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#3295594 - 02/26/14 09:20 PM are surge protectors effective on generators?
motor_oil_madman Offline


Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 1652
Loc: Houston, Texas
Ok so I noticed on my surge protector it has a red not grounded light illuminated whenever I use it on my generator. The green light is still illuminated and says protected. I checked the ground wire on my generator and it has a nice clean ground. I heard that portable generators are grounded differently then a house. Supposedly my surge protector is suppose to filter the power too. Whenever I plugged it into the wall outlet at my house the ground light was green. So what's the problem? Are surge protectors not effective on a generator or does it just not recognize the ground?
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#3295600 - 02/26/14 09:28 PM Re: are surge protectors effective on generators? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
irad Offline


Registered: 02/26/12
Posts: 9
Loc: NJ
Your house is grounded to the Earth. Usually through the plumbing system or a grounding rod. The rod is usually found near the electric meter or the main circuit breaker panel. A generator also should be grounded to the Earth. I take a two foot copper pipe and drive it into the ground, about a 18 inches, next to my generator. I then connect a wire from the pipe to the grounding point or green wire on the generator. This should make the red light go away.

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#3295634 - 02/26/14 09:54 PM Re: are surge protectors effective on generators? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
AandPDan Offline


Registered: 02/01/11
Posts: 556
Loc: MA
It's not related to the "earth" ground. It's most likely a neutral-ground bonding issue.

Your house has the neutral and grounds bonded usually at the main panel. If there is a wiring fault, the return path is through the "ground" and it will trip the breaker. The surge protector is looking for this connection.

Your generator may or may not have a neutral-ground bond. You can check for yourself. With the generator off and disconnected from all loads, measure continuity between the neutral and ground prongs on an outlet.

If you're using a transfer switch, and it does not switch the neutral, you should have a "floating-neutral" generator, the neutral-ground bond should be removed.


Edited by AandPDan (02/26/14 09:55 PM)

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#3295635 - 02/26/14 09:54 PM Re: are surge protectors effective on generators? [Re: irad]
motor_oil_madman Offline


Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 1652
Loc: Houston, Texas
So I guess when the ground it connected to the frame it's referred to as a floating ground? So does the surge protector just not recognize that type of ground, thus thinking it's not grounded?
_________________________
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#3295638 - 02/26/14 09:56 PM Re: are surge protectors effective on generators? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
AandPDan Offline


Registered: 02/01/11
Posts: 556
Loc: MA
If you have a "floating neutral" the ground is not a return path and will show "open." A generator configured this way should not be used "stand-alone."


Edited by AandPDan (02/26/14 09:57 PM)

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#3295649 - 02/26/14 10:04 PM Re: are surge protectors effective on generators? [Re: AandPDan]
motor_oil_madman Offline


Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 1652
Loc: Houston, Texas
Originally Posted By: AandPDan
If you have a "floating neutral" the ground is not a return path and will show "open." A generator configured this way should not be used "stand-alone."


From what I see it has a ground wire connected from the engine to the frame and according to the manual all the outlets are supposed to be wired to that ground wire. Does that mean I still need to run a grounding rod? I use it as a portable generator.
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#3295662 - 02/26/14 10:12 PM Re: are surge protectors effective on generators? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
AandPDan Offline


Registered: 02/01/11
Posts: 556
Loc: MA
You don't need a ground rod.

Here are the OSHA regs and explanation: OSHA regs

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#3295674 - 02/26/14 10:21 PM Re: are surge protectors effective on generators? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
MolaKule Offline


Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 13653
Loc: Midwest
Quote:
You don't need a ground rod.


Exactly. A ground rod alone is insufficient for faults.


I just looked at the schematic for my generator a 13HP/6500 Wattt 240 volt AC unit.

The alternator (60 Hz AC Generator) has the Neutral/Ground bonded to the frame, in addition to providing a Neutral/Ground for the generator outlets.

You want the 240 AC to go to the two "HOT" 240VAC wires in your distribution panel box via a transfer switch, AND you want a Neutral/ground wire going to the distribution panel box from the generator outlets Neutral/Ground.

In other words, you should have three wires from your generator's outlet going to your distribution panel box, a Neutral/Ground wire and two 240VAC wires.

You should never connect your generator to the distribution panel without a transfer switch or have some means of disconnecting the generator's power from your incoming feed or you could electrocute a lineman working on your line.


Edited by MolaKule (02/26/14 10:35 PM)
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#3295689 - 02/26/14 10:41 PM Re: are surge protectors effective on generators? [Re: MolaKule]
motor_oil_madman Offline


Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 1652
Loc: Houston, Texas
ok so it says using a ground rod isn't necessary since it's an electrocution danger. I'm still not clear on why the not grounded light is illuminated on my surge protector? Does it only recognize an actual earth ground and not something on a generator that's just grounded to the frame? I bought two so I might just return them if they aren't effective in this application.


Edited by motor_oil_madman (02/26/14 10:43 PM)
_________________________
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#3295700 - 02/26/14 10:58 PM Re: are surge protectors effective on generators? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
MolaKule Offline


Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 13653
Loc: Midwest
Is your surge protector properly wired into your distribution box?

Is this a whole house surge protector sitting on or in your distribution panel?
_________________________
Friend: Here, try some trail mix.
ME: Oh great. I always wanted M&Ms with obstacles.

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#3295707 - 02/26/14 11:03 PM Re: are surge protectors effective on generators? [Re: MolaKule]
motor_oil_madman Offline


Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 1652
Loc: Houston, Texas
Originally Posted By: MolaKule
Is your surge protector properly wired into your distribution box?

Is this a whole house surge protector sitting on or in your distribution panel?


Both lights are green when plugged into a wall outlet at my house. I use the generator to run tools and it's not connected to the house at all. I was just checking to make sure the protector wasn't messed up. The only time it shows the red not grounded light is when I have it plugged into my generator.
_________________________
2007.5 dodge cummins 6.7 liter. Chevron Delo400 15w40. 7000 mile or 250-300hr intervals.


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#3295727 - 02/26/14 11:39 PM Re: are surge protectors effective on generators? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
MolaKule Offline


Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 13653
Loc: Midwest
Are you using just the 120VAC outlet on the generator?
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#3295746 - 02/27/14 12:34 AM Re: are surge protectors effective on generators? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 32575
Loc: New Jersey
Small low-end generators, and even some of the better ones, have pretty noisy and horrid power quality. If you do a fourier transform of the frequencies, youll probably find a bimodal distribution. Youll also see some pretty bad voltage variations under larger step loads.

No surge suppressor is going to fix either as they cant put something into tighter phase control, nor can they carry enough capacitance to smooth transient blips on the voltage.

And it seems that the grounding approach isnt right either. Id imagine still that the circuitry would be able to protect against a large current inflow, which is really what you need. Id be looking at the specific line protection, not a lumped value with an assumption that it will bleed off to ground.

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#3295851 - 02/27/14 07:07 AM Re: are surge protectors effective on generators? [Re: motor_oil_madman]
datech Offline


Registered: 01/14/14
Posts: 248
Loc: KS
The ground wire is supposed to trip the breaker when something happens to the wire.

Suppose you cut the wire with your lawn mower. The blade will connect the neutral and the ground together and the breaker will trip.

You may have old extension cords or lamps that only have two wires, hot and neutral. They work ok, but if you cut the wire by accident and the blade doesn't connect the hot and neutral together it won't trip the breaker, so it will be dangerous.

If you cut the wire and it comes in contact with the earth ground, or the plumbing in your bathroom or kitchen, the breaker will trip, as long as the system is grounded. So this is another safety design.

I think the ground is not connected to the neutral in your generator. This might be by design or oversight. Who is the manufacturer? have you looked at a schematic or the web site?

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#3295890 - 02/27/14 07:38 AM Re: are surge protectors effective on generators? [Re: datech]
motor_oil_madman Offline


Registered: 11/29/09
Posts: 1652
Loc: Houston, Texas
It's an EG6500CL generator made by Honda. It's 6500 watts. It's an actual Honda generator. Yes I was using the 120v outlets. They are 20 amp gfci protected. It also has one 30amp 240v outlet and one 30 amp 120v locking outlet.


Edited by motor_oil_madman (02/27/14 07:41 AM)
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