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Old 01-31-2011, 11:19 PM   #1
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Another neutral bonding question


Saturday I helped father-in-law pull a little portable generator out of the barn and prep it for the upcoming weather...just in case. I measured for voltage in a normal fashion. Meter realized 110v between the 2 CCCs, but realized 0v between hot & ground. I subsequently tested for continuity between 'neutral' & ground and found none.

Is this generator in disrepair or was it manufactured in this fashion? I've read some threads about floating neutrals(?). This is a portable gen. with only one 120v recept, so I can't imagine it being used with a transfer switch. Why would the neutral and ground not be bonded?


Last edited by jlmran; 01-31-2011 at 11:42 PM.
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:08 AM   #2
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Another neutral bonding question


Portable generators normally have an optional neutral to ground (generator frame) bonding.

In the field (not powering a home electrical system) the neutral and ground should be bonded.

FOr a home main panel connection, the generator's frame should not be bonded to neutral. When connected via a standard 4 wire (hot, hot, neutral, ground) (3 wire hot, neutral, ground for 120 volt generators) cable the frame and neutral will become bonded via the main panel neutral/ground bonding.

When you have a subpanel that is wholly transferred to the generator (only the subpanel circuits get generator power) then the generator neutral and ground should be bonded.

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Old 02-01-2011, 06:21 AM   #3
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Another neutral bonding question


Portable
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Old 02-01-2011, 06:43 AM   #4
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Another neutral bonding question


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Portable generators normally have an optional neutral to ground (generator frame) bonding.
It's not optional. Most have the neutral bonded from the factory.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
In the field (not powering a home electrical system) the neutral and ground should be bonded.

FOr a home main panel connection, the generator's frame should not be bonded to neutral. When connected via a standard 4 wire (hot, hot, neutral, ground) (3 wire hot, neutral, ground for 120 volt generators) cable the frame and neutral will become bonded via the main panel neutral/ground bonding.
Not true for a portable unit that is connected to the house by a cord and plug.

If a genset is permanently wired to the home's system then the neutral must be isolated.
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:48 AM   #5
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Another neutral bonding question


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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
It's not optional. Most have the neutral bonded from the factory.
So, evidently father-in-law doesn't have one of the most?

It seems that a portable generator without a N-G bond could be quite hazardous. I still don't understand why it is permitted to be manufactured in this manner?
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:54 AM   #6
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Another neutral bonding question


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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
If a genset is permanently wired to the home's system then the neutral must be isolated.
Why? I'm not understanding the logic.

Last edited by jlmran; 02-01-2011 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 02-01-2011, 08:25 AM   #7
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Another neutral bonding question


In a home system, including the generator when switched to generator power, there may be only one locations where neutral and ground are bonded, and normally that location is the main panel.

(When a subpanel is transferred exclusively to a generator, we now have two systems, (1) the generator and that subpanel and associated branch circuits, and (2) everything else, probably dead at that moment.)

I suppose there is an exception for a cord and plug connected generator so it is not necessary to dissect a generator without a visible removable neutral/ground bond.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-01-2011 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:10 AM   #8
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Another neutral bonding question


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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
In a home system, including the generator when switched to generator power, there may be only one locations where neutral and ground are bonded, and normally that location is the main panel.
Seems to me that having a generator attached to a home system with two (2) separate N-G bonds is way less hazardous than having a portable generator without a N-G bond.

If this statement is true then I'm suprised that all generators simply don't all have a factory-installed N-G bond.

Again, the original post was about a small, portable generator which does not appear to have a field-serviceable N-G bonding option.
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:42 AM   #9
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Another neutral bonding question


If your unbonded generator does not have a neutral ground bond option, you can create one almost as a no-brainer. Example: make an adapter with a cord and plug coming out of a small junction box with receptacles and the bond inside the latter. Plug this into your generator and plug the extension cords for your tools into this.

Some experts say that an unbonded generator is better for double insulated and two prong tools. This way a fault to the body of the tool can't let current use your body as an alternate route to get to the ground and up into the generator sitting on the ground.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-01-2011 at 09:45 AM.
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