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160 Horsepower Auxiliary Power Unit

To learn about the Solar T62, click here


I recently took delivery of a Solar T62T-32 APU, that came out of Avon Aero Supply in Danville, Indiana. The T62 is used to turn a generator at a constant speed. It is a single shaft engine, and is sort of like a new and improved version of the Solar T41, which was added to our collection about a year ago.

The T62 is a neat, compact, and powerful little engine. Since it is a single shaft engine, it is really only useful for driving constant speed loads, like a generator, a hydraulic pump, a helicopter rotor, etc. Some people have used T62's successfully in single seat kit helicopters. It is really an ideal engine for this type of project.

Our first goal for the T62 is to get it running and do a test firing, which we will post as a video on the website. We have been spending time going through the manual and familiarizing ourselves with the layout of the engine, as well as the plumbing and the wiring. Running the T62 requires an electronic control box with an integrated electronic governor, since the engine's mechanical fuel controller is a full authority type fuel control, with an acceleration limiter. We are in the process of making up an instrument panel which will incorporate the electronic governor, and rewiring the engine from scratch.

After we get the engine running, we are thinking of adapting it to another go kart project in the future: A TurboHydraulic kart. The shaft would drive a hydraulic pump which will be used to power a hydraulic motor to drive the wheels.

2/05/04- We have completed the panel and all the wiring for the T62, and we expect to do a test firing of the engine this following weekend. We will post a video clip of the run up and shut down. In the meantime, we have spooled the starter up a few times, tested the ignition and solenoids, and we even lit off the pilot burner a couple of times inside my house, which is perhaps not a wise thing to do.

We have also given more thought to just what we will be using this engine for. We have decided that we will be using it to power a turbohydraulic 4 wheel drive off-road dune buggy. The engine will turn a hydraulic pump at a constant speed, which will feed a spool valve controlled by an accelerator pedal. The valve will admit oil flow to two hydraulic motors, one powering the front axle and one powering the rear axle, providing four wheel drive. More on that later.

Stay tuned for a video clip of the engine running up.

2/09/04- Video update!!!

This previous weekend we had our first test firing of the T62T-32 turboshaft engine. As we had heard from numerous people, the engine with its electronic governor is quite a handful to keep under control. We had a couple of major problems with the engine. First of all, our digital tach didn't seem to be reading right; over 65% it started going wacky and we started seeing erratic readings ranging from 110%-150% which kept causing us to shut down the engine. Also, the engine was super sensitive to governor adjustments; the governor seemed to be hunting quite a bit and it was very hard to keep the rpm stabilized at one speed and equally hard to not over-correct when the rpm started heading skyward. With a little bit of practice, I was able to keep the rpm stable at around 55% long enough to get a decent video clip of the run up. Have a look at our clip on the videos page.

Much work needs to be done, but we have a plan of action. With this plan in place, our next goal is to get stable operation at governed speed (100%), so we can set up the governor for idle, governed speed, and overspeed. Only then will we be ready to connect a hydraulic pump up to the engine.

To be continued...

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