Ballas, M. and Potter, F., "Solid State Power Control as a Network Backbone for Aircraft System Health Management," SAE Int. J. Aerosp. 5(2):557-566, 2012, doi:10.4271/2012-01-2233.
Aircraft-level health management requires effective management of data flow. As future aircraft adopt conditioned base maintenance (CBM) and/or integrated vehicle health management (IVHM) protocols, there is need to manage infinitely more data communication on and off the aircraft.This paper explores the idea of employing an Electronic Power Distribution System (EPDS) as a “network backbone” for aircraft-level prognostics. Using EPDS to capture and distribute this data provides a practical solution that minimizes system hardware on future CBM/IVHM enabled aircraft. Employing the Electronic Circuit Breaker (ECB) in a more enhanced sensor state and as a data communication tool, provides tremendous value given its multipurpose capability.A “distributed” electronic power distribution architecture, is comprised of groupings of remotely operated electronic circuit breakers (ECBUs), System Control Interface Units (SCIUs), primary power distribution units (PDU), bus transfer contactors, and so on, all of which will play a future role in aircraft level health management. The ECBUs will be the initial interface for both structural and electrical health sensors. The ECBU will take on an additional data concentrator function, interfacing with a new class of smart sensors. The ECB will serve as an electrical load health sensor, in addition to its primary function, as a circuit protection device. The SCIU, as the central interface and system brain, will be the final repository or router for on-aircraft health data between the aircraft maintenance computer and ground base station.