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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR

Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Aircraft Electrical Systems

Chapter 1
Sources of Aircraft Power
- Batteries

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Lesson Outcomes
Upon completion this chapter, you will be able to:
List different type of aircraft power supply.
Inspect installation of aircraft battery.
Carry out removal and installation of aircraft battery.
Describe the operation of aircraft battery circuit.
Carry out operational testing on battery installation.

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Sources of Aircraft Power


Aircraft can be powered from several different
sources as listed below:
Battery
Lead Acid
NiCad

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Sources of Aircraft Power


Engine Driven Generators
AC Generator - 115VAC 400Hz
DC Generator 28VDC
Starter Generator 28VDC
DC Alternator 28VDC

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Sources of Aircraft Power


APU Driven Generators
AC
DC

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Sources of Aircraft Power


External Power
GPU AC & DC Power
Battery Cart 24VDC
Converter AC to DC

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Sources of Aircraft Power


Emergency Generator
RAT (Ram Air Turbine Generator)

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Batteries
Review of principle of primary and secondary cells
Primary Cells
Supply small current for limited period
Is one which chemical action eats away and destroy one of the electrodes
Electrodes must be replaced cells must be discarded once they go flat
Example : Carbon-zinc, Alkaline Manganese-dioxide

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Batteries
Secondary Cells
Voltage is developed between 2 dissimilar plates that immersed in an
electrolytes
Have reversible cycle & can be charged time and time again over long
period.
Example : Lead Acid and NiCad Battery

Loads

Electrode
+ -

Electrolyte

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Aircraft Battery Introduction


They change electrical energy into chemical energy and hold
the state until it is needed
When needed, the chemical energy changes back in to
electrical energy.
Aircraft batteries do not supply electrical for the normal
operation of electrical system in flight.

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Types of Aircraft Battery


Lead Acid
Nickel Cadmium

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Main purpose of batteries in aircraft system


To supply power for engine / APU starting.
To provide emergency power for the Inertial Navigation
System (INS) or Inertial Reference System (IRS).
To provide under emergency conditions limited amounts of
power to operate essential flight instruments and radio
communications equipment.
To provide power for emergency lighting.
Supply power for intermittent electrical loads whose current
demands exceed the output generator

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Lead Acid and Nickel Cadmium Batteries characteristics:

Lead Acid
-+ve plates : lead peroxide (PbO2)
-ve plates : made of spongy lead (Pb)
electrolyte: sulphuric acid (H2SO4) diluted with distilled
water (H20) of SG typically 1.25 to 1.27

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Loads

Electrode
+ -

Electrolyte

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Indication of a Fully Charged cell condition:


While still on charge the voltage of the cell will reach
approximately 2.7V.
The specific gravity rises to its maximum value.
Releasing a constant stream of bubbles, known as
gassing.
Note:
Nominal Voltage : 2.0 volts
Fully Charged (Off Charge) : 2.2 volts
Fully Charged (On Charge) : 2.7 volts
Fully Charged SG : 1.25 to 1.27.
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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Voltage Test

Specific Gravity

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Indication of a Fully Discharged cell:


- Voltage : 1.8V (per cell)
- SG : 1.150 (or fall to minimum value as OEM manual)

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Varley type Lead Acid

The advantages are:


Longer service life
More power (less internal resistance)
Less maintenance
Higher power to weight ratio.
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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Nickel Cadmium
+ve plate : nickel hydroxide Ni(OH)2.
ve plate: cadmium hydroxide Cd(OH)2.
electrolyte: potassium hydroxide (KOH) and distilled water
(H20) of SG 1.24 to 1.3
fully charged condition:
- Voltage : 1.5V (per cell), nominal (1.2V)
- SG : 1.24 to 1.30.
- Electrolyte level high
fully discharged condition:
- Voltage : 1.0 V(per cell)
-SG : same (1.24 to 1.30)
- Electrolyte level low
The electrolyte specific gravity does
not change from charge to discharge.
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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Nickel Cadmium

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Lead Acid (Non sealed type) Nickel Cadmium


Advantages : Advantages :
Cheaper Better power to weight ratio
Easier to maintain. Lower internal resistance
Longer life
Disadvantages : Easy Replaceable Cells
No cell replacement More robust
Higher charging rates
Wider Operating Temperature range

Disadvantages :
Higher Cost
Need Expensive & Complicated
Charging and control circuitry

Prone to Thermal Runaway


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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Thermal Runaway (in Ni-Cad batteries) or Vicious Cycling.


Two conditions for the thermal runaways.
High overcharging rates for long periods of time.
Electrolyte has a negative temperature coefficient (NTC) and its resistance
decreases as temperature increases further increasing charging current.
The sequence of events will continue until the battery is destroyed.
Battery is exposed to any combination of high busbar voltage, excessive
ambient temperature and is unable to dissipate the heat.
Internal resistance goes down and the charging current gets higher, the
resistance goes down further and so on.
It causes a heat generation rate that is greater than heat dissipation rate.
Causes a rising and accelerating battery temperature up to its boiling point
(220250F).
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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Thermal Runaway
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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Safety Precautions (Lead Acid and Ni-Cads)


Sulphuric acid electrolyte is highly corrosive and could result
serious burns.
Potassium hydroxide is a caustic material and could result
serious burns.
To prevent contamination, wear rubber gloves, a rubber apron
and protective goggles when handling the electrolyte.
If electrolyte gets on the skin, the area should be irrigated with
large quantities of water.
If electrolyte gets in the eyes, irrigate with large quantities of
water and seek immediate medical attention.
Use bicarbonate of soda to neutralize sulphuric acid.
Use 3% solution of acetic acid, vinegar, lemon juice or a 10%
solution of boric acid to neutralize a potassium hydroxide.
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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Safety Precautions (Lead Acid and Ni-Cads)


(Contd)
Always add acid to water and in small quantities to keep the
heat of reaction to a safe level.
During overcharging, hydrogen and oxygen gases are
generated, any form of flame or spark must be avoided as an
explosion is possible.
A battery room must have completely separate areas for
servicing lead acid and Ni-Cads. All equipment and containers
must also be kept separate.
Electrolytes are highly corrosive. Keep off all aircraft parts and
structure. If any structure becomes contaminated treat
immediately.

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

The following are typical batteries tests


Note: All tests on batteries must be carried out in accordance with the
manufacturer's instructions, which are supplied with each battery.

Capacity test
This test is typically carried out at three-month intervals and 80% of
its capacity must be achieved for aircraft use. Also need to look at
previous test look for any trend.

Cell balance test / deep cycle (Ni-Cad only)


If a Ni-Cad battery fails its capacity test

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Insulation test
A breakdown in electrical
insulation between the cells
and the battery case will
result in a 'leakage' current.

(1 MOhm for a lead acid and


10MOhm for Ni-Cads with a
steel case).

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Battery Installation
Installed in areas where adequate heat dissipation and
ventilation of gases can take place
Temperature switch is installed to monitor the battery
temperature
Some system use an acid
trap which inserted in the
line between battery and
the fuselage and have
neutralizing agent to
prevent acid being sprayed
on to the aircraft fuselage

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Most modern aircraft use the effect


of pressurization to cause air to flow
across the top of the battery to
atmosphere

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

They are normally mounted and clamped to a tray, which is


secured to the aircraft structure in a pressurized area in
electronic equipment compartment
Batteries are usually
connected to the aircraft dc
system using a single screw
attached two pole plug.
(Clockwise rotation of the handwheel
to engage with the pins.
Reverse rotation of the handwheel to
disengages the pins.)

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

All power should be OFF when connecting /


disconnecting batteries to / from the system. When
fitted, the battery must be mechanically secured as per
the AMM and the system tested for correct operation.

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Typical Batteries Installation


Example of battery
installation
- on the BAE 146.
There are two 24V
23Ah nickel
cadmium batteries.

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

The batteries consist of 20 individual cells linked in series and


assembled in a steel case with a detachable lid. Each cell vent
incorporates a safety valve set to avoid internal pressure build-
up beyond the limit of the cell. Inside the battery case, the cells
are held tightly packed by insulator linings.
Vertical movement of the cells is further restrained by a
molded silicon rubber linear attached to the inside of the lid
assembly. The lid assembly also includes a non-return valve
and an integral hold down bar and strap which accepts hold
down securing attachments.

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

The non-return valve, in conjunction with a ventilation pipe


fitted at the side of the battery case, provides passage for
cooling air and the extraction of battery gases.
Battery temperature sensing is provided by two thermostats,
37C, to give a flight deck indication of HI TEMP and the other
set at 71C will inhibit the battery supply to the emergency dc
bus bar.
Electrical connection is by an ELCON quick release connector,
and a six pin connector on the battery front face connects the
temperature sensing elements to their respective circuits.

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

- on the B757.
shows the
battery /
battery
charger
and APU
battery
layout

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

The main battery/battery charger provides a dedicated source


of dc power operation of the standby and auto-land systems.
A separate APU battery provides power for the APU starting.
The main and APU batteries are identical 20 cell Ni-Cad
batteries with individual cell venting pressure at 2 to 10psi. A
thermistor thermal sensor provides the battery charger with
battery temperature information. If the battery reaches a set
temperature the battery charger is de-energized.
The chargers are identical and have an input of 115V, 400Hz, 3
phases. They have forced air and convection cooling and can
be used as an alternative 28V dc supply

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Batteries Charging Method


There are three methods of charging a battery on an aircraft.

Constant voltage
Constant current
Pulse

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Constant Voltage Method


The supply to the battery is a constant potential, either
from a voltage regulator controlled 28V dc generator or a
battery charger with a constant voltage output.
The initial charging current will depend on the:
Ampere hour capacity of the battery.
State of charge of the battery
in a fully discharged state, a battery will initially
accept a higher current than when it is partially charged.

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Advantages of Constant Voltage charging are:


- It permits relatively rapid charging.
- A constant voltage is available on dc generator
systems, so batteries can be connected direct to the
main dc bus bar.
- Under normal conditions it minimizes water loss.
Disadvantages of Constant Voltage charging are:
- It may cause cell imbalance and possible thermal
runaway.
- It requires periodic reconditioning treatment of the battery.
- It tends to overcharge if charging voltage is set too high
and undercharge if set too low.

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Constant Voltage Constant Voltage Constant Voltage


Charging Circuit Charging Circuit Charging Circuit
DC System AC System - 1 AC System - 2

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Typical Aircraft
Charging Circuit

During main supply


failure the battery will
supply to essential
services (e.g. essential
instruments, fire bottles,
flight controls etc) to
enable flight to continue
under these emergency
conditions for a
minimum period of 30
minutes.

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Constant Current Method


The battery charger maintains a pre-determined
and relatively constant current throughout the
charge and overcharge intervals.
This method is generally slower than the constant
voltage charging method.
Preferred method of charging for Ni-Cad batteries
as it is much more effective in maintaining cell
balance and full capacity.

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Advantages of Constant Current charging are:


- No excessive gassing.
- Charging current is easily monitored.
- Keeps cells in a 'balanced' condition, there is less
chance of thermal runaway.

Disadvantages of Constant Current charging are:


- Greater water loss on overcharging
- Longer time generally required charging the battery.

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Simplified Battery DC/AC Relationship Layout

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Pulse Method
- Used on the earlier
Boeing 747's
- This pulse cycle is
repeated for a total
of eight pulses the
battery charger
then switches to a
constant voltage
output of 28V just
trickle charging the
battery at less than
half an amp.

- Trickle charging, or float charging, means charging a battery at a similar


rate as it is self-discharging, thus maintaining a full capacity battery.
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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Aircraft Battery System


Small helicopter or a single engine fixed wing aircraft.

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Small helicopter or a single engine fixed wing aircraft.


When the battery switch is placed to on, relay K2 is energised
and battery power is connected to the bus.
On these aircraft the battery may be charged from the
external power supply. When the external power supply is
plugged into the external power receptacle, the small pin
positive supply energizes the external power relay. This will
route the external power to the bus and at the same time
charge the battery.

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

24V

Main Busbar Powered By Aircraft Battery


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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

24V

Main Busbar Powered By External Power

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

GPU

Main Busbar Powered By External Power And Charge The Battery

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

In the air
Battery System
Medium Size Aircraft
The battery charger is
normally powered by
three phase 115V ac
from the ground
service busbar (GSB).
The charger delivers
28V dc to charge the
battery.
In the air, GSB is
powered by Gen Bus 1

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR 115VAC
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

On Ground
Battery System
Medium Size Aircraft
On ground, GSB is
powered by Ext AC Bus.

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Battery System
Medium Size Aircraft
If GSB fail, the battery
charger is powered by
Main Bus 2.

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Battery System
Medium Size Aircraft
The Charger is
deenergised during
APU starting to
prevent overloading
the charger.

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Battery System Large Size Aircraft


On large aircraft, battery powers several bus.
Hot battery bus is always powered as long as the battery is connected. It
powers fire extinguisher bottles, engine fuel shut off valves, standby power
control.
TRU

relay

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Battery System Large Size Aircraft


In emergency, battery bus is powered by hot battery bus through a relay. It
is normally powered by TRU. It is normally feeds the passenger address
system, fire and smoke detection system, flight, cabin and service
interphone system
TRU

relay

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Battery System Large Size Aircraft


The standby dc bus normally powers, flight controls, standby attitude
indicators, radio systems normally powered by TRU. In the event of TRU
failure, it is supplied by the battery bus.

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Maintenance Practices
To be inspected at the periods specified in the approved
Maintenance Schedule, AMM and manuals issued by the battery
manufacturer.
The following paragraphs serve as a guide to the checks typically
required.

The battery tray should be checked for security, signs of


electrolyte spillage and corrosion.
The latches holding the battery should operate
smoothly and firmly secure the battery in position.
The battery should be checked externally for signs of
overheating, damage, leakage the connector pins and
the connector socket should be checked for signs of
contamination, burns, cracks, pitting etc.

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

The connector may be subjected to a GO-NO-GO gauge test to


ensure there is no slackness between and socket when
connected.
Cable insulation should be checked for signs of damage,
contamination, burning and security.
The ventilation system should be checked to ensure security of
connections and freedom from obstruction. Where acid traps
are fitted, check for overflow and if necessary remove for
cleaning.
Non return valves should be checked for correct operation.
The top of all cells should be inspected for signs of electrolyte
leakage and cleaned where necessary. In Ni-Cad batteries the
intercell links should be checked for correct torque loading and
signs of overheating and cells checked for distortion.

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UNIVERSITI KUALA LUMPIR
Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Check the temperature sensor for correct fitment and the


connections are serviceable.
Check electrolyte level. An important point to note here is that as
the electrolyte level rises when charging and lowers when
discharging. Distilled water must only be added when the battery
is fully charged, also always allow the battery to stand idle for 2 to
4 hours with vent caps loosened so all the gas may escape before
adjusting the electrolyte level. (Usually the battery has to be
removed from the aircraft when adjusting electrolyte level)
If a cell requires more than a specified amount of distilled water
then the cell must be considered as defective and the battery
replaced.
Check the capacity test is in date.

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Check earth connection for security and any signs of


corrosion; also check ammeter shunt and connections for
security and corrosion.
Carry out open circuit voltage and load checks as stated in
the maintenance manual.

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Aircraft Battery Testing


Voltage Checks and Load Tests
To assess the serviceability of a battery for flight on an aircraft with constant
voltage charging, i.e. no battery charger, the following is a typical check.
Procedures:
Ensure internal and external power switches are OFF
Check battery volts by selection on voltmeter, ensure battery is 24V or
above.
Select the load as stated in the maintenance manual, e.g. switch on
emergency inverter, landing lights, fuel pumps etc for the time period
designated, typically 20 to 30 seconds. A typical load could be 30A - but
depends on the manual
Monitor the battery voltage whilst on load. There should be no greater
than one volt drop (from the on-load value to the off-load value.
Switch off load after designated time period; ensure the battery voltage
returns to its original off-load value.

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

Voltage Test :
- Switch battery ON
Voltmeter read 24V
Load Test :
Switch ON loads for 20-30
sec the voltmeter must not
drop below 23V

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

A check on an aircraft with a battery charger system.


Procedures:
Trip the main battery charger circuit breaker.
Set the standby power switch to ON.
Select BATT on the dc meter panel.
Check the ammeter indicates a negative current flow and the voltage
is below 27. 5V.
After 1 minute set the battery switch to OFF, and close the main
charger circuit breaker.
The ammeter should indicate a positive current flow and the reading
should drop from an initial high level to 26 amps when the charging
current will drop to zero.
When the battery falls to 27. 5V the charger should be monitored to
ensure a high current pulse of 5 to 10 seconds is put out.
Again, check that a maximum of eight pulses is produced and then the
charger produces a trickle charge, i.e. battery is charged.
Place standby power switch to OFF.

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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

STORAGE AND TRANSPORTATION


Lead Acid Batteries
Stored in a clean, dry, cool, well ventilated area entirely separate
from nickel-cadmium batteries. The area should be free from
corrosive liquids or gases. New batteries may be stored either
dry and uncharged, or filled and charged.

Ni-Cad Batteries
Stored in a clean, dry, well -ventilated area and should be
completely segregated from lead-acid batteries. The area should
be free from corrosive liquids or gases. Recommended to be
stored in the condition in which they are normally received from the
manufacturer, i.e. filled with electrolyte, discharged and with
shorting straps fitted across receptacle pins.
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Malaysian Institute of Aviation Technology

End

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