Fluctuating voltage outputs can cause inefficient aircraft operation–or worse–damage your electrical components. An aircraft voltage regulator (also called a voltage controller) protects the aircraft’s electrical system by maintaining a constant voltage output from the generator or alternator. The regulator system senses the voltage and adjusts the field current to always maintain proper output voltage.
One of the most common types of aircraft voltage regulators is the carbon pile regulator. Many low-output generators found in older aircraft use a carbon pile regulator in which the field current is routed through a stack of carbon disks. As the resistance of the stack increases or decreases, the current is adjusted. Over time, these carbon disks can wear down. It’s important to regularly maintain your carbon pile regulator to ensure accurate voltage regulation.