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Old 03-24-2019, 11:52 AM   #1
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Generator/ Reverse Polarity Question

Hey folks, I did the search thing but could not find any info on this specific issue. I have a 3200w inverter generator and today tried my shiny new Surge Guard 34930. I read how these generators have an open ground so I purchased this bonding plug: https://rvpower.southwire.com/produc...g-model-44400/

As expected, without the bonding plug, my SP gave me the open ground error and would not pass power through. Figured this would be resolved by popping in the bonding plug but instead, the SP now throws a reverse polarity error and will not provide power.

I tried again using my outlet tester this time and with no bonding plug it showed "open". When I plugged it in, the tester immediately switched to "correct". I then re-plugged the SP in and it still says reverse polarity.

My knowledge in this arena is marginal at best and I am wondering if anyone here has encountered this or may have some suggestions. Thanks as always.
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Old 03-24-2019, 05:10 PM   #2
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Part II

I went and bought a 30m to 15f adapter and then plugged in my tester. With the bonding plug inserted it came back with HOT/NEU REV based on the little legend thingy.

When I remove the bonding plug, I get just the middle light (open ground).

Very puzzled. Can someone shed some light on what I am dealing with here? Thanks!
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Old 03-26-2019, 10:50 AM   #3
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Well, closing in on 100 views. I guess that's something lol
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Old 03-26-2019, 11:09 AM   #4
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Check your bonding plug is grounding the neutral side of the plug. Test the wide prong to ground prong should be connected if the narrow prong is connected to the ground prong than it is wrong.
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Old 03-26-2019, 11:11 AM   #5
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do you have a voltmeter and know how to use it and use it around live power? If not get help for this.

Remove the bonding plug then:
With the meter carefully measure from the small slot (Hot) in the outlet to the large slot (Common), then the small slot yo the round hole (ground) both of these should be ~120VC. Then measure common to ground and it should be very low or zero.

if everything above checks out then try it again with the bonding plug.

Post your results.
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Old 03-26-2019, 11:53 AM   #6
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Check your bonding plug is grounding the neutral side of the plug. Test the wide prong to ground prong should be connected if the narrow prong is connected to the ground prong than it is wrong.
Thanks. Will do! The bonding plug is made by Surge Guard and that sucker is sealed up tight so I will mangle it trying to get it apart. Others have also suggested it could be the plug so I am going to make my own and try that first.
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Old 03-26-2019, 11:54 AM   #7
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Could be the generator also that is not wired properly. So need to check polarity of generator first.
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Old 03-26-2019, 11:57 AM   #8
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You didn't say what generator.
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Old 03-26-2019, 12:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by llr View Post
do you have a voltmeter and know how to use it and use it around live power? If not get help for this.

Remove the bonding plug then:
With the meter carefully measure from the small slot (Hot) in the outlet to the large slot (Common), then the small slot yo the round hole (ground) both of these should be ~120VC. Then measure common to ground and it should be very low or zero.

if everything above checks out then try it again with the bonding plug.

Post your results.
I appreciate the reply. I do have a voltmeter and will give this another shot. It's possible I did not check both as you suggested.

I reached out to Surge Guard support and the tech could not determine how I am seeing a reverse polarity error on the 30 amp receptacle but recommended trying another plug. I have scoured the internet and found only one example of this exact issue and it turned out to be incorrect wiring inside the generator. Really hope it doesn't come down to that.
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Old 03-26-2019, 12:04 PM   #10
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Could be the generator also that is not wired properly. So need to check polarity of generator first.
Thanks and yes, could very well could be. This below discussion is about the exact same problem and the pic on page 3 explains it all. An incorrectly wired 30 amp receptacle.

https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/f...g/1/page/1.cfm

So, how does one correctly test the polarity on the generator? This is all new to me.
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Old 03-26-2019, 12:09 PM   #11
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You didn't say what generator.
Hi, it's an Energizer eZV3200P

And in this video, Ray from Love Your RV is successfully testing his out with a bonding plug (at 16:30).

Total head scratcher.
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Old 03-26-2019, 02:37 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by JaysFan64 View Post
Hey folks, I did the search thing but could not find any info on this specific issue. I have a 3200w inverter generator and today tried my shiny new Surge Guard 34930. I read how these generators have an open ground so I purchased this bonding plug: https://rvpower.southwire.com/produc...g-model-44400/

As expected, without the bonding plug, my SP gave me the open ground error and would not pass power through. Figured this would be resolved by popping in the bonding plug but instead, the SP now throws a reverse polarity error and will not provide power.

I tried again using my outlet tester this time and with no bonding plug it showed "open". When I plugged it in, the tester immediately switched to "correct". I then re-plugged the SP in and it still says reverse polarity.

My knowledge in this arena is marginal at best and I am wondering if anyone here has encountered this or may have some suggestions. Thanks as always.
JaysFan64;

I have a friend that experienced exactly the same problem as you describe. I checked out his generator and it did not have the neutral bonded, hence his EMS would block power to the RV. I suggested that he make a bonding plug for use in one of the 20A generator outlets. I made a wire bypass to plug into the ground and neutral to show him that there was nothing wrong with the generator. His EMS worked fine. The next weekend, he calls me to tell me that he made the bonding plug, but the generator still is not putting power thru his EMS because he has reverse polarity. I went over and checked it out and found that he had run the jumper in the plug from Hot to Ground. I was surprised that something hadn't burned out in the inverter, but it apparently works with either hot or neutral bonded to ground. I reversed the jumper wiring in the plug and all is well. Moral of the story is to be careful of which way you view the terminal labeling.

Since you are using the Southwire bonding plug, I would assume that it is wired correctly, but you can measure the connectivity between the round ground prong and the larger Neutral prong on your plug. It should read zero Ohms or if you have a continuity tester, it will beep between those two prongs only ... if not then something is wrong with the plug. Unless someone has been moving the wiring around on the inside of the generator, you should be good to go.

I hope this helps you diagnose what is wrong! ........ Swampy
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Old 03-26-2019, 02:45 PM   #13
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You do not need the SP on your gen. It is designed to be used on power companies equipment.
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Old 03-26-2019, 02:47 PM   #14
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Does you generator have a 30A socket? or just the standard household 15/20 amp outlet?

The step I provided above will test the wiring on a 15/20 amp outlet, I can look up the 30 amp if you need
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Old 03-26-2019, 03:35 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Swampy View Post
JaysFan64;

I have a friend that experienced exactly the same problem as you describe. I checked out his generator and it did not have the neutral bonded, hence his EMS would block power to the RV. I suggested that he make a bonding plug for use in one of the 20A generator outlets. I made a wire bypass to plug into the ground and neutral to show him that there was nothing wrong with the generator. His EMS worked fine. The next weekend, he calls me to tell me that he made the bonding plug, but the generator still is not putting power thru his EMS because he has reverse polarity. I went over and checked it out and found that he had run the jumper in the plug from Hot to Ground. I was surprised that something hadn't burned out in the inverter, but it apparently works with either hot or neutral bonded to ground. I reversed the jumper wiring in the plug and all is well. Moral of the story is to be careful of which way you view the terminal labeling.

Since you are using the Southwire bonding plug, I would assume that it is wired correctly, but you can measure the connectivity between the round ground prong and the larger Neutral prong on your plug. It should read zero Ohms or if you have a continuity tester, it will beep between those two prongs only ... if not then something is wrong with the plug. Unless someone has been moving the wiring around on the inside of the generator, you should be good to go.

I hope this helps you diagnose what is wrong! ........ Swampy
Thanks so much for this. I was not aware of how to test the plug itself but will do so tonight. Pretty sure my multimeter has that function. I hope that's the problem and not the generator. Even the Southwire Tech thought it is their plug causing the issue so I am going to put my own together and give it a go.
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Old 03-26-2019, 03:39 PM   #16
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You do not need the SP on your gen. It is designed to be used on power companies equipment.
Yep, I have been told that but we will be boondocking a lot on our off-grid property and relying heavily on this generator. I guess my paranoia is getting the better of me lol.

If this doesn't get resolved I will skip the SP. Can't afford another generator.
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Old 03-26-2019, 03:41 PM   #17
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Does you generator have a 30A socket? or just the standard household 15/20 amp outlet?

The step I provided above will test the wiring on a 15/20 amp outlet, I can look up the 30 amp if you need
That would be helpful as it does have a 30 amp outlet that I attach the twist lock adapter to. Here is a pic of the panel with the protective covers flipped up.

Much appreciated!
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Old 03-26-2019, 07:28 PM   #18
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I would check the 30A outlet and the one you are plugging in the N-G plug. Either one could be reversed.

I use my EMS with my generator. I trust it less than the power company...power company does not stop when it runs out of gas.
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Old 03-27-2019, 10:35 AM   #19
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I would check the 30A outlet and the one you are plugging in the N-G plug. Either one could be reversed.

I use my EMS with my generator. I trust it less than the power company...power company does not stop when it runs out of gas.
Thanks for the reply. Going to retest this morning and will post results.
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Old 03-27-2019, 10:43 AM   #20
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So, taking the advice provided here, I did some more testing and found something strange (I think) but don't know what it means.

First step was to build a new bonding plug to see if the one I bought was a dud. The good news is, mine worked the same way as the Southwire one so my money wasn't wasted. The bad news is that I could have made my own in the first place and saved $20.

I then used my multimeter and tested every step of the way...

- Without the bonding plug, voltage showed correctly at both the 20 and 30 amp receptacles. Added the twist lock adapter, no change, then added the 30m to 15f adapter, no change there either. My tester showed "open ground" in all 3 plugs.

- With the bonding plug,voltage showed correctly at the second 20 amp plug and with the tester plugged into that second receptacle, I was getting a "correct" reading.

- With the bonding plug in plus the twist lock and 15 amp adapter I get the HOT/NEU REF error at the 30 amp receptacle. And this is where I am confused... voltage read correctly when the prongs were inserted in the small and larger slots of the adapter. No voltage reading when testing small slot and ground but did get 120 when testing the larger slot and the ground which I understood was the neutral. Pic added for reference.

So does any of this help isolate the problem?

Thanks yet again for your patience and help.
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