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I have a bonded neutral generator that I plan to hook up to the whole house using a 50A cable which includes a ground wire (Conntek TES1450-20). I understand that in theory I should first modify the generator to remove the neutral bond, but I was wondering if since it's connected using a cable with a ground in it and the neutral is bonded to the ground anyways, does it really hurt anything to leave it as is?

The generator would not be connected to a ground rod as it would be connected to the home's ground (though please advise if this is not correct), and the frame has rubber feet under it so there shouldn't be inadvertent grounding of its own.

As a side note unrelated to the question, it's a low THD inverter generator to help avoid damage to any electronics (Sportsman GEN85KIDF).

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  • What are you using for transfer equipment for this hookup? Dec 5, 2021 at 21:06
  • @ThreePhaseEel I'm using a GE inlet panel going into a main GE service panel which will have the GE-recommended interlock for that panel installed to eliminate the possibility of backfeeding (the interlock model # was printed on the panel's sticker) .
    – g491
    Dec 5, 2021 at 23:49
  • Is redoing that setup a possibility? Dec 6, 2021 at 0:12
  • @ThreePhaseEel it's possible but what do you have in mind? Btw, I ruled out a transfer switch which switches the neutral due to cost so was either going to disconnect the bonded neutral or hoping perhaps there was something to the idea in this question.
    – g491
    Dec 6, 2021 at 0:24

1 Answer 1

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You need to use an interlock or transfer switch in any case, as I'm sure you know.

I know that "separating neutral" seems trite when you don't know why it is important. But it is. Without that rule, a simple wire break can cause neutral current to take unexpected routes, and massively overload those routes. A lot of the electrical code is to make sure that if a common failure occurs, something else doesn't fail catastrophically. Because that stuff does happen.

Your safe-and-legal options are:

  • Separate neutral and ground at the generator
  • Use a "knife switch style" transfer switch that throws over neutral, e.g. a 3-pole transfer switch, or alternately supply only 120V to the house and use a 2-pole switch.
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  • One generator mfgr has a docment describing for a certain series of their generators how to remove the neutral to frame bond expressly to allow the generator to power a house through a 2-pole interlock. A sticker is applied to indicate floating neutral. Are there any generators which have a switch to make/break the neutral bond or is that simply too risky? Feb 21 at 21:40

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