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Old 04-21-2012, 12:50 PM   #15
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Most he sets sit on vibration isolation pads, usually some kind of rubber or plastic. Unless you drive a ground rod or have another means of actually tying it to earth ground, it seems like it really doesn't have a ground.
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Old 04-21-2012, 01:40 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by pmclemore View Post
What do you think of running a ground wire to earth from the generator grounding screw? Is the absence of that ever an issue?
Pat, if it was you'd think the generator people would put that in their manuals. There is one time when you can get bitten--it's when your power cord is wired backwards and you have one of those reverse polarity lights on the Airstream. That bulb will put hot onto the shell and if the generator ground is not tied to earth, then the shell will zap you when you step off the step onto wet ground.

Take the idiot bulb out! Now the only way to get hot onto the shell is if the ground wire is wired to hot, which usually doesn't happen. The mistake people make is to reverse the hot and neutral.

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Old 04-21-2012, 02:21 PM   #17
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It is not a bad idea to ground the trailer and generator with a grounding stake. This way if you end up with the hot touching the skin of the trailer it will trip a breaker instead of curling your hair. When you are hooked up to ground power you are grounded through the pig tail. In most states, trailers that are permanantly installed have to have a grounding stake. Trailers need to be well grounded so that if you get a lightening strike it will travel through the skin to ground.

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Old 04-21-2012, 02:29 PM   #18
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What do you think of running a ground wire to earth from the generator grounding screw? Is the absence of that ever an issue?

Pat
Pat,

I do just that, you can see the two copper straps, washer and spike in the photo.

Don't know if it does much as the spike is only 12" long, but it makes me feel better and the terminal's there, might as well use it.

Bob
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Old 04-21-2012, 04:11 PM   #19
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I used to know how far to drive a copper rod into the ground for a house, but have not been able to access that memory. So I will guess 4 or 5'. The wetter the ground, the better the ground. Bring a rod, a really big hammer and something to pull it out.

I used to know this because I noticed after we bought this house there was a grounding cable to the copper pipe in the basement. This is often used to ground the electrical system since the pipes are buried in the ground before they enter the house. There was one problem—the water came into the house in PVC. The service entrance was grounded to a small rod outside, and I suppose that was good enough, but I bought a bigger, longer rod and tied it to the wire coming from the service entrance and pounded the rod in about 6'. I also put it farther from the house where the ground would be more damp.

Bob, why not check the polarity and ground with a multimeter or voltage meter to see which of your test lights is telling the truth?

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Old 04-21-2012, 05:40 PM   #20
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Ground rods are 8' long. It would take an awful lot to pull one out that has been buried for any time.
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Old 04-21-2012, 06:38 PM   #21
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Honda owners manual and generator discussions on other sites seem to indicate that grounding to "earth ground" is unnecessary for portable/temporary use, like in RVs. We have never had a grounding issue with ours, even when using in the rain and snow.
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Old 04-21-2012, 07:21 PM   #22
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Generators are considered to be an isolated power source. The shock risk is not as great unless somehow you were to get between the hot leg and neutral. Without a return path (ie the neutral) there is no path for current to flow. Thus no shock.
Electric power systems from a power company have a ground path (earth) whereby current can flow between the hot side to ground. If you get in the middle. Zap
Electrical systems on ships are also isolated from the metal hull. Much like the generator and your A$.
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Old 04-21-2012, 07:29 PM   #23
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TG,

A$

I love it......that was on purpose, right?

Bob
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Old 04-21-2012, 07:59 PM   #24
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Yes!
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Old 04-21-2012, 11:46 PM   #25
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Did you try the plug in circuit tester directly in the wall instead of through the watt meter?

Perry
Hi, Perry. I had both testers in a separate receptacle and they were the same as when plugged into my Kill-A-Watt; I just showed them in the Kill-A-Watt for purposes of taking the pictures.
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Old 04-21-2012, 11:52 PM   #26
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What do you think of running a ground wire to earth from the generator grounding screw? Is the absence of that ever an issue?

Pat
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Pat,

I do just that, you can see the two copper straps, washer and spike in the photo.

Don't know if it does much as the spike is only 12" long, but it makes me feel better and the terminal's there, might as well use it.

Bob
Hi, on my Yamaha 2400, there is a place to install or connect a ground wire. It is located on the control panel, above the Yamaha name, and to the left of the 12 volt charge connector.
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:32 AM   #27
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Hi, on my Yamaha 2400, there is a place to install or connect a ground wire. It is located on the control panel, above the Yamaha name, and to the left of the 12 volt charge connector.
Bob

Very similar to what's on our Honda.
When we first used the 2000i I did the same as you have done, and had the same results.
Called Honda CS and they explained it as "normal" because of how the units are wired, no shock danger or damage. They explained that the easiest way to get the polarity meter working properly was to get a 30a pigtale,(dogbone) and jump ground to neutral.
It works well and I only use it with the Honda.

Bob
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:53 AM   #28
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re: "You have to have the ground and neutral tied together on the hot side (upstream side) of the GFI for it work correctly."

If you have a household GFI expecting grid connected power, it may indeed depend upon the service entrance connections. The Honda and other portable inverter gensets have their own GFI protections. All a GFI is doing is looking for a very small mismatch between the currents on the power leads.

As to why small portable gensets have a floating neutral - it can be safer that way as it requires two faults rather than one to present a safety hazard. The idea isn't to make test equipment for grid connected devices happy, it is to be able to provide safe, portable power.

I don't think it a good idea to try to force portable equipment to fit into a grid connected mentality unless you really have to and really understand the issues and what you are doing.
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