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Aircraft Power Supply Module Short Circuit Testing

In recent years, aircraft electrical equipment is surging because of the rapid development of modern science and aircraft technology, but it is also closely related to the shortage of fossil energy. Modern aircraft equipment is moving toward the direction where most or all on-board equipment are electric as electric energy will replace the traditional mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic energy. The power supply module plays a key role for this development. Its powerful power supply capability, stability and protection meet the ever-growing electricity demand on an aircraft, and it is critical for the power supply module to adapt to the complicated flight environment.

The biggest difference between aircraft power supply module and regular power supply module is the former works in the space or high altitude environment. High altitude and space environment has more challenging external conditions comparing to ground environment, and it provides greater uncertainty. There are many cosmic radiations in the space and most of them are steams of charged particles with high energy. Because these particles have high energy and strong penetrating power, they are most likely to cause short circuit of the power supply module. And in high altitude environment, low temperature and thermal radiation could also cause such short circuits. Because power supply module is included in the thermal control, orbit control, radio control, power supply control and other aircraft systems, temporary short circuit will ultimately lead to a system failure and severely undermine the operation of the aircraft. It may endanger the personal safety of the pilots if things are bad. In this case, engineers need to run short-circuit simulation tests on the power supply modules during the test phase to ensure short-time short circuit failure won't affect the operation of aircraft.

Solution Introduction

In the past few years, most research institutes used old-fashioned resistance box or water-resistance test stand as load for aircraft power supply module pre-shipping experiment. This traditional test method has many flaws, such as electronic load only using step speed regulation due to material limitation, excessively small resistance power, oversize equipment and excessive space usage. But with the rapid development of semiconductor and power electronic conversion technique, electronic load can replace traditional load. By running tests on power supply with electronic load, using effective current control technology and conducting wide-range discharge current control, simulation of electronic load with various resistance values can be achieved. It would be an experimental platform where one electronic load can provide any resistance value. The high-power regenerative AC power supply designed by SUITA can serve as a power grid simulator and four-quadrant power amplifier. It can also function as a regenerative AC/DC electronic load. By connecting the power supply to the output terminal of an aircraft power supply module, users can assess if the power supply module can cause system failure when a partial short circuit occurs with electronic load simulation under short-circuit conditions.

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