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  • Generator & Neutral bonding question

    I just purchased a Rigid RD6800 generator and a 6 circuit transfer switch by Reliance. I installed the transfer switch according the the instructions and am confident that it is correctly wired.

    When researching this project I saw some references to neutral bonding on generators. Some people mentioned that this bonding should be removed when using the generator connected to a panel as I am doing (and reconnected when using it as a stand alone generator).

    Can anyone tell me if I should be removing the neutral bond for my application?

    Thanks in advance!

    David Wertz

  • #2
    Re: Generator & Neutral bonding question

    Do they say why?

    Can you post a schematic?
    Interesting.
    I'd take an educated guess - but I'm unqualified.
    It ain't just soot, it's paydirt.
    "I swear, wherever Gift goes, argument follows." -Youtube comment

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Generator & Neutral bonding question

      I think the main point was that it was a potential safety issue. Here are a couple links to posts about it.

      http://members.rennlist.org/warren/gt5000c.html

      http://www.fixya.com/support/t611603...d_neutral_bond

      http://www.championpowerequipment.co...%20Bonding.pdf

      http://www.homeownershub.com/mainten...or-182682-.htm

      Thank you

      DW

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Generator & Neutral bonding question

        The RD6800 and RD8000 work just fine with every transfer switch I've seen them used with. The manual tells you to use a transfer switch when powering a building and makes no mention of removing the bond.

        Further, opening the gen head and altering the wiring will void your warranty.
        "HONK if you've never seen a gun fired from a moving Harley"

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Generator & Neutral bonding question

          And about half way down the page at this site there is a pretty good post about floating/bonded neutral in a portable generator.

          http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load...101031436.html

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Generator & Neutral bonding question

            I posted this link before the last one, but it didn't show up.

            http://www.homegardenguides.com/gard...generator.html

            DW

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            • #7
              Re: Generator & Neutral bonding question

              I removed the cover from the generator and I can clearly see the white wire that ties the neutral to the ground. It is a 3" wire that can be removed easily. I do realize that removing this would void the warranty, but I am concerned about the safety issue.

              Maybe you professionals can interpret the posts I found and make some sense of it. I may just be interpreting it incorrectly.

              DW

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Generator & Neutral bonding question

                DO NOT remove the bond. You are NOT hooking the genny up the house permanently. You are cord connecting it. The bond stays in place.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Generator & Neutral bonding question

                  As I understand it, the idea behind possibly needing to remove the bond is that ground and neutral should only be bonded together in ONE place.

                  Ground should never carry any of the current during normal operation, and if neutral and ground are bonded in two points, the current flowing between those two points will get shared between the neutral and ground.

                  So if the transfer switch switches the hots AND neutral, then the neutral/ground bond that exists in the circuit breaker panel is removed from the system when the generator is being used. In this case, the neutral/ground bond that is inside the generator is required to maintain the neutral/ground bond in the system.

                  However, if a transfer switch ONLY switches the hots and leaves the neutral and ground connected to the circuit breaker panel, then the neutral/ground bond inside the panel remains in the system. In this case, the neutral/ground bond inside the generator needs to be broken to maintain a single neutral/ground bond in the system. Otherwise, current flowing through the neutral between the generator and transfer switch will be shared between the neutral and ground between the generator and transfer switch.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Generator & Neutral bonding question

                    HooKooDooKu,

                    That is the same general info I have found and it *seems* to make sense. In my case the transfer switch does *not* switch the neutral so your findings would apply.

                    This seems like a very contraversial subject and there are a wide variety of opinions on it.

                    DW

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Generator & Neutral bonding question

                      One thing to keep in mind is Speedy Petey comment that your generator is not permenately connected to your house.

                      Given that you do not have a switched neutral, it would seem the safest thing to do is to remove the bond inside the generator.

                      However, if the generator were then used for any other purpose (i.e. stand-alone) with that bond still removed, you've potentially created an even more dangerous situation than if the bond had remained in place.

                      Now I am NOT a professional Electrician. I am a DIYer who has studied the subject enough that I'm comfortable with doing electrical work in my owe home (with the proper building permits). Given that disclaimer, if I were in your situation, here is what I would do...

                      Remove the neutral/ground bond wire from inside the generator, and ALWAYS keep the generator plugged into the transfer switch. Place the removed bond wire, the generator instruction manual, and a sign (perhaps with a picture or two) inside a ziplock bag and permenantly attach the ziplock bag to the generator (in a safe maner such that it will not interfear with the normal operation of the generator). The sign should be visible and say something along the lines of "Neutral/ground bond removed from inside generator. Reattach bond wire if generator is used for any other purpose other than to supply power to home through the attached transfer switch". The sign (along with the generator always being plugged in to transfer switch) will serve as reminders as to what you have done should you ever try to use the generator other than it being attatched to the transfer switch, as well as serve as a warning if something should ever happen to you and someone else "takes ownership" of the generator. If there are other outlets on the generator, I'd even insert some of those child protection plastic plugs into the outlets with another sign attatched along the lines of reminding you to "do not use these plugs unless generator is connected to transfer switch or generator ground-neutral bond is reconnected".

                      Of course, doing all this still has some inherant risk. After all, any time the generator is being used, if the cable between generator and transfer switch ever becomes disconnected or broken, the situation suddenly becomes dangerous because the generator would no longer be grounded.

                      And now you can probably understand why there are different opinions on what to do, because no matter what, with the equipement you've installed, you create a potentially dangerous situation. I'll have to keep this in mind if I ever buy a generator and transfer switch and make sure to get a bonded generator with a three pole transfer switch. That's about the only situation where there isn't any discussion about what is the safest thing to do with the generator (as it relates to connecting it to the house).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Generator & Neutral bonding question

                        HooKooDooKu,

                        I had planned on doing most of what you recommended. I had even thought of extending the Neutral wire outside of the generator housing (which would be quite simple), so that it could be easily connected/disconnected without removing the end cap on the generator.

                        Thanks for your response!

                        DW

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Generator & Neutral bonding question

                          Originally posted by Dwertz View Post
                          ... I had even thought of extending the Neutral wire outside of the generator housing...
                          I personally would not do that. Sounds potentially dangerous.

                          Normally, touching a neutral conductor isn't dangerous because it's bonded to the ground and therefore the voltage of the neutral is about the same as everything around you.

                          But if the cable connecting the generator to the transfer switch ever became disconnected, the neutral would "float". In otherwords, the voltage of the running generator would be 120v from "neutral" to "hot"... but if some how the "hot" became connected to ground, the "hot" would be at "ground" potential and the "neutral" would be at 120v.

                          So unless you need to frequently swap from transfer-switch to stand-alone operation, I wouldn't go down the path of making the change "too easy".

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