Malfunctions in the electrical power supply system can be detected by periodic monitoring of the ammeter and low-voltage warning light; however, the cause of these malfunctions is usually difficult to determine. A broken alternator drive belt or wiring is most likely the cause of alternator failures, although other factors could cause the problem. A damaged or improperly adjusted alternator control unit can also cause malfunctions. Problems of this nature constitute an electrical emergency and should be dealt with immediately. Electrical power malfunctions usually fall into two categories: excessive rate of charge and insufficient rate of charge. The paragraphs below describe the recommended remedy for each situation.


After engine starting and heavy electrical usage at low engine speeds (such as extended taxiing) the battery condition will be low enough to accept above normal charging during the initial part of a flight. However, after thirty minutes of cruising flight, the ammeter should be indicating less than two needle widths of charging current. If the charging rate were to remain above this value on a long flight, the battery would overheat and evaporate the electrolyte at an excessive rate

Electronic components in the electrical system can be adversely affected by higher than normal voltage. The alternator control unit includes an over-voltage sensor which normally will automatically shut down the alternator if the charge voltage reaches approximately 31.5 volts. If the over-voltage sensor malfunctions or is improperly adjusted, as evidenced by an excessive rate of charge shown on the ammeter, the alternator should be turned off, alternator circuit breaker pulled, nones sential electrical equipment turned off and the flight terminated as soon as practical.



If the over-voltage sensor should shut down the alternator or if the alternator circuit breaker should trip, a discharge rate will be shown on the ammeter followed by illumination of the low-voltage warning light. Since this may be a "nuisance" trip-out, an attempt should be made to reactivate the alternator system. To do this, turn the avionics power switch off, check that the alternator circuit breaker is in, then turn both sides of the master switch off and then on again. If the problem no longer exists, normal alternator charging will resume and the low-voltage light will go off. The avionics power switch may then be turned back on. If the light illuminates again, a malfunction is confirmed. In this event, the flight should be terminated and/or the current drain on the battery minimized because the battery can supply the electrical system for only a limited period of time. If the emergency occurs at night, power must be conserved for later use of the landing lights and flaps during landing.