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Old 07-11-2020, 06:04 PM   #1
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Is grounding portable generator necessary

New owner of 2020 Bambi 20’. only 5 weeks, but already two trips, one 3 day shake-down and one 5 day. I bought the Champion 2000W Duel Fuel Inverter generator (I needed to keep weight to under 50lbs for my back and may buy a second one to link them together if I decide to dry using A/C from generator. I’ve used the one to top off batteries for an hour or two prior to 8pm. I did use the ground connection with wire connected to 1/2” rebar driven about 1 ft into ground. Is grounding these really necessary? If so, if I end up with two gen sets can I simply wire them both to same rebard driven into ground? thx, stephen
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Old 07-11-2020, 06:26 PM   #2
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only have ONE ground.

if you ground more than one device, you are likely to get a shock . This caused by a "loop in the ground" called ground loop.

in buildings, this can be deadly as the ground path is very conductive.

even with camping this can be deadly dangerous
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:54 PM   #3
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You would need at least another 5ft to get an effective un-needed ground.🤓

The Honda frame does not require grounding.

Bob
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Old 07-11-2020, 08:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ROBERT CROSS View Post
You would need at least another 5ft to get an effective un-needed ground.🤓

The Honda frame does not require grounding.

Bob
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Bob, please explain your first sentence. Are you impling the rebar needs to be driven 5 feet into the ground. So it become almost impossible to remove it?

Does the Honda frame also NOT have a bolt where a ground would be attached?

Thanks, Stephen
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Old 07-11-2020, 08:18 PM   #5
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Generator Ground (warning, long)

Quote:
Originally Posted by waninae39 View Post
only have ONE ground.

if you ground more than one device, you are likely to get a shock . This caused by a "loop in the ground" called ground loop.

in buildings, this can be deadly as the ground path is very conductive.

even with camping this can be deadly dangerous
I'm going to disagree, at least when running from the generator.

In buildings the power source is referenced to ground, meaning that the neutral line (current return path) is connected to the system ground in the power distribution panel. The system ground is typically one or more ground rods at the meter. lf you measure from the hot line to earth ground you will measure a voltage; it will probably be high and have the capability to source substantial current. That is why, on newer trailers, there is a green wire ground which is tied to the shell and frame and ties them back to the power ground reference. There are probably already several grounds at the trailer - the shell of the Airstream is connected to the frame which mounts the tongue jack and the stabilizer jacks, some or all of which are typically in contact with the ground. There are several ways the shell of the trailer can be "hot", i.e. show a voltage to ground. If the jacks are isolated from ground, it is possible for the potential of the ground at the trailer to be different from the potential at the meter and the result can be a shock when touching the trailer skin. The same thing can happen if the trailer does not have a green wire ground or if it is faulty.

When boondock camping with a generator however, unless you drive a ground rod and connect it to the generator ground terminal which (in the case of Honda generators like the EU2000i) is connected to the frame of the generator the power system is not referenced to ground. Honda generators do not tie the neutral to ground as is done in buildings. Even if the neutral were tied to the green wire ground, there is still no reference to earth ground. If the trailer jacks provide one that is the only ground reference and there should be no potential difference from the trailer skin or frame to ground.

It is my opinion (worth what you paid for it) that there is no hazard present that grounding the generator would mitigate.
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Old 07-11-2020, 08:33 PM   #6
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Bob is correct, unless you're on the ocean beach or the great salt lake, you will need about 3-10 feet of rod to provide any real protection.

It is not necessary or practical to ground a camping generator, one because it is so dang hard to the the grounding rod back out of the ground and two the physics of an inverter generator, the requirement to use GFCI protected outlets in trailers, lack of access to anything that is not GFCI protected and a couple other details means you are perfectly safe in all but the most bizarre series of unfortunate events.

Edit: the generators come with a ground connection so they can be used for construction generators where grounding is both practical and useful.
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Old 07-12-2020, 07:27 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Al and Missy View Post
I'm going to disagree, at least when running from the generator.

It is my opinion (worth what you paid for it) that there is no hazard present that grounding the generator would mitigate.
Al and Missy, Thanks for the additional feedback. Does your last comment presuppose that either the metal of the stabilizers or tongue jack are in contact with the ground? Means no plastic or rubber pads between them and the ground?

Perhaps a better question to have asked is how many of you use portable generators and how many use and how many do not use a ground wire to a metal rod in the ground. Then based on numbers of reply one way versus the other and the fact that only living people can respond I can run the numbers and assess probability of shock or electrocution.

Thanks, stephen
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Old 07-12-2020, 08:16 AM   #8
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My old EU2000i has about 800 hrs on it, almost all of it powering my Airstream. I have never grounded it. Mostly, I pull it out of the truck and set it as far from the trailer as the power cord will reach (it is quiet but not silent, farther is better). Sometimes, especially if rain is around, I just run it in the truck bed.

Never have encountered any anomalies (popping GFCI breakers, hot skin ...).

Your mileage may vary...
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Old 07-12-2020, 08:18 AM   #9
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In my previous work we carried 25 inverter generators. I never saw one grounded. They sat outside (obviously) sometimes in the rain, and never a hiccup.
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Old 07-12-2020, 08:26 AM   #10
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Care to review the owners manual that came with your generator?
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:40 AM   #11
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I have never grounded the genny - usually run it in the back of the truck (reduces the noise level by 50%)
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:55 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GCinSC2 View Post
Care to review the owners manual that came with your generator?

Bob


Ok....
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Old 07-12-2020, 09:57 AM   #13
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Is grounding portable generator necessary

Run generator in the back of the truck. Truck bed is lined with plastic.

Bonding plug to tie safety earth (green ground lead) to neutral only at generator. This lets my EMS/surge protector function properly. I never run a ground rod, as the generator is used only when we need air conditioning.

If I am operating my built-in ham radio gear, I do ground the trailer shell to a good ground for RF protection only. That is either a metal water pipe or a driven ground rod into moist dirt.

Run dual fuel Champion 3500 on propane only, from airstream’s tanks and regulator.

3/8” Quick connect fitting I installed:

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Front power inlet also added:

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Yeah, I’m not afraid to drill holes in the shiny bits as needed...
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Old 07-12-2020, 11:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smsasf View Post
New owner of 2020 Bambi 20’. only 5 weeks, but already two trips, one 3 day shake-down and one 5 day. I bought the Champion 2000W Duel Fuel Inverter generator (I needed to keep weight to under 50lbs for my back and may buy a second one to link them together if I decide to dry using A/C from generator. I’ve used the one to top off batteries for an hour or two prior to 8pm. I did use the ground connection with wire connected to 1/2” rebar driven about 1 ft into ground. Is grounding these really necessary? If so, if I end up with two gen sets can I simply wire them both to same rebard driven into ground? thx, stephen
I have never grounded my Honda ...as far as getting a second generator for AC why not look at an "easy Start"
I just installed one and it lets me run my Coleman Mach Ac no problem with the honda 2200
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Old 07-12-2020, 11:26 AM   #15
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So, I have learned from this conversation that I should not be putting plastic leveling pads under my stabilizer jacks and the front jack for the trailer, because the jacks serve as ground connections for the trailer. That is news to me.
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Old 07-12-2020, 11:32 AM   #16
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I never ground mine. Like Bob, I consulted my manual and as I expected, it referred me to local electrical codes and standards according to the intended application.

Edit: Feel free to use plastic or rubber under the stabilizers, it is a false narrative that the steel feet provide an effective ground.
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Old 07-12-2020, 12:11 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by GCinSC2 View Post
Care to review the owners manual that came with your generator?
What makes you think I have not? Because I have asked forum members for advice to help make sure I do not get hurt? I have reviewed the owners manual and it is not clear, they mentioned things a bit above my knowledge base and about checking with certified electrician in your area. It is a Champion 2000 W Duel Fuel Invertor Generator. If you have the chance maybe you can down load a manual and if you find where it clearly tells you what to do I will be more than happy to have you share it. I am not perfect, so perhaps I just missed something.
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Old 07-12-2020, 12:22 PM   #18
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I have never grounded my Honda ...as far as getting a second generator for AC why not look at an "easy Start"
I just installed one and it lets me run my Coleman Mach Ac no problem with the honda 2200
I may consider the easy start. I have read about those on this form. I certainly do not have the skill set to install it, but my son might (power and electric guy). But I am unhappy with the dealer I bought it from 5 weeks ago near Greensboro as they set the hitch ball 4 inches high, the trailer was dirty, and they would never respond to emails post purchase (“all sales are final, I suppose”). And the Camping World nearby my house wanted to put me on a two weeks out list (for the simple 5 minutes job breaking bolts when I had to adjust my Blue Ox down), cause the knew I did not buy the trailer there I think. So maybe I will schedule with another dealer in advance along a trip route.
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Old 07-12-2020, 12:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smsasf View Post
What makes you think I have not? Because I have asked forum members for advice to help make sure I do not get hurt? I have reviewed the owners manual and it is not clear, they mentioned things a bit above my knowledge base and about checking with certified electrician in your area. It is a Champion 2000 W Duel Fuel Invertor Generator. If you have the chance maybe you can down load a manual and if you find where it clearly tells you what to do I will be more than happy to have you share it. I am not perfect, so perhaps I just missed something.
Stephen,

Offence was not the intention. Safe generator operation and trailer power is a serious subject not to be taken lightly. Just a day or so I read a post about a fridge problem and the poster said while working on it on the outside he got a tingle and was barefooted. This is a serious concern and I posted a video for Hot Skin Inspection for this serious condition. Haven't seen a follow up from that poster about any inspection yet but it is a dangerous condition.

Apology for offence and following up with a PM to you FWIW.

Gary
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Old 07-12-2020, 12:58 PM   #20
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I am with the Honda guys and have not grounded for 2 years.
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