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Old 08-18-2019, 08:48 AM   #1
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Question Reverse Polarity Blew my panel?

Hey guys

So I went to try some boondocking in a Walmart. I bought a Haber Freight Predator Inverter Generator just to for this purpose. I plugged in my 30 amp plug into it and all the power went on just fine for 30 seconds. Then my breakers tripped. I figured I had to many things on so I turned some light off flipped them back on and the power when back on. Then they went off again in about 30 sec.

It never came one again. The next day I opened up the panel and the Neutral bar and wires and panel and adjacent cabinets where melts/burned. I plugged my surge protector into the generator and it told me it has reverse polarity.
How could this change anything. Inst AC bouncing back and forth.

Thanks
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Old 08-18-2019, 08:50 AM   #2
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Was the plug in on the generator 30 amp/240 volt?
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Old 08-18-2019, 08:58 AM   #3
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Did you use an adapter on the twist lock or did you plug into one of the duplex outlets?
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Old 08-18-2019, 09:17 AM   #4
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No when I used my multimeter I got 61 volts each side.
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Old 08-18-2019, 09:18 AM   #5
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Some add on inverters are not made to be chassis grounded, the third non insulated copper wire. You have to check the manual. The also fail a polarity checker. You can not get 220 from a 120 inverter. Another thing, bringing in shore power bypasses protections you have to only power low current items. Now your are applying power to the water heater and air conditioners etc. Your inverter may not be big enough to power those items. When I installed a inverter in my class C, I had its own socket to run things like computers etc.
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Old 08-18-2019, 09:18 AM   #6
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I used the adaptor that came with it. It looks like a twist lock to a 30 amp
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Old 08-18-2019, 09:25 AM   #7
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Im in a group on Facebook for the intech sol that’s what I have. They recommend me this generator they said it works fine for them. I did chain the generator to the aluminum frame of the sol, So it didn’t take a walk on me at night. Maybe that acted like a ground. Don’t see how that can change much. Dealer first said looks like I plugged into a 240 or something I never did.. then they said maybe lighting strick. During a thunder storm my main blew one night but I was using a surge protector and that was weeks ago. I have had power for a week or so until I tried the generator.
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Old 08-18-2019, 10:35 AM   #8
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I would start back at square one, fix the wiring damage and verify everything works when plugged it. I would also reduce the plug connection to a standard 20 amp connector.

The turn off all your breakers so you do not have anything connected and connect inverter.

Then check power before breakers to see if correct, then turn on outlets with nothing plugged in and check voltages, plug in small light, check again.

Make sure large current device at off like water heater.
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Old 08-18-2019, 10:55 AM   #9
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How many watt Predator ?

Less the 3600 watts, probable only a 120 volt unit. A 3 blade twist lock is 120 volts. A 4 blade twist lock is 240 volts.

The inverter generators have floating grounds so 61 volts per side is normal. That will give you reverse polarity warning. AC is alternating current. The polarity changes 60 times a second. Tying one side to ground is a safety thing for humans. Doe dnt burn up bus bars.

Get or build a Edison plug to fix that. Google it.

Surge protectors are NOT lightning protectors. Damage was probably already there.
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Old 08-18-2019, 11:00 AM   #10
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Reverse polarity shouldn't do that in a 120 volt panel. Generator probably has rubber feet which isolates it from ground. Chain shouldn't have made any difference since there really is not actual ground in the generator circuit anyway.
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Old 08-18-2019, 11:25 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpounder View Post
Some add on inverters are not made to be chassis grounded, the third non insulated copper wire. You have to check the manual. The also fail a polarity checker. You can not get 220 from a 120 inverter. Another thing, bringing in shore power bypasses protections you have to only power low current items. Now your are applying power to the water heater and air conditioners etc. Your inverter may not be big enough to power those items. When I installed a inverter in my class C, I had its own socket to run things like computers etc.
^^^ THIS ^^^

Most inverter generators have "balanced power" where half the voltage is on the hot and the other half of the neutral, much like ocean going vessels that supply domestic power.

You can "force" a neutral/ground bond by modifying a 15 amp Edison plug, shorting the neutral (silver) pin to the ground pin (brass) with a short piece of wire and plugging it into the generator.. but this isn't necessary for most loads.

I'm more curious about the "adapter" supplied with the generator and EXACTLY which generator the OP purchased.
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Old 08-18-2019, 11:32 AM   #12
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It is the habor freight predator 3500 watt inverter generator. Maybe you can see the adapter for it when you look it up if not here is a link to a video

https://youtu.be/7mBYq9ZgbKk

On his tip 2 he talks about the adapter
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Old 08-18-2019, 11:32 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by twinboat View Post

Surge protectors are NOT lightning protectors. Damage was probably already there.



THIS^^^^^^^^^
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Old 08-18-2019, 11:45 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
THIS^^^^^^^^^

Wouldn’t the surge protector have fried too though
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