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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-22-2019, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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Do I need to ground a portable generator?

Newbie here... I know this has been covered before, but for some reason I keep reading conflicting opinions in various threads.

I bought myself a Honda EU2200i portable generator for basic emergency use - like powering a refrigerator. I noticed it does not come with GFCI outlets, but it does have a ground terminal. The Honda industrial version EB2200i does have GFCI (should I have bought that?).

I have read a little about floating and bonded neutrals and while I will continue to read more, my question is hopefully simple.

Under what circumstances would I need to use the grounding terminal on my EU2200i? I assume there is no harm in NOT using it since every video on YouTube shows it running without being connected to a 6' spike?

Thank you.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-22-2019, 01:55 PM
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A generator not connected to a building's main panel/grounding system is a "separately derived system" and should itself be grounded, providing a reference ground for all devices it serves.

Generator Grounding
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-22-2019, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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I'm sorry Tabora...I appreciate the link, but it doesn't help. The second sentence in that link says this:
Quote:
Ground rods (grounding electrodes) are only required if the generator is a separately derived system.
So does that mean we're all doing it wrong?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-22-2019, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Robh View Post
I'm sorry Tabora...I appreciate the link, but it doesn't help. The second sentence in that link says this:

So does that mean we're all doing it wrong?
I believe that's exactly what I said... So generally, yes, most people using a portable generator running standalone (a "separately derived system") with a 3-prong or 4-prong device plugged into it are doing it wrong, because YOU can become the path to ground if there isn't a ground rod or connection to building ground at the generator. However, a 2-prong double insulated device does not have the "ground-through-you" issue. If the generator frame has a good contact with the ground, that's probably enough. I have a couple of generators on plastic carts, though, that really need at least a short, temporary ground "spike" to get a decent ground.

Last edited by tabora; 08-22-2019 at 08:02 PM.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-22-2019, 08:39 PM
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Tabora's response was correct, it does need a ground. Until you connect it to your house load center which will pick up a ground, provide one. During an outage you'll be using extension cords to power needed loads, e.g. powering a refrigerator. I got along for years by simply "installing" (buried it) a wire from the entrance ground to where I placed the generator during outages, connecting when needed. If that's not convenient, drive a ground and provide a wire where you normally place the genset. Can you power emergency loads without a ground? Yes. Is it legal? No. Are you risking life and property? Yes. If there is an incident involving a loss and your insurance company gets involved, they will be very interested in what creative wiring you did-or didn't do.

GFCI's are certainly wonderful things and have a very deserved place. Personally in addition to them, I like nice solid copper ground wire routed around to do what it's supposed to do, carry any stray discharges back to ground, that is in addition to "interrupting" the circuit. Generally we drag out the gensets during storms when lightning strikes, surges, etc. are wandering around causing mischief.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 10:05 AM
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I'm guilty of using a generator in a random, disconnected location (in a field at a park) with no added ground. I guess I could bring something (like a little spike) that could be banged into the ground, and attached to the generator's ground terminal.

Good discussion, thanks guys.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by RedOctobyr View Post
...I guess I could bring something (like a little spike) that could be banged into the ground, and attached to the generator's ground terminal...
I use a steel tent stake that has a solid hook to attach the ground wire. It makes a reasonable ground and fits in the battery box that's bolted to my generator cart. I have a 3' 4-gauge wire with a mechanical connector on each end.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Stake.jpg (4.5 KB, 4 views)

Last edited by tabora; 08-23-2019 at 03:12 PM.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-23-2019, 10:25 PM
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Trying to simplify things in my old age so got rid of two cycle chain saws and hedge trimmers. Small genset in garden cart behind one of the GT's, extension cord (double insulated of course) and appropriate electric tool(s). Two cycle engines that are only started a couple times a year don't care what octane, synthethic oil mix, stabil, etc. still a PITA! Always forget a ground stake though. :-)
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-28-2019, 08:06 PM
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So, I should be grounding my little inverter style generator when I am running my camper off it? How would I do that? I don't recall any kind of ground connection on it and it is basically encased in a plastic shell.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-28-2019, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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I've read some more. No, you don't have to ground it, provided you're just plugging in a directly connected appliance or something.
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