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  #1  
Old 10-14-2010, 03:15 PM
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Default When to ground a generator

hi. I have a 2000 watt generator. I also have a Jay Feather 19 foot travel trailer. If I am dry camping and I want to plug my trailers's electrical cord directly into one of my two 120 outlets on my generator do I need to groud the generator before doing so? It is a free standing unit in its own frame and is not connected to the trailer in any way. The generator has a earth ground plug on it and the manual says to ground it, but i am not sure the scenario I described needs grounding. Any clarification will be appreciated. Thanks in advance. Jeff
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  #2  
Old 10-16-2010, 01:04 AM
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I'm still trying to figure this out. One of the pins of the ac cord is a ground and then grounds to the generator, but isn't this a floating ground.

I have two generators and they have a parallel connector that allows two of the same type to be connected thereby doubling the wattage capacity. My two gennys then provide 4000 watts of startup and about 3600 of running watts to power my 30 amp rig. What I am conflicted about is something called Bonding where the neutral and the ground must be tied together somewhere in the circuit. I've been told that when the rig is connected to a campsite pedestal the bonding is provided by this pedestal just like it is at our stick-and-brick houses and us users don't have to worry about it. But what about a generator? Is bonding a concern? I don't use a bonded cable and thought I read somewhere that this condition might cause our Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) outlets not to work correctly.

I hope an electrician can come by and let us know if we need to create a "bonded" cable for using with our gennys or not worry about it. I don't use one but should I? I don't use electronics around water but the wife and other females who blowdry or curl their hair around a lavatory do.



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Old 10-16-2010, 08:20 AM
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I have a 3500 watt genny. I just plug the rv's cord into the 30 amp outlet. It seems to work fine. Never really thought about a ground. My generator does have it's own battery. I don't know if that makes a difference. My old generator didn't have a battery and I just plugged it in.
If you want to ground it just drive a piece of rebar( reinforcing rod ) into the ground an attach a ground cable to the rod and generator.
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:46 PM
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The generator battery is used for starting the generator and replaces the need for some of us with generators to use a pull cord to start the generator and has nothing to do with the output or grounding to the RV.

I would not recommend pounding rebar or anything into the ground to use as a grounding point. With my luck I would be the one running over left-behind metal left in the ground. It would probably anger the campground management if all their RVers were pounding metal into the campsites, too.

There has to be a way to ground things safely because this is done with automobiles and boats that are "grounded" but don't require a true earthground pounded into the ground.

I'd just like to know if that's something we need to consider in an RV since the RV is used more like a house than a vehicle (outlets with GFCIs for example). When connected to pedestal power the pedestal takes care of grounding and bonding, but what about using a non-earth-grounded generator? Is this a concern? How is this handled by a professional installation of an RV's generator, for example? I would think it's the same consideration, but I don't know if there is really something to worry about.

Like dogbone, it's what I currently do but not very often and not having a problem, is different than doing it and maybe we have not run into the circumstances to HAVE a problem. I just don't want to run into THAT circumstance. Electrocution is not our friend.




Last edited by artmart; 10-17-2010 at 12:45 AM..
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Old 10-19-2010, 02:15 PM
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Cars are grounded to the frame, which go's back to the negative on the battery. If you follow you neg wire it will either go to the frame or to the engine block.
Boats do the same. Everything is grounded back to the battery or engine block.
You are only dealing with a 12 volt system in both cases. DC voltage

When I was talking about the rebar, I didn't mean to leave it in the ground. It doesn't need to be in that deep. What I bring into a campsite I take out with me.

I really don't believe there is cause for any concern. There are an awful lot of people using gennie's, not just rv'ers. Construction companys use them every day with no ground.

I know it is about being AC and not DC. Now I need an electrician to explain the rest of it, why you don't need a ground on a genny.
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Old 10-19-2010, 04:39 PM
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Thanks to all that responded. I ended up speaking to an electrical engineeer and an electrician. They both said that so long as I plug a 3 pronged plug into the generator all is good. i was instructed not to plug a two pronged plut into it unless I knew it to be properly grounded.
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Old 10-20-2010, 12:53 PM
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Translation - plug the trailer into the generator using the regular shore power plug. Then only plug 2 or 3 prong devices using the trailer interior outlets or exterior GFCI outlets.

That's what I'm doing and I guess will continue to do so. Maybe one of these days I'll try testing the GFCI outlets when connected to the generator to see how it works. I thought I had read that "bonding" helps with this condition and it might not be needed for a generator.



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Old 11-18-2010, 09:27 PM
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I have nothing more to say then what has been said. Welcome to the forum!
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