PDA

View Full Version : Generator Won't Power Up Camper



klindgren
08-30-2011, 11:56 AM
I'm at my wits end!! I have tried 3 different generators and cannot get power into my camper because of the Surge Guard Plus I had installed to protect against shore power surges. It will not let me connect my generator through the regular shore power plug. I keep getting a "Open Ground. Check wiring" error message on the monitor panel for the Surge Guard.

I e-mailed Surge Guard and they basically said it was because all 3 of my honda generators have a "floating neutral" and the Surge Guard will not allow the power to get past. They recommended grounding the neutral on the generator, but when I checked with Honda they said it would fry my generator and not to do it.

Short of ripping out the Surge Guard and throwing it in the dumpster, can anyone give me any insight on what I might be able to do?? My Landmark is generator prepped, so I have all the wiring up front to hook a permenant generator in, so I'm wondering if it is possibe to go through the Surge Guard on the generator side (as opposed to the shore power side) and get power. I asked that question of Surge Guard this morning but have not gotten an answer.

HELP!!

kakampers
08-30-2011, 12:23 PM
We had a similar problem with our Progressive EMS called and got bypass switch...when we use generator we switch off the EMS

DougS
08-30-2011, 12:37 PM
Just thinking here. Not sure how the surge guard is wired in, but if it were in on the shore line side of the transfer switch, then the surge guard should not be effected if you supply gen power thru the transfer switch. I assume you got a transfer switch with the gen prep. I'm sure others will have better ideas. I use the transfer switch that came in my Landmark from the factory, and the transfer switch works great with my two 2,000 Honda's.

klindgren
08-30-2011, 01:18 PM
Just thinking here. Not sure how the surge guard is wired in, but if it were in on the shore line side of the transfer switch, then the surge guard should not be effected if you supply gen power thru the transfer switch. I assume you got a transfer switch with the gen prep. I'm sure others will have better ideas. I use the transfer switch that came in my Landmark from the factory, and the transfer switch works great with my two 2,000 Honda's.

I'm in the process of emptying my basement so I can take the panel off and look at the transfer switch and the surge guard. Not sure where it is hooked in. I'll come back on as soon as I know.

Thanks

brianharrison
08-30-2011, 03:45 PM
I also use the transfer switch and gen wiring for my generator. I installed a second 30 amp receptical at the front of my Landmark using the generator wiring.

If your Surge Guard was installed correctly (IMHO) it should have been installed upstream of your transfer switch only on the shore power connection.

Brian

Rickhansen
08-30-2011, 05:32 PM
I have a Honda 5500 watt generator and had a similar problem. They have an internal jumper that bonds the neutral and ground that is used (with the Jumper out) to meet OSHA specs for construction sites. The 2" jumper was located under a cover on the end of the genset that required only two terminal nuts be loosened, the jumper inserted (or removed) and the nuts re-tightened. Call your generator manufacturer to see if they have a jumper kit to bond your neutral and ground. If their design allows it, should solve your trouble.

jnbhobe
08-30-2011, 08:16 PM
My Progressive EMS has a switch on the monitor panel to turn it off when I use my Honda 3K

cookie
08-30-2011, 09:53 PM
I had the same problem at one time. I jumpered the neutral to ground and my EMS is still functional. All is good now.

Peace
Dave

klindgren
08-31-2011, 06:26 AM
Thanks for all your responses. Seems to me I should have gotten the EMS instead of the Surge Guard. At least they have a bypass switch. I opened the panel in my basement and I can see the Surge Guard, but because I am so unmechanically inclined, I'm not 100% sure of what I'm looking at. I've made an appointment with my dealer, Chesapeake RV Solutions to have them look at it Friday morning. They are the ones who installed the Surge Guard for me. Basically if they can bypass the Surge Guard on the generator side, and make me pigtail I can plug the generator into, fine, otherwise I'm going to have them pull the Surge Guard out. I can't believe TRC, Inc. (manufacturer of the Surge Guard) would make such a useless product. I paid good money for something that I may have to take out. Needless to say I'm more than a little upset.

porthole
08-31-2011, 10:40 AM
Sounds to me the the surge guard is working correctly and you are trying to bypass built in safe guards.
Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Most of the literature I have read regarding surge protectors is for protection on incoming utility grid lines. For that they work.
Portable generators work differently. Looks like all you need to do is figure out how to disable it when using your genny. May be as simple as the Progressive's - turn off protection is a feature. Or if not so easy maybe you need to switch types or remove your built in and use a portable for when you are connected to the grid.

Of course, maybe it will be as simple as tying the neutral and ground together as suggested.

I have not tried using a portable with out trailer, since it already has a genny, with a Progressive EMS inline - post genset, and it works well.

Think I will have to try this later, see if it works with my Honda 3KI. Always figured it would just work in case the big one was down.

porthole
08-31-2011, 10:56 AM
Here is an interesting page I found with notes re bonding and GFI

http://www.generlink.com/generators_main.cfm

lwmcguir
08-31-2011, 10:24 PM
Here is an interesting page I found with notes re bonding and GFI

http://www.generlink.com/generators_main.cfm

Very helpful link

Rrloren
09-01-2011, 10:33 AM
I never knew a system such as the Generlink was available. Found out it costs $500 to $750 to purchase but you have to first check with your electric supplier to see if they allow them in their system, if they do then they install it, I assume at some reasonable fee.
This looks like a good relatively inexpensive solution to supply generator power to the home in a power outage. I am seriously thinking about this. This site never ceases to surprise me.
Thanks for the info.

branson4020
09-01-2011, 11:21 AM
I never knew a system such as the Generlink was available. Found out it costs $500 to $750 to purchase but you have to first check with your electric supplier to see if they allow them in their system, if they do then they install it, I assume at some reasonable fee.
This looks like a good relatively inexpensive solution to supply generator power to the home in a power outage. I am seriously thinking about this. This site never ceases to surprise me.
Thanks for the info.

They are just one of many brands of generator transfer switches available. GenTran is another and is sold at Home Depot and Lowes. A transfer switch is the only safe and legal way to hook a generator to your house electrical system.

klindgren
09-02-2011, 01:20 PM
Problem Solved!!!

Thanks to everyone who responded and gave me some great ideas. The solution actually came from Jim Martin of TRC, Inc. the makers of my Surge Guard. He suggested putting a jumper across the white and green wires on the generator side of the Surge Guard. Kind of like grounding the "floating neutral" of the Honda generator. Works like a champ! By grounding the neutral on my generator side, I do not affect the shore power side and the surge protection I need there, but I still can have my Honda generator(s) when I don't want to or don't have shore power available.

Jim suggested I contact Honda and ask about the effects on the generator of doing this, but they would not respond to my question. Guess it's a "liability" issue if they say anything at all.

Any way, I'm back to being a Happy Camper!! Thanks much,

Keith:)

boatto5er
09-02-2011, 01:33 PM
Glad everything worked out Keith!

newbie
09-02-2011, 10:15 PM
They are just one of many brands of generator transfer switches available. GenTran is another and is sold at Home Depot and Lowes. A transfer switch is the only safe and legal way to hook a generator to your house electrical system.

You can also install an interlock kit. These meet the NEC requirements for standby systems. Like these:
http://www.interlockkit.com/
and here is a Square D kit
http://static.schneider-electric.us/docs/Electrical%20Distribution/Load%20Centers/Accessories-QO-LK-PK-QO-QON/1100HO9903.pdf

John