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Grounding Portable Generator


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#1 DeeSue

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 06:55 PM

Portable generator grounded

#2 Jim&Clare

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 07:01 PM

Let me guess - your outlet checker is showing a floating neutral?

There is a simple fix for that.


Edited by Jim&Clare, 06 February 2018 - 07:11 PM.

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#3 DeeSue

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 06:12 AM

What do you suggest?

#4 Jim&Clare

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 07:49 AM

Member Euphoria (Greg) has written up the solution. It is posted in a few other places. He will be along soon and post it here too I'm sure.

It is simple and cheap.

 

Jim


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#5 Euphoria

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 08:58 AM

Here's an article I wrote a while back for the FaceBook Casita Owners group, addressing this topic. Hopefully, it should explain what's happening and answer your questions.

Greg

 

Portable Inverter Generators and Neutral-Ground Jumper for RV Use

While we're on the subject of portable generators, all RV electrical systems are wired with their Ground and Neutral buses floated, (un-bonded from each other.) There’s lots of good reasons for this, most specifically it’s an NEC and RVIA code requirement that the safety ground wire never carries any load current, and there can be only one Ground-To-Neutral bonding point in any distributed electrical system in the USA. Now, when you’re plugging your RV into power from a building, such as your garage outlet or a campground pedestal outlet, your RV has its Ground and Neutral buses “bonded” (connected) together externally as part of the service panel’s earthed safety ground system. Again, lots of reasons for this, but the fact is you can only have a single G-N bonding point according to the National Electrical Code and RVIA building codes.

So when your RV is powered by a portable generator, and if you have an inline voltage monitor system from a manufacturer such as TRC or Progressive Industries, (like the EMS-30 that I installed in my trailer,) your voltage monitor is checking for the Neutral and Ground voltages to be very close to each other, probably within 3 volts or so. This works well if you’re plugged into shore power that’s properly grounded and bonded, but this voltage protector can be tripped off by plugging your RV shore power plug into a portable generator without an internal Ground-Neutral bond. If you don’t have a voltage protection device on your RV, then you may never know that your generator has a floated neutral (un-bonded G-N bus).

Contractor-type generators, such as a Coleman 5000 for example, are generally G-N bonded internally, which is why it runs your RV just fine. However, many portable inverter generators from companies such as Yamaha and Honda (such as a Honda 2000i or EU3000 for example) have floated Neutrals (i.e. no internal Ground-Neutral Bond) since they expect an external G-N bond to happen somewhere else. And while RV-approved generators may have an internal G-N bond, it seems that many of the most popular portable inverter generators from Honda and Yamaha have floating neutrals. So your 2000i or your EU3000 isn’t providing the Ground-Neutral Bond that your RV requires to think it’s getting properly grounded power, while a Coleman 5000 has a Ground-Neutral bond already so it operates your RV properly. Seems crazy, but that appears to be the scenario.

It’s pretty simple to wire a special “Ground-Neutral Bond” jumper cable for your Honda or Yamaha generator which will allow you to power your RV through its voltage protection device. You can obtain or make a dummy 15 or 20 amp “Edison” plug with the Neutral (white) and Ground (green) screws jumpered together with a piece of 12 or 14 gauge wire. This G-N jumper plug can be plugged into one of the generator’s unused 20-amp outlets, and the entire generator’s electrical system will be N-G bonded. You can then use the other 20-amp Edison outlet or the 30-amp outlet to power the RV.

Just be sure to mark this plug specifically for its intended purpose. It won’t really hurt anything if it’s plugged into a correctly wired home outlet, but it will create a secondary G-N bonding point that could induce ground loop currents and create hum or buzz in a sound system.

So, this is a generator-only G-N bonding plug which should be only plugged into a portable generator while powering your RV.

   

What's going on inside the plug? There is a jumper wire inserted between the silver screw terminal and the ground screw terminal. Be careful not to hook to the gold terminal screw. (Which is the "hot" prong and can be easily determined by looking at the two power prongs. The "hot" prong, (usually the black wire,) will be the smaller of the two flat prong "blades" on the plug and is the power supply terminal. Do not connect to this one. Here's a picture of how to wire your own. All you need is a simple 20 Amp standard household male plug easily obtainable from Home Depot, Lowes, Ace, etc. and a very short piece of wire for the jumper. 

N-G-Bonding-Plug1-300x225.jpg N-G-Bonding-Plug2-300x225.jpg


Edited by Euphoria, 07 February 2018 - 09:07 AM.

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#6 wilyoung

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 06:16 PM

Portable generator grounded?

 

Let me make a guess. Your circuit checker indicates an open ground when using your portable generator? This is a normal condition when using a portable generator with a "floating neutral". The "earth ground" does not need to be connected to either the neutral side of the circuit (floating neutral) or the earth (by an "earth ground" terminal on the generator). (On my generator the earth ground terminal on the panel has a placard "neutral floating".) The whole system "floats". There is no neutral line connection to the earth and no danger of shock when standing on the earth and touching anything on the trailer. Even if the earth ground terminal of the generator is connected to a metal stake in the ground there is still no earth connection to the neutral side of the generator circuit. No return path from earth to generator circuits.

 

On the other hand, when connected to shore power an open ground could cause problems. Why? The shore power source, somewhere back down the line, has the neutral and green ground wires connected together and to the earth (the earth that you stand on). If there is a "leak" in your trailer from the hot line to anything connected to the trailer chassis that green wire ground is supposed to bleed it off. If that green wire ground is open any exposed metal part of your trailer may be "charged" with a path back to the source neutral line through the earth you stand on. You complete that circuit when you stand beside your trailer and touch the door handle. ZAP! Not good.

 

So connected to shore power - open ground bad. Connected to floating generator - no problem.

 

On another hand, if you tie the neutral and ground together at the generator with some ginned up plug, then tie the generator ground terminal to a metal stake in the ground you'll be back to the same problem as tying to shore power. The open ground indication would be bad. Be careful what you fool around with.     


Edited by wilyoung, 07 February 2018 - 07:01 PM.

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#7 Jim&Clare

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 06:27 PM

 

 

So connected to shore power - open ground bad. Connected to floating generator - no problem.    

 

Well in theory - yes.  But in practice, if you have a surge protector or VMS if will fault on the above situation.  But fear not - the solution is simple and outlined above.

 

Jim


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#8 DeeSue

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 09:01 AM

We are mounting a Sportsman 2200 duel fuel inverter/generator sine wave on the tongue of our Casita, on a Stromberg Carlson CC-255 RV trailer tongue cargo carrier over the propane tanks. We purchased this generator because 1) no plans to use it much 2) no gasoline to carry as we will use propane only 3) it will run our little front mount AC.   We almost always camp where electric is provided so did not feel the need to spend the $ for the Honda EU2000 propane generator. Any suggestions for putting the Sportsman on our Casita 16'  will be appreciated! We have also been looking at the RV Generator boxes on utube. That would secure the generator and keep it out of the weather.


Edited by DeeSue, 08 February 2018 - 11:53 AM.


#9 Hot Toddy

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 11:20 AM

Wow! Nice looking little generator. As long as the thing starts and runs when you need it, I would say you made a great decision. If you can shut the fuel off to the engine, I have learned to do that before shutting the engine off and letting the carburetor run out of fuel. I think it stays cleaner that way, rather than soaking in gas until the next time you use it.

 

Not knowing what your tray looks like that you plan to mount it too, it is difficult for me to give you much advice. I mounted a 2,800W Champion generator to a cargo carrier using galvanized steel duct strap (plumbers tape/strap). I ran bolts through the strap on the underside of my mount and then ran a chain/padlock through the handle and locked it to my hitch. It has worked for over a year now, but it is kind of a permanent mount. The only way I would every take it off is if we lost power to the house for several days and needed to plug in the refrigerator.

 

Toddy

 

Galvanized Steel Duct Strap.jpg


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#10 Joe Romas

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 05:15 AM

I added to my collection a Buffalo Sportsman 1000 watt inverter generator that weights 19 pounds and was under $200 :mellow:

It starts easy, has a fuel shut off, came with a battery charging cable unlike my 2000 Honda that was $1000 and the cable is extra.

I'm impressed with the quality and design of the current generation of generators coming from China.

I don't expect it to run my trailers AC but it will run a coffee maker and charge the battery. 

 

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