Bonded / Floating Neutral on Generators


Old 12-17-15, 11:35 AM
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Bonded / Floating Neutral on Generators

I have a Briggs & Stratton 10,000 w gen., and a reliance Q- series Pro/Tran transfer switch. I have been reading about the neutral / floating bonding dilemma. I am using my 50 amp receptacle to go from gen. To switch .I have read a post that describes where all I have to do is not connect the green (ground ) wire on the 50A NEMA 14-50p plug that I use to plug into the transfer switch. They say this will keep my GFCI from tripping. This seems to be the easiest fix.And of course I would only use that cord for that purpose. I would like to hear your thoughts on this

Thank you for any help ....ke1ca2
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Old 12-18-15, 05:38 AM
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
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I would suggest connenecting it according to the mfg. specs, you could contact the mfg. tech support with your concerns,which GFCI are you concerned about?
Does it matter if the generator is GFCI (ground fault) protected, and what is the difference between a “bonded-neutral” portable generator and a “floating-neutral” portable generator?
Most portable generators will come in 2 primary types, defined by the internal wiring of the generator related to the neutral and ground. The neutral and ground are either tied together, or separated, inside the generator. A generator with the neutral and ground tied together is referred to as a "bonded-neutral" generator. It might also be described as "neutral bonded to frame". A generator with the neutral and ground isolated and separated from each other, is referred to as a "floating-neutral" generator.

Certain industrial/commercial generators must be “bonded-neutral” to pass OSHA inspection on job sites, which is why there are many generators with this bonded-neutral attribute. Some of these bonded-neutral generators also might have GFCI protection built-in, due to another requirement on job sites related to ground fault protection. It’s important to identify these generator attributes at the time of selecting a generator and transfer switch, because it’s possible that some job site generators with GFCI protection will require a special type of transfer switch installation.

Please contact the generator manufacturer to confirm if the generator is bonded-neutral and if the receptacle being used is GFCI protected. The Reliance X-series neutral switching panels are ideal for use with certain job site generators that use GFCI protection. Note: Any Reliance manual transfer switch will work with any floating neutral type of generator sized appropriately.

Please contact our technical support with any questions: 800-634-6155
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Last edited by Geochurchi; 12-18-15 at 05:53 AM. Reason: Added this mfg. info
Old 12-18-15, 06:20 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 3,098
Don't go digging around inside the generator to make changes that are not described in the instruction manual.

Ideally the generator should have an easily reached bonding wire or strip connecting its frame with the neutral wiring. You may remove that but do not lose any pieces.

No harm will be done if you take the easy way out by simply ignoring the question of neutral-grouond bonding in the generator or, if needed to prevent GFCI tripping, disconnecting a green wire somewhere between the generator and the transfrer switch.

Last edited by AllanJ; 12-18-15 at 06:45 AM.
Old 12-18-15, 01:28 PM
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This is a question that is being punted all over the internet. Geo posted some very good suggestions. As an electrician I come across it a lot. I try to tell the customer to get a generator without a GFI 240v breaker but many times the purchase has already been made.

The problem is that when using a GFI ..... you cannot connect neutral to ground after the GFI or it will trip. In bonded type generators the ground and neutral are connected together.... as they should be.

The only way the generator will work is to not connect the ground wire.
Old 12-18-15, 04:02 PM
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Thanks, guys. The original poster had first PMed me after reading some of my thoughts on the subject. I strongly encouraged him to ask in the open forum because I wanted him to read what others had to say on the subject.
Old 12-19-15, 02:15 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 2
Thanks Furd...again very sorry for the PM ...I didn't know how this forum thing works ...No disrespect attended , on the contrary, I read some of your posts and thought "this guy knows his *^# " ...this is a great forum ...thanks to everyone ...It sounds like all I have to do , is to disconnect the ground wire on the blade of the plug between my Generator and my trans/ switch . Now the question is where ? I have a cord going to a receptacle box outside my house from my Gen , then a cord from the outside receptacle to my trans/ switch ...should I unwire the ground blade on the female end that goes from my Gen to the out side receptacle ...but leave it on the cord between outside rec. and trans/ switch thinking is , the house ground will ground the outside receptacle box ...???

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