If you are a camper, you know the sense of relief that comes with cooking your dinner on an electric stove or charging your phone to stay connected.
Although many campers have not had these luxuries before, generators are now commonplace and provide a level of comfort for those who may be camping for the first time.
The use of a generator is straightforward; however, some important safety tips can help keep everyone safe while enjoying their campsite.
Grounding a portable generator is an important safety measure that should not be overlooked.
Not only does it help to prevent electrical fires caused by faulty wiring, but also the possibility of electrocution or shock if the grounding wire becomes disconnected.
This post will cover the basics of grounding your portable generator and what to do if you’re unsure how to level it properly.
Understanding Electrical Grounding
Grounding is the process of intentionally providing an electrically conducting path to the ground or its equivalent.
The intent is to prevent any electric charge present on the part of the system, including people and animals touching that system, from becoming impressed on another part by accidental contact with some conductive object such as a metal surface (e.g., doorknob).
Protection against earth potential rise was initially being based on achieving zero voltage difference between each PowerPoint in buildings.
It allows no flow of electricity, which means a high current can not flow through any ground connection, which prevents injuries from occurring.
Do You Need to Ground Your Portable Generator?
Portable generators need to be grounded for safety so that if there is an issue with the cord, it does not electrocute anyone.
Proponents of grounding argue this is a measure of security and will help if lightning strikes during its use.
But what type of grounding system will work for your portable generator? It all depends on how it was manufactured.
Modern generators are made to produce a safe, measurable output.
Their metal frame is designed for grounding any electricity that escapes the wiring and won’t harm you or your home.
The easiest way to tell if your generator needs to be grounded is by checking the manufacturer’s instructions.
The company will provide clear and precise information on whether or not it should be grounded and how you can go about doing that task with ease.
If you’re not sure how to connect your generator or provided manually by the company is not clear, inspecting the construction can help.
If the transfer switch has a neutral ground conductor option and is separately derived, then it’s simple: plug your generator in some grounding rods.
How to Ground Your Portable Generator
When you find out you need to ground your portable generator, make sure that the power cord is safely wired and grounded.
Tools and Equipment To Ground Your Generator
You’ll want the next gear so that you can ground your generator easily:
- Copper Grounding Rod – Using an outdoor copper ground rod driven into the ground can dissipate the current safely. With a four-foot perimeter around the copper rod for adequate space, you will find that your portable generator will work much better than before!
- Copper Grounding Wire– Copper grounding wire connects the generator to your buried rod. The amount of copper wiring you need will depend on how far apart these two items are, so be sure to give yourself some extra when it comes time for installation.
- Wire Strippers, Pliers, and Wrench– The ground wire on your generator is essential to keep you safe. The grounding rod and the bolt connect it safely, so we need these tools right here to strip that wire and secure a strong connection with them.
- Hammer or Mallet– A heavy, blunt object is needed to drive the copper grounding wire into the ground. In certain terrains, you may need a shovel or spike as well.
Step 1: Hammer in the Copper Grounding Rod
The importance of grounding your rod can’t be stressed enough, as its depth is crucial to the safety of those that might come in contact with it.
The most common installation for rods entails burying them at least 8 feet deep (although you could buy a 4 ft long one).
which ensures electric charges from the ground will not cause harm on anything standing above or near it.
If rocky terrain renders traditional hammering impossible, there’s no need to worry – go ahead and install the copper pole at an angle up to 45 degrees.
Step 2: Connect Copper Wire to Grounding Rod
It’s essential to have the right tools for any job, and grounding rods are no exception.
Use your wire strippers to remove about six inches of insulation from one end of a copper wire before wrapping it around the top of a ground rod with pliers.
Step 3: Connect the Generator to the Grounding Rod
You can connect your generator to the grounding rod using the other end of your copper wire. The generator should be turned off before you do this and locate its grounding bolt.
Loosen one side of it with a screwdriver, strip an inch or two from either end of some electrical wiring, wrap them around each other tightly with pliers and tighten back up again- then turn on that power.
Should You Ground Your Generator?
Most generators are now single systems. That means that the frame is used for grounding purposes.
But, if you find that your generator requires an external ground, you must ground it properly. It takes no technical expertise on your part, and all you need is the right tools for the job.
Once grounded, the generator will be safe to operate, and you can have peace of mind.