, like AC or lighting, but doesn’t have the juice to take off.

Final Thoughts

An airplane starting unit has to meet specific criteria before it can be used on a commercial aircraft. New guidelines demand charging units that have a starting range of up to 43,000 feet, which is related to the altitude where a plane might receive a jump.

Related Story: Portable Power is Essential

Related Story: Auxiliary Power Unit

Portable Power Is Essential

September 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

By Start Pac

Have you ever had a bad dream that involved a blackout? Are you the owner of a business who has worried about what would happen to revenues if the power all of a sudden went out? Perhaps, as a homeowner, you’ve seen news stories that reminded you of how bad things can be when you don’t have the power supply you take for granted, but no less rely on.

Fortunately, there are a number of options that can help you sleep well at night. Something like a 28 volt battery pack is a good example of this. A pack like this is highly portable and is full of the electricity you need for charging plenty of large pieces of equipment.

However, a portable GPU is an even better option still. You can get all sorts of power from these products and they’ll ensure everything from the lights to an airplane battery can get going when you think all hope is loss. Many use them on a daily basis to get the power they need, no matter what the status of their normal electricity is.

So no matter what your needs may be, portable power can do it all and more.

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Portable power units are absolutely critical for many business solutions, but they can also be a real luxury for other purposes too. In any case, if you need a little extra ground power (e.g. a 24 volt power supply) for either purpose, you’d do well to head over to Start PAC and see what they have to offer.

How to Use a Ground Power Unit to Jumpstart an Aircraft

August 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by: Start Pac

The process of jumpstarting an aircraft is nothing like jumping a car battery. It’s true there is a battery involved, but everything about the process is different. From the kinds of connections you need, to the requirements for voltage, great care must be taken to ensure the power is transferred properly to the plane. These tips will help you to use ground power to jump an aircraft if you’re ever in the need.

Fixed Ground Power

There are basically two types of ground power unit. The first is a portable one that can be carried out into the tarmac. It’s usually on a trailer of some sort, and it’s often hauled by a small cart or a car that takes it out to the tarmac. The other is a fixed system, where all of the power is centralized before it is  distributed to the aircraft itself. The main power supply must be close to the aircraft itself.

Maintaining Voltage

Maintaining the level of voltage an aircraft needs requires precision. A power unit is capable of supplying too much power, which is why measurement wires are added to the main cable. These wires measure the aircraft’s total voltage, and assist in adjusting the level of output to match the proper voltage. In most cases the magic number is 400 Hz, which is based off old designs that allowed for more compact batteries and electrical units.

The equipment to synchronize the voltage on aircraft isn’t always the most reliable. It’s common for ground teams to employ frequency converters, which do a better job at detecting the problems involved with synching the power systems for an aircraft.

Delivering Power

If the power unit is not close to the aircraft, a portable GPU can be wheeled out onto the tarmac. These units function on diesel, and they are either towed or mounted to a vehicle. Whether the unit is fixed or mobile, bridge mounted devices are attached to the craft where the passengers disembark. Power is transferred over a cable that retracts automatically after the craft has received the jump start. Aircraft power units can require up to four different connectors to properly transfer power from the unit to the craft.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, airports will use a pit system to charge the power of an aircraft. When pits are used, they must be able to support the weight of the craft that is being serviced. These spaces are confining, so it’s important that crews are able to handle the cables themselves within these tight quarters.
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Related Story: Aircraft Ground Power Units

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5 Factors to Consider When Buying a Portable Power Supply

May 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Written by: Start Pac

Generally speaking, it’s not difficult to sell most people on the benefits of a portable power supply. The versatility and convenience of various types of power supplies and generators speak for themselves. Before springing for just any old model, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Be sure to mull the following when making any auxiliary power unit purchase.

Source of Power

Firstly, you should think about where your power supply’s juice will ultimately come from. Some portable generators use gasoline while others rely on diesel fuel. Quite a few models are diesel-electric hybrids. Some units are merely compact arrays of lithium batteries that store energy generated elsewhere. A few even create their own electricity using photovoltaic panels.

Type of Current

Without a doubt one of the most important decisions you can make in regards to a portable power unit is whether it’ll deliver AC power, DC power or both. Most portable power pack models are DC-only. Larger generator-style power supplies tend to give users the option of outputting either AC or DC power on demand.

Voltage & Power Output

A power supply is only as good as its ability to meet the demands of any given job. Popular models range from 12 volt jump-starters all the way up to 28 volt power supplies that can deliver up to 2,000 peak amps. Ensure that your chosen power supply can deliver the wattage you need at the right voltages.

Intended Usage & Compatibility

In the portable power supply arena, compatibility with a variety of gear is a critical concern. Most generators and power supplies boast standard sockets that will be compatible with most tools and appliances. If you need a power supply for a specialized purpose such as jump-starting aircraft, you’ll need to pay close attention to connector compatibility.

Size and Mobility

Nowadays, external power supplies come in all shapes and sizes. Where you plan on taking a power supply will inform your decision to a great extent. Clearly, smaller power packs can be taken pretty much anywhere. Larger, high-output models must be equipped with wheels and handles to provide an acceptable level of mobility.

Something for Everybody

If you’re looking for a portable power supply, your decision won’t hinge on a single factor. You’ll need to take all of the aforementioned considerations into account when weighing the pros and cons of any given option. Fortunately, the perfect power supply unit for your purposes is out there if you do your research.