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Generators In this forum we will try to answer any of your questions about the different model generators that can be found on Blue Bird coach's.

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  #11  
Old 10-12-2009
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Vadie & Bill,

I have not wired my Birds 12.5kw to the house because I already have a 20kw wired in to it. Therefore I have not messed with the neutral/ground situation.

One of the two 5.5kw portables I have is wired with a seperate switch that bonds/un-bonds the neutral. I have a second small transfer switch also wired in to the main panel if I have need to just use the smaller generator etc. 2 is always better than 1 (except with wives!)

So, neutral bonding needs to be done right and unfortunately that is not the case most of the time...

Pictures are of the 20kw in a trailer and a 10kw portable. Both I built from scratch and use 3 cylinder Kubota diesel engines of appropriate size/HP. The 20kw pictures are of the build in process. Dissasembled the trailer to put the genny in it. Got lots of working room that way.
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  #12  
Old 10-12-2009
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Thanks to all for the info so far.

I do have one question about the genset itself.

Gardner talked about the neutral being bonded when the genny switch is in the "GEN" position. Is this a function of the switch itself, or is it bonded in the genset itself ? Is it unbonded in the "OFF" position ?

Is there a test for this ? Would a simple continuity test between neutral and ground work ?

My plan was to use a 50 amp plug much the same as John talked about doing in the earlier posts to this thread.

thanks
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  #13  
Old 10-28-2009
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After doing more research I have found myself as confused as when I started. The "bonding" question is one that I still haven't completely resolved. It appears at least by a simple continuity test that the neutral and ground are bonded in the genset itself.

So.......at this point I am not going to use the Bird's genset to power the house. I bought a natural gas standby generator with auto transfer switch and will have it installed by the end of the week. It will be a lot simpler for the better half if I am not home as it will start itself and shut itself back off.

Thanks for the help.
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  #14  
Old 10-29-2009
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To sorta answer a few questions of yours. First, the natural gas auto transfer generator is really the best way to go. Natural gas does not go bad from sitting. I personally went from your type permanate setup to using my 20KW portable diesel because I am in a flood zone (3K/year just for flood insurance!) and only 7 feet above sea level. So I consider it "smart" to be able to take the big generator with me in case of rising water. In your situation, with the auto start and periodic run feature, you can't go wrong. Just an opinion....

Secondly, checking for continuity between ground and neutral is the jest of the test sort of. You could still have double bonding with that test though. Personally, as I am not a licensed electrician, having a double bonded situation in the coach really is not an issue because I consider the coach and gen. as one unit. That is, every thing inside high voltage wise is grounded to the frame AND each other. The danger issue arises because the bus is not truly "grounded" to the ground/dirt around it like the house is. That is the crux of the problem, using the bus generator to power a house in that technically there is voltage feedback from the house back through the neutral making the bus "live" sitting on rubber tires and not truly ground "grounded".

I saw this happen. Someone tried to save a few bucks and only use a three conductor SOOH cord instead of 4 conductor. They thought??? well I will just tie the neutral and ground together at the 4 prong plug. After all, they are tied together at the house panel and ya know, tied together is tied together... With this scenario, they made the coach "live" and did not figure it all out until one of the kids got lit up when the child standing in their bare feet on the ground touched the side of the steel clad motorhome hence, grounding the motorhome to the dirt via the kids wet feet. Fortunately, no one got hurt, but it was a big suprise!!

Thirdly, and this I have not personally verifed, I would bet the 12.5KW Kohler is "bonded" internally. I could not imagine BB moving the bonding point somewhere else nor would they need to. I am gonna open my panel in the rear closet and see if it is bonded there as well? Just curious...

Well, too much typing, hope this helps? Sparks away!
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  #15  
Old 11-01-2009
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Ryan,

My understanding ( in as much as I understand it... ) is that the Perkins/Kohler is bonded at the generator itself. The main panel in the bus is not bonded, as this allows the bonding to come from the main service of the campground, etc. when hooked to shore power, or from the genny when running it. In this way it is acting as a sub-panel of the campground main service as well as when running off the genny. This seemed to be true when I did my crude continuity test of the incoming leads in the genset 60a breaker box.

I just came to the conclusion is was not worth trying to set up the genny to be a floating neutral when using it for emergency power, and bonded when using it normally.

So the NG standby for the cost seemed to be a better alternative for my situation.

I did, however, find in all of my research on the subject that my garage had been wired incorrectly for the 20 years I have lived here. It was set up as a sub panel off the main BUT had the neutrals and grounds bonded in the box for all that time. I have never had a problem in that time, but re-wired everything correctly, un-bonding and driving a new ground rod for that panel.

It is a sometimes confusing yet interesting subject.
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  #16  
Old 11-01-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gcyeaw View Post
I must agree with Bill, Electricity follows the rules without any consideration of the outcome. Unless you truly understand what you are doing it is best to leave it to a competent professional. The key word here is 'competent'.
LOL- Kathleen saw me reading this thread and told her girlfriend "get ready to dial 911- he's going to play with Mr. Electricity."
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  #17  
Old 11-01-2009
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Dear Dan,

You hit the nail right on the head with everything you said!! Especially the "confusing but interesting" part. I like it when I actually learn something from time to time, this topic being one of those rare times!

I just went out and checked my Wanderlodge panel...
NO bonding at the coach panel and as you surmised, just as it should be!

For clarification to those who need it and I was in that boat for a while... Neutral bonding is the point at which the white neutral wire is tied together hence "bonded" to the green ground wire. As the professional article stated before, in a given electrical system, home or R/V, generator or power company, there should only be one point were the neutral and ground are tied together.

Once again, using a portable generator tied into a house main panel would have 2 "bonding" points. One in the home main panel and the other in the generator. Though as I did think that "more is better", quite the opposite is true. A double bonded circuit is a potential shock hazard.

So yes, Dan you are on top of the "game" with regard to this convoluted issue of proper wiring.

Mr. Electricity can be fatal if not treated and understood with great respect.
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  #18  
Old 10-09-2010
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Default Install a Buddy receptical?

Has anyone installed a 50 amp receptical on there BB which would allow one to plug in an other couch into your generator system? A friend with a Prevost said he has heard of that and they call it a buddy plug.

I would assume that one would intercept the generator output near the generator and just add the new outlet in an appropriate location. Then to tap off the power one would just plug in the other coach to that oulet. Probably one should have a switch and maybe a curcuit breaker in the system so power could be switched on after plugging in.

If this is doable and not a problem for the coach, then the next step would be to wire our home such that the house can be disconnected from the power grid and then powered by the BB generator in case of power failure that might last along time especially in cold weather.

Our Powertech genny is 17 KW which would be great if available to power the house. Also the diesel fuel is fresh at all times and of signifacnt volume.

Thoughts?
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  #19  
Old 10-09-2010
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A friends '87 PT40 purchased new came with such a plug. It was located curb side rear, near the main panel. That was a 50 amp outlet and had an extra 50 amp breaker in the panel. I installed such a plug when I had my PT 90, only I limited it to a 30 amp as I intended it as a true "buddy plug". Use was limited to the rare occasion that we needed to share with a neighbor when boondocking. I had a 15KW genny in that coach and wanted to leave myself with ample power. I simply added an extra 30 amp sp breaker to the panel and ran a wire to a weatherproof box in the engine compartment.

I was surprised to see you list your generator as a 17kw as my 2006 has a 20kw. There is a double 80 amp breaker in a roadside compartment and a box could be easily added there to power an outlet. Of course, as you stated, a transfer switch would be needed to totally disconnect the house from the street to prevent back-feeding through a transformer supplying lethal high voltage power where a linesman had shut the source off.
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  #20  
Old 10-09-2010
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i did that on my 93wb,and i have seen several other birds with the "buddy plug".
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