How can I use a power station safely? Is it going to explode suddenly? It is common sense that you should not put the power station on a wet floor when you are out on an adventure and that you should fully charge the portable power station before any trip. However, you should understand what safety measures are in place when using a power station for camping or converting the generated power to an RV.
In this guide, nextpit explains everything you need to know about IT and TN networking and the relevance of feeding systems. We also show you the safety precautions you can take to use your power station safely.
details of the situation:
Difference between IT network and TN network?
The IT network in a power station is a network that is completely isolated from the outside world. Between them there is a level with 110 V and a neutral conductor. Since the power station is not grounded, you can’t get an electric shock from the ground and, in theory, you shouldn’t get a shock if you drive a nail into your power station’s socket. Whatever it is, don’t be too curious to do it!
In a TN network, just like in your home, the neutral conductor is grounded. This has the disadvantage of receiving electrical impulses only by touching a single transmission point.
In a reasonably modern home electrical system, however, a residual current circuit breaker will detect that current is flowing through you (or some other “fault source”) and in such a case ensure that the current is immediately turned off in the corresponding circuit within 20. milliseconds.
When do power plants become dangerous?
If your power supply is grounded, there is no protective earth conductor – and therefore, no ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). For example, if a child puts a nail in both holes of a power outlet socket, the life-saving fuse will not appear out of thin air.
But there is another example that can be dangerous. Imagine that you have a class 1 electrical appliance in your home with a metal case. If there is a broken wire with current flowing through the housing, you will get a very small electrical shock to the toaster, such as before the GFCI tripped.
With a power station, you don’t notice anything at first because, as mentioned earlier, the circuit is incomplete, so the current can’t flow anywhere. However, if you now have a second defective device connected to another outlet on the power station and both devices are plugged in at the same time, you will be shocked again without a GFCI to save you. While it is impossible to have two broken devices, it is not impossible.
For example, if you use a power station to run musical equipment such as amplifiers, electric guitars, and microphones away from the main power source, a two-fault scenario makes perfect sense. Here’s a simple and cost-effective solution: Place a GFCI plug between the power station and all appliances, excluding those that are running directly off the power station. At around $25 to $30 a pop, these potentially life-saving devices don’t cost much.
How to integrate a power station into your motor home
A common use for generators is in motor homes. It can be very tempting to connect a power station to a ground plug so that all the electrical appliances and outlets in the motorhome work normally. However, be careful: while the power station provides the IT network, the motorhome is designed for the TN network. In this case, the motorhome’s integrated GFCI will not work!
At worst, 110 volts of electricity runs between your motorhome kitchen sink and your old toaster. If you touch both at the same time, the integrated GFCI will not trip, don’t worry because there is a solution to this problem, that is, with a special power cable with a corresponding ground fault circuit breaker, hang between them. Power station and motor home ground plug.
Note that most RVs in the US have an integrated GFCI for added protection.
How does a residual current circuit breaker work?
A residual current circuit breaker, also known as a type F circuit breaker, is a residual current protection device that activates whenever it detects a residual current of 4-6 mA, which is “off” in the integrated circuit. At the heart of the GFCI is everything that passes through the current transformer, through which all active conductors flow.
If you connect a device with a current of, for example, 5 A, this current must flow through the external regulator to the device and return through the neutral regulator.
If this is not the case, there must be a current flowing into the ground in the system. Current flow is irrelevant if it flows through the protective conductor or, in the worst case, your body to earth. The circuit breaker will automatically trip at the current fault level i.e. 4.98 A only when it returns.
Do you have any questions about the safe use of your power station? If so, please let us know in the comments. We look forward to your feedback.