As an outdoor enthusiast and full-time traveler I’ve learned first hand that Predator portable generators are essential tools to have during your outdoor adventures, unexpected weather events, or emergencies. Predator generators are reliable and durable devices which provide enough electricity to get me through anything, but only if they are properly grounded.
Fortunately, most Predator generators have a bonded neutral that grounds them. However, not all Predator generators are neutral bonded. Some models use a floating neutral design. The differences between the two determine how these two types of generators function and how you ground them.
To help you out I’ve done a little research to help get a better understanding of Predator Generators. By reading further, I’m sure you will learn how to identify the type of generator you have and how you can properly ground it the same ways I have.
How To Know If My Predator Generator is Neutral Bonded
While it is very easy to know which grounding configuration your Predator generator uses, it does require some effort. All configurations can look similar from the outside, but most models will mention their configuration in their owner’s manuals.
Ask the Manufacturer
However, if the manual does not mention the configuration, you must seek a third-party solution. One such method is to contact the manufacturer. Their technical support team should have your Predator model’s configuration information on hand.
Use a Continuity Tester
Testing circuit continuity is another great way to know if your Predator generator has a bonded neutral. You can conduct this test using a dedicated continuity tester or with a multimeter in resistance or “ohms” mode.
With your meter ready to go, you test for continuity or minimum ohms across the 120-volt “live” receptacle and the U-shaped ground connector. If the test succeeds, your generator is neutral bonded. Otherwise, it has a floating neutral.
Predator Generator Grounding Configurations
Predator portable generators pose serious hazard risks if you do not take the necessary precautions, with electrical faults as the most common hazard. Faults degrade the generator’s output while increasing the risks for shocks, fires, and other hazards.
Luckily, properly grounding your generator will divert unwanted and excess current to the ground through the least resistive path possible. In most cases, this means connecting the neutral wire to the frame. However, different generators do this differently.
- Bonded Neutral – In these models, the neutral line connects directly to the frame inside the generator.
- GFCI Bonded Neutral – Quickly replacing the standard configuration, Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protected bonded neutral generators provide GFCI protection that can detect and trip on the smallest faults.
- Floating Neutral – Some generators use a floating neutral design that keeps their neutral wires disconnected from the frame or ground. This makes both receptacle wires live.
How to Properly Ground a Predator Generator
Your generator’s grounding configuration largely determines how and if you need to ground it. This is because you never want to hook a neutral-bonded generator to a neutral-bonded home service panel. While the risks are low, this configuration violates the National Electrical Code (NEC) and can lead to ground faults and other disasters.
Grounding Through a Transfer Switch to Your Home
However, you should never unbind a neutral-bonded generator. While you can safely bind a floating neutral, removing the bind can cause faults and other unexpected circuit behaviors. If you must connect a bounded generator to your home circuit, you should also use a neutral transfer switch or panel instead. This is especially true if you have GFCI outlets installed throughout your home.
If such a switch is not possible, your best solution is to not connect your generator to your home’s service panel. You can ground the generator directly to the ground through a grounding rod, and then just plug in your appliances directly to the generator.
Grounding Through a Grounding Wire
While you can leave a Predator generator ungrounded if you connect your appliances directly to it, you still may want to do it to remain NEC compliant. If a transfer switch is not possible with your setup, your next best solution is to connect your generator directly through the ground.
According to the NEC, this grounding connection must be done through a 4-8-foot grounding rod. Although, most experts recommend you get an 8-foot rod with a half-inch diameter because you must drive the rod 4 feet deep into the ground. You may also want to prime the spot with salt, charcoal, and water if the ground is dry and rocky.
After that, you can string an 8-gauge copper wire between the rod and the neutral line of the generator, according to the owner’s manual. You can solder or bolt the wire to secure it in place.
Predator generators are reliable and durable means for producing electricity for your appliance during emergencies or on outdoor excursions where other sources of power are not available. However, you must make sure to ground your generator first. This is easy if it has a bonded neutral wire, but not all Predator models offer this configuration.