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Ground rod and electric fence charger installation questions

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  • Ground rod and electric fence charger installation questions

    We recently bought our own place. It’s 4.5 acres + barn with stalls and indoor. There was no fencing on the place at all.
    I have searched the forums and found some answers, but not to my specific situation. I am a newbie at installing a charger and ground rods. I've done tape fencing before, but always hooked into an existing electric fence.

    Background:
    We now have a paddock of no-climb on wood posts. I want to put up a top strand of Horse Guard tape and eventually will have quite a bit more fencing on the place, perimeter similar to what I have with electric cross fencing.

    I have a strong, hand me down Parmak charger and all the HG supplies, including an insulated wire to connect the fence to the charger. The charger tests well, since I replaced one of the fuses. I bought a ground rod kit that includes 3 rods, clamps and bare wire at my local farm store.

    My charger is installed just inside the barn, up high on the arena side of my aisle. I hope that the diagram below is clear enough. The "C" is the charger and “G”s are the ground rods.

    The barn has metal siding. The wire from the charger to the fence and ground rods will run up over the aisle door, along the outside of the metal siding and down to the fence/ground rods. So the run of wire from the charger to the fence will be about 30' and to the ground rods a bit more.


    ....(fence
    G .(
    G .( paddock
    G .(_____________________outside barn wall
    .....|stall | ........|C ......................|
    .....|.......|.........| ........................|
    .....|stall | aisle | ......arena ..........|
    .....| ......| ........|.........................|

    Questions:
    1. Is 30+ feet too far for the ground supply wire? What I found online says no more than 20’. http://www.baygard.com/service_details.php?SId=1

    2. I have read conflicting information about leaving the top of the ground rods above ground or burying them. Could I bury them inside the paddock area, to stay within 20’ of the charger? That doesn’t feel safe to me though.

    3. Should I use insulated wire to connect the ground rods where it will run along the metal barn siding? The wire that came with the kit is bare.

    4. The link above from Bayguard/Parmak says to replace ground rods every two years. I’ve never heard of that. How many of you replace ground rods regularly?

    I want to set this up, so that it works well, is long lasting, and keeps my horses contained and safe, so I appreciate any input!
    Akal Ranch Blog - http://akalranch.com/
    Simrat Khalsa Fine Art & Photography - http://www.simratkhalsa.com/

  • #2
    I have 28 acres of 4 wire smooth strand electric fence and I have one ground rod and yes it does show above ground level. This is a 6'-0 long rod driven in the ground 5'-0 deep. The wire from the charger to the ground rod clamp should be insulated and if you must run it thur the barn over the door I would put in gray schedule 40 pvc pipe or the metal tubing (sorry can't think of the name). If you use pvd make sure it is gray pvc pipe as that is the type used for electric wire. This keeps critters from chewing the insulation off your wire. My charger hangs at eye level inside my barn (covered but potential exposure to the elements) and the ground rod is just a few inches from it.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      For me to put the charger on the outside wall next to my ground rods, it would have to be inside a stall. I tend to think that wouldn't be a great idea. That's why I had the outlet put on the arena side of the aisle. I would also need to use an extension cord, also not a good sounding idea.

      Could I run the insulated fence connection wire and the insulated ground connection wire through the same PVC conduit?
      Last edited by Simrat; Nov. 9, 2012, 04:28 PM.
      Akal Ranch Blog - http://akalranch.com/
      Simrat Khalsa Fine Art & Photography - http://www.simratkhalsa.com/

      Comment


      • #4
        I have not really thought about your specific setup, but have you considered just using the Horseguard bipolar tape that does not need grounding?

        Also, the Horseguard people are extremely helpful if you call them.
        Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          I briefly considered their bi-polar, but I don't want to end up with a one vendor solution.

          My biggest question is the distance from the charger to the ground rods. Once that's answered, I think I could figure out the rest.
          Akal Ranch Blog - http://akalranch.com/
          Simrat Khalsa Fine Art & Photography - http://www.simratkhalsa.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            I have no answers for you, but am watching the thread. We have a new 4.5 acre property with existing woven wire fence that I'm adding a strand of hot wire to until we replace with new fencing.

            This whole "3 deep ground rods" thing is new to me-- all my life, I swear we only ever had 1 shallow ground rod on our electric fences... but I suppose I'll put 3 6' rods in since EVERYTHING says to...

            Could you mount the charger high in the stall so it's closer to the ground rods but not in reach of the horses?
            Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              I suppose so, except that I had an outlet installed where it is now. I won't use an extension cord for a long term set up and would rather not spend more on electrical work in the barn.

              I am leaning towards buying a length of insulated wire to run to the ground rods and going with the setup diagrammed above. I'll be working on it this weekend. I'll let you know how it turns out.
              Akal Ranch Blog - http://akalranch.com/
              Simrat Khalsa Fine Art & Photography - http://www.simratkhalsa.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                Why not an extension cord? I have one run from the outlet in my barn (up high) about 40' to the post that holds the charger (inside a box)----works great. You can even run the extension cord through PVC if you want to.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  I just had the barn rewired to remove the need for extension cords. They are not meant for permanent use. Right after we closed on this place, the neighbor's shop burned and was a total loss. I'm a bit paranoid about fire safety these days.
                  Akal Ranch Blog - http://akalranch.com/
                  Simrat Khalsa Fine Art & Photography - http://www.simratkhalsa.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Simrat;6660894]1. Is 30+ feet too far for the ground supply wire? What I found online says no more than 20’.

                    30 feet will costly but is okay if the correct materials are used. The correct material is #8 solid bare copper wire. A single piece of wire with no splices. Used with UL approved ground contact ground rod clamps. They should look like a loop with a set screw at one end. They will be made of brass or bronze. Aluminum or steel clamps will rust in the ground. To cover the rods, dig a hole with a shovel at least 6-12 inches deep. The holes/rods should be 10 feet from each other. (that means 30 feet of wire at least...) Drive the rods below the ground level, yet leave enough in the hole to connect the clamp and wire. Simply thread the wire in the clamps before attaching to the driven rod. I would dig the trench between the rods before driving them just to make it easier. The bare wire adds addition soil contact to your system.

                    2. I have read conflicting information about leaving the top of the ground rods above ground or burying them. Could I bury them inside the paddock area, to stay within 20’ of the charger? That doesn’t feel safe to me though.

                    Bury them and the wire.... Deeper the better

                    3. Should I use insulated wire to connect the ground rods where it will run along the metal barn siding? The wire that came with the kit is bare.

                    No .. see answer 1

                    4. The link above from Bayguard/Parmak says to replace ground rods every two years. I’ve never heard of that. How many of you replace ground rods regularly?

                    Depends on your soil conditions and the material of your rods.... I drove (3) 8 feet long, copper clad steel rods completely in the ground 16 years ago... they are still functional

                    I want to set this up, so that it works well, is long lasting, and keeps my horses contained and safe, so I appreciate any input
                    Equus makus brokus but happy

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      A down-loadable manual is worth several pages of explanations:
                      http://parmak.com/download/Parmak_En...et_English.pdf

                      Starting around page 4 are the various grounding methods.

                      Where I used to board, we put a 4X4 next to the fence and built a small three-sided open-bottom enclosure for the charger, then buried a GFI-protected cable to a receptacle at the charger.

                      The number of ground rods needed will vary with soil conductivity. Incidentally, frozen ground is a very poor conductor! The ground also provides lightning protection.
                      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


                      • #12
                        I've never heard of anyone changing ground rods-not that they don't somewhere.

                        You can buy large, bare copper ground wire at Lowes or Home Depot by the foot, but if you go to an electrical equipment company it might be half the cost like everything else is there.
                        www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thank you, Tom!

                          If I bury them, do you think it would be safe to put them inside the horse paddock? If I did that, They could be quite close to the charger, so no need for a long run of wire. I will be adding gravel to the area next year, so they would get buried even more.

                          I found the Parmak manual and printed it out yesterday. I'll be reading it through today.
                          Akal Ranch Blog - http://akalranch.com/
                          Simrat Khalsa Fine Art & Photography - http://www.simratkhalsa.com/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I would think if you bury them at least a foot deep, that it would be okay. Especially if it's close to the building, it shouldn't get worn down that much. Bury the wire down low to, and make sure something can't grab it, and pull it out of place.
                            www.HistoricHousePreservation.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You could also go to the Gallagher fence website, http://www.gallagherusa.com/
                              We really like their fencing and their website has good information in general about electric fence setup. Right now we are using battery powered fence chargers on our paddock fencing but when we put in a hard wired charger we will be building it a little box house near the fence.

                              You could move your power source closer to the fence by tieing into the outlet that is already there and running new lines through conduit underground. If you have someone that understands electrical work it would be really easy. I don't know about the maximum distance to the grounds but I would think 30 feet is a bit far to get a really good snap on your fence. I also think 3 rods in Oregon is more than you need unless you are out in the eastern side where its more deserty. My grounds are simply the unpainted metal t-posts the chargers are attached to. When we get a different setup I will still only have 2 grounds at the most.

                              I would not put the rods in the paddock, the less things that horses can hurt themselves on the better.

                              ETA: I don't if this helps but I pulled it off their website:
                              Location of the ground system
                              The most effective place for the ground
                              system is in continuously damp, high
                              mineral soil.
                              • At least 33ft from an electrical or
                              telephone ground (the further away the
                              better)
                              • At least 33ft from metal pipes carrying
                              domestic or stock water
                              • At least 66ft from any dairy shed pipe
                              work
                              • Not connected to, or touching steel or
                              iron clad buildings
                              • Protected from machinery and stock
                              damage
                              • Away from fertilizer, animal urine and
                              manure (corrosion)
                              If the ground system has to be some
                              distance from a high powered energizer
                              the connecting wire must be highly
                              conductive e.g. 820 ft away use 1 x
                              aluminium coated wire, 1640 ft away use 2
                              x G9290 wires in parallel.
                              Last edited by Crackerdog; Nov. 10, 2012, 12:38 PM. Reason: added stuff
                              My blog: Crackerdog Farm

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Thanks for all the info. I am going to do one ground rod, about 4-6' from the drip line of the barn and go buy appropriate, insulated wire to connect it to the charger. I am in the eastern valley, so there's not much issue with dry ground.
                                Akal Ranch Blog - http://akalranch.com/
                                Simrat Khalsa Fine Art & Photography - http://www.simratkhalsa.com/

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  I drove one ground rod about 6' from the building, buried the bare wire that came with the kit, along with the top of the rod. I'll be putting a pedestal over the top of the ground rod for more protection and to remember where it is.

                                  Where the ground wire runs down the post in the barn door opening, I put it through PVC for protection.

                                  It works great with a fully charged fence.
                                  Akal Ranch Blog - http://akalranch.com/
                                  Simrat Khalsa Fine Art & Photography - http://www.simratkhalsa.com/

                                  Comment

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