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Old 05-21-2018, 01:07 AM   #1
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Grounding necessary? question for extension cord style electrical system

Hi all,
I'm sure this question has been answered but I haven't a clue for to search for it and don't believe I've stumbled across the answer in my prior research.

I am currently installing a secondary "shore power" system for my bus. This will have a separate 120v circuit for powering appliances which my 1000watt inverter can't handle, aka my wife's favorite hair dryer and our convection oven. It will not go through my primary system at all and will basically act as an extension cord outlet splitter in the bus. Since this technically will be grounded from the source of where we are plugged in, am I okay leaving it ungrounded in my bus? Also will I be causing problems for myself if I have them wired through a GFCI?


Just to clarify all my outlets in my primary system will go through a GFCI and are grounded to the frame of my bus, which I believe is proper practice encouraged based off Mike Sokols no shock zone.. Which I haven't read recently.. I am only inquiring if it is safe to skip the ground in my secondary "shore only and maybe occasional generator use" system.

Thank you all in advance;
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:51 PM   #2
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To be clear,

Are you asking if you can skip the ground wire completely or if you need to bond ground and neutral?
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:08 PM   #3
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What does the "primary shore power" connection look like? To most people "shore power" means a cord going from the vehicle to a power source that's part of the permanently installed electrical system at a home/RV park/storage/wherever. Does your primary system plug to some external source like this, or is it limited to being powered only by an on-board inverter?
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Old 05-21-2018, 02:22 PM   #4
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Love to hear the answer both ways: I'm in the same boat.

12v Marine battery, 2000W inverter: connect green wire to bus chassis and call it done?

Extension cord: connect green wire to bus chassis and call it done?
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Old 05-21-2018, 06:43 PM   #5
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If your source of power is from off the bus (earth) you need to be grounded to that source of power. Otherwise any potential which develops in the bus skin could potentially use a person to find the sources ground
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Old 05-22-2018, 03:57 AM   #6
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Hi guys,

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to this. In a sense I owe you my life, but maybe we'll have to settle for a brew or two.

Quote:
Originally Posted by family wagon View Post
What does the "primary shore power" connection look like? To most people "shore power" means a cord going from the vehicle to a power source that's part of the permanently installed electrical system at a home/RV park/storage/wherever. Does your primary system plug to some external source like this, or is it limited to being powered only by an on-board inverter?


I apologise this diagram is hideous, but I got distracted at work and didn't get around to making this on my computer. I hope this illustrates my primary and proposed secondary system

There are also solar panels in there I forgot to add but I don't think that matters for this.

Here are some pictures of my system if relevant, there is black heat shrink acting as a stripe mark to separate the neutral (left one is striped)and ground wires


Based off this diagram



@pnwsteve, thank you for asking such a relevant question which I didn't consider... I haven't set up anything AC other than my battery charger, currently neutral is not grounded. Would you recommend I bond it before the AC in or after the ac out ? Is it okay if I just wire it into the ground bus bar? I believe I have a second insulated bar in my box for my unbonded neutral. I'll be consulting 2-3 electricians (one to assist with installing my outlets before my move, one family member who I'll be seeing once I move, and a friend I haven't seen in awhile) over the coming months to verify since I'm clearly not qualified to do this solo. You're welcome to stop by too if you want! *Wink

So I guess now I have two questions about

1. If I need to ground my secondary shore power only electrical system to bus?(I think mgulley says I best not ground this to the bus to avoid a hot skin condition)
And
2. where to bond my neutral and ground for my "primary system".

Thank you again everyone for your input, it is very much appreciated!!
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Old 05-22-2018, 08:29 AM   #7
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I wish I was qualified to give a really great technical answer. I'm not... only a tiny bit of real world experience.

I did the research back when I was hooking up my system and I felt the answer was to ground everything - which I did and it is all working as expected. The breaker panels, inverter, etc... are all grounded to the chassis.

All of my outside power comes thru a Progressive Dynamics PD52DCSV. I've never connected to a generator.
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:05 AM   #8
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Yes, ground always. Think of your bus like it's an appliance - a washing machine for instance. With any connection to mains you should ground because there's always the ever so unlikely possibility that a wire could be frayed (most likely outside) and will touch the bus metal. Without grounding the breakers and/or GFCIs will not trip and the skin will be electrified.
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Old 05-22-2018, 10:28 AM   #9
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In the pic of the breaker box, why haven't you connected the neutral incoming wire to the neutral bar, directly opposite the ground bar. I see 2 wires on the ground with one having black heat shrink on it. Is that what you consider your neutral?
You have me confused as to what you are doing because I also see a white wire with black heatshrink going nowhere.
Wondering who is confused, you or me?

John
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Old 05-22-2018, 01:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazty View Post
Yes, ground always. Think of your bus like it's an appliance - a washing machine for instance. With any connection to mains you should ground because there's always the ever so unlikely possibility that a wire could be frayed (most likely outside) and will touch the bus metal. Without grounding the breakers and/or GFCIs will not trip and the skin will be electrified.
Thank you Jazty! So I will ground my secondary system to my bus frame.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackJohn View Post
In the pic of the breaker box, why haven't you connected the neutral incoming wire to the neutral bar, directly opposite the ground bar. I see 2 wires on the ground with one having black heat shrink on it. Is that what you consider your neutral?
You have me confused as to what you are doing because I also see a white wire with black heatshrink going nowhere.
Wondering who is confused, you or me?

John
That would be me. And perhaps my electrician friend. I have no reason to have not connected the incoming neutral wires to the bar other than ignorance. You are correct that the outgoing neutral wire goes to nothing at the moment. I will ask him about these next time he comes to help.

Thank you for for looking out for my safety.
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