How to Ground a Generator While Camping in 3 Easy Steps

If you are planning a camping trip, you have likely considered taking a portable generator with you. Portable generators are an investment, but they are useful to have, especially if you are camping off-grid. 

Portable generators will allow you to charge and use appliances. However, many need to be grounded. Grounding will help to keep your generator safe and secure. 

In this article, we will be discussing how to ground a generator, and what grounding a generator means. We have written up a guide in three easy steps for you to follow.

How to Ground a Generator While Camping in 3 Easy Steps

What does grounding mean? 

Grounding helps to protect your generator and more importantly everything that is attached to it. It is done out of safety and as a precaution should anything potentially go wrong with your generator. 

If your generator suddenly received a power surge, this can travel through the generator and into the electrical devices attached.

This is potentially hazardous because it can cause too much voltage to travel through the system. In addition to this, it could potentially cause fires and electrical shocks which are very dangerous. 

Grounding works to prevent this. It is fairly easy to ground a generator, but it does require the use of a copper rod.

Is it essential to ground a generator?

It is always safer to ground a generator, especially if it is being used for a long period. 

It is worth noting that every generator is different. It will be down to the specific generator and its make and model as to whether or not it needs to be grounded. While some generators do require grounding, others do not.

We would always recommend that you check the manufacturer’s guide to finding out whether or not the generator you own requires grounding. It should clearly state whether or not it will need this. 

Often, the frame of the generator acts as the earth wire, and therefore, the generator does not need to be grounded. If all of the generator parts are connected to this, grounding is not needed. However, if they are not, you will need to ground the generator. 

Now that you have a better understanding of what grounding is, we will talk you through the easy steps you will need to take to ground your generator.

What you will need

Before you begin to ground your generator, there are a few things in particular that you will require. You must purchase and use all of these items, to ensure that you are grounding your generator safely and correctly. 

You will need the following:

1. Copper Ground Rod (8 foot in length)

This is the most important item that you will need and will be responsible for grounding your generator. At a minimum, your copper rod should be 8 feet in length to work safely. 

If the copper rod does need to be placed quite deeply into the ground of where you are camping, a larger rod may be more suitable. For the grounding to be successful, it is important to use a copper rod. 

2. Solid Copper Grounding Wire

This wire is another important item, and again you will need to ensure that the wire is copper. The wire will connect your copper rod to the generator. Given this, you will need to choose a good length, as a precaution. Around 20 to 25 feet should be a good length to purchase. 

3. Wire Strippers

Wire strippers will be needed to attach your wire to the copper rod. Wire strippers enable you to do this safely, and they are the best tools to use. While you could use a knife, this is not as safe or successful.

4. Electricity Resistant Gloves

As you are going to be working with electricity, we would recommend purchasing electricity resistant gloves, even though the generator will be switched off when you start grounding, it is always best to be extra cautious.

If the ground you are camping on is particularly hard, a shovel would be useful to help move the earth to place your electricity rod. However, this is not essential.

5. Hammer

A hammer will come in useful to help you to push the copper rod into the ground, especially if the ground you are camping on is particularly hard.

6. Wrench

You may need a wrench to loosen any of the bolts on your generator. 

7. Pliers

The last tool you will need is pliers. Pliers will help you to secure your wire and tie it around the rod. It will make this process easier and quicker. 

Step One - Inserting the copper rod

Before you insert the copper rod, you will need to ensure that you have picked a place that the rod can be placed into the ground. You may need to seek permission before doing so.

Once you have chosen a spot, you will need to place the copper rod into the ground. You will want to ensure that the rod is as upright as possible when you begin to hammer it into the ground.

Keep hammering the rod until the majority of the rod is placed in the ground. The rod will need to be 8 feet in length to ensure that the grounding is safe. You will need a small portion of the rod to be above ground to attach the copper wiring. 

If, for example, the ground is tough or dry, you can use water to soften the soil to make the insertion easier. While the rockier ground is more difficult to place the copper rod into, it is still possible and you can place the rod in at a slight angle if needed. 

Step Two -  Measuring and stripping the copper wire

Once you are happy with the placement of your copper rod, next you will need to attach the copper wire. To do so, you will first need to strip the wire, you can do this by using your wire strippers. 

Measure the amount of wire you will need and cut it to size. To ensure you have enough wire, we would recommend that you cut off a little extra. Once you have done this, you will need to strip a few inches off either end of the wire.

Step Three - Connecting the copper wire 

When satisfied with the wire stripping, you will next need to attach the copper wire to the rod and generator.

We would always recommend using the electric safe gloves just as a precaution, but you will need to ensure that your generator is turned off before doing so.

To connect the copper wire to the rod, you will simply need to wrap one end of the wire tightly around it until secure.

Next, you will need to connect the other end of the wire to the generator. The wire will need to be connected to the grounding bolt. This bolt is specifically designed for this purpose.

To attach the wire, take your wrench and loosen the bolt slightly. Once it is loose, wrap the wire around the bolt with your pliers. Once securely in place, tighten the bolt again. 

After you have done this, your generate will be safe to use when you are camping. 

Summary

We hope that you found this article informative. As you can see, it is fairly easy to ground a generator while camping. The most important thing to remember is to ensure you are grounding your generator safely and that it is at least 8 feet into the ground. 

Grounding a generator is always the safest option, especially when you are camping. It will also give you peace of mind should there be a power surge or an issue with your generator.