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Hot wire on top of fence and dry ground

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  • Hot wire on top of fence and dry ground

    It is so dry here that the hot wire on the fence that separates my pastures is not working. It is a single wire system, and I assume it is because the ground has lost moisture and hence conductiviely. As I understand it, in a one wire system, the ground that the horse is standing on needs to be damp enough for the current to pass through the horse to ground.

    Can I add a second wire and get the thing working again? Would this allow me to worry only about watering only the ground electrode? I do not see this drought improving (central Texas) and the top wire that they no longer respect is an accident waiting to happen I think.
    Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

  • #2
    How many ground rods do you have? How long is your pastures? Is your charger solar or electric plug-in?

    Comment


    • #3
      you can add a grounded wire to your fence, but then the horse has to be touching both wires to get a shock.

      With enough voltage, Your horses will think they're Rudolf the reindeer when their nose touches it.

      to get this result:
      A) Have a fencer powerful enough for your fence length and dry conditions. Gallager, Parmak, & others have such units at the top of their line.

      B) Ground the unit with a ground plane. Multiple ground (minimum of three 8') rods driven deep and connected with proper direct burial ground clamps. The clamps that are made of sheet metal or steel are worthless in time. I use only UL rated clamps made of bronze. Watering ground rods works but is labor intensive and corrodes the rods. A possible option if you have metal fence posts is to electrically connect all the posts and the ground terminal of the fencer together with a strand of wire. This creates a ground plane too.

      C) Keep the weeds off and insulators in good working order. With high voltages, insulators fail quicker/ leak more than usual.
      Equus makus brokus but happy

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        thank you... it is a solar charger and the fence length is only about 500 feet or so. But it is very very dry here. My fence is metal pipe fencing with a top pipe rail, so both the posts and top rail are metal. The existing wire is insulated from the fence and runs along the top.

        Can I create a ground plane with the fence -- is that what you are saying hosspuller? The fence posts are already connected electrically by the top rail. Do I now ground the whole fence only to the existing ground electrode? Or with ground electrodes spaced along the fence line? Won't all the grounding fail if the earth the horse is standing on is not moist enough?
        Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

        Comment


        • #5
          You can switch to a fence that is "bi-polar" and doesn't need a ground rod....just involve changing the wire to a tape....see HorseGuard Fencing. Same issues here...dry as a bone most years (average is 4" a year). The trick with this stuff is that there is a positive and negative wire IN the tape...one at the top edge and one at the bottom and the horse simply touches both when he touches the wire..no return circuit through the ground. Tape is semi-rigid and 1.5 inches wide (as I remember)...looks good. Might take different insulators but not horribly expensive or hard to do.
          Colored Cowhorse Ranch
          www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
          Northern NV

          Comment


          • #6
            I regularly water my grounding rods when it gets dry here.

            I've thought about buying the new HorseGuard fencing but I'm too cheap and I don't want to restring the whole fence line.
            Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
            EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks for the tip on the two wire system using tape. I will ask the fencers who are coming later this week about that.

              On the one wire system, I am confused. If the ground under the horse is too dry, won't the charge fail no matter how wet the ground rod(s) is?
              Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Bogie View Post
                I regularly water my grounding rods when it gets dry here.

                .
                Me too!!
                I love cats, I love every single cat....
                So anyway I am a cat lover
                And I love to run.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ToTheNines View Post
                  Thanks for the tip on the two wire system using tape. I will ask the fencers who are coming later this week about that.

                  On the one wire system, I am confused. If the ground under the horse is too dry, won't the charge fail no matter how wet the ground rod(s) is?

                  That has been my experience....if the soil under the horse's feet is bone dry you still don't have a completed circuit and nothing much happens. This is why I'm shifting to the bipolar. I don't have to put up new posts and the tape and insulators are not hugely expensive. I hate driving ground rods and then the idea of dripping water on them out here in the desert just doesn't fly...a domestic well here is limited (no one enforces it but the rule is there) to 1000 gallons a day. I use 400 just watering horses...and it costs money and wear and tear on the well pump to run water....we tend to be conservative of that stuff out here.
                  Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                  www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
                  Northern NV

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ToTheNines View Post
                    thank you... it is a solar charger and the fence length is only about 500 feet or so. But it is very very dry here. My fence is metal pipe fencing with a top pipe rail, so both the posts and top rail are metal. The existing wire is insulated from the fence and runs along the top.

                    Can I create a ground plane with the fence -- is that what you are saying hosspuller? The fence posts are already connected electrically by the top rail. Do I now ground the whole fence only to the existing ground electrode? Or with ground electrodes spaced along the fence line? Won't all the grounding fail if the earth the horse is standing on is not moist enough?
                    Yes. Connect a wire from a metal fence post to the existing ground rod and ground terminal of your fencer. The more contacts with the earth, the ground terminal has, the better. (That's why it's called "ground") Since each metal post is connected by a metal top rail, each post becomes a ground rod.

                    A solar fencer is limited by the battery and solar cell. A plug-in has more voltage and power. The horse is well grounded by four feet in contact with the ground. The key is to start with enough voltage to pass through the dry dirt. 2000 volts might not be felt, but 20,000 volts will. Dry areas like yours require better fencers than wet areas like mine.

                    I would first try improving your grounding with a wire from the fence to the existing ground system. This is the least cost fix, since you're only purchasing a single piece of wire. (you could even use an old extension cord. Just cut the ends off, strip the insulation back a couple of inches and use all the wires twisted together at each end.)

                    If that doesn't work well enough, You'll have to chose between the bi-polar tape / second wire and a more powerful fencer. more $$$ either path
                    Equus makus brokus but happy

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      OK I have gotten such good information here. Better than I got searching the Internet for this specific question.

                      One more question... if I modify the fence (metal posts, metal top rail, wire mesh) with better grounding to deliver a shock in these very dry conditions, what happens when it gets wet again? Will I electrocute my horses?
                      Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ToTheNines View Post
                        OK I have gotten such good information here. Better than I got searching the Internet for this specific question.

                        One more question... if I modify the fence (metal posts, metal top rail, wire mesh) with better grounding to deliver a shock in these very dry conditions, what happens when it gets wet again? Will I electrocute my horses?
                        No. The amperage with these units is tiny so you'll not cause any physical injury.

                        The Object of the Exercise is to make touching the fence unpleasant. Horses try and avoid unpleasant things. As long as you can provide your horse a quality unpleasant experience you've done the job.

                        G.
                        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I used solar fencers for the last 4 years. This year I finally went a bought a plug-in fencer. The animals have such respect for the fence they won't go near it. The difference in .25 joules to 4 joules was unbelievable. It gets really dry here in central Alberta in the summer too, grounding is so important.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            On the next few weekends I will help a good friend of mine to build a new fence and he is also planning to put a hot wire on top. I hope that we were able to do on our own. Therefore we will need some tools I guess and I thought about a power rental service. How you guys are dealing with this? Do you have all power tolls you will need for different things at home? I thought renting would be a better option than to buy all which is quite expensive.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Download and print out this installation manual. See the illustration at the bottom of Page 4 for installation in areas with poor soil conductivity.
                              The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
                              Winston Churchill

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by markbnly View Post
                                On the next few weekends I will help a good friend of mine to build a new fence and he is also planning to put a hot wire on top. I hope that we were able to do on our own. Therefore we will need some tools

                                Do you have all power tolls you will need for different things at home? I thought renting would be a better option than to buy all which is quite expensive.
                                I have all the tools needed to build our fence. BUT, if you rent tools. consider what you'll need to repair your fence type. Wood posts rot and break, wire gets snagged and broken, trees fall on it, autos drive through it, insulators fail , etc.

                                Having the tools readily available makes for a safe & secure fence for horses.
                                Equus makus brokus but happy

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