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Performance Comparison: Solid State Power Controllers vs. Electromechanical Switching

The design of power distribution systems for modern ground and air platforms entails a number of challenges, including the needs for increased amounts of electrical power for C4I and other equipment; improved reliability; reduced weight, volume and power losses; along with capabilities to shed loads, and for enabling system prognostics and diagnostics. Solid State Power Controllers provide a number of advantages over electromechanical breakers and relays. SSPCs provide low loss switching with reducing EMI emissions, rapid short circuit protection, and I2t overload detection. I2t detection protects wiring, loads and SSPCs against overheating, while avoiding “nuisance trips” during periods of inrush currents. Relative to breakers and relays, SSPCs provide lower power dissipation, along with higher power weight and volume densities. By providing connectivity, SSPCs provide real time feedback to vehicle diagnostic computers. Data reported from SSPCs can be used for system-level diagnostics and prognostics, enabling predictive, condition-based maintenance, thereby providing increased availability and readiness. Reported data allows power management computers to make advance determinations of pending failures of generators, batteries, wiring, connectors, and loads.