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Best non-solar fence charger?

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  • Best non-solar fence charger?

    So I'm thinking my pharmak solar charger just doesn't cut it. I don't know what's wrong with this fence. I think I've tried everything to get a better shock but nothing works.

    I think I should try an electric charger. My husband wants to hook it up to the regular electric (I'm still hoping he's just kidding.) I want something really strong to get their attention.

    Tom King?

  • #2
    The best chargers are those designed to be used with hi-tensile fence. they plug into a standard outlet but pack a good wallop. They will get the attention of anyone who bumps it. Our horses stay a whiskers length away from it.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


    • #3
      Go to Premier 1 supply. They have a great choice of fencers plus fantastic help if you call them. I had a 6-joule fo my goats and it more than got my pony's attention when he tried to go under the tape. As a word of caution, though, be careful of lightening if you live in an area prone to strikes. Mine was an attractant in the foothills of VA. Put on an arrestor.
      Proud to have two Takaupa Gold line POAs!
      Takaupas Top Gold
      Gifts Black Gold Knight


      • #4
        You asked for the best and there can only be one best.



        Unfortunately, "best" and cheap don't usually go together, but it's the only kind I will ever buy again if I ever need to.

        Their newer ones can run on either 110 or 12v


        • #5
          Originally posted by Sparky Boy View Post
          So I'm thinking my pharmak solar charger just doesn't cut it. I don't know what's wrong with this fence. I think I've tried everything to get a better shock but nothing works. . . .
          I don't know what "everything" you have tried, but I would like to point out that if the problem is in the fence, a new fencer will NOT fix it.

          Do you have your solar panel facing exactly south? That is important to get the most light. (Obviously, this problem would be fixed by a plug-in fencer.)

          Is the solar panel placed where it gets ALL DAY sun? (This problem would be fixed by a plug-in fencer.)

          Do you have multiple ground rods driven in at least 6 ft. deep & the earth in that area kept damp or even wet? (This is needed whether you are using solar or plug-in.)

          Have you cleared all weeds & other stuff away from the fence tape/rope/wire? Things touching the fence will ground it out so it doesn't work. (This applies to both solar & plug-in fencers.)

          Is your Parmak a TWELVE volt one? The 12 volt battery backup/solar ones work much, much better than the 6 volt ones. (This applies to solar only - plug in an outlet fencers do not have a battery.)

          Have you checked to find out if your battery in the current Parmak is able to charge? The batteries in solar chargers do eventually wear old. If the battery can't store a charge, then your fencer will work only on occasion. (Applies to solar only.)

          Is the battery run down from a long period of cold, cloudy weather? Sometimes just turning the fencer off for 5 - 10 days & letting the battery charge will solve the problems for quite a while. When you install a solar charger you cannot just turn it on & use it. You need to put it in the sun to charge for many days before you connect it to the fence. (Again, this sort of problem will be solved by a plug-in fencer.)

          Have you reviewed whether your installation conforms to your instruction book exactly in all respects? I know there have been any number of electric fence threads where people had NOT installed/connected their fencer & fence according to instructions, although they didn't realize this until they examined their installation against suggestions made on this baord.

          Solar chargers are (in my experience) "fussy". If you do things "right" (according to manufacturer's instructions) solar chargers are wonderful, but they don't have any room for not following instructions.

          What kind of wire do you have running from the fencer to the fence? From the fencer to the ground? Ideally, you should have a "special" wire (specifications should be in your instruction book). You should not use "bell wire" which is easily available, but something much heavier, which you can buy in Tractor Supply & other farm stores.

          If you have done all of the above & not fixed your fence problems, then I don't have any other ideas at the moment.

          Some people have commented on this board (pintopiaffe, I think) that they don't feel that solar chargers are compatible with tape type electric fencing. I have found them to be fine together but I guess that is another possible area of concern.


          • #6
            Just one more thought about fence chargers: MOST plug in fence chargers are designed to be protected from weather/kept inside. That means you have to get the charge from the fencer inside a building to the fence which is outside somewhere. This can be quite inconvenient. I have seen a charger advertised that could be plugged in & exposed to weather, but then the question arises - do you have an outlet outside near where your fence is located?


            • #7
              I have a new solar charger that I'm not too thrilled with. One calf and one horse go under the tape at will, and I'm guessing others will soon follow. They are used to plug-in fencing in another pasture, and they never challenge that one.

              Today, just for giggles, (or out of frustration if you will) I knelt down on the damp ground and touched the solar-charged fence with the back of my hand. Not exactly pleasant, but not nearly as shocking an experience as it should have been. I'm going to add one more ground rod and if that doesn't work I'm gonna write off the solar charger concept as a bad idea.
              "It’s a well-documented fact that of all the animals in the realm of agriculture, Bulls have the highest job satisfaction rate."~~Ree Drummond, AKA the Pioneer Woman


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sparky Boy View Post
                I think I should try an electric charger. My husband wants to hook it up to the regular electric...
                A not-too-smart co-worker tried that with his hogs. That evening he came home to several dead hogs.

                We gave up on solar-charged fencers years ago. For fences remote from buildings, a post was put in and a small wooden enclosure to house the fencer was built on it. An underground AC line was run to the post. The one disadvantage: wasps love the wooden enclosure!

                Make sure you have a GOOD ground system and a lightning arrestor! Without them, lightning discharges induced into the fence (it doesn't take a direct hit) can find their way back into the house/barn wiring and do serious damage.

                High-voltage "hot" wiring can be run underground for short distances. There's a proper way to do it, and wiring designed for the application must be used.

                You can find installation information and download a manual from this website. It's applicable to all makes of fencer chargers.
                The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
                Winston Churchill


                • #9
                  I have the 12v Parmak and they pack a serious wallop. I have stallions and cannot risk losing my electric fence if the power goes out. They are extremely careful not to touch it. I have one charger for the stallion side of the farm and one for the mares and foals so that if one fence gets grounded out for some reason and horses get out at least there is still another hot fence to slow down any chaos.

                  You have to be sure they are grounded. I use 8 ft. ground rods and they are spaced 8 feet apart for a total of 3 ground rods. The other "trick" is that the ground needs to be moist around the ground rods. After a very dry period the fence isn't as hot so I will water the ground rods a bit to get back up to speed.

                  Neither of my fence chargers face South but I did make sure to charge them for 5 days before using them. They still get a lot of sun.

                  These charge up a lot of fence including high tensile wire, poly coated wire and hot rail fencing by Centaur.

                  Do you have a fence charger? I would disconnect some fence if possible and test the output by your charger to see what is coming out of it. when you put the little rod in the dirt to ground the tester be sure to stick it in well and, again, if the ground is too dry you will not get an accurate reading. I would also recommend checking very very closely all your insulators and connections. I've missed a problem several times and was very frustrated. You have to walk the fence and look close. Once I found out that my fence was grounded at one of the insulators that surround the high tensile wire and are then stapled to the wood post. The staple had been driven in too hard and breached the insulator just enough that it was grounding out the wire. Also, a wire coming extremely close but not touching a post or other item can weaken the charge. I just found another problem when I got shocked by a gate. At some point the insulated wire run in the ground to connect the fence on either end of the gate is making contact with the wood posts and transmitting to the gate via the posts. I do not get shocked when it is dry but when the ground is wet and the posts are also damp...ZAAAAAAP !!! I need to study that very closely and figure that one out so I can get the maximum effect out of my charger. These chargers are incredible and can charge up to 25 miles of fence if I remember correctly and will work with even moderate weeds along the fenceline. Check weeds along your fence too.

                  Tell us more about your fence.
                  Altamont Sport Horses
                  Trakehners * Knabstruppers * Appaloosa Sport Horses
                  Home of stallions: Ambrosius af Asgard "Atlantis" & Hollywood Hot Spot
                  Birmingham, AL


                  • Original Poster

                    I have the smaller solar charger as I'm only cross fencing about 4-5 acres. I think it's 1.6 joules. I also have 3 grounds rods spaced and installed per the instructions. It's been up for about a year and a half. It started out with a decent shock I suppose. Now it's almost nothing. As a result the horses test the fence often.

                    I'm using 3 strands of poly-tape safe fence. I went with this because it seemed safer than electro-braid or regular wire. It also looks decent if you keep it tight.

                    I've tried a number of things to help the charge:
                    Cleared away any weeds.
                    Dug up the top of my ground rods to make sure the connectors were still attached.
                    Dug two holes near the ground rods and added that chemical either FrankB or Tom King told us about. Can't remember the name now.
                    Replaced rusty screws on connections.

                    The horses do test it and have at times gone through it. When they do, the fence doesn't break but stretches out and the tiny metal wires woven in it break. I don't know how often this can happen before the strand ends up useless. I'm guessing that can happen at some point.

                    So this is why I was thinking try a new, more powerful charger.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sparky Boy View Post
                      I have the smaller solar charger as I'm only cross fencing about 4-5 acres. I think it's 1.6 joules. . . . The horses do test it and have at times gone through it. When they do, the fence doesn't break but stretches out and the tiny metal wires woven in it break. I don't know how often this can happen before the strand ends up useless. I'm guessing that can happen at some point.

                      So this is why I was thinking try a new, more powerful charger.
                      I can tell you that almost certainly a new, more powerful charger will not solve your problems! If the circuit is broken at some point (broken small wires) then, regardless of the power of the charger, there is no way for the charge to travel down the fence. Take a tester & walk the entire fence, checking every few feet. When you find a point where there is no charge or the charge drops very low, turn off the fence charger & staple a long piece of fence tape over that section (lots of staples every couple inches). Keep repeating - fence on, test, fence off, repair until you get a good charge everywhere. I have had to do that. The fence tape is not too durable (or the small wires in the tape are not too durable.)


                      • Original Poster

                        Boy, that sounds like quite a task on my fence. So a regular desk stapler or another kind?


                        • #13
                          It IS quite a job. I've done it. The easiest thing is to buy new fence tape & restring the fence with new tape, but that is expensive & if you have lots of extra (even used) hanging around, you can just staple away. Yes, a regular desk stapler works well.


                          • Original Poster

                            Do you just use small, say a few feet long pieces or just try and see where it's broken and match that?

                            Generally how long were the pieces you used?

                            I loved this fence when I first put it up, now I'm really hating it.


                            • #15
                              With the fencer off, I run my fingers down the fence tape (or finger on one side of the tape, thumb on the other). Much of the time you will feel broken wire, stretched wires, rough spots. I just try to span each of those places. I just keep working on it until I have a good charge all the way. I can assure you I don't regard this as great fun but it is good exercise & a chance to get a tan if it's summer.


                              • Original Poster

                                Thanks. I guess I'll have to make it one of my weekend projects.

                                Do you have the Safe-Fence (JL Williams) products? I've found that the screws and the other little part that goes with the screw for connections, tend to rust. Dissappointing.


                                • #17
                                  This thing points to the direction of the fault and saves a lot of time.

                                  Listed below it on the same page is a little device worth it's price too. It clips on the fence and flashes a bright red LED when the fence is off. Not only is it good for letting you know when you have a short in the fence, but it alerts you when someone turns it off and forgets to turn it back on. I have ours placed so I can see it when I'm sitting in my chair in the house.


                                  • #18
                                    Non-Plug-in Fence Chargers with Car Battery

                                    Instead of the solar charger, this summer I tried a portable charger hooked to an old car battery. The battery was surplus for most of the summer, so I borrowed it from my husband. It was first charged up in the vehicle, then attached to the battery-operated (12V) portable unit.

                                    It worked very well, and the portable charger has a clicking noise that is easily audible when walking by. When it ran down, it went back onto our battery charger for the day. The horses respected it well, and so did I when I accidentally touched the wire. I was planning to buy a solar trickle charger to put on the battery, but don't think I need the extra expense, as it stays charged for a month and we own a battery charger in the garage.

                                    The portable unit was about $90.00 and the battery was n/c. The unit attached to the battery and to the fence with small alligator clips so was easy to unclip temporarily during a storm, or for easy access to repair the fence etc.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      So I tried the fence tester last night. It's one of those cheap ones that lights up. It went between the second and third light bars all over the fence. I think the second bar says 950? When I touch one strand of the fence, it's very weak. If I grab the top and the middle strand at the same time, OUCH. It has a good shock then

                                      So what does this mean? Anyone have an idea.


                                      • #20
                                        If one of the wires is not hooked up to the fence charger and you get a much stronger shock when both are touched versus touching just the hot one I believe it means that your fence charger is not properly grounded. If both are hooked up to the fence then it might be that you get a much better shock because it is getting power from both which is a no-brainer but probably means that your fence charger is not strong enough for the amount of wire you have hooked up to it OR that both wires are mildly grounded out somewhere along the way but when touched simultaneously give you the shock you should have gotten from touching just one because their power is combined.

                                        I'm no electric fence guru so I might be wrong but I do know that the first explanation is true from personal experience (not well grounded).

                                        These chargers are recommended for so many miles of fence. How many feet (or miles) of WIRE do you have...not fenceline but actual wire when you add up all strands together?
                                        Altamont Sport Horses
                                        Trakehners * Knabstruppers * Appaloosa Sport Horses
                                        Home of stallions: Ambrosius af Asgard "Atlantis" & Hollywood Hot Spot
                                        Birmingham, AL