Selecting GaN transistors for avionics power

December 18, 2019 //By Nick Flaherty
AES Aircraft Elektro/Elektronik System is using 650V gallium nitride GaN FET transistors from Transphorm for 500W and 1200W switched mode avionics power supplies.
AES Aircraft Elektro/Elektronik System is using 650V gallium nitride GaN FET transistors from Transphorm for 500W and 1200W switched mode avionics power supplies.

German aerospace company AES Aircraft Elektro/Elektronik System has launched its first avionics power supplies using 650V gallium nitride GaN FET transistors.

The company’s latest Switch Mode Power Supplies are currently used by large CS-25 aircraft manufacturers such as the Airbus A318-A321, A330, A340, A380 and Boeing B767, B787 VIP aircraft and use Transphorm’s GaN FETs to increase overall system efficiency by more than 10 percent over silicon-based designs.

The two GaN based avionics Switch Mode Power Supplies are the PS250X 500 W system and the PS6120 1200 W system. Both products support a 96-130 VAC/360 Hz – 800 Hz input voltage with a 28 VDC continuous power output at 15 amps for the 500 W system and 42 amps for the 1200 W system.

AES certified the PS250X and PS6120 as DO-160 compliant, meeting the more than 25-point stringent Standard of the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA). This Standard assesses system impact and performance under various external and internal conditions on aircraft, ranging from pressure and temperature to voltage spikes and RF emissions.

The flagship 1.4 kg 500 W PS250X is the industry’s first passively cooled power supply at 420 W and deploys Transphorm’s GaN in a single-phase CCM boost power factor correction (PFC) topology. It offers more than 92 percent overall system efficiency at full load, with a 0.98 power factor and 200 mVpp nominal at 115 VAC/400 Hz input at full load.

The 4.0kg 1200 W PS6120 deploys Transphorm’s GaN in a fan-cooled, three-phase CCM boost PFC topology. It offers more than 91.5 percent overall system efficiency at full load, and has the same power factor and nominal ripple voltage at 115 VAC/400 Hz input at full load as the PS250X.

“The aviation industry is working toward reducing climate impact through any means possible,” said Dr Andreas Hammer, Head of Competence Center Power at AES.

Next: Selecting GaN FETs


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