How To Ground A Generator When Camping

How To Ground A Generator When Camping

When camping, many of us use a portable generator to help keep foods fresh, to keep us cool using a portable fan, to watch the TV, or to charge our phones, tablets and laptops. Even without using larger electrical items, a generator will prevent your battery in your motorhome, camper, or car from being drained from constantly being relied upon for charging up our small but essential electrical items. 

However, safety must always be of the highest priority and knowing if your generator needs grounding and how to do it is an essential skill for anyone who loves camping. 

What Is Grounding?

Grounding is when something that uses electricity is deliberately connected to the ground via a copper wire. This is to ensure that any excess electricity or electricity that is flowing to the wrong place due to a fault is safely discharged into the ground. 

Without being grounded in this way, electrical items and systems have the potential to cause shocks, electrocution and fires if something goes wrong like an electrical surge or a fault with one or more parts of the electrical item or system. 

Do I Need To Ground My Generator? 

Many generators do not need to be additionally grounded in most circumstances, as their design means that the metal frame or housing does the grounding. 

To visually check if your generator requires grounding, look at the transfer switch. If it has an option to transfer the current to a ground conductor, then this means that your generator is a separately derived system and will therefore need grounding. 

If you are unsure, always check the manual. If this is not possible, or if the manual is not entirely clear, you can always ask a qualified electrician or contact us at Generator Pro for advice. It is better to be safe than sorry, so grounding is a good and simple safety precaution to take.

As a general rule, if the generator housing is in any way damaged, it is best to ground your generator or to ask an electrician to take a look. 

Tools Needed For Grounding

  • An 8-foot copper grounding rod.
  • A hammer or mallet.
  • Copper grounding wire. 
  • Pliers.
  • Wire strippers.  
  • Adjustable wrench.

The Process Of Grounding

  • Drive the copper rod into the earth to a depth of 8 feet. This is sometimes easier said than done, so you may need to use your mallet/hammer if the ground is hard. You could also consider watering the ground first to soften it up.
  • Strip one end of the copper grounding wire and coil it firmly around the end of the grounding rod. 
  • Strip the other end of the copper wire and attach it to the generator. You may need to use your wrench to undo the grounding bolt on your generator before attaching the grounding wire and then retightening the grounding bolt. 

For more information about the kind of generators that require grounding and in what circumstances, or if you are looking to purchase a generator for your next camping trip, then get in touch with us at Generator Pro. Our team of experts will be happy to help and advise you.

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