How To Ground A Generator When Camping

There are a lot of portable generators that don’t need any electrical circuit for them to be grounded. However, there are some older generators that deliver a lot of power so they are necessary to be grounded. If you don’t know what grounding is, it has to do with connecting an electrical circuit to the ground. The rest of the article will provide you with more details on how to ground a generator when camping.

People ground generators mostly because of extra safety as it will protect one against electric shock. An electric shock can easily happen especially if there are any issues regarding electronic equipment that one plugs in. More often than not, one grounds a generator by connecting a copper pole into the ground. And then, you need to attach it by using a copper wire to the generator ground plate. This way you will make sure that the electrical current is safely grounded.


Best Portable Generator For Camping

Ground generator when camping, GeneracDo You Need to Ground the Generator?

There are some generators that don’t require grounding. Those are usually the newer models. However, to know for sure if they need to be grounded, you need to take a look at the recommended instructions that come with the generators. If you notice that it says that the generator has a separately derived system, it will need a grounding rod. But if it doesn’t say that the generator has that sort of a system, then you don’t need to ground your generator.

There are some generators that don’t have the instruction manual. In that case, you will need to take a look at the transfer switch of the generator. That is the easiest way to figure it out. So, in cases where the transfer switch can’t get to the neutral ground conduction, you won’t need to ground the generator. That is also called the unseparated derived system.

Some of the newest models of generators use this type of system. This also means that the circuit’s earth connection is already in its place. What this means is that the engine is connected to the metal frame on the outer part of the generator. The metal frame then is like the ground because it allows the electric current to go from the engine to a different circuit.

However, keep in mind, if the generator has more than 10 kW in an hour, you should definitely ground the generator. But, people don’t usually purchase large generators for camping.

How To Ground A Generator When Camping?

Before grounding your generator, you will need to find several tools that are highly necessary for that to be done. Luckily, one can easily find those tools in a garage so you shouldn’t have problems finding them. It’s always easier to do anything if you have the right tools.

There are a few recommended tools that you should have before grounding a generator:

1. Wire Strippers

You will need to buy a set of them. However, you can also buy a blade or the side of a pair of pliers. The wire strippers are much better because the job is much faster and easier.

2. Hammer or mallet

You should either use a sledgehammer or a mallet. It depends on the type of the terrain the copper rod goes through. For example, if the ground is quite hard and firm, one should definitely use a sledgehammer. That is because the rod needs to go deep into the ground and you can’t do it with a mallet. So, if the ground is quite soft, you can just use either a lump hammer or a mallet and you should be good to go.

3. Pliers

Pliers are meant to be used for ensuring the cable is bent correctly as well as secured to the grounding pole and the grounding connection.

4. A socket wrench set

A socket wrench should fit the size of the grounding bolt.

5. Copper grounding wire

This is an additional item but make sure it is good quality one.

Steps to Grounding A Generator

Step 1

The first thing you need to do is take the copper grounding rod. Then, make it relatively close to the generator and then hammer the rod into the ground. The rod needs to get into the ground completely with just an inch being left outside. To make things a little bit easier, you should start with digging a hole with a shovel. And, only then take the rod and stick into the ground and then fill the hole with dirt.

If you find the ground to be quite firm, then hammering it into the ground may be hard. In a case like this, you should stick the rod into the ground at an angle of 45 degrees. If it’s just not possible to stick it into the ground, then you should make a small channel in a horizontal position so it is across the earth. The channel shouldn’t be less than two feet. After you dig that, put the rod in a horizontal position then cover the rest with soil and rocks.

Step 2

Once you have finished with step one and you stuck the rod in, grab the wire stripper. With the wire stripper, you should strip back the copper wire. Then, take the copper wire and use its end to connect it to the copper ground rod. Then, you should use the plier so you secure it in place.

Step 3

Once you have finished with stripping one side of the copper wire, strip another side. The moment that is over as well, connect it to the grounding bolt. You can find it on your generator by unscrewing the grounding bolt copper wire around the fixing.This should be an easy thing to do if you use pliers. At the end, just fasten the bolt firmly by using the wrench.


By grounding a generator when camping, you will ensure safety as it lowers the risk of injuries or fires. Hopefully you have found this article informative and that it has answered your questions.

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Best Portable Generator For Camping

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