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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Re: Generator problem

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JD Seller

07-25-2013 21:09:21

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You got the electric patrols all stirred up. LOL

First thing. He really should have a dedicated generator transfer setup. They are not that high of a price. It eliminates the possibility that he can back feed the service line. If he does accidentally back feed the incoming line he can "KILL" someone working on the line elsewhere. That is what has all the guys upset. I know you said he turned the main breaker off and all but they are not "happy" unless it is completely "fool" proof. So with the correct service transfer setup there is no way for him to back feed the incoming service.

Now for what more than likely happened to him on his lights. You should have 220 volts across the two "hot" then 110 between each "hot" and the neutral. The problem with running a generator on just a 220 plug in the house is you have ZERO ground. Most 220 volt plugs are just three terminal plugs. So you have two hots and a neutral, no ground prong.

Most generators set on rubber isolator mounts. So you have no ground. Some how he flipped the wrong set of breakers or has his cord wired wrong an ran 220 volts on the 110 volt circuits. He could have gotten a weird ground/neutral back feed and did it also.

So here is what he really needs to do:
1) Get the transfer setup installed. ASAP
2) Quit trying to use common 220 volt plugs.
3) HE needs to get the type of plug that has FOUR prongs. His generator is set up for that style, they all are. You then have; two prongs for the "hot", one for neutral, and one for ground. 4) He needs to GROUND THE generator. All of them have a ground terminal on them. He needs this to be hooked to an earth ground. When I used to have to use a portable generator at the house I set it close to where the main electric came into the house. I had a wire with a spring loaded clamp on it that was hooked to ground on the generator. The clamped went on the copper ground stake for the house.

IF he does this he will be safe and should not have any issues with blowing up things in the future.

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07-26-2013 06:13:43

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 Re: Generator problem in reply to JD Seller, 07-25-2013 21:09:21  
JD. As everybody else has said. The bare exposed, uninsulated chassis ground is not supposed to carry neutral conductor current. Neutral current is supposed to be carried by the white insulated conductor. Electrical service ground rods are not supposed to carry neutral current either. That is why livestock receive shocks at water fountains.

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JD Seller

07-26-2013 08:08:05

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 Re: Generator problem in reply to buickanddeere, 07-26-2013 06:13:43  
B&D I did not say that the bare frame ground should care the neutral but I want the generator FRAME grounded. I have seen generators mess up inside and electrify the frame. You walk up and touch it and you get shocked.

He needs a four pin/prong plug and a transfer system to be really safe.

I also think the frame should be grounded too. I do mean an earth ground too not hooked to the internal house ground.

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07-26-2013 08:25:07

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 Re: Generator problem in reply to JD Seller, 07-26-2013 08:08:05  
ok,just making certain. I had figured you were up to speed on the topic. Actually the house or utility service ground rod is a good place to ground the generator case. Of course now we get into portable generators, some with floating neutrals and some gen sets with bonded neutrals. My summer neighbour with a camper trailer used to have problems . He had a small gen set with a bonded neutral for light loads.And a large genset with a floating neutral for AC loads and cooking etc. GFI's would trip.

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John T

07-26-2013 08:52:21

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 Re: Generator problem in reply to buickanddeere, 07-26-2013 08:25:07  
Be careful Glen, when you speak of floating or bonded Neutrals YOU WILL LOOSE THEM I TELL YOU LOL I doubt lay people will ever grasp that concept..........Just saying

John T

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John T

07-26-2013 05:59:51

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 Re: Generator problem in reply to JD Seller, 07-25-2013 21:09:21  
JD, with all due respect heres a little more info that may help you and others who read this.... THIS IS MY BEST RECOLLECTION NO WARRANTY, CONSULT THE NEC

The problem is when lay people here say the word GROUND, that may have one or two or no tellin how many meanings to readers. Theres Earth Grounding of a Neutral for surge and lightning protection, and theres Life Safety Equipment Grounding via an Equipment GroundING Conductor being attached to a piece of equipment. They each serve a different purpose and cant really be susbstituted for each other.

In the event loads are fed using a cord and plug to onboard genny receptacles, there is no requirement for a GroundING Electrode.

In the event a genny is configured as a "Seperately Derived System" then a GroundING Electrode is required.

In the event the genny IS NOT configured as a seperately derived system anddddddddd you use only a 2 pole Transfer Switch (talkin 120/240 volt single phase three wire NO NEUTRAL SWITCHING) ANY INTERNAL GENNY NEUTRAL TO CASE/FRAME BOND IS TO BE SEVERED

And the genny and utility Neutrals are wired together

And the homes Equipment GruondING conductor is ran out and attached to the gennys case/frame

Earth Grounding of the Neutral (genny or utility) via a GroundING Electrode (made or otherwise) IS NOT I REPEAT NOT the same as Safety Equipment GroundING. The Gennys Neutral (if a seperately derived system) or the utility Neutral (its also seperately derived) are earth grounded via/to a GroundING Electrode, while the gennys case/frame (when NOT a seperately derived system) is then attached to the Equipment GroundING Conductor.

Earth Ground of the Neutral (genny or utility) NOT SAME AS the equipment GroundING Conductor

I know I loose yall on this, but I still gotta try lol, sorry

John T

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Stan in Oly, WA

07-25-2013 23:18:59

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 Re: Generator problem in reply to JD Seller, 07-25-2013 21:09:21  
Unless his electrical panel has an entirely different configuration than those I have worked with in the past, turning off the main breaker would do nothing to disconnect the common ground and neutral bar in the panel from the ground cable of the service drop. Only disconnecting the utility company's ground cable at the lug in the panel, or pulling the meter, would do that. If I'm not mistaken, what he is doing absolutely has the potential of injuring or killing utility workers.


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matt p

07-25-2013 21:59:21

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 Re: Generator problem in reply to JD Seller, 07-25-2013 21:09:21  
thanks for explaning it so well I will print this off and keep for future reference

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