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Old 03-10-2012, 08:38 AM   #1
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Open Ground ?

Have one of those little plug in testers. Always shows proper connection with shore power. When on gen, it shows "open Ground" ?
All applicances seem to work fine. Do I have a problem ? What does "open ground" mean ?


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Old 03-10-2012, 09:02 AM   #2
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Just a guess but I have a box wired for a generator in my house. It is a seperate box with it's own outlets just so we have some power if electric go's out and I had to put in a ground steak and ground the generator to it when in use. Maybe the generator needs to be grounded. Ours works without the generator grounded but you need that ground if you get a short. I'm not an electrican but just going by what I was told. I hope this helps but you really need an answer from a real electrican.

Thane & Sharon
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:11 AM   #3
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An open ground could be caused by the grounding conductor being loose at the receptacle but in the case you describe the generator is not hooked to any earth ground thus giving you the reading that you're getting.
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:30 AM   #4
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Open ground on generator is 100% normal and not a problem. Epically if the generator is a portable. I have, from time to time, explained why, but code does not reqire bonding on generators up to a specific size, that size is larger than a portable or most installed Onan or equivalent Motor home generators.

Now if you have a 50,000 watt home power plant... I think those need bonding. (But frankly I'm not sure since the only time I have ever dealt with something that big.. I was a user, not a service technician/installer, someone else took care of that).
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:51 AM   #5
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Let me see if I can sort this out for you. You did not say which type of hook-up you have will start with the 30 amp service. This service has two grounds on the outlet
one for the ground spade(you know the one people break off so they can use an older
outlet) and a ground to the normal spade. Both are the same ground just hooked to different places.On the 50 amp service you have the same two grounds but the wire
size is larger to handle the increased current. Now when you use a adapter to go from 50 to 30 amp service a lot of the testers will show open ground meaning what we call case ground is missing.( every touch one item and then touch another at the
same time and get a tingle that is caused by a open case ground) and the reason for
safety and is required now days. Some more expensive line testers will not allow power to go the the MH if all grounds are not present. Now comes a generator some
do not switch all grounds or one of them is loose ect ect, bingo open ground.
The items still works but you have lost one of your safety grounds. A lot of the things we use in life have plugs with the old way of doing things and they do not have this
added ground. The bottom line is some thing is not up to code but not a major major
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Old 03-10-2012, 02:34 PM   #6
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He specifically said WHEN ON GEN (Generator) It shows open ground.

You hit it on the head when you said SAFETY ground. I have a bit more time now. At one time.. .To save on wire... They only ran one wire from the pole to the house. GROUND was the "Neutral" (Houses were usually 120 or rather 110 volt back then)

Today they run 3, 120-0-120 L1-N-L2 take your pick.

But the neutral is still grounded, SOMEWHERE in the system (often at the pole)

Now,, imagine there is a hot to case short as you are standing there in your tennis shoes in water ankle deep drilling a hole (Perhaps routing out the drain)

Been nice knowing you.

HENCE the invention of the safety ground.

With the safety ground that same short trips the breaker, instead of breaking YOU.

Why is it not needed on a generator?

Because the generator IS NOT GROUNDED, hence if you are drilling away in that same puddle of water and the hot to case short happens.. You won't know it, You will camly finish the job, drain the water, and walk away, uninjured.

That is why safety ground may be left open on a portable generator. It is not needed.
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:04 AM   #7
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Thanks all for info.
Will go with WA8YXM's assurances and quit worring about it. Was good to learn terms and importance of bonding in home applications.
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Old 03-11-2012, 11:15 AM   #8
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check you automatic transfer switch to be sure it is working properly and there are no signs of anything burnt.

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