Summary: Ground Power Units (GPUs) are critical components in terms of aircraft maintenance. They play a significant role alongside other electronic components.
A GPU, or ground power unit, is designed to supply an aircraft with a supplemental stream of power to keep the onboard electronics system online during maintenance procedures. For airports, you’ll typically notice many of these being driven around by a cart to each aircraft that lands. After the plane taxis, the GPU is then attached to the plane itself and idles as passengers begin funneling out towards the terminal. This essentially gives the APU, or auxiliary power unit, a chance to rest after being utilized for hours on end – depending on the flight and the distance that the aircraft flew.
How the APU Functions
After the turbine starting process occurs, the ground power unit activates and sends a regulated current into the aircraft. Mind you, the plane itself is relying on the GPU and not the APU. Consider it almost like a phone being plugged into an external battery source. The cell phone will accept the external power and utilize it instead of the already-installed battery.
There are many variations of ground power units available for small aircraft owners, yourself included if you’ve made it this far into the article. It’s critical that you understand what power source fits and what doesn’t as the wrong current could potentially damage the aircraft battery, forcing you to make repairs or even replace the entire battery itself. Whether it’s a 28 volt battery pack or another power source, be sure that you identify what specific voltage your aircraft requires to avoid any accidents.
GPU manufacturers like Start Pac, a major portable power manufacturer, recommend that you consult with a professional before going about purchasing a ground power unit so you get the most out of your unit.…