December 2014

Aircraft Power Solutions – an IFExpress Interview with PPI Power CEO Jim Haig

By PPI Power

Our Hot Topic comes via an interview with PPI Power CEO Jim Haig during APEX in Anaheim and we thought it was so pertinent to our industry that it has become our feature for this week’s IFExpress.

You might remember that IFExpress is dedicated to IFEC companies big and small and that’s why we chose PPI Power. With only some 32 US employees, this company fits the “small” moniker but when you realize that without them almost all of the IFE we have come to know and love would not be permitted on today’s aircraft. PPI unitsconvert the aircraft 115Vac (400 Hz) power (and 28 VDC) to something that the logic circuits can use, isolated low voltage DC power. As you might guess, this is important, as the devices connected to the aircraft power systems cannot cause the current to be out of phase with the voltage – no lead or no lag. Unfortunately those big transformers and capacitors you see on most power supplies love to do just that, change the phase of the current relationship with the voltage and that is why Jim is so proud… when his power supplies are connected to the aircraft power, they just look like a simple, resistive load (no lead or lag of the current with respect to the voltage – this is called unity Power Factor). This is why you see the letters PFC (in their product names… but there will be more on this topic later.) We also note that by downloading the 81505 module data you will get a better description of the type of products and circuitry involved in making it work.

As an aerospace circuit design engineer, Jim began his career with the big names in the Defense Industry working on highly complex and reliable power supplies. Aerospace demands high quality power supplies for digital electronics that generate very low noise and look like resistive loads (remember unity Power Factor) and early in the nineties he was asked to help one big IFE company to get better performing power supplies for their IFE. He did so and his new company PPI Power was off to the races.

PPI Power found customers based on the fact that at the current specification level, their IFE hardware did not meet the new and demanding PFC requirements, generated too much “noise” or both. As you might expect, when the voltage and current are out of phase, bad stuff happens, namely extra power is consumed and generally the harmonic “noise” a system generates increases. This is especially bad at higher line frequencies such as 400–800Hz that modern aircraft power system run at, not to mention the system is at 35,000 feet above the ground where every extra Watt consumed is critical.

According to our sources, PPI products work extremely well and are amongst the most reliable in the industry. According to Jim, “PPI Power is going into our twenty first year of supplying to the IFE industry. We were the first company to develop a Power Factor Correction (PFC) solution specifically geared for IFE systems onboard commercial planes and because the power grid involves sign waves, harmonic distortion minimization will always be important. Our product goal is to correct the way the IFE system boxes draw power from the aircraft power busses; to preserve the integrity of the total power system. If many units on the power bus draw non-linear distorted input currents, the bus “rings” and the voltage can get really ugly! This can result in compromising peak detection circuits losing the ability to synchronize multiple generators; an important part of bringing generators back on line.”Readers, remember many of these aircraft power systems are multiple generator systems that have to have synchronized AC generators. Further, the system electronics have to be able to control real and apparent power (out of phase current and voltage).

It is interesting to note that while the US does not yet mandate Power Factor Correction on consumer electronics (most “GREEN” one’s do), Europe has required devices like PC’s and TV’s to do so. Interestingly, Power Factor Corrected electronics on the plane also use less power because there is less wasted in the wiring and distribution networks (less heat too) and that makes it a good thing for aircraft where fuel burn is critical and power is limited. But in general, PFC products are used where the current and voltage would otherwise be misaligned in supporting cabin hardware and thus line harmonics also are minimized almost to zero (and this isn’t easy) if they exist at all. We should also note that many Business Jets use 28 Volts DC for equipment power and thus don’t need PFC. However, we understand that today, some new, bigger BizJets do have AC. Furthermore, the power requirements really bloomed in the 90’s and today Boeing has their DO-160 requirements, while Airbus uses ABD 0100.1.8 for theirs. We understand that the new Airbus A350 is even more demanding. Mr. Haig noted that they do meet all the requirements for the Boeing B787 and are very close to meeting all of the A350’s.

Today, PPI Power has over 50 off-the-shelf standardized power supplies and modules aimed at the IFEC industry. Products focused on the above mentioned power solutions. Since PPI Power began, they have delivered over 135,000 units to date – a success story by any measurement. They provide supplies and modules to companies including Panasonic, Kontron, Telefonix, Viasat and many more. To give you an idea of a final product, we used a picture of a Power Factor corrected 200 watt supply for an aircraft electronics box that supplies DC power in the 3 to 5 volt range as today’s large rectangle image for this article.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see the future of PPI Power products – one could expect tougher specifications for noise, higher efficiency, smaller size, and, of course, lower price. Jim told IFExpress that his whole company is always striving to improve their products and meet the ever growing spec requirements. He did point out that although no one can ever defeat physics, it certainly keeps us on our toes trying. He also noted that as the new AC frequencies go to 800Hz and beyond (cycles per second)…“The higher peaks will be difficult but not insurmountable!!”

View the original article here.

March 2014


By PPI Power

PPI Power

Pacific Precision Instruments, Inc. Press Announcement

San Diego, CA – Pacific Precision Instruments, Inc., an innovator in airborne power supplies and power converter modules, announced today that is has rebranded and changed their name. Effective April 1, 2014, Pacific Precision Instruments, Inc. will begin operating under PPI Power, Inc.

The rebranded name and logo are now consistent with the company’s domain name, ppipower.com, in addition to how its products and services are perceived as the best known in the industry it serves. The rebranding is the positive outcome of the company’s broadening footprint in the USA, unprecedented sales growth and increasing recognition. It also coincides with an exciting time for the company – its 20th year anniversary and the expansion into a significantly larger manufacturing facility.

“Rebranding the name to PPI Power, Inc. reflects on the evolution of the company and on our primary focus – power conversion.” said Jim Haig, CEO of PPI Power. “Our goal is to help our customers best identify with our products and to make our power supplies and modules the best and most reliable in the industry.”

PPI Power modules simplify the task for design engineers when it comes to the embedded power supply part of their units and systems, replacing an otherwise tedious and expensive design and development process with an off-the-shelf modular approach. Efficient, reliable and compliant embedded power supplies can be configured in weeks versus months, usually with significant cost savings.



March 2014


By PPI Power

The more things change, the more they stay the same!

Pacific Precision Instruments, Inc. is rebranding our name to PPI Power, Inc. This is simply a name change and should have very little effect on current policies, procedures, or other aspects of doing business with our valued customers. [READ THE PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT]

Here are a few answers to questions you may have:

Will there be a change in locations or phone numbers?

All phone numbers and locations will remain the same.

Will any addresses change?

The Remit To and Accounts Payable addresses will remain the same.

How will my existing purchase orders, including orders with multiple releases, be processed?

We do not anticipate changes to affect any existing or future blanket orders. All shipments will continue to go out from the same locations. Invoices will now come from PPI Power, Inc.

Will the account terms stay the same?

All terms that were setup before this rebranding will remain the same. There will be no term changes.

When will these changes go into effect?

You can start updating your records beginning April 1, 2014.  Please forward this notification to all applicable departments and update your systems to account for the name change effective April 1, 2014.

Thank you for your attention in this matter.


Kristi Dill


March 2013

PPI Presents the New Generation of All-in-One Power Supply Products

By PPI Power

PPI Power, Inc. began developing a new product line of DO-160 compliant all-in-one AC to low voltage DC power modules in 2006 and today the category has expanded to 12 unique modules with a variety of end-use applications.

“We have augmented the product offering, increased output capacity without increasing size and weight and are now able to offer up to 100W of power factor corrected output power in a 12 cubic inch PCB mountable package,” said Jim Haig, CEO of PPI.


There are some distinct advantages when incorporating these embedded power supply modules and what they mean for the industry. All equipment used within avionic applications must comply with stringent electrical and environmental requirements. The all-in-one power modules from PPI Power, inc. simplify the process because the modules already comply at the module level and are readily adapted to the same specifications at the upper-unit level; this saves time and money and frees up crucial engineering resources to focus on other important system level design tasks.

The modules possess very high Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) projections/ statistical data and rigorous verification testing is imposed to assure years of safe, reliable operation in the harshest environments.

What types of equipment are these modules currently powering?

The current industry focus is within in-flight entertainment equipment including file servers, content loaders, wireless access points, displays, monitors, antenna controllers, audio distribution units, electronic flight bags and PED chargers.

What Aircraft?

All Boeing and Airbus Aircraft.

About PPI Power, Inc.

PPI Power, Inc., formerly known as Pacific Precision Instruments, Inc. designs and manufactures an array of PFC switching supplies and modules geared specifically for powering in-flight entertainment and peripheral equipment.

All of our power supplies are:

  • RTCA/DO-160 Compliant
  • Power Factor Corrected
  • Designed and Tested for minimum input current
    harmonic distortion content
  • Compact and Rugged
  • Easily Configured
  • Subjected to 100% burn-in screening
  • Backed by a one year replacement warrantyFor more information about our power supply products, please contact info@ppipower.com or call us at (858) 277-2945
February 2013

Welcome to the New Pacific Precision Instruments News Page

By PPI Power

Check back with us soon for tech tips and news!