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Can energizer be too close to ground rods?

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  • Can energizer be too close to ground rods?

    Trouble shooting my new fence: I got no hot, or very little. Solar enegergizer with three, six foot galvanized ground rods spaced ten feet apart. Is it possible that the energizer is too close (20”), to that first ground rod?
    I’ll be moving it to see, but have been racking my brain trying to find the problem.
    Thanks

  • #2
    Do you have your ground wire clamped to each rod or just wrapped around?

    Comment


    • #3
      6' grounding rods sound a little short to me; mine are 8'

      Comment


      • #4
        might be the battery at fault... disconnect the solar panel then check voltage on the battery... fully charged for a 12 volt battery is is about 12.6 VDC .... if it less than 12 volts there might be a dead cell in the battery

        while you are there recording stuff check the solar panel's voltage... a 12 volt panel should be putting out about 17.5 volts ..... there should be a sticker on the back of the panel indicating its wattage and voltage

        Comment


        • #5
          My ground rods are always closer than that.

          Did you open, and then connect all the wires on the new energizer? They usually ship with the battery disconnected from the solar panel, and with the batteries uncharged. You usually have to charge it for a day or two before turning on the fence.

          The next thing is to do the simplest possible test - disconnect the fence from the energizer, test if the energizer with no fence is hot. If not, it's the energizer. If yes, then the fence is shorting out.

          Look for any inadvertent wires that are accidentally connecting the hot side directly to ground. Could be a miswire, could also be a situation where your hot wire is accidentally too close to some other metal, like if you have a mesh fence as part of the mix, or a metal gate.

          It's not likely for you this time of year, but the other way to have your ground unhappy is to have the ground really really dry - either from drought or from hard frozen. Watering your ground rods sometimes is helpful.
          If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

          Comment


          • #6
            The direct answer to your question is no, the distance to the first ground rod isn't the issue.

            The bigger question is - how far are they in the ground, what type of soil do you have, and how wet/dry is the soil? I have 8' rods but I can tell you they aren't all that far into the ground, maybe only 4' - compacted red clay soil.

            I second the question of - are the wires actually clamped to the rods, or just wrapped? What material are the rods?

            Have you tested the voltage right off the charger? If so, what is that reading? I always start there.

            If it's hot enough at the charger itself, and you have proper connection between it and the first ground rod, and all subsequent rods, then if the soil is too dry it won't conduct well.

            If all that is good, then check the connection between the charger and the fence - broken wires, loose connector. Then check that strand.

            If you're not even getting a good reading coming right off the charger, then the issue is the charger, either it never fully charged, or it's a bad battery. Did you set it out to charge, in the sun, turned off, for at least a few days?

            I'm not sure where exactly the voltage is dropping off, or what you've tested, but that's where I start when I'm having issues.
            ______________________________
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

            Comment


            • #7
              Test the charger all alone to see if it's hot. I've never bothered to drive a ground rod 6' deep nor have I needed to clamp the wire to the rod itself. I mean it's good to do, but you should be getting a hot fence with less work than all that.

              Take the wire loose and test your charger.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Thank you all for your input. While I’m not an expert, I do have many years of experience with the plug in type of charger.
                I replaced the board fence on 4 acre pasture with three strand of electrobraid. Used all new materials, braid, connectors, clamps etc. no corrosion here. Parmak Rep said 6v solar pak would be more than adequate for my application. Unit charged in the sun for five days. When turned on it goes through it’s diagnostic check fine.
                Insulators are good, fence isn’t touching anything, not even a blade of grass.
                Opened unit, battery connections fine, pulled battery and tested, 6volt battery putting out 7.2.
                I don’t have a fence tester but have ordered one. I’m a spit on a piece of grass and hold on fence type. I’ve gripped this fence tightly in my hand and feel nothing. I disconnected two of the three strands, thinking this energizer isn’t big enough. I’m putting power to one strand only yet when I hold the fence I only feel a slight tic, tic, tic. I even held my finger on the bare part of the insulated 14ga cable running from charger to fence. I felt a slightly stronger Tick, Tick, Tick, but should have yelled OUCH followed by cussing.
                Six foot galvanized ground rods with bona fide ground clamps, three in total spaced ten feet. Thinking to add another eight footer as this ground is at the highest elevation of the farm and we had a moderate drought this summer. I’ll even pour some salt water around them.
                I’ll take energizer to my fix it man at our feed store which sells their brand of energizers, to have it tested.
                Seems to me it’s got to be my ground or this energizer?
                Thanks again!

                Comment


                • #9
                  If it's like my Parmac solar, the top itself can be popped off of the body. Check the internal leads to ensure they are not broken somehow. If it's not knocking the snot out of you holding bare 14g copper, it's the charger.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by leaf View Post
                    Thank you all for your input. While I’m not an expert, I do have many years of experience with the plug in type of charger.
                    I replaced the board fence on 4 acre pasture with three strand of electrobraid. Used all new materials, braid, connectors, clamps etc. no corrosion here. Parmak Rep said 6v solar pak would be more than adequate for my application. Unit charged in the sun for five days. When turned on it goes through it’s diagnostic check fine.
                    Insulators are good, fence isn’t touching anything, not even a blade of grass.
                    Opened unit, battery connections fine, pulled battery and tested, 6volt battery putting out 7.2.
                    I don’t have a fence tester but have ordered one. I’m a spit on a piece of grass and hold on fence type. I’ve gripped this fence tightly in my hand and feel nothing. I disconnected two of the three strands, thinking this energizer isn’t big enough. I’m putting power to one strand only yet when I hold the fence I only feel a slight tic, tic, tic. I even held my finger on the bare part of the insulated 14ga cable running from charger to fence. I felt a slightly stronger Tick, Tick, Tick, but should have yelled OUCH followed by cussing.
                    Six foot galvanized ground rods with bona fide ground clamps, three in total spaced ten feet. Thinking to add another eight footer as this ground is at the highest elevation of the farm and we had a moderate drought this summer. I’ll even pour some salt water around them.
                    I’ll take energizer to my fix it man at our feed store which sells their brand of energizers, to have it tested.
                    Seems to me it’s got to be my ground or this energizer?
                    Thanks again!
                    Those are all good tests. It sounds like the energizer is working.

                    My Parmak has a meter right on it that lets you see if it's energized, does yours? If it's happy then I think that's not the problem.

                    The two things I'd be thinking about next are:

                    1. Watering the ground rods
                    2. What shoes are you wearing? Is it possible that you're wearing boots with electrical resistance?
                    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I've used the Parmak 6v charger for years, connected to around 10,000' linear feet of Horseguard tape, quite a few places end up with brush touching it, and it charges the whole fence fine.

                      I even held my finger on the bare part of the insulated 14ga cable running from charger to fence. I felt a slightly stronger Tick, Tick, Tick, but should have yelled OUCH followed by cussing.
                      If you aren't feeling much of anything on the wire going from the charger to the fence, then try a new wire - that's the source of the problem (the charger or the wire), not farther down the line. Make sure you've got both + and - cables properly wound and clamped on the terminals. Redo those connections if you haven't tried that yet.
                      ______________________________
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Definitely agree with those who say to test the charger terminals themselves to make sure the charger is working correctly.

                        Originally posted by TMares View Post
                        If it's like my Parmac solar, the top itself can be popped off of the body. Check the internal leads to ensure they are not broken somehow. If it's not knocking the snot out of you holding bare 14g copper, it's the charger.
                        Had something similar happen. When I put up my new Parmak solar charger, it wasn't registering very high. Hubby pulled it apart and one of the leads wasn't soldered correctly (or something along those lines). He touched it up and it's been fine ever since.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by leaf View Post
                          I even held my finger on the bare part of the insulated 14ga cable running from charger to fence. I felt a slightly stronger Tick, Tick, Tick, but should have yelled OUCH followed by cussing.
                          This tests a combination of your charger output and your current grounding system. To test the charger output by itself (to see whether the problem is there or in the ground) I use the fence tester right from the hot post to the ground post on the charger. I wouldn't be brave enough to touch both (I hate shocks), but it should be safe. THAT should make you yell OUCH. If that is hot but the hot post to actual earth is not, then I'd look to my grounding system.

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