After you buy a portable generator, the first thing you should worry about is how to ground the machine. Many portable generators do not need grounding at all, so be sure of the fact that yours need grounding before you start it.
Grounding or earthing, as referred by people, is the process of connecting the machine to the earth so the machine works in a more stable way. This is a safe option for the machines to work with.
Importance of grounding for the portable generator:
Grounding ensures that safety of working with the generator. While working with an electrical gadget you and anyone can get injured if they are not taking enough precautionary measures. Also, the machine can be prone to draw uncommon current flow which may lead to the accident. If you have the question that is it necessary for the generators to be grounded first, then the answer is both Yes and No, as it depends upon the model of the generator solely.
There are various models that work fine and safely even if those are not grounded. The generators which are configured in such a way that it eliminates the process of grounding, are the ones which fall under “non separately derived systems”. Grounding is mandatory for the ones which fall under “separately derived system” category.
A separately derived system is the one which has a direct electrical connection to conductors originating from some other system. A non-separately derived system is a wiring system that works in the complete opposite way.
If you are in doubt after buying the generator, then check the manual or the manufacturers’ guide to find out if the generator that you have bought need grounding or not. If the manual is not available, then the best way to check the generator is to look at the transfer switch. If the switch enables you to transfer to a neutral ground conductor, then the generator needs grounding, and vice versa.
Tools needed for grounding:
- Copper rod – this is the most important tool when you need to ground a generator. The copper rod should not be shorter than 4 feet. This one will be the main grounding material.
- Hammer – this will help you to sink the copper ground rod to the hard surface of the earth. You need this to drive the copper rod into the ground in a fast and easy way. A mallet will also do the same job.
- Copper wire- the generator needs to be connected to the grounding rod to stay safely grounded. A quality copper grounding wire will do the job of connecting the generator the rod.
- Wire strippers- to remove the covering for the grounding wire at both ends before tying it by one end around the rod and another end to the generator you need a wire stripper. A wire stripper helps you to strip the copper wire easily. Using your nail or teeth may damage those parts and if it is not stripped, there will be no big difference.
- Pliers- to bind the copper wire tightly around the grounding rod to enhance the connection need quality of set pliers.
- Wrench- a wrench is useful to attach the copper wire to the generator, to do that you need to loosen a bolt on the generator to get an efficient connection.
The process of grounding:
There are a few steps to follow.
1. Copper rod installing into the ground
Use the hammer to sink the copper ground rod into the ground. The deeper you will sink the rod, the greater will be the connection. This will enable better earthing. If you find the earth to be too hard to sink the rod, then use some water. Pour the water into the ground to soften it. if the surface is rocking and does not soften even after the water is poured, you can sink the rod at a special angle. Make sure that the angle you choose is not greater than 45 degree.
2. Stripping the copper wire at both ends
Use the wire stripper to strip both the ends of the copper wire. Do not over strip the wire as that will leave most of the wire bare.
3. Wrapping one end of the wire around the copper rod
When the rod is sunk at least 8 feet under the ground, you can wrap one end of the copper wire tightly around the rod with the help of the pliers.
4. Attaching the other end to the generator
Now is the last step. Connect the other stripped end of the copper wire to the generator to ground it. The grounding bolt should be loosened a bit by the help of a wrench. Now wrap the wire around it and then retighten the bolt. The process is complete now.