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Ground rod confusion. help!

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  • Ground rod confusion. help!

    Ok, I swear I've been reading through my sites, instructions, etc. but I can't figure out the specifics... I hear/see everything about just "driving the ground rods in" but are you supposed to make a trench for everything first? I had in my head that you dig a shallow trench, sink the ground rods in that, run the wire and clamp it in the trench, then cover it all up. But then I saw somewhere else that said you need you have your clamps above ground and visible for regular inspection and maintenance! I'm confused. Help!

  • #2
    I'm not an expert by any means, but this is pretty much how we did ours:
    http://www.kencove.com/fence/32_Grou...s_resource.php. It runs along side of our barn, in an area that is not open to animals, but we walk by there all the time, so I wanted the rods and wire buried so we didn't trip on them. If we had to check anything, it wouldn't be that hard to get to them as they are only about 4" below the surface.


    • #3
      OK. We are in the middle of electrifying another Electrobraid paddock, so I went out and checked around. The way my DH has set the ground rods they are driven into the ground at about a 45 degree angle, or whatever angle he could get with all the rocks around here. Dug, driven, whatever, the end is sticking out of the earth about three inches, and he has put a cinder block or big rock there. The clamp and wire are fastened there above grade. All the ones I could find have been sited outside the paddocks about a foot, and somewhat out of the way.
      He's been running his gate wires about three to six inches below grade, he uses a fancy tree transplanting spade and just cuts grooves in the earth like a ditch witch would and lays the wire in them, shoves them down carefully, then does this little shuffle with his feet to close the gap in the groove.
      I can't even begin to describe how he has wired the gates - he is making a lot of his own insulators with regular electrical fence wire (16 or 18 ga wire) and porcelain insulators or whatever looks good to him. He got mighty PO'd when he spent money on fancy insulated lags and the plastic part busted right in half. Now if he wants a lagged end he gets a regular lag eye and wires a porcelain insulator to it. The Electrobraid people make insulated handles for a simple rope disconnect gate, at $18 a pop. He fitted up the el cheapo kind to work for $6 for all three.

      Tell you what. If your horses are familiar with electric fences and there is grass in your paddock they will respect them long enough for you to figure out what you are doing. We've been putting the horses out in this paddock for a week and a half and it hasn't been hot. It has lots of grass so we pull them out after a few hours and put them up in the corral panel pens, or switch them over to the other paddock (which is hot, and just a leeetle overgrazed). If you have your stalls ready, or round pen panels to make a little enclosure (and another trick DH uses, he just shoves the panels as close together as he can get them at the joins and binds them very tightly with leftover poly baling twine. We have made little square pens and they are very stable) your horses should be safe and secure.

      I know how frustrating it is to be standing there trying to figure out what to do and how to put it together. If you know anybody with an electric fence it really helps to just go out there after reading all your "EZ instructions", (what a joke that is!)and try to identify what you are looking at. Like I said I couldn't begin to describe what DH is doing around the gates, it's just a whole lot of black wires going up, down and all around. And furthermore we have three different types of electric fence - regular wire, coated and the electrobraid, two solar chargers, a weedburner and the Electrobraid brand (solar chargers too wimpy, weedburner would have melted the copper wires in the braid and shorted it out).
      Good Luck!
      Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
      Incredible Invisible


      • #4
        When I put up electric, I asked one of the cattlemen and he told me to get my tape, some insulators, a few step in posts and string it then call him. He came over with a fencer for me to borrow, then found a longish bolt (wagon bolt, 5+ feet long) and said drive in in and told me to hook up the connections - he made me do it in case I wanted to change things so I knew. Two years later, he retrieved his fencer, and I bought my own. Ground rod? Still the same one, drove into a different location but still working. One thing to remember - there has to be moisture for the rod to hit for the fence to work. Some of the guys south DO trench them in and weld a 90° leg on them to hook the ground to - too many really big rocks but the also have to water the area to keep the fence working
        Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

        Member: Incredible Invisbles


        • Original Poster

          Ok, I think I'm getting it, or at least feel like I am. Thank you SO much for the great help. I really appreciate it.

          Couple more questions if anyone knows the answers... since we have three strands of electric, I have to "jump" them together. Is this where I start the fence and then after every gate? Or is it before and after every gate? Also, we are putting a cut-off switch on the bottom strand. I understand when this lady who sold it to me explained that I should bring my electric up from the ground to the post and start at the top of the post since I want to disconnect the bottom strand. I'm confused I guess... so I need one every single place I jump the fence wires together?? (after I even figure out where the heck that is!)


          • #6
            http://www.electrobraid.com/download/EBManual.pdf Look at page 23 to 26. There is a drawing that shows the two bottom strands with disconnects, and evidently it is being done for areas of high snowfall, to keep your bottom wire from shorting out in the snow. As I said, you don't need a fancy switch, if you are comfortable with your system you could just as well unscrew your jumper to that bottom wire. (do turn it off first!)
            This is for the Electrobraid, and they recommend one non-energized, grounded strand so there's a shock in the event of touching two strands, even if the ground is not so great, so the diagram will be a little different than ordinary.
            Hope this helps a little.
            Last edited by ReSomething; Apr. 29, 2010, 01:43 AM. Reason: turn off charger when working on fence, duh
            Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
            Incredible Invisible


            • #7
              Here's another installation manual to download and print out.

              The Electrobraid manual mentions fastening to trees, but this presents a hazard in case of a lightning strike. Not a good idea, IMHO!
              The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
              Winston Churchill


              • #8
                Here, ground rods go straight down but some angle won't matter. Trenches are for places where there is too much rock in the ground for pounding. 20 lb. sledge hammer is the tool of choice here. You can buy ground rods and clamps at Lowes and Home Depot.

                Use "split bolts" out of a compatible metal for all wire to wire connections, other than tape which has their own specific clamps. Split bolts can also be found in the electrical department of Lowes or Home Depot.