Despite the robust designs and many failsafes, generators still require some sort of assistance during starting operations to get everything running smoothly, and this is usually provided by what is known as an aircraft starter generator. As systems that initiate engine operations until the first stages of ignition are completed, it can be very beneficial to have a basic understanding of their capabilities and use.
For an engine to operate as intended for the means of flight, it must be able to maintain the process of fuel ignition with self-sustainable speeds to keep sections like the compressor operating. As this is not feasible just by turning the engine on, a starter generator is used to transform electricity into power that is harnessed by the engine’s drive shaft. Starter generators are most commonly found on aircraft with gas turbine engines, as smaller models may be able to utilize direct cranking electric starting systems.
In order to supply power to the engine, the starter generator will be permanently engaged with the engine shaft for power transmission through drive gears. In general, a typical aircraft starter generator may be thought of as a type of shunt generator that features an additional heavy series winding in the assembly. As the series winding is electrically connected, it will generate a strong magnetic field when electricity is induced, resulting in high torque that can be used for starting.
A typical starter generator will contain four distinct field windings, those of which are a C field, shunt field, compensating field, and either an interpole or commutating winding. While the starting process is carried out, all except the shunt field are used while in series with the source. In order to effectively start the engine, the generator will have to create around 24 volts and 1,500 peak amperes.
As the shunt field is not used during starting, one may wonder why it is included. While starter generators are essential for the initial operations of a turbine gas engine, they can also be used to power electronics as well when acting as a standard generator. In this instance, the starter will utilize the shunt, compensating, and commutating windings, as the C field is solely used for the starting process.
With dual use, one can see how important the aircraft starter generator is for typical operations. Like all machinery, starter generators have finite service lives, and inspections, maintenance, and repairs are necessary to keep the health of all parts and assemblies optimal. If you find that your starter generator requires replacement parts, or if you are simply in the market for a first time purchase, we at ASAP Components are your sourcing solution with competitive pricing on every part we stock from leading aircraft starter generator manufacturers.
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