Does your generator outlet trip every time you connect it to your home's transfer switch?
Are you frustrated with searching for a solution through numerous bonded neutral articles and generator forums?
There's no need to drive yourself to madness trying to understand industry jargon about electrical current, the solution is simple.
Why Does it Keep Tripping?!
In some situations, a generator outlet may trip whenever connected to the transfer switch.
The most common cause for this is when the transfer switch has a grounded neutral and the generator's neutral is bonded (grounded) with a GFCI breaker.
The two bonded neutrals between the generator and the home's main panel create dual paths on the ground called ground loop. In this scenario, it's important to implement a neutral switching setup that breaks that loop so the GFCI protected outlet doesn't trip.
The Safest Solution
If your generator's 120/240 outlet is GFCI protected, you'll need to use a GFI transfer switch (3-pole). This switch is needed to eliminate the ground loop and prevent the outlet from tripping. However, most built-in GFCI's found on portable generators are on the 15/20 amp 120 volt outlets, and not on the 120/240 outlets that are used to connect to home transfer switches.
So the only time you'll need a GFI transfer switch to solve this kind of a problem is if your generator's 120/240 outlet features a GFCI that creates a ground loop.
It's not recommended that you manually disconnect your bonded neutral. This can be dangerous, and isn't recommended by the manufacturer or OSHA regulators. Using a GFI transfer switch will allow you to connect to your home's main panel without tripping, and you'll still be GFCI protected when using your generator out in the field or on the job site.
Pick the Right Switch
Knowing which transfer switch will match perfectly with your generator isn't difficult.
The chart below will help you determine whether you need a standard 2-pole transfer switch or a GFI 3-pole transfer switch, based on your generator type.