Connecting to an Inverter-Generator

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RProuty

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I know this may seem simple and stupid, but while looking for a portable generator for my 5th wheel I've seen many articles about grounding, connecting to RV Power panel etc. Is it wrong to just plug your RV Shore Power cable directly into the generator? Thanks in advance.
 

Mark_K5LXP

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Plug it in and away you go. It's no more complex than that.

Some RV power protectors may balk about an open ground with a generator, as they do not normally have a path from neutral to ground as a shore power connection would. That's resolved by using a simple home made "grounding plug" you plug into your generator.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

RProuty

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Plug it in and away you go. It's no more complex than that.

Some RV power protectors may balk about an open ground with a generator, as they do not normally have a path from neutral to ground as a shore power connection would. That's resolved by using a simple home made "grounding plug" you plug into your generator.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
Thanks for the feedback. As a follow up question-

If the situation arises where you're at a campground and need to use the generator due to an outage, could you simply tie a grounding strap from the generator to the campground's water supply line or even the electric service box?
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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If the situation arises where you're at a campground and need to use the generator due to an outage, could you simply tie a grounding strap from the generator to the campground's water supply line or even the electric service box?
Many generators have an external ground connection point that could accommodate that, but the ground bonding plug is quick & easy. And won't attract questions from the campground staff, who often get uneasy about anything connected to their plumbing or electric systems. Equipment grounds are often misunderstood by laymen.
 

Kirk

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could you simply tie a grounding strap from the generator to the campground's water supply line or even the electric service box?
You could, but as an electrician I can't see what benefit that would give you? Keep in mind that your RV is insulated from earth ground by it's rubber tires. The reason that power line monitors balk at the lack of ground is that the RV ground and the generator ground are insulated from each other. That is most easily corrected by use of a bonding plug.
 

John From Detroit

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Ok as I understand it portable generators, at least below some wattage level (and a fairly high one way more than you will wish to lug about) do not require a safety ground and often the "Ground" wire is "n/c" (not connected) This was also true of my Onan 5500 on my class A:

Is this a problem... Normally NO
However if you have a quality surge protector, the kind that protects against HIGH voltage, LOW Voltage and other faults. Like a Progressive Industries PTX-50C (or 30c OR HW 50/30 C.. it will often complain about the "Open ground".. This is easily fixed.

WHY is this so?
The "Mains" power.. neutral is bonded to earth ground. IN fact back in WWII there were many houses wired with a SINGLE wire from the pole to the house (This was, back then 110 volt, now 120, not 120/240 like today's 3-wire systems) the Ground was used as the "neutral" return to save on wire, which was needed for the war effort.

Some homes are STILL wired that way

So if you are holding a tool.. hooked to "mains" power and there is a hot-case short YOU become the neutral return line.. OUCH... Several TV shows fictionally showed what really happens (Death was often the result.... When it happened to me well.. I react differently or rather did and I threw the hand grinder instead of clutching it) Still Ouch though..

But with the generator. IT IS NOT GROUNDED. thus that simply can not happen... You are double insulated or more (3rd wire ground not needed on double insulated stuff)
 

Mark_K5LXP

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Adding to John's post the only time a ground is needed or wanted is when the generator is being used to power a structure, because structure wiring is grounded and the generator must be bonded to that same ground. RV's are technically "plug and cord" devices (not grounded) and grounding the generator has the potential (sic) to increase the shock hazard rather than minimize it.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

Cameodon

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Edgewater, fl
So in summary, and I'm not being sarcastic don't worry if I get an "open ground" alert on my surge protector when plugged into my WEN Inverter Gen?
 
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