Diesel and gas turbine engines need something powerful to get them moving. The initial jolt they need to power up starts the rotation of a motor in every vehicle such as farm machinery. An air starter can deliver this energy to the engine by giving it enough power to start the first engine rotation. It is usually used in gas turbine engines as well as diesel engines but work differently in both. Here is a break down of how an air starter works in both types of engines:

Gas Turbine

The motor in this type of engine consists of an inward flow radial turbine. This part is connected to a high-pressure compressor spool, which is connected through the gearbox. Compressed air enters the system to start the engine. Air is brought in through bleed air, which connects to the power supply. An air compressor can also be used instead.

Diesel Engines

An air starter can start a diesel engine in two ways. The first way is by directing air to turn the pistons and force it downwards. Then the engine begins to rotate so that the air starter on the next cylinder lines up correctly for continuous movement. The engine is then fed fuel and starts once all of the indication cocks are filled successfully.

The other way a diesel engine uses an air starter is by powering a fluid motor. By using a starter motor, the starter engine must have a capacity between five to 320 litres. It is possible to use two motors instead of one if more power is needed. These motors are typically used to replace electric motors since they are more reliable and much lighter.


Air starters have become more popular over the past 10 years or so and are still growing in popularity. That is because this technology comes with so many benefits. The top advantage is this machine’s weight-to-power ratio. Air starters weigh less but are just as powerful as their larger counterparts. Electric starters, on the other hand, can become extremely hot during operation and require extensive wiring. Meanwhile, air starters can run as needed so long as air is being supplied to it. These starters are simplified and a better fit for both turbine or diesel engines. That is why it is used often in a variety of industries.

As engines require more power and longevity, air starters become more of a necessity. It is more efficient, easier to use, and lighter than other starters. Air starters can also withstand harsh environments and are quite durable, making them the top choice for marine, construction, oil and gas, trucking, agriculture, and other industries around the world.

To make your farm machinery more efficient or to see if an air starter is right for your equipment, call O.T.S Auto Electric. We also specialize in alternator repair and service all vehicles in the Edmonton area.