Rugged Power Supply Protects Aircraft Carrier’s Voice-Data-Video Network Node

Earl Integrated Power & Controls, a division of Earl Industries (Portsmouth, VA), was enlisted by the U.S. Navy to create an innovative, vertically mounted voice-data-video (VDV) network node for the Ford Class Aircraft Carrier. One of the major challenges in this endeavor was that the rugged uninterruptible power supply (UPS) required to power the system would have to be equally innovative, owing to the node’s vertical orientation; the need for extended battery backup runtime; quick replacement of the unit’s power factor correction board; access to the Ethernet switch; and limited space availability.

Unable to find a commercially available UPS to fit this description, Earl turned to Acumentrics (Westwood, MA), a company that specializes in designing rugged UPS for military applications. To meet Earl’s stringent requirements, Acumentrics decided to modify its existing Rugged-UPS™ (RUPS) 1252 Series. The new unit was named the 1253 and became a part of ACG1250 series.

The first step was to modify the RUPS chassis so it could be mounted vertically into the system's shock mount enclosure, as well as eliminating the space of the existing battery compartment. Acumentrics’ team developed a 1U battery pack that would also mount in the vertical position. For longer battery backup run-time, an additional battery pack was employed, which required additional cabling and connectors. These battery packs are “hot swappable” to maximize user convenience.

Normally, a UPS takes a single AC input; if the input is lost, it switches automatically to battery backup. However, because all mission-critical systems on the carrier must be redundant, the RUPS had to be reengineered with two AC inputs. Thus, if primary power was lost, the RUPS would switch to the second AC power supply; only if both supplies went down would the battery backup be activated.

Acumentrics also redesigned the power factor correction (PFC) unit on the front of the RUPS. Rather than having to remove the entire board in case of failure or damage, the team created a smaller, modular board that was far easier to replace.

After implementation of the adaptations, the newly designed unit was successfully tested and certified to MIL-STD-461E (electromagnetic interference and electromechanical compatibility) and MIL-STD-1399 (shipboard power system standard).

A total of 41 units were delivered to Earl for eventual use in the VDV network node. While not in full service yet, the systems have been performing extremely well during 24/7 testing.

Acumentrics Westwood, MA, 781-461-8251

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