Charging issue with F150 2k generator

packetjunkiepacketjunkie Member Posts: 43

I'm struggling to identify the cause of this issue and so I thought to post about it individually here in the Electrical area.

The problem I posted about was that when I connect my [email protected] XL Boondock to my F150 2k generator I get a red light on the GFCI and it will pop. If I reset it will pop again in a few seconds. I do notice that the lights on the microwave come on, so I think there is a charge going to the battery, but the AC outlets by themselves do not work.

However, connected to my home AC, there are no issues and the AC outlets work fine.

I had this comment in another thread.

Maybe a Floating Neutral issue.. Do a search and you will find lots of info...

When I first read this it went right over my head, but now that I am home and can spend a little more time looking into it - I'm still very confused.

Per the owners manual on the F150 and its generator.

Grounding Types
HEV Neutral bonded: The neutral of the inverter generator is bonded to system ground. Connecting loads that also have neutral bonded to ground will cause the ground fault detection to trip.

I used this article for information:

Where you get into trouble is when using a floating neutral generator on an RV with a smart Electrical Management System that detects a lost ground at a campsite hookup. Because a floating ground at a campground is so dangerous, EMS units from companies like Progressive Industries are just doing their job and shutting down the power to the RV. But again, since the neutral of the entire RV’s electrical system is floating, it’s not really dangerous and these generators don’t require a grounding rod at all.

If you don’t have an EMS in your RV, then you can use either a bonded or non-bonded neutral generator.

In the manual for my trailer, I found this:

When connected to an external 120V outlet or generator via the 120V shore power cord, your camper will be supplied with power. The electrical system will be grounded via shore power if there is no open ground in the supplying outlet or generator.

And with other reading I determined that I do NOT have an EMS system on my trailer, which according to the above means I can use a bonded or non-bonded generator.

So to bring this all together, the F150 has a "bonded neutral" and my trailer, which does not have EMS, is a 'floating neutral' so it should work... which means I don't think this is the reason my GFCIs are tripping on the F150 power.

But then again, maybe I'm not understanding this properly and it doesn't help explain why my EMS surge protector is saying that I have an "open ground" on my truck.

Does anyone have any ideas on if this is a fault in the F150 2k generator that I should take to the dealer or is this something related to the grounding between the truck and the trailer?


  • LuckyJLuckyJ Member Posts: 1,201


    Have you tried F-150 forums, surly some have already run into this. You are the first one i remember bringing this up here.

    Good luck

  • packetjunkiepacketjunkie Member Posts: 43

    I actually tried there first, which is where the floating neutral comment came from, but I havent had any followup and I'm unsure what to do next. Tonight I'm going to hook up to a generator and see what happens - and then I can try the two generators in parallel with a 30amp connection.

  • DaveBDaveB Member Posts: 101

    You might actually need to add a transfer switch. For the price of gas I can't see the reason to even have one built into the truck, when a Honda gennie can run for a week on what an F150 would drink in a day. a bonded neutral generator,the frame of the generator.&text=A floating neutral generator's neutral,to your existing panel neutral.

    Toronto, Ontario Canada
    2020 [email protected] Boondock Edge XL

  • LuckyJLuckyJ Member Posts: 1,201

    The o ly reas9n I would see about tye truck gene, is that it is alway handy for small quick jobs. And probably does not take any space at all beiing co celled in the truck engin bay.

    But the option is probably more costly than an equivalent independant gene.

  • packetjunkiepacketjunkie Member Posts: 43

    A friend also suggest a 3 pole transfer switch, but when I search for them I mostly get what looks like home solutions. Do you know of one thats suitable for a truck/trailer setup?

    Also, I did some more testing tonight.

    First I hooked up the 30-amp RV cable to the EMS-PT50X and then that to a 30-amp to 15-amp plug. I connected that to a Wen 2k inverter generator and the EMS powered up with the E2 error (Open Ground) and would not supply power to the trailer.

    Then I connected up a second Web 2k inverter generator with their parallel connector with a 30-amp plug. With both running in parallel I connected the EMS to the 30-amp plug and also received an E2 (Open Ground) error. Trying to reduce the chance its one of the connectors, I removed the EMS surge protector from the setup and plugged the trailer 30-amp plug straight into the Wen 30-amp plug and.... everything worked normally. So I powered down the generators and disconnected them. Started one back up and plugged the RV cable into the adapter for 15-amp and plugged that into the generator (without the EMS) and everything worked.

    I had already verified that the trailer power cable, EMS surge protector and adapter worked when plugged into my garage AC outlet.

    So I backed up the F150 again and plugged the setup into the generator and powered it up. Instantly the GFCI of the AC outlets popped, but the rest of the trailer was getting power (lights, radio, microwave) even with the battery turned off. Reset the GFCI, trips.

    So, through all of that testing it only proved that the trailer works fine connected to normal 2k inverter generators (by themselves or two of the in parallel on 30-amp), it works fine with plugged into the garage wall outlet - but anytime its connected to the F150 2k generator, the GFCI trips and no power to the AC outlets.

  • packetjunkiepacketjunkie Member Posts: 43

    I came across this article:

    and another that recommended the same plug which goes into an unused plug on the generator -

    However, that item is out of stock, but the first article explains how to build one.

  • JamesDowJamesDow Member Posts: 443

    Something as simple as a dimmer switch (rheostat style) will trip a GFCI.

    Does the F150 have anything that saves on power or gas such as a smart throttle, switch it off and see if that makes a difference.

  • packetjunkiepacketjunkie Member Posts: 43

    So since the F150 is already bonded, the bonding adapter is a bad idea.

    No, nothing like a smart throttle - but I did note that the inverter generators are 'floating neutral' where the F150 is 'bonded neutral'. So far that is the only difference in the setups that I can determine.

  • JamesDowJamesDow Member Posts: 443
    edited June 3

    I would be curious if seperating F150 (not touching) the trailer an [email protected] would make a difference. Second curious would be seperating by some distance (say 50 ft) the F150. Third curious woud be to make sure no metal contact with the [email protected] with the earth (stabilizers up) and seperated from the F150.

  • packetjunkiepacketjunkie Member Posts: 43

    Hi, James - when I did all of these tests the trailer was not attached to the F150. I didnt try 50 feet because my cable isnt that long, I'd need a 50 foot 30 amp cable, I suppose, to test. Also, stabilizers are up (not down) and this was on the ground and in my cement garage.

    I purchased the rig with the expectation that this summer we would be camping most every weekend and I had the ideal that when I needed the power (there are solar panels, but for the times it wasnt enough), the F150 would be my reliable backup. That I would skirt some limitation on hours by running the truck was also appealing (I think its around 6PM or 8PM generators are restricted until 6AM). The dealer was very confident I could just plug it in and I'd have what I needed - that I didn't get a bigger generator option is just my own inexperience and lack of understanding. I also didn't consider the fuel cost of running a V8 generator versus the small units (duh, this should have been obvious, too).

    Certainly on paper, it all seems like it should work.

    I've lost the energy to spend any more time with this - I'm sending the EMS unit back (~$300) and with the purchase of a second Wen with parallel hookup for 4k @ 30 amps (~$500, but cheaper than $800 or so for a 30-amp rig), I should be fine. With solar and those I shouldn't need the F150 generator, but in a pinch at least it will charge the battery.

    In the end, with the F150 generator, you can get power to the rig and charge the battery, but the AC outlets won't work - where on the portable generators, there are no issues.

  • LuckyJLuckyJ Member Posts: 1,201

    I am not following why you would need 2 generators, only one would work.

  • packetjunkiepacketjunkie Member Posts: 43

    The increase in wattage for use of things like the heater, ac and microwave that on 2k can only be used one thing at a time. It's probably overkill, but I have a 30 amp plug and enough juice in a pinch at not a big cost.

  • LuckyJLuckyJ Member Posts: 1,201

    @packetjunkie said:
    The increase in wattage for use of things like the heater, ac and microwave that on 2k can only be used one thing at a time. It's probably overkill, but I have a 30 amp plug and enough juice in a pinch at not a big cost.

    Ok if I would have to choose between turning one appliance off to use the other instead of carrying and setting and turning on and off the second gene, for when this would happen, well I would go with the easy thing and it is not the multiple twice the noise doubke gene. But this is just me! 😉

  • JamesDowJamesDow Member Posts: 443

    I rarely use my generator (Baja Digital Inverter Generator / Neutral Floating).
    Use solar around 85% of the time off the grid.
    Do not have a microwave or electric heater installed in my 2018 standard [email protected]
    Use a 900/700 watt propane generator, which meets all of my need. Also only weighs 26 lbs. Can run the AC, charge the battery and keep the refrigerator, lights and fan operating as desired. can run off of refilled 1lb or [email protected] 20lb propane. Noise is the same and as expected with any small generator (obnoxious).
    Connect using medium/heavy duty extension cord and adapter. Never use 30 amp hookup.
    (packetjunkie) - Can not think of a situation with what you have where anything more than a 2000 watt generator would be needed.


  • DCN082162DCN082162 Member Posts: 21

    Perhaps try replacing the GFCI. I had a pond pump that was tripping my breaker and it ended up being the breaker. It only tripped with that pump by the way. If not that, and it probably is not, I would think that for some reason the inverter does like the ford generator. I am assuming the same cables are used in all these iterations?

  • HikinMikeHikinMike Member Posts: 336

    The 2k generator on the Ford is very small. The Plug in Hybrid Ford has a 7.5k generator, and the full electric Ford will run your entire house for 3 days.

    2019 [email protected] Boondock Edge 5W
    2017 4Runner TRD Pro
    2013 Wrangler Rubicon

  • packetjunkiepacketjunkie Member Posts: 43

    I appreciate all the help, in the end I just gave up trying to depend on the F150 as a backup and put a generator in the back. With a V8 the gas consumption while running as a generator is ridiculous - I never did figure out why the GFCI was tripping with the truck and not with the small generators or plugging into my home. In a pinch I can use it to charge the battery if I need to, but the ideal of a dependable source of power kind of fell flat. And, yes, maybe two is overkill, but it was cheaper than buying a bigger unit and its there if I do need it.

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