A chip detector is an electronic instrument that attracts ferromagnetic particles such as iron chips. Chip detectors are frequently used in aircraft engine oil chip detection systems, where they can offer an early warning of imminent engine failure, thus greatly reducing the cost of an engine overhaul. This blog will provide an overview of chip detectors and their functions.

Chip detectors consist of small plugs that can be installed in an engine oil filter, oil sump, or aircraft drivetrain gearbox. Over time, engine wear and tear causes small metal chips to break loose from engine parts which then circulate in the engine oil, causing damage. A detector contains magnets incorporated into an electric circuit. Magnetic forces attract ferrous particles and collection of these particles continues until the insulated air gap between the magnets (in a two magnet configuration) or between the magnet and housing (in a single magnet configuration) is bridged, thereby cutting off the circuit. The result of this is an electronic signal for remote indication which activates a warning light on the instrument panel, indicating the presence of metal chips in the oil.

In applications with a self-closing valve/adapter, chip detectors can be positioned in the application through a bayonet or threaded interface. When the chip detector disengages from the valve, the valve closes, keeping any fluid loss from the system to a minimum.The chip detectors used on aircraft are inspected in every level of check. Inspection may also be done at specified intervals such as every 30 to 40 hours for an engine unit and 100 hours for an auxiliary power unit.

            There are many advantages to using a chip detector. For one, no additional tools are needed to inspect and remove debris. Additionally, chip detectors enable BIT capability by integrating a resistor at the chip gap. Chip detectors utilize blade-type retention, which eliminates much of the wear associated with common ‘pin-in-slot’ type retention methods. Furthermore, strong magnet integrity provides high ferrous capture efficiency as well as significant retention.

To further increase capture efficiency, chip detectors are equipped with flow directional screens. In order to support resistor-based wire-fault, built-in-test functionality, chip detectors feature a circuit board integrated with the chip detector. Finally, chip detectors feature an electroless nickel plating for superior wear and corrosion protection, as well as an axial design which improves the detector’s capture efficiency and ease of chip removal.

To save weight, the chip detector assembly is primarily made from aluminum. There are five main parts of a chip detector’s construction: the flying lead, chip gap, ECD-to-valve- retention lugs, seals, and springs. The flying lead construction features three insulated conductors with an overbraid shield. The chip gap is the area where debris is held. An axial chip gap design is able to collect more debris than a radial type. Retention lugs are designed to FAA approval and are integrated in the valve body where they eliminate assembly errors and provide increased bearing area. The seals, usually o-rings, are used to seal the circuits and connections from oil. Lastly, the chip detector features stainless steel valve piston springs to assist in installation and operation.

For chip detectors and much more, look no further than Aerospace Unlimited, a trusted supplier of parts for a wide range of industries. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we are an online distributor of aircraft parts as well as parts pertaining to the aerospace, civil aviation, defense, industrial, electronics, and IT hardware markets. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, call us at 1-412-212-0606 or email us at sales@aerospaceunlimited.com.


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A printed circuit board electronically and mechanically connects electrical components using special conductive tracks. These features are etched into copper and laminated onto or in between sheet layers of nonconductive substrates. Printed circuit board layouts are extremely important in circuit design processes because the layout determines how a circuit will work— including its reliability and performance. 


There are several computer development programs that aid with printed circuit board designs, streamlining the design process. These types of programs increase the ease of the design process not just for experts, but also for students. Previously, the design was created using tape and a master drawing sheet, a technique that is long gone. Software for printed circuit boards vary in function and must be selected based on the requirements of the circuit board.

The first step in creating a design for a printed circuit board is to capture the schematic of the circuit. This can be done by using a special tool included in your package or by purchasing an external package whose output can be expressed and formatted to match. This creates a “netlist” which allows for interconnectivity between circuit nodes, electrical pins and nets. Before a netlist is created, it is imperative to know where to place the components to confirm circuitry. Roughly knowing the placement of all components beforehand will make it easier to determine the required space between layers for future electrical placements. Once all placements are placed in the correct position, routing will take place. The connections will need to be routed to the components on all layers. Routing is the most complicated process of printed circuit board design.  This design will be used several times during the manufacturing process.

Aerospace Unlimited, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, should always be your first and only stop for all your circuit board needs.  Aerospace Unlimited is a premier supplier of printed circuit board assembly parts. Whether new, old, or hard-to-find, we can help you find all the parts you need. Aerospace Unlimited has a wide selection of parts to choose from and is fully equipped with a friendly and knowledgeable staff, and we will always help you find what you’re looking for, 24/7x365. If you’re interested in a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@aerospaceunlimited.com or call us at +1-412-212-0606.


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Gilat has just announced that they will be unveiling a new Electronically Steerable Antenna through a joint development project with Airbus as part of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program. This fully embedded airborne antenna technology by Gilat will be on full display during an inflight demonstration on a C295 aircraft in support of the Clean Sky 2 (CS2) objective which was intended to push for a more efficient and eco-friendly transport. Due to their phased array antenna (PAA) expertise, Gilat was selected to develop a Ka band ESA inflight connectivity (IFC) terminal with the embedded antenna ray in the wing structure of the airframe which includes the radiating elements and amplification.


Airbus who is partnering with Gilat for the development of the airborne terminal which includes designing, prototyping, manufacturing, and testing both on the ground and in-flight level. Gilat believes the phased array technology will allow for high integration and embedding of the antenna into airframe structures and has scheduled for in-flight validation tests plans to be carried out in Seville, Spain. Gilat is replacing the original panels with new composite structures which will add IFC capabilities without interfering with the aircraft performance and maneuverability by reducing fuel consumption and avoiding aerodynamic drag. This will also eliminate any protruding components and will contribute to the reduction of COC2 emissions which was one of the primary objective of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 program.

Here at Aerospace Unlimited, we have a dedicated and expansive array of Airbus products. We are your one-stop shop and go destination for a  simplified sourcing solution. ASAP will  ensure that our consumers’ needs are addressed in the most expeditious and transparent manner all the while offering cost-effective component solutions therefore improving our your negotiation power and profit margins. If you are interested in a quote, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly sales staff at https://www.aerospaceunlimited.com/ call us at toll free at +1-412-212-0606.


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