There's nothing like meeting vendors face-to-face to get instantaneous answers to your questions about their products, and the aisles in the four large commercial buildings at Sun 'n Fun were chocked full of information seekers. I spent a bit of time with Stephen and Linda Klodd of Plane-Power, chatting about the latest innovations in powering up your flying machine.
What initially caught my eye was an elegant little voltage regulator, its flat-pack form factor about a quarter of the height of the traditional mechanical regulators.
Stephen explained that the regulator on display had several features that you just couldn't get before, such as reverse polarity protection should you accidentally reverse your battery terminals, user-switchable to either 14 or 28 volts systems, user-adjustable output voltage, and when used with another one (as with a twin), the two regulators will load share with just two conductors connecting them together. And, it's PMA approved for installation into certified aircraft. All for $169.
Plane-Power also had lightweight alternators (Experimental aircraft only) on display in 60- and 70-amp varieties. Priced at $459 and $479 respectively, these units are another cost effective way to significantly increase the electrical power available in your airplane with minimal investment. And, these units come with all necessary hardware, mount, and even a new wiring harness to finish off your upgrade.
Finally, I took a look at the slick little alternator designed for the venerable Continental O-200. With a full 50 amps of output power, this gear-driven unit not only greatly upgrades the old generators originally used by Continental, but will save significant weight as well. It also allows for a greatly simplified electrical system, as the voltage regulation is internal. Not quite yet available for certified aircraft, Plane-Power is expecting the FAA's blessing in short order.
It occurred to me that Plane-Power is doing for alternators what SkyTek did for starters, and upon sharing that observation with Stephen and Linda, they heartily concurred. More information about the full Plane-Power line-up can be had at plane-power.com.