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what is a ground power unit aviation

What Do You Need to Know Before Buying a GPU?

In the power electronics industry, there are many aviation-focused terms that are very frequently used by Aircraft Maintenance Engineers and Procurement Managers worldwide. Among them, you will hear a lot about Ground Power Units (GPU).

A Ground Power Unit, also known as a GPU, is a power supply equipment that provides clean power for both maintenance and engine starting aircraft while they are parked on the hangar or runaway. In the online corners, these GPUs are frequently mistaken by Graphics Processing Units used in computers. From now on, let’s not mistake these two.

GPUs in aviation are crucial equipment as they deliver specified power through the use of a standard electrical system, battery pack, and gasoline, diesel or a small turbine engine. Over the years, the equipment has become smaller, easier to maneuver and increasingly more efficient.

There is a big variety of GPUs available on the market, but you must first understand how they really work, so you can find the most appropriate equipment for your aircraft.

AC vs DC

As stated above, a GPU is capable of delivering exactly what your aircraft’s power requires. 

A DC (Direct Current) GPU is similar to that of a car. It usually ranges from 12 to 24V system and is used for general aircraft, smaller jets and turboprop airplanes. An AC (Alternating Current) GPU is more similar to the type of electricity that powers buildings and regular homes. The electrical system usually runs in the 400Hz band and is more oriented towards larger jets and commercial airliners.

Internal Combustion VS Electrical Rectifier

Ground Power Units can be powered by internal combustion engines or all-electrical frequency converters (a converter that transforms standard electrical power to AC or DC). The deciding factor deeply depends on what you are looking to get out of your GPU.

GPUs powered by Internal combustion engines (a.k.a gas ) are known to be the most portable ones. The downside is that you will have to continuously provide fuel and engine maintenance as expected. On the other hand, electrical ground power units are much quieter than internal combustion units, producing less pollution. They are considered to be more eco-friendly and eco-responsible.

What to bear in mind when choosing a GPU?

To begin with, get closely familiar with your aircrafts. First step is to really understand what kind of “food” your machines need. As soon as that is completely clear, there are a few common mistakes that you must avoid. Never close a business with your priority being “to save money”. In this kind of equipment, it is very dangerous to purchase weirdly inexpensive or used equipment. Be aware that you will save money at the moment, but in the long run you may face a lot of maintenance costs associated with unexpected equipment repairs and/or replacements. Ground Power Units are designed to last you decades but only if properly taken care of. Therefore, purchasing high-quality power equipment will prove to have a much higher ROI for your business. Thus, avoid costly mistakes and do not fear to trust your needs to a manufacturer that has proven itself throughout the years of work.

Another thing you should have in mind when choosing your power partner is the Technical After-Sales service they provide. There is no equipment in this world that is completely free of damages. You must rest assured that the team that provided you with the GPU is open to helping you in every possible way to guarantee your business doesn’t suffer much while being interrupted by unpredictable malfunctions.

You can also browse through our products and, in doubt, get in touch with us for customized customer care. We take care of our power equipment just as thoughtfully as we do our clients!