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Thread: Okay to bond ground to neutral on Honda eu3000is generator?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Endurance's Avatar
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    Okay to bond ground to neutral on Honda eu3000is generator?

    The surge protector I have to protect my inverter and other electronics gives me an error message and shuts down when I power it from my portable generator, a Honda eu3000is. The problem is that the Honda has a floating ground. If I remember right, ABYC doesn't contemplate bonding of the ground to neutral at any place but the power source. The most simple fix I can think of is to jumper the outlet on my generator. Can anyone think of anything wrong with this approach?

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    Super Moderator OLD HOUSEBOATER's Avatar
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    IMHO your boat can follow RV practices. In short you might consider bonding the ground and neutral inside the generator case for use on your boat. Read the blog listed below as his explanation makes sense to me.

    http://blog.rv.net/2009/10/generator...and-grounding/
    The fries are cold so we gave you extra.

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    The green grounding wire and white neutral wire should already be connected inside the generator. This is standard practice. As you said the are supposed to be connected at the source of power. I would do some continuity tests to see if they are. It may be that you have somehow lost the connection (broken wire, bad connections, etc) If you have lost the connection that would explain the problem with the surge protector because it doesn't have a connection on the grounding wire back to the source.

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    Senior Member Endurance's Avatar
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    Thanks OHB and Ike. I spoke with an engineer at American Honda. He said that Honda portable generators are, by design, manufactured with a floating ground. With no pun intended, I told him that shocked me. I asked what would happen if there were a malfunction with a grounded device that put 110v to the device's case and I touched that device while standing on the ground, or worse, in the water. I get that maybe I would be okay if the neutral didn't make it to ground, but the whole thing made me uneasy. I explained that with a "ground to nowhere," the device would have no chance to trip a breaker. He got a little defensive and told me that a floating ground is the "standard of the industry" for portable generators.

    The concern has to be that someone will plug a portable into a house's panel, which would create an unsafe situation with a bond at the house's panel as well as at the generator. My guess is that Honda's lawyers told Honda that they are better being sued by RV and boat owners than homeowners. They may be right. Homeowners are more plentiful and are smart enough to avoid buying the hole in the water we call a boat.

    I settled on a new plan to fix my situation. I will build a 12" long cord with a male Marinco plug on one and and a female Marinco receptacle on the other. I will create the white-to-green bond at the male end where I plug it into my generator's twist-lock outlet and plug my 30 amp extension cord into the female plug. Since the 12" cord will remain at my houseboat, no one can inadvertently plug my bonded generator into their house. The ends will cost me $100 or so, but it should be more idiot-proof than just putting a jumper in my generator.

    I'm thinking that any safety-minded boat owner using a portable generator should consider this $100 modification.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator OLD HOUSEBOATER's Avatar
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    I did a little more investigation into why recent portable generators have floating grounds. This gentleman came up with the most understandable explanation.

    If your portable generator is new enough it likely has GFCI (ground fault) protection on its outlets. HERE'S THE ISSUE with Bonded-Neutral: A GFCI functions by comparing the outgoing current on the HOT to the current coming back on the NEUTRAL. A difference of as little as 6/1000 of an amp will trip it out. If you have the NEUTRAL and GROUND bonded at 2 points (also called a loop), the current will SHARE the return path to the generator between the GROUND wire and the NEUTRAL wire. Since the GFCI sees less current on the NEUTRAL than on the HOT, it will trip out, rendering your generator useless for household backup. So, do NOT attach the generators ground wire to the transfer switch at all, but DO use a ground rod to attach to the generators frame. Hope that helps, Richard. (journeyman electrician).

    Keep us informed of your results. Since the EU3000 doesn't have GFCI outlets your method should work.
    Last edited by OLD HOUSEBOATER; 08-30-2012 at 09:23 PM.
    The fries are cold so we gave you extra.

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    Using portable generators on boats is IMHO an iffy proposition and just for the reasons you stated above, lack of a ground. Most of them have a provision for attaching a ground wire and a ground rod. But who does that? Supposedly if you set it on the ground or on bare concrete it is grounded, but how about on a boat? I have been asked this question for many years while working in the USCG Office of Boating Safety and have always replied DON'T. The only place for a portable generator is ashore, in an open well ventilated area, where they are safe. Manufacturers of these things do not recommend them for marine use. But I know what you are going to say, a lot of people do. A lot of people smoke while gassing up their cars too, would you?

    see Portable Generators On Boats: Pro and Con http://newboatbuilders.com/docs/portable.pdf that I wrote in 2006. I might add that both the USCG and ABYC recommend you do not use portable generators on boats. It involves both a CO and a shock hazard. http://www.uscgboating.org/assets/pd....pdf#generator

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    We already told you that the Champion 42436 was our second favorite portable generator, so it should come as no surprise that our favorite is the Champion Power Equipment 46539. It delivers those 3500 watts of continuous power that are required if you are to run your entire home off of it, including air conditioning, fridge and TV. It runs for 12 hours off a full tank of gas at half its power output and it can go up to 4000 volt in short bursts. Besides these technical specs we love this power generator because it will not cost you an arm and a leg and it does deliver as much power, if not more, than other, more expensive generators. It also has an electric start and you can even start it by remote. Finally, it is one of the few generators that was able to get a 4.6 star rating on Amazon from more than a hundred happy customers.

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    Smile Portable Generatgor

    If it only produced more power the Champion 42436 would have been our favorite portable generator, but, at 1500 watts it is only our second best. We are still impressed by how light it is, just 56 pounds and we were equally impressed by the fact that it can run for 10 hours on a full tank of gas at half drainage. That means you could use this to power the fridge, TV and a computer for 10 hours without any problems. The one thing that is not that impressive about it is that it is rated as a 1500 watt generator when, in fact, it only generates 1300 watts in a continuous stream.

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    Thumbs up Portable Generator Reviews

    I brought a new Portable Generator. This generator options a light-weight to point once power is on, thus there's no guesswork or having to browse a meter. there's additionally a digital hour counter to point out what number run time hours the generator has been used that helps users confirm once needed maintenance ought to be handled. This generator additionally options an occasional oil automatic closure possibility, so if users forget to feature or modification the oil, the engine doesn't become broken. Running the generator with insufficient oil will cause the requirement for overpriced repairs. The pilar cyst 5500 generator options a manual starter, that in most cases will begin with one pull, although typically multiple pulls is also required to induce it started. It options everything you would like to stay the generator stable on the bottom once it's running, and a quality kit designed to form it straightforward to maneuver. It additionally comes with a 2 year restricted guarantee. It's really woks. You may try it.

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    Arrow Top Portable Generator

    Every power portable generator has 2 power ratings running electrical power and surge electrical power. The running electrical power is that the quantity of power that the generator will handle on never-ending basis. The surge electrical power is that the quantity of power it will handle for brief bursts, sometimes concerning ten seconds. The surge electrical power accounts for the surge created once appliances with electrical motors begin. Their beginning power is 2 to fourfold the number required to control. Most moveable generators use gas engines. Some use gas. and a few will use each. gas generators have several blessings over gas generators gas is cheaper, less toxic, cleaner burning and simply accessible throughout an influence outage, and you\'ll store it indefinitely as a result of it does not degrade like gas.

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