Eaton Leverages Electrical Experience to Improve Aircraft Safety with Patented Arc-Alert™ Next-Generation Circuit Protection

Date: June 17, 2011

PARIS … Arc-Alert™ technology developed by diversified industrial manufacturer Eaton Corporation is being used to modernize an increasing number of military and commercial aircraft platforms with the latest arc-fault protection available in the aerospace industry. The technology showcases Eaton’s ability to leverage experience from its extensive electrical distribution and control portfolio to accelerate advancements in aerospace products.

Arc-Alert™ offers a proven, convenient and cost-effective method to replace outdated aircraft circuit protection with next-generation technology to effectively mitigate arcing damage and other hazards caused by electrical faults.

“Eaton’s pioneering work in arc-fault protection technology is helping improve the safety of military and civilian aircraft in operation around the world,” said Bradley J. Morton, president of Eaton’s Aerospace Group. “We’ve invested years of research and testing to develop a technology that can be easily integrated into today’s aircraft fleets with minimal interruption and maximum benefits.”

Arc-Alert™ technology maintains the reliability of existing circuit protection while increasing overall protection. The design supplements the thermal circuit breaker with arc-fault detection and circuit interruption (AFCI) electronics. The “standard” circuit breaker portion of the device operates normally until an arcing event is detected, then the AFCI electronics actuates the trip mechanism and provides supplementary arc-fault and circuit interrupt protection.

Eaton’s technology offers a number of benefits that improve fault detection and simplify the retrofit process. Foremost is built-in redundancy. Should Arc-Alert™ electronics fail for any reason, the breaker will continue to provide thermal over-current protection. The device is a form-fit replacement of existing MS3320 and MS14105 circuit breakers and provides separate indications for both arcing and over-current faults. Built-In Test (BIT) capability is yet another advantage of Arc-Alert™ technology and ensures proper installation of the device.

Eaton also can provide a portable AFCI test box to verify performance of installed Arc-Alert™ circuit interrupters without having to remove the breaker from the breaker panel. Aircraft maintenance crews can use the test box to easily validate proper operation of circuit breakers.

Eaton has actively supported the development of aerospace AFCI technology for well over a decade and has designed several AFCI configurations to meet a variety of customer and platform requirements. Arc-Alert™ is found on numerous military and commercial aircraft platforms, including the C-9 and KC-135; H-60 and H-53 helicopters; P-3 patrol aircraft; F-15 and F-18 fighter jets; Boeing B727, B737 and B747 passenger jets; and small business jets.

In the aerospace industry, Eaton is a leading supplier of hydraulic, electro-hydraulic pump and generator products and integrated systems; engine and airframe fuel pumps; electric motors; aircraft door actuation, flight and flow controls; fluid, fuel and air delivery products and systems; nose wheel steering systems; integrated control systems; cockpit controls and displays; power and load management systems; pressure sensors, seals, and fluid health monitoring products and systems. Eaton serves commercial and military aviation, aerospace, military weapons, marine and off-road markets worldwide.

Eaton Corporation is a diversified power management company with 2010 sales of $13.7 billion. Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2011, Eaton is a global technology leader in electrical components and systems for power quality, distribution and control; hydraulics components, systems and services for industrial and mobile equipment; aerospace fuel, hydraulics and pneumatic systems for commercial and military use; and truck and automotive drivetrain and powertrain systems for performance, fuel economy and safety. Eaton has approximately 70,000 employees and sells products to customers in more than 150 countries. For more information, visit

John Ganzerla
(601) 594-1275