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This paper is concerned with validating the practical effectiveness of two optimal excitation systems using a microalternator. The paper is primarily experimental and first investigates, using a microalternator, the practical application of simulated studies previously reported in the literature. Subsequently much more extensive testing of the proposed excitation schemes is effected over a wide range of operating conditions including sustained disturbances and closeup faults. At each step experimental work is closely supported by further simulation studies and some excellent agreement is obtained. Some questions concerning the use of microalternators for power system studies are, however, also raised.