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View Full Version : Electric fencing fading out?



JackSprats Mom
Dec. 27, 2010, 07:42 PM
Ok so I installed electric fencing around most of my 11 acres. I tested it (with a meter and my hand just to be sure) and at the furthest point the shock was coming through just fine.

Now its not making it 1/3 of the way around my pasture before it peters out and fades to nothing (gradually loses strength).

I've checked for any grounding/vegetation etc, none. Unit is for way over what I have (think 40 miles of fencing or something). Grounded to a utility ground (so I know thats good).

Not sure why it went from working fine to not working and fading after about 2 acres with no breaks/grounding. Checked all the attachements and its fine.

Any idea??

Thinking of adding another ground rod to see if that helps but what confuses me is it was fine??

any idea's??

hundredacres
Dec. 27, 2010, 07:52 PM
When the ground freezes it can cause the charge to be weaker - I'm guessing due to the lack of moisture in the ground. I don't have a solution but just know that sometimes in the winter ours is quite weak too. In your part of the country you can probably add some moisture to your ground if you aren't in a deep freeze?

JackSprats Mom
Dec. 27, 2010, 08:03 PM
This is seattle;)

Ground is a wet as you can get (trust me) just had record breaking downpours.

but thanks!

deltawave
Dec. 27, 2010, 09:26 PM
Either you're losing the current somewhere or the charger is not putting it out like it used to. What kind of fence is it, exactly? Wire? Tape? Rope?

kaluha2
Dec. 27, 2010, 09:31 PM
Mine will do that too. Here's what I do:

I carry a pan of water with me to where it is a weak signal on the line and I stick one end of the tester on the fenceline and the other end in the water. If it lights up like a Christmas tree than I know that it is a lack of moisture in certain areas of the ground EVEN if we just had a down pour. Note: Make sure you don't have your thumb in the water! LOL!

If it is still weak then something is taking the current from the line. Walk the line and recheck for shorts or for a split in the wiring. Also, recheck the ground line.

Do you use a solar charger?

Reiter
Dec. 27, 2010, 09:39 PM
I was going to ask if you use solar as well. I just switched from solar to outlet electricity because the solar was just too weak.

rose9thomas
Dec. 28, 2010, 05:34 AM
I think electric fence is a great tool of protecting your vegetation or other plants from other animals. One of my friend is having this in his farm. And the electricity required for charging those fences is generated using solar energy.

RLF
Dec. 28, 2010, 05:42 AM
I one time had a weak fence in the middle of summer. A guy I knew (not an electrician) told me to dump water on the ground. He also added a couple ground rods and said he made them longer than normal.

I'm not sure if this is standard practice, but it seemed to help.

fordtraktor
Dec. 28, 2010, 08:49 AM
Yeah,IF your charger is OK and strong enough to push a charge around your fence (i.e. not solar/dependent on sun/suffering from winter blues and big enough to carry your fence), it sounds to me like a faulty ground. What are you using for a ground (including ground clamp! -- the people that owned our farm before us had all sorts of problems with their fence, stringing miles of jerry-rigged patch wire, that we solved with about $3.50 in new ground clamps).

Good luck finding the problem.

dmalbone
Dec. 28, 2010, 11:20 AM
Ditto others... is it a solar charger? What brand and size? What type of fencing? Mine was starting to wuss out a bit and I found an area where the idiot fencers crimped two wires together incorrectly and they were barely touching. We recrimped and it has been hot as hell ever since.

horsepoor
Dec. 28, 2010, 01:12 PM
Grounded to a utility ground (so I know thats good).


You mean, you are using the ground that was installed by/for your electric utility? I seem to remember that this was not good to do, but don't remember why... I just have this vague memory of looking at this and then putting in a new, separate set of ground rods for my fencer. Much to SO's chagrin, as he had to drive those rods into the ground!

But it does sound like a grounding issue, so maybe someone with more knowledge than me will chime in on that -- Tom King is the man for this stuff!:)

dmalbone
Dec. 28, 2010, 02:39 PM
You mean, you are using the ground that was installed by/for your electric utility? I seem to remember that this was not good to do, but don't remember why... I just have this vague memory of looking at this and then putting in a new, separate set of ground rods for my fencer. Much to SO's chagrin, as he had to drive those rods into the ground!

But it does sound like a grounding issue, so maybe someone with more knowledge than me will chime in on that -- Tom King is the man for this stuff!:)

I believe mine said to ensure that the fence ground rods were at least 40 feet from utility ground rods. Maybe I'm remembering incorrectly though...

horsepoor
Dec. 28, 2010, 03:54 PM
I believe mine said to ensure that the fence ground rods were at least 40 feet from utility ground rods. Maybe I'm remembering incorrectly though...

Now that you say that, it seems right along with what I'm remembering.

I hate being the person most familiar with the whole set-up here at home and still not sure what I did or why. It is a bit embarrassing.:o

Belg
Dec. 29, 2010, 08:07 AM
Now that you say that, it seems right along with what I'm remembering.

I hate being the person most familiar with the whole set-up here at home and still not sure what I did or why. It is a bit embarrassing.:o

Probably has something to do with not putting a hot charge through the ground close to a ground that may be attached to electronics... like the electronics governing solid-state fence chargers... or your TV :)

Belg
Dec. 29, 2010, 08:24 AM
OP: Walk your fence on a quiet night in the dark with no flashlight and no headphones. Fastest and surest way to find a mystery failure. If you hear it pop, you're grounding out. If you see a flash of light, it's grounding out. That'll catch 95% of failures. I can listen to the fence at the gates and tell you without picking up a tester if we have fence laying on the ground. A good connection makes no noise. A good gate connection will have a blue spark. If the spark is yellow, you have a load... read: Fence down.

If it's hard against a grounded object like high tensile burning through a stapled insulator to a wooden corner post you kinda have to guess... that's happenned a few times to us. you won't see those because it's a good, solid, complete connection. It'll show load... yellow spark on a gate connection... but if it's hardwired like one of our lines, you won't get any indicator.

It's fairly common to have xyz metal wire inside the fence break. I use electrobraid because it meshes... but have had to replace electrotape everywhere. We now have none hot and use the scraps for scare-wire. If you are using electro-tape, it may just be an outright failure. Electro-rope frankly isn't much better.... I think it has 5-7 conductors. Doesn't take much to leech voltage jumping a break in half your conductors.

Another possibility is lightning damage. Disconnect your charger from both sides and test it at the electrodes....

And of course, the ground clamps already mentioned and moving it to it's own ground :=)

StGermain
Jan. 1, 2011, 01:31 AM
I have several gates built into to my hotwire. When I start to lose voltage, I start disconnecting at the gate closest to the start of the connection. If that's hot, I move down, disconnect the next gate and see how it runs. This pinpoints in which section I'm (usually) grounding out. Then from there I look and listen and run my hand over the fence (turned off, of course) to feel for breaks. Often an insulator will have snapped, and the wire is touching the T-post.

Good luck.

StG

clanter
Jan. 1, 2011, 09:49 AM
Grounded to a utility ground (so I know thats good).

I am not an electrician but deal with high voltage and do not think it is wise to use the utility panel ground as its purpose is to provide a direct circuit to earth ground for a shorted conductor... electric power follows the course of least resistance.... if the primary feeds or a branch feed from the panel were to short your fence line could end having AC rather than DC running down it

dbaygirl
Jan. 4, 2011, 02:01 AM
I'm no expert, but I've been having issues with weakened electrical rope fence. Do you have coated wire underground beneath a gate? I do and my friend has suggested that this wire could have deteriorated, having been underground close to 7 years and this is a very wet climate here. It's underneath a few inches of gravel. So, this week, he's going to try snipping that underground connection and linking up the wires over the top of the gate instead. This wire will have clamps so I can take it off if a truck needs to get inside the paddock for gravel or whatever. I'm hoping that will work since I've spent a LOT of time degrassing the lower wires around the entire property and that did nothing to increase the hotness. Just a thought.

Jan
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