How to Ground a Portable Generator?

If a portable generator is something you have purchased in the recent past, then it is of paramount importance that you learn how to ground a portable generator like a pro. A portable power generator is extremely useful when blackouts and electricity cuts tend to become more and more common. 

Grounding’ a portable generator means to connect the power generator or electrical circuit specifically to the ground. It is important to know how to ground a portable generator as it can minimize various risks associated with the flowing current. Since the power source remains in the ground, there are fewer chances of fire or electrocution.

In this article, we will not only tell you a detailed and accurate procedure of grounding a portable generator but also shed light on issues relating to generator grounding requirements and portable grounding rod. We have also curated a list of the best portable generators along with a discussion over which portable generators are best for different purposes.

How does a portable generator work?

To resolve all the confusions regarding this process, here is a simple explanation of the working of a portable generator:

  • It comprises of four parts – Engine, Alternator, Fuel Source and Energy Outlet
  • A particular fuel which might be natural gas, diesel etc. is ignited in the engine
  • The energy so produced is used by mechanical gears in driving or rotating the rotors of an alternator
  • This leads to breakage of magnetic flux of the stator
  • Post this, voltage is induced in various coils
  • This finally leads to the production of electricity, which is used to power various devices in your home or even outside.

Tools required to ground a portable generator

The following tools are essential for grounding a portable generator
  • Copper Rod: It is the most important tool you need before you ground a portable generator. Height of 4 feet and above will be appropriate and this rod will serve as your primary grounding substance.
  • Copper Wire: A simple wire is not at all safe to connect the rod with the portable generator. Rather, it is imperative to have a copper wire that can handle the current flowing through with ease and security
  • Wire Stripper: A copper wire must not be peeled with teeth or fingernails. Instead, we recommend investing in a sturdy wire stripper that allows you to easily strip the wire. You may also purchase a soldering iron and soldering wire for attaching the copper wire to the rod.
  • Pliers: A solid and strong pair of pliers is necessary for winding the copper wire around the grounding rod to ensure proper electricity transmission
  • Wrench: It is a tool that can loosen bolts and allow users to easily connect the wire to the portable generator
  • Hammer: It is useful in driving or putting the copper rod beneath or into the ground. You may also purchase a mallet or sledgehammer as per your requirements.

Steps to ground a portable generator

After preparing a list of what tools you require, we would tell you the exact procedure to understand how to ground a portable generator.

Step 1: Installing the Copper Rod

You have to push the copper rod into the ground and make it sink to at least 8 feet below the ground surface. If the soil is a bit hard, you may consider softening it with a splash of water. Use a hammer with accurate force to drive the rod into the ground.                  

Step 2: Connecting Wire to the Rod

Copper wire to rod

This needs to be done with precision. Peel off the ends of the wire with a wire stripper and wrap the wire around the copper rod. As we have mentioned in the tools section as well, you may purchase a soldering iron and soldering wire to make this process much more convenient.

Step 3: Grounding the Portable Generator

Ground wire connection in protable generator

You must locate the grounding bolt on your generator and use a wrench to loosen it so that wire can be wrapped around it perfectly. You must tighten the wire once it is completely wrapped and after this step, you have completed the process of grounding a portable generator.

These steps have equipped you with complete knowledge of how to ground a portable generator.

Tips to ground a portable generator

Here are certain tips to ensure that you can breeze through the entire process of grounding a portable generator.

Generator Power Supply
  • If the soil in which you are grounding the portable generator is hard, you may sprinkle water on the ground to soften the soil which can lead to an ideal condition for you to push the rod inside.
  • In case the surface is rocky one may sink the rod at a special angle and not exactly straight into the ground. Choose an angle that does not exceed 45°.
  • You must cover the remaining part of idle land or ground with a protective clamp or any specified fittings for safety.
  • If you want to make the process of putting wire around the rod easier, you can invest and purchase a soldering iron and soldering rod.
  • You may use solder to even connect the wire with the generator.

Precautions to take 

  • Choose a copper rod that is at least 4 feet long.
  • Sink the rod at least 8 feet below the top surface of the ground
  • Do not over strip the wire and make sure you use a proper wire stripper instead of roughly stripping it with nails or teeth. The wire must be given proper attention as it will ensure safety in the long run.
  • Do not leave the bolt of the generator loose and make sure you tighten it after soldering the wire or connecting it manually.
  • If the ground is hard or rocky you must not use a hammer as it can cause an unwanted accident. Rather use a sledgehammer or mallet. 

Why you should consider getting a portable generator grounded

Many new-age and innovative portable generators do not require it, but if you are connecting a portable generator to your residential place, then grounding is a must. Grounding ensures enhanced security for all your home appliances while a portable generator ensures safety from unwanted power cuts and the situation of no electricity.

If you have not grounded your portable generator, you are exposed to the following risks:

  • Since the generator is made of metallic components, it is capable of conducting electricity. This can cause stray currents to pass through and any person touching the surface can get a massive electric shock
  • If there is fault current and it passes through fuel, especially in construction areas or outdoor events, it may catch fire and eventually cause a daunting disaster. This can even burn out the generator itself

Grounding is an effective shield that guards against such dangers. By grounding, the stray or fault current is transferred to the ground leading to minimal hazards of such high magnitude. Grounding puts a ground wire which can also prevent the hazards of a short circuit caused by damage to Live wire insulation. Thus, we can say that grounding is a compulsory technique to protect your lives and your electric appliances.

Which portable generator is best for you?

If you are confused about which portable generator is suitable for you and want a bold and reliable answer, then you have come to the right place. We have curated a detailed and comprehensive list of the best portable generators available in the market along with an elaborate explanation of their positive and negative features.

1. Honda EU2200i

Honda EU1000i

The first one to occupy our list is Honda EU2200i which is a quiet and durable generator that has been a customer favourite for a long time. It has a great fuel efficiency rate because of the Eco-Throttle System and can run 4.0 to 9.6 hours on a single tank. The brilliance of the product lies in the compact design that it provides but has great power and electrical support to offer.It is our choice for the best quiet generator as it produces sound as low as 57 dB. Overall, a consistently great portable generator with some amazingly powerful features.

Specifications
  • Honda GXR120 engine
  • Eco-Throttle Technology
  • Fuel Shut-Off Valve present
  • The sufficiently large spout and oil drain gutter for easy cleaning
  • Enhanced ventilation for quick cooling of parts
Pros
  • Super- Quiet (Less than 57 Db)
  • Easily Portable and Compact
  • Shutdown automatically in case of low fuel
  • Enhance cooling and easy cleaning
Cons
  • Difficulties sometime in restarting after leaving gas for too long
  • Low run time at rated load

2. Generac GP2200i

Generac 7117 GP2200i

With a great design and sufficient power, Generac GP2200i not only powers small appliances but also provides sufficient energy to run sensitive devices as well. It is a small powerhouse, and even with a weight of just 46.6 pounds, there is no compromise with the power it provides.It is undoubtedly the best portable generator in the market. It has an 80cc Engine that can provide 1700 watts of running power and 2200 watts of surge power. 

On a single tank, it can go on for 10-12 hours which is more than enough for residential usage. Because of its portability, it is also the best camping generator. So, for any outdoor events or camping at night, this can be easily carried and used without any trouble. In a nutshell, a real space saver with support for daily electricity needs.

Specifications
  • Special Economy Mode for Fuel Savings
  • Covered outlets
  • Muffled Engine Noise because of an enclosed design
  • LED Indicators for low oil, ready mode etc.
  • User-Friendly Operation Panel
Pros
  • More than enough Battery Life
  • Ease of Usage with LED Indicators
  • Highly Portable
Cons
  • Low Power
  • Only Recoil Starter Present

3. Westinghouse iGen 2200 Inverter Generator

The third product on our list is Westinghouse iGen 2200 Inverter Generator. It is the best inverter generator that is not only a good option for your home needs but also your outside events such as camping, small gatherings etc. It is lightweight but still has a solid gas tank and can be trusted for a smooth hassle-free experience. It is also one of the best indoor generators and a great option for those who want to purchase a portable generator for their residential needs. 

It is relatively quiet and even though it is small, it gives unexpectedly a better performance than many portable generators that cost much more. It has a 12-hour run time that is pretty decent at this price. The innovative ‘Economy Mode’ ensures that fuel is efficiently used with minimal wastage. 

It is also parallel capable i.e. you can connect it to various other variants of Westinghouse Inverter Generators to increase the wattage and amperage. Therefore, the Westinghouse iGen 2200 is an epitome of sheer perfection combined with a minimal design. It is also available in many vibrant colours.

Specifications
  • Extremely quiet with noise as low as 52 dB
  • 1.2-gallon oil tank
  • 1800 Rated Watts and 2200 Peak Watt
  • 46 Lbs. weight
  • Parallel capable of increased amperage and wattage
  • 3 Year Limited Service
Pros
  • Extremely large oil gallon – sufficiently larger than competitors
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Sturdy design and colour options available
  • Warranty service builds consumer trust
Cons
  • No fuel gauge present
  • The cooling system is beneath which makes it unsuitable for dirt and grass surfaces

4. Honda EU3000iS

Honda EU3000iS

Last one of the list deserves to be occupied by Honda EU3000iS. It is a durable and strong 3000-watt compact generator that is extremely powerful and can be a great option to deal not only with power cuts in our homes but also for outdoor gatherings such as marriage etc. It is a bit expensive but has some brilliant features that make it worth the price. After hearing customer experiences, we can declare this as the best whole house generator.

 Even with such high power, the generator is extremely quiet. On a single tank of gas, it can run for 7.4 hours on rated power and 20 hours on 25% load. It has a humongous 196cc engine that produces ample power. Overall, a heavy-duty product that is best for your home.

Specifications
  • 131 pounds weight
  • 3.4-gallon oil tank
  • Honda GX200 196cc Engine
  • 300 Surge watts
  • 3 Year Limited Warranty
Pros
  • Extremely low noise even at this high power
  • Not at all portable – not suitable for outdoor carrying like camping, picnic etc.
  • No USB ports
Cons
  • Nothing

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is it a good option to purchase a portable generator with an electric start?
A.
The electric start allows users to start the engine with just a push of a button instead of pulling a cord that starts the engine. However, the electric start may not work in times of low battery and a cord-pull start system is required. Therefore, we advise to have a portable engine with both start options. For Example, the Honda EU3000iS has both options of an electric start as well as recoil start.

Q. What is a wheel kit and is it important?
A.
A wheel kit helps move the portable generator and is extremely useful when the generator is used for outdoor activities. You must have a wheel kit provided along with the package because of brilliant quality and durability.

Q. Do portable generators create a lot of noise?
A.
These generators indeed produce some noise and it depends on the power which their engine supplies. However, with improved technology, many generators are producing as low as 54dB to 57dB of noise.

Q. How to restart a generator when it has not been used for some time?
A.
All parts must be carefully checked and especially the Carburetor. Cleaning is also advised so that no dirt hinders the operation of the generator. Oil must be checked and refilled if it’s low. Lastly, it is an important suggestion to keep the generator outside for a while before actually starting it.

Q. What is the best location or place for a portable generator?
A.
It must be outside your home and it should be sufficiently away from any combustible substances. You must consider grounding as well as it can be very risky to use a generator without having it properly grounded.

Final Thoughts

Grounding is an important technique to protect your home appliances and your family from some major hazards such as electrocution and even fire. Therefore, it is advised that any portable generator you have should be properly grounded. A portable generator protects in case of an electricity cut and knowing how to ground a portable generator acts as a shield against many disasters that may happen. We have also provided a detailed list of the best portable generators that you may purchase. Therefore, we would recommend customers to purchase the correct portable generator according to their needs and requirements and have it grounded for enhanced protection.

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