why does my electric fence not work

For me it goes back to the old saying, You dont really know a subject until you have to teach it. I have been repairing and building electric fences with my Dad for our beef herd and sheep flock as long as I can remember. P However, it did not take much time as Quality Assurance Manager at Kencove Farm Fence for me to understand exactly how the simplest issues with an electric fence project can be prevented. PPP Electric fencing is the most efficient fence in terms of cost and installation. P Technology is constantly changing to make each project easier and easier. P The same problems need to be avoided whether we are charging high-tensile, soft smooth wire, or twine fence. P The next few blog posts are meant to reassure folks that electric fencing failures can be prevented. P Continue to follow the blog as we discuss the top ten most likely problems with electric fence projects. #1 Poor Grounding :P An electric fence must complete a circuit in order to shock. P We should be generous when it comes to the
for our fence project. P Installing at least 3 galvanized ground rods 5 deep, 10 apart creates and adequate ground bed for most small energizers. It is very common for people to install 3 of ground rod for every joule of output energy. P So if you are using a 3 joule energizer you should install at least 9 of ground rods. Typically this would mean using 3- 3 rods spaced 10 apart to create a large ground bed. PLarge ground beds in moist soils are the most effective. PGround rods should be connected using good. P Be sure not to mix metals when connecting your rods. P For example attaching steel to copper causes a reaction called electrolysis, which will corrode connections, reducing the shocking potential.


Be safe; use stainless steel wire, and brass ground rod clamps. P PIf at any point you can measure a significant voltage at your ground rods, your ground bed is not large enough. P Keep in mind you can never have too good of a grounding system and soil conditions do have an impact. #2 Undersized electric fence charger (Energizer) :P An undersized creates an ineffective fence. P If you dont size your electric fence charger correctly animals will only see the fence as a physical barrier not as a pain or psychological barrier. Basically the fence does not stand a chance without an adequate charger. P So, how do you size an energizer? P Start by identifying what type of animals you are fencing, how much fence and what types will be energizing, and will there be heavy vegetation on the fence line? Most animals can be easily contained with 3,500-5,000 volts. P Choose a low-impedance (narrow pulse) energizer according to output joules. P The higher the joule rating, the greater shocking potential over a longer fence line and weed loads. P Use caution when buying an electric fence charger based solely on the information on the box. P Energizer companies use mileage ratings as a marketing tactic. P Many energizer manufactures establish mileage ratings for their products, such as an energizer that will charge 50 miles of fence. P This energizer might charge 50 miles of golf course fence. Always, always base your purchasing decision off of output joules and a reputable product specialist. For more information on choosing an energizer check out our recent blog post about Does your electric fence problem make the top 10 list?


Check back as I describe the problems I have found to be most common! Why are my animals pushing my electric fence? It was working fine in the spring, and the is still clicking. Morgan Renner, Wyoming and Montana Territory Manager for, one of the largest electric fencing companies in the world, says this may be the most common question he hears. The problem can usually be solved by checking the most overlooked component of electric fencing: how the system is grounded. He tells his students at the many hands-on clinics he conducts: There are three things to remember about your electric fence: (1), (2) Grounding and (3) Grounding! Grounding 101 All energizers provide a pulse of energy that originates from their hot terminal then travels down the fence line on a charged or hot wire. Most users understand this aspect of. It s fairly obvious that the hot wires can t be touching a steel post or laying on the soil surface. What s not so obvious is that in the instant when an animal comes into contact with that charged wire, its body contains that energy but is not shocked yet! In order to provide a shock and thus the, the energy must travel out of the animal s feet, through the soil, into the energizer s ground rods, then into the energizer s ground terminal. At that point, the circuit has been completed, and the animal receives the shock. What might be wrong with using this type of system in most of west, let s say in July and August? You guessed it. THE SOIL IS TOO DRY! An all-hot electric fence relies totally on adequate soil moisture to complete the circuit between the animal and the energizer s ground system.


What can we do? Fortunately, there is an alternative design to use in the arid west. Take the ground system right out to the animal. Connect the energizer s ground terminal to the ground rods, and then connect the ground rods to a second wire in the fence line, making it a ground wire. We call this a As the animal attempts to penetrate the fence, it bridges the gap between the hot and ground wires and receives a shock. The electron flow is routed back to the energizer via a conductive wire, not blocked by dry soil. This shock is about a hundred times more effective than one from a poorly grounded all-hot system! Note that what s usually recommend are at least three, six foot long galvanized steel ground rods, spaced at least ten feet apart, for these permanent electric fence systems. Think of the ground rods as an antenna that collects the energy to form the shock: The bigger the antenna, the greater the shock. Steel posts or rebar are! They are either painted or rusted, both of which are very poor conductors. Also, don t use anything other than galvanized steel in the ground system. Copper components, for example, can cause electrolysis and eventually corrode the system s connections. Always use a quality galvanized clamp for ground rod AND fence wire connections. There are a few more design considerations to think about when constructing this type of fence. The spacing of the fence wires becomes more important now, because we are trying to deliver the shock to the face of the animal. What happens when the shock is behind the brain of an animal?


That s right, they generally move forward through the fence. Not good! Enjoy what you are reading? for even more industry tips news! Research and practical experience has shown the optimal hot/ground wire spacing for horses, cattle, calves, and bison to be ten inches maximum. For smaller species such as goats, sheep and hogs, six inch spacing or less works the best. Another design consideration is what to do for. Don t forget to carry the ground across all your gates! You should use the same insulated cable buried in the same trench as you use to carry the hot to the other side. To be effective, the ground system must be connected throughout your fence, all the way to the end. Don t use anything other than high-voltage, direct-burial rated cable for both the hot and ground. Any other type of cable will burn through because of today s high-powered energizers. Also, don t use bare wire for the ground, because it will corrode quickly when in direct contact with the soil, leaving you with an ineffective fence in less than a year. It s no fun to dig up all the gates in your system because you skimped on materials, or simply forgot to carry the ground across the gate. Think of the ground side of any as half the system. It deserves as much attention as the hot side does. Many broken energizers are returned to dealers every summer when in reality the problem was in the ground system, not the energizer. If you follow these few rules when designing your electric fence, you will overcome more than 80% of electric fence problems in the United States - inadequate ground systems! You might also like:

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