Safety is the most crucial concern while running a generator. One of the main factors affecting your safety while working with a generator is grounding. In this article, we are going to discuss the difference between bonded neutral and floating neutral generators. These terms may seem very difficult and out of the world to a lot of us, but it is important to know about them.
Difference Between Bonded Neutral and Floating Neutral Generators
Bonded Neutral Generators
A bonded neutral generator is the one in which the neutral is bonded to the generator’s frame. In such situations, the transfer switch must transfer the neutral to satisfy the NEC’s Safety standards. National Electric Code (NEC) article 250 deals with such regulations. The rule further explains that the neutral must be grounded to the nearest possible point and must not be grounded twice to make sure no induced voltages or currents occur.
If you were to connect your generator to your home, you must know the basics of home electricity functioning. When the current comes in from the utility supplier, it is controlled by your home’s electrical panel. It flows through the circuits and then comes back to the main panel. When you connect the generator to the home, you use a transfer switch. A transfer switch connects the live wire to the home’s terminal so that the current from the generator flows into your home. The generator already contains a neutral, and you must not ground the neutral twice. The transfer switch, in this case, must transfer the neutral to the generator’s neutral terminal.
In this way, the load will be completely isolated and mounted to the generator instead of the home electrical panel. It is a safe situation now, and you can work without any worries.
Floating Neutral Generators
A floating neutral generator is one where the neutral is not bonded to the frame of the generator. Here, the ground must be provided by the home panel. The transfer switch won’t provide the neutral in this case.
In such a situation, both wires are considered to be hot wires and carry the current. If a short circuit happens, there will be no return path for the current to flow; all the current will flow towards the ground from the metal frame of the generator. It will keep you safe from short circuits. Floating generators are commonly used for systems with an already grounded neutral such as RVs and outdoor purposes.
Checking for Floating Neutral and Bonded Neutral Generators
It will be mentioned in the user manual of your generator. If you don’t have it with you, you can check the generator’s outlets.
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