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Old 06-07-2019, 06:31 AM   #99
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I was at Alumapalooza and camped in the generator section so I was not affected by this situation. I am thankful that no one was injured in that situation. I know a fair amount about differing subjects but electricity is a weak link in my knowledge base. It has been interesting reading this thread as I want to be safety conscious; however, I still have not seen an agreement among persons knowledgeable in this area of the forum.

I have a Honda 2000 that I have used on different RV’s for over 15 years and luckily to date have not had any electrical issues. The neutral is not bonded to ground. I also, understand the saying that “ignorance is bliss” so I do want to do what is safe and not press my luck. I have always used my surge protector when my RV is connected to any external power, other than my Honda generator.

With that background, Will I harm my trailer if I,

1. Use a bonding plug, and use my surge protector between the generator and the RV?

2. I am assuming by adding the surge protector in this chain will provide me with additional protection than I have had in the past. Is this a valid assumption or just an unnecessary step?

For my purposes, I would prefer just a Yes or No answer to each question. If the answer is to take a course on electricity, I understand that answer as well.

Again, I appreciate all the responses to date as it appears to be an area subject to differing opinions. I promise I will not ask which is a better tow vehicle, gas or diesel / half ton or ¾ ton..
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Old 06-07-2019, 06:46 AM   #100
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Do not need your "surge protector" or EMS with your generator, but you can use it if you use a bonding plug.
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:16 AM   #101
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Hi

I guess we'll go back around this again ...

Ground is a wire in a plug. The name of the wire in the plug does not change depending on where the wire goes. It still is called the ground wire. Often it is green sometimes it is green and yellow. The name of the wire does not change when the color of the wire changes.

The ground wire is there to make you safe. If current flows in the ground wire, that's a bad thing. It's flowing to *keep* the current from hitting you. That's why it's there. You could easily call it the safety wire. For historical reasons we call it ground.

Neutral is a different wire in the plug. That wire is *supposed* to carry current. The voltage on that wire should not be very high. That's how we get the name neutral. You could also call it zero volts or you could call it return. Since calling it three different things is a bit confusing, we call it neutral. Normally it's a white wire. Again, if the color changes, the name does not change. It's the function that gives it the name.

Hot (and there may be more than one) is another wire in the plug. It's purpose is to supply voltage relative to the other hot leads and the neutral. If you have voltage, you can hook up a load and get current. You could call it supply or main or Bob. We call it hot. Usually it is a black or red wire.

Ok, so much for naming of wires. You will notice that the planet did not in any way get involved in the names of the wires. It's not part of the picture. Three wires and three names. One name for each wire.

Now, if any of these wires are not connected, that's a problem.

If the hot is not connected, you don't get voltage. No voltage means no current through the load. Nothing good happens. The circuit is dead. Throw the switch to the "ON" position and maybe you will hook up the hot wire.

If the neutral is not connected the current has no place to go back to the source. The load is "hot" in terms of voltage. There is no current. No current = nothing happens. Since there *is* voltage, don't poke your fingers in to see what's going on.

If the ground wire (remember it's just the name of a wire) is not connected, there is no safety return. Current (like from that open neutral) can leak to the housing of your gizmo. It has no place to go ( no neutral no ground) it's next best bet is going through you. This is *not* what you want to have happen.

In order for things to be set up *safely* the ground wire needs to be hooked to the neutral wire at the source of power. Hooking it to planet Earth is optional. Hooking it to neutral at the source is not. It's there to protect you. If you don't hook it up it will not do so.

If indeed this does not make sense to you, consult an RV electrician and have them check things out for you.

As with any safety system, you don't die the instant it goes out of whack. People survive all sorts of dangerous situations. That is *not* a reason to live dangerously.

Bob
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Old 06-07-2019, 07:47 AM   #102
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So should we start a class action lawsuit against honda ? Unsafe at any amperage? Where is ralph nader?
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Old 06-07-2019, 08:08 AM   #103
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Both sides (generator Neutral-Ground bond "needed" vs. "unnecessary" at a generator) keep restating the same things in different ways, but unfortunately cannot seem to put it in words that allow the uneducated to resolve the issue in their minds.

As best I can see, if you are using a generator with your RV and these wires are not bonded at the generator and an open neutral occurs, the current that could potentially be sourced from the hot lead has no way back to the generator, thus no real safety risk unless touching the generator metal frame (assuming it is "grounded" internally - i.e. somehow internally connected to neutral) and trailer at the same time. It should be noted that in this case (hot connected, but no neutral or ground connected) one might measure up to full line voltage from the shell relative to the generator frame, but should not measure anything repeatable from shell to actual earth ground (i.e. to that proverbial 8' rod driven into the ground . . . unless the generator is earth grounded with such a rod, which I doubt generally happens in a portable generator situation with an RV), thus no risk of electrocution. Likewise, there should be no repeatable voltage measured between the hot wire and trailer shell in this situation - thus also no risk. But, if the possibility of touching the Airstream shell and generator frame at the same time with an open neutral concerns you, it seems that you should bond the ground at the generator.

The main value I see in using a surge protector/EMS with a generator would be protection from the fault condition of over or under voltage coming out of the generator, if you have the smart type that would disconnect the trailer for it's protection in that situation. In this case the neutral-ground bond is required at the generator for the EMS to work.

Does this about sum it up? Or am I missing something?

Bottom line. Bonding at the generator should not hurt anything but there is minimal risk if not done, and might provide a benefit very, very situations.
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Old 06-07-2019, 08:13 AM   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

I guess we'll go back around this again ...

Ground is a wire in a plug. The name of the wire in the plug does not change depending on where the wire goes. It still is called the ground wire. Often it is green sometimes it is green and yellow. The name of the wire does not change when the color of the wire changes.

The ground wire is there to make you safe. If current flows in the ground wire, that's a bad thing. It's flowing to *keep* the current from hitting you. That's why it's there. You could easily call it the safety wire. For historical reasons we call it ground.

Neutral is a different wire in the plug. That wire is *supposed* to carry current. The voltage on that wire should not be very high. That's how we get the name neutral. You could also call it zero volts or you could call it return. Since calling it three different things is a bit confusing, we call it neutral. Normally it's a white wire. Again, if the color changes, the name does not change. It's the function that gives it the name.

Hot (and there may be more than one) is another wire in the plug. It's purpose is to supply voltage relative to the other hot leads and the neutral. If you have voltage, you can hook up a load and get current. You could call it supply or main or Bob. We call it hot. Usually it is a black or red wire.

Ok, so much for naming of wires. You will notice that the planet did not in any way get involved in the names of the wires. It's not part of the picture. Three wires and three names. One name for each wire.

Now, if any of these wires are not connected, that's a problem.

If the hot is not connected, you don't get voltage. No voltage means no current through the load. Nothing good happens. The circuit is dead. Throw the switch to the "ON" position and maybe you will hook up the hot wire.

If the neutral is not connected the current has no place to go back to the source. The load is "hot" in terms of voltage. There is no current. No current = nothing happens. Since there *is* voltage, don't poke your fingers in to see what's going on.

If the ground wire (remember it's just the name of a wire) is not connected, there is no safety return. Current (like from that open neutral) can leak to the housing of your gizmo. It has no place to go ( no neutral no ground) it's next best bet is going through you. This is *not* what you want to have happen.

In order for things to be set up *safely* the ground wire needs to be hooked to the neutral wire at the source of power. Hooking it to planet Earth is optional. Hooking it to neutral at the source is not. It's there to protect you. If you don't hook it up it will not do so.

If indeed this does not make sense to you, consult an RV electrician and have them check things out for you.

As with any safety system, you don't die the instant it goes out of whack. People survive all sorts of dangerous situations. That is *not* a reason to live dangerously.

Bob
And then you have the DC side of life where one side is refered to as "ground". WOW!
It's no wonder the novice is confused.
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Old 06-07-2019, 09:11 AM   #105
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My trailer got fried!

That’s why I try to put in the “Safety Earth” term when talking about the ‘ground’ wire in AC circuits. It better describes what the green wire is actually about. It’s there for safety.
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Old 06-07-2019, 09:30 AM   #106
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 66Overlander View Post
Both sides (generator Neutral-Ground bond "needed" vs. "unnecessary" at a generator) keep restating the same things in different ways, but unfortunately cannot seem to put it in words that allow the uneducated to resolve the issue in their minds.

As best I can see, if you are using a generator with your RV and these wires are not bonded at the generator and an open neutral occurs, the current that could potentially be sourced from the hot lead has no way back to the generator, thus no real safety risk unless touching the generator metal frame (assuming it is "grounded" internally - i.e. somehow internally connected to neutral) and trailer at the same time. It should be noted that in this case (hot connected, but no neutral or ground connected) one might measure up to full line voltage from the shell relative to the generator frame, but should not measure anything repeatable from shell to actual earth ground (i.e. to that proverbial 8' rod driven into the ground . . . unless the generator is earth grounded with such a rod, which I doubt generally happens in a portable generator situation with an RV), thus no risk of electrocution. Likewise, there should be no repeatable voltage measured between the hot wire and trailer shell in this situation - thus also no risk. But, if the possibility of touching the Airstream shell and generator frame at the same time with an open neutral concerns you, it seems that you should bond the ground at the generator.

The main value I see in using a surge protector/EMS with a generator would be protection from the fault condition of over or under voltage coming out of the generator, if you have the smart type that would disconnect the trailer for it's protection in that situation. In this case the neutral-ground bond is required at the generator for the EMS to work.

Does this about sum it up? Or am I missing something?

Bottom line. Bonding at the generator should not hurt anything but there is minimal risk if not done, and might provide a benefit very, very situations.
Hi

Yes, you are very much missing the safety feature of the so called "ground" wire. If it is floating, it provides no safety at all. You are back to the 1930's. The reason we went to 3 wire plugs is that people got killed this way. The ground and neutral very much *do* need to be bonded at one point. Un-bonded, there is absolutely no way to guess where the stray current will go. It *can* find a sneak path (is it raining out ....).

Why do generators not do this all the time? Because it would not be correct in all situations. If you are feeding a power box that *already* is bonded, then you very much do *not* want the generator to be bonded as well. You only want one point of connection. That's how the rules read.

Bob
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Old 06-07-2019, 10:10 AM   #107
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Electrical Novice here again.

Based on what I just read, the answers to my questions should be;

With that background, Will I harm my trailer if I,

1. Use a bonding plug, and use my surge protector between the generator and the RV? No, my RV will not be harmed.

2. I am assuming by adding the surge protector in this chain will provide me with additional protection than I have had in the past. Is this a valid assumption or just an unnecessary step? Yes, it is a valid assumption in the instance that the generator does not supply correct voltage to the RV.

Is this the correct conclusion? We have 2 views of whether to use a bonding plug on a Honda 2000 or not.

As mentioned earlier I have not had any issues in the past of not using a bonding plug. I do not want to start using one and find out I created a problem where none existed before. If the above answers are correct, then IMO I don’t care which view is correct and I won’t put my RV or myself in any danger / risk by following the above practice.
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Old 06-07-2019, 10:29 AM   #108
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And then you have the DC side of life where one side is refered to as "ground". WOW!
It's no wonder the novice is confused.
A DC system has Positive + and Negative - voltage potentials. And the accepted practice is to bond the DC Negative to Ground at a point.

The confusion is caused by the slang usage of the word "ground" to refer to DC Negative. I believe it came about with vehicle DC systems where the battery DC Negative is connected directly to the chassis (ground). That way you only have to run a DC Positive wire to the load, the DC Negative is provided by a connection to the chassis.


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Old 06-07-2019, 10:39 AM   #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Yes, you are very much missing the safety feature of the so called "ground" wire. If it is floating, it provides no safety at all. You are back to the 1930's. The reason we went to 3 wire plugs is that people got killed this way. The ground and neutral very much *do* need to be bonded at one point. Un-bonded, there is absolutely no way to guess where the stray current will go. It *can* find a sneak path (is it raining out ....).

Why do generators not do this all the time? Because it would not be correct in all situations. If you are feeding a power box that *already* is bonded, then you very much do *not* want the generator to be bonded as well. You only want one point of connection. That's how the rules read.

Bob
I see this as a "belt and suspenders solution" and nothing wrong with that. Eliminate all risk no mater how small. But I do understand the concept behind the addition of the "safety" ground wire. I am just trying to realistically understand how much risk is provided if the neutral and ground are not bonded. All of life is a gamble and each of us has our own level of risk tolerance. Me generally not too much. Best to understand the risks before making your own decision.

This is all hypothetical to me at this point as we just bought our first generator and have not used it with the Airstream yet, so I am just starting to think about these details.
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Old 06-07-2019, 10:50 AM   #110
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I see this as a "belt and suspenders solution" and nothing wrong with that. Eliminate all risk no mater how small. But I do understand the concept behind the addition of the "safety" ground wire. I am just trying to realistically understand how much risk is provided if the neutral and ground are not bonded. All of life is a gamble and each of us has our own level of risk tolerance. Me generally not too much. Best to understand the risks before making your own decision.

This is all hypothetical to me at this point as we just bought our first generator and have not used it with the Airstream yet, so I am just starting to think about these details.
You are forgetting the financial risk. If someone visiting your trailer gets injured or killed, your insurance may not cover the liability since your system was not wired in accordance with "Accepted Standards and Practices" for electrical systems.

As you say, "your choice".
Pat
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:41 PM   #111
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This earlier post has an example of the correct plug, I believe?

[click on orange arrow in quote to go there and see the photo]
Quote:
Originally Posted by lsbrodsky View Post
https://www.microair.net/products/ge...12272654155860

This is an example of what he is talking about.
Larry
Does anyone have an Amazon link for a similar product?

See:

http://ricksdiy.com/generators/porta...-honda-yamaha/
https://www.rvtravel.com/rv-electric...onding-basics/
https://www.rvtravel.com/how-generat...r-an-rv-works/
https://rvpartssource.com/southwire-44400

Thanks,

Peter
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:41 PM   #112
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Quote:
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You are forgetting the financial risk. If someone visiting your trailer gets injured or killed, your insurance may not cover the liability since your system was not wired in accordance with "Accepted Standards and Practices" for electrical systems.

As you say, "your choice".
Pat
Thanks Pat for pointing out another "technical" risk, though I think if the threat of a lawsuit moves one where a threat of someone getting shocked does not move them, then their priorities are wrong.

That said, as I think about this some more, I think I did miss something because I have not read one single post that has put all of the points together (at least none that made it entirely clear to me - several were probably clear in the mind of the poster).

I have been thinking about the "open neutral" condition because it was mentioned in some previous posts, but quite frankly, that is a rare condition that stands a good chance of being detected and corrected quickly, because with an open neutral, whatever it is that the generator was being used for (A/C, microwave, coffee pot, battery charging, etc.) would not be working, so this condition might quickly become obvious to the user.

The more insidious risk is with a properly connected neutral (but no "safety" ground). In this case everything in the trailer would work as intended, but if a "hot" wire shorts to the frame or shell the circuit breaker would NOT trip and the body of the Airstream ends up at line voltage potential (at least relative to generator "neutral"). In this case, one might experience a shock from the shell if there is some sort of unknown path back to the generator. This brings the previously mentioned "it's raining and you are standing in a puddle when you touch the trailer shell" condition into play.

In this case, with no neutral-ground bond at the generator, there is at least some risk of a shock, but were there a neutral-ground bond at the generator, the trailer shell would be held at "ground" potential and the breaker on the circuit that shorted to the shell should open.

To me, this is the more critical risk in the entire situation. The shock risk occurs when two (or maybe three) conditions are met:
  1. No neutral-ground bond at the generator
  2. A "hot" to shell short in the trailer
  3. Some unknown current return path to the generator
Still a low probability of this set of conditions occurring, but certainly not "zero". I think this makes it clear that for me that I will chose to add a neutral-ground bond plug at the generator.
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