Tell me about your camp's electrical ground

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asteroid
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Tell me about your camp's electrical ground

Post by asteroid » Sat Jul 03, 2021 11:37 am

Hi folks,

I'm working out what my camp's electricity situation is going to look like, and I have a question for the collected power experts here. Namely, how much attention do I need to pay to proper grounding for our campsite? I've read the one other thread about camp electrical ground and didn't come out of it with any solid answers; the ALWAYS GROUND YOUR DOME thread is a bit more direct.

The camp is about 30 people, and we have two eu2200i's (mostly for redundancy but we do parallel them at times). Previously we've been running without a ground at all, which doesn't seem great to me. We live under a big flat-top shade structure (with all feet lagged down - probably a marginal ground connection) so there's already a large above-surface metal grid in play and I have some concerns about lightning protection.

I'd like to hear what other camps do. Temporary ground rod? Lightning protection? Bonding for structures? Fuck it?

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Popeye
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Re: Tell me about your camp's electrical ground

Post by Popeye » Sat Jul 03, 2021 12:46 pm

TLDR: Fuck it. but carry a ground from the outlet on the generator and use GFI receptacles. Being really careful use Arc Fault receptacles as well.

For those two small generators I wouldn't worry about it. A driven ground is a high resistance ground and with that small amount of power won't do you much good.
For comparison, you have a slow responding system(generator has to ramp up to increase its output). Under direct short conditions this could take as much as 3-4 seconds and your generator will stop/decrease output before that.
In your house/small office building you have a 220VAC system that has (usually) 200A readily available. That's 44KW (P=IE). That size system can do a lot more damage and you need protection from it.
If you do decide to add a driven ground to your system NEC requires two 8' by at least 1/2" driven copper or zinc rods, driven to below the surface of the earth. Rods should be at least 10' apart and solidly connected together with no splices, although you can Cadweld them together. For 200A use #6 or larger bare or green wire. Don't forget to pull them when breaking camp.
NEC would recommend that metal parts in your camp be BONDED, not grounded, to your ground system. I don't know of anyone who does this on Playa. An inspector would look for bonding to a metal pipe system in your house.

Lighting? My opinion, if you're going to get hit you are probably dead anyway. Read the back of your ticket.

Retired Journeyman Inside Wireman.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver

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Molotov
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Re: Tell me about your camp's electrical ground

Post by Molotov » Sun Jul 04, 2021 9:31 am

I run a Honda 3000 generator in my truck bed whem at BRC to run camper air and other camp items. For safety's sake I run a ground wire from the ground terminal on the generator to a driven ground stake-long enough to reach the moist sub-playa. I don't want anybody to get a "tingle" if they lean on my truck or camper. Probably overkill, but I sleep better at night.

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ygmir
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Re: Tell me about your camp's electrical ground

Post by ygmir » Mon Jul 05, 2021 2:45 pm

Molotov wrote:
Sun Jul 04, 2021 9:31 am
I run a Honda 3000 generator in my truck bed whem at BRC to run camper air and other camp items. For safety's sake I run a ground wire from the ground terminal on the generator to a driven ground stake-long enough to reach the moist sub-playa. I don't want anybody to get a "tingle" if they lean on my truck or camper. Probably overkill, but I sleep better at night.
this is disappointing. Where is your sense of adventure and pranksterism?
YGMIR

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asteroid
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Re: Tell me about your camp's electrical ground

Post by asteroid » Mon Jul 12, 2021 3:37 pm

Thanks! It sounds like bonding the generator to the shade structures is probably both important and sufficient, so I'll add that to the checklist and move on to other issues.

Like I should probably drag the generators out of storage and service them ...

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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Tell me about your camp's electrical ground

Post by Captain Goddammit » Fri Jul 16, 2021 6:32 am

Yeah, showing up on playa with untested gear is usually a fail!

About the portable generator grounding, you’re making a big deal out of nothing.
Honda EU generators have floating grounds, that means the neutral is not bonded to ground like in home wiring.
Read up on that (I don’t feel like typing that much on an iPhone) but you’re basically wasting your time.
There’s a ground terminal on the set but it goes nowhere and does nothing.
No one is gonna get a tingle leaning on your truck, neither terminal is wired to the frame of the generator.

It would be a little different if you were using a conventional jobsite style generator, they’re wired differently.
(Bonded ground).
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

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