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Frank A. Jones
Frank A. Jones
Manager, Business Development

PBS Aerospace Engineering Blog - Article No. 4


Engine electrical requirements for starting and operation

When discussing important parameters of turbine engines, ones relating to electrical power consumption and generation are often overlooked. The first required resource people think about with regard to operating a jet engine is fuel, but electrical power input is another very important factor. This post will provide an overview of turbine engines' electrical power requirements and how to ensure an engine gets the proper amount of power for operation.
Electrical power is primarily used in the starting of the engine and the operation of the ECU. The Engine Control Unit (shortened to ECU) is the brain of an engine. It controls the engine, monitors all of the sensors for irregularities, logs data, and manages the fuel pump. The ECU will require power throughout the engine's operation, and outside of operation for the data logger to run.
 Gas Turbine engines are simple to operate once they are running. The only thing required is a steady supply of fuel to the combustion chamber. Starting turbine engines is more difficult, as the compressor and turbine within the engine must be rotating at a high speed for the engine to begin operating in a stable fashion. There are multiple ways to get these components up to speed, but this post will focus on utilizing a starter generator.
For all PBS Aerospace TurboJet Engines, all compressor and turbine stages are on a single shaft. All of our engines come standard with a "starter generator" cleverly hidden on the front of the engine near the compressor. This generator is wired to the ECU, which provides power to the generator during the startup sequence. During this sequence, the generator accelerates the shaft in the engine until a set speed is reached. This speed is different for each engine. Once that speed is reached, the ignition sequence will begin and the starter generator will stop drawing power from the engine.
This starter generator serves two purposes though. Once idle speed is reached, the generator stops drawing power from the ECU, and begins to produce power, delivering current back to the ECU which can be used to power systems on the aircraft. A common use of this power produced by the engine is recharging the batteries utilized in the start procedure.
To find out more about the power generation capabilities of our engines, or if you have any other questions about the electrical requirements of integrating one of our engines, contact us at One of our engineers would be happy to help you.

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