New Industry Products

Frequency Converter Delivers Constant 400Hz for Aircraft Electronics

March 05, 2019 by Scott McMahan

Astronics Corporation, a provider of technologies for aerospace and defense industries, announced the availability of the new CorePower® Frequency Converter Unit (FCU). Offered by Astronics AES, a wholly owned subsidiary of Astronics, the new unit converts variable frequency power sources to a constant 400Hz power to protect sensitive aircraft electronics from unregulated frequency and power surges.

Aircraft power systems employ variable frequency (VF) generators instead of fixed frequency 400Hz generators. While the majority of aircraft loads can utilize VF power, select loads still require 400Hz.

The CorePower FCU responds to current trends in aircraft power systems. The FCU takes variable frequency 3-phase 115Vac input power ranging from 324Hz to 800Hz and converts it to constant frequency 3-phase 115Vac output power at 400Hz, providing clean, conditioned power.

According to AES, the FCU offers a nominal 95% efficiency, thereby eliminating the need for a noisy cooling fan.

The company also says that the FCU is 35% lighter and 20% smaller than competing FCUs.

The CorePower FCU has current distortion of 2% and provides voltage regulation, ±3V. Test and active health management functionality including I2T, fault coordination, and reporting are built-in.

With the well-regulated (±3V), low distortion output voltage and a tightly controlled frequency, the Astronics FCU reduces stress on load electronics. The output power quality is independent of the input power quality, allowing the FCU to provide clean power even if the power provided at the input isn't clean.

"We've leveraged the advantages of solid-state power conversion to provide a compact solution for modern aircraft power challenges," stated Kellsey Justus, Vice President of Airborne Power and Control at Astronics AES. "Our specialized design provides better power quality to address specific needs in mission-based environments. At the same time, the significant savings in weight and size, plus the efficiency gains that enable fan-free, quiet operation, make this technology ideal for any aircraft cabin."

Key Benefits

  • Nominal 95% efficiency, eliminating the need for a noisy cooling fan
  • 35% lighter than competing units
  • 20% smaller than competing units
  • Low current distortion of 2%
  • Tight voltage regulation,±3V
  • Built-in test and active health management functionality including I2T, fault coordination, and reporting

Astronics AES is currently shipping production units to a launch customer.