NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: electric fence troubleshooting  (Read 6190 times)

ladyK

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Conwy Valley
electric fence troubleshooting
« on: May 18, 2014, 11:45:27 am »
hello all
wondering if you have some advice for where to look for the problem:

I have set up a perimeter track with electric fencing around my 3 acre field to manage the donkeys spring grazing.
The fence is live on the side where the energizer connects, but the tension doesn't seem to come around all the way - the other end is dead and I can touch it.

It's single strand tape, maybe 800 metres long. The energizer is a Rutland275 (bought second hand, but in good condition, and should really be able to handle a lot more length) on a new and well charged 12V Numax battery. No vegetation touches anywhere. I have used several different rolls of tape (different brands, some in used condition, tied together with knots). The earth stake is a 1m long T-spike (pushed in about 2/3) with the energizer hanging off it (I'm keeping the area wet).
I have wooden corner posts, and have wound the tape twice around the insulators on the corners (touching plastic only) to give better tension (I didn't think I really needed to use all these 'gadgets' like tensioners, connecting clips etc etc - am I wrong?).
Planning to close off from sheep a further part in the middle for hay with 3 stands of tape, but if I can't get the tension to go around the single tape I don't stand a chance to add anything on (though the energizer really should have the power for that according to the specs)

Any pointers as to where to I'm going wrong / where look for the fault?
"If one way is better than another, it is the way of nature." (Aristotle)
Voss Electric Fence

clydesdaleclopper

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: electric fence troubleshooting
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2014, 11:48:03 am »
I have found that knotting the tape seems to really reduce the amount getting through. You can get fairly cheap clips for connecting lengths of tape.
Our holding has Anglo Nubian and British Toggenburg goats, Gotland sheep, Franconian Geese, Blue Swedish ducks, a whole load of mongrel hens and two semi-feral children.

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: electric fence troubleshooting
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2014, 01:23:18 pm »
 Have you you not got a tester for the wire  ,some are very simple a small bulb  on a wire to see it flash, sounds like either a break in the wire or one of your knots not connecting  :raining:          Just looked on ebay many testers at about £10
« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 01:28:40 pm by shep53 »

bloomer

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Aug 2010
  • leslie, fife
  • i have chickens, sheep and opinions!!!
Re: electric fence troubleshooting
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2014, 02:00:38 pm »
i am world champion at this, a fellow taser has electric fencing that loves to challenge my brain...


you basically need to test along till you find where it stops working then look at the first set of joints previous to that....


yours is easy only 1 circuit, should take about 5 mins and a sore arm to find the fault (or get a tester)


yet again this week i proved i had fixed a shorted circuit when it blew me across the field!!!

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: electric fence troubleshooting
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2014, 02:14:49 pm »
we have used plastic hose cuttings around strainers so no, you need all the expensive gadjets.
how quick and strong is the pulse at the side thats working?

ladyK

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Conwy Valley
Re: electric fence troubleshooting
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2014, 03:02:38 pm »
I have two different testers (the simple kind with a row of bulbs, on came with the energizer, and one I bought for £10) but I find it very hard to see anything on them in daylight although while I'm trying to squint I might be getting hit (one has a belt clip that is badly insulated, if I get a finger on it hits me). Are these testers supposed to pulse really brightly? I'm just holding the testing tab against the tape - is this correct? When I get hit it's not throwing me across the field but it's very unpleasant.

The clips connecting energizer to fence are a bit loose (connector eyelets broken off so it's just wire wrapped around the connecting point) - maybe I need to change those?
Otherwise OK, point taken, test all along the line to find the bad connection point.
Looks I should get some tape connectors too, along with new crocodile clips.
"If one way is better than another, it is the way of nature." (Aristotle)

bloomer

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Aug 2010
  • leslie, fife
  • i have chickens, sheep and opinions!!!
Re: electric fence troubleshooting
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2014, 03:26:15 pm »
the throwing across the field is a mains powered one where im stupid enough to touch the wire and a really good earth (sheep netting connected to iron posts)


the tester i have has a wire that goes to earth and then the tester hangs on the live wire, i struggle to see it in bright sunlight but if i shade it its not too bad!!!

ladyK

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Conwy Valley
Re: electric fence troubleshooting
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2014, 03:30:32 pm »
oh, looks I'm being really daft about the tester then...  ::)
 what I think is a belt clip is to hang the thing on the live wire and the probe goes into the earth?
"If one way is better than another, it is the way of nature." (Aristotle)

bloomer

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Aug 2010
  • leslie, fife
  • i have chickens, sheep and opinions!!!
Re: electric fence troubleshooting
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2014, 03:38:17 pm »
um yes


shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: electric fence troubleshooting
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2014, 06:06:05 pm »
we bought a tester and never managed to get it working  ???, never had a reading at all, so we just rely on touching the fence, often through a blade of grass!

our crocodile clips were always breaking so now we use a pair lightweight jumpleads - they work brilliantly, and probably much cheaper than new clips. they were a bit too thin to start the car properly but are prefect for the fence!



90driver

  • Joined Mar 2013
  • Independent Land Rover Specialst
Re: electric fence troubleshooting
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2014, 07:25:16 pm »
Hi. If it is a single run round the outside of the field make sure that both ends of your tape / wire are connected to the energiser.

mab

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • carmarthenshire
Re: electric fence troubleshooting
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2014, 08:28:09 pm »
I use an old fluorescent tube as a tester - just find one of a suitable length such that you can press  one end to the ground and angle the other end to get the terminals close to the fence. I start at the energizer and see/hear it jump to the end of the tube (a nice fat spark that can usually jump ~1/8th inch and makes a loud "crack" -much more useful to listen in sunlight than worry about the light).


The tube also has a handy glass section which you can hold and not get zapped. It's not as pretty as those expensive testers but it works well and the loudness of the crack is a good indication of the strength of the zap.


As the others have said just go around until the 'crack' stops / goes weak.

ladyK

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Conwy Valley
Re: electric fence troubleshooting
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2014, 09:49:39 pm »
Now that I know how to use the tester (thanks bloomer!) it actually works and I can see the light pulses much better. My perimeter fence on my samll field works fine all the way around (I knew that).
Will walk the fence line on the big field with the tester tomorrow - thanks for all the useful pointers!
90driver - do you mean I have to close the circuit on the line going around? I thought I shouldn't - but maybe I got that wrong too?  ???
"If one way is better than another, it is the way of nature." (Aristotle)

midtown

  • Joined Oct 2013
  • English Lake District
Re: electric fence troubleshooting
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2014, 12:32:59 am »
LadyK, incorrect information from 90driver. You do NOT need to complete a loop back to the energiser. It's the animal that completes the loop once they come in contact with the live - the fence, and their feet on the ground - the earth.

From the information you've supplied, do the rounds of the fence checking connectors/knots/joins, and measure the flow with your tester before and after any connector/knot/join. It should be roughly the same both on sides.
Listen for 'clicking' which is indicative of a short. Sometimes it is easier to do this in the dark as you will see the spark - like a mini lightening strike.

What kind of soil have you got? If you have particularly poor earth conditions, running a second earth return line below the live wire, and connected to earth rods at regular distances may help your problem.
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.  ~Douglas Adams

bloomer

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Aug 2010
  • leslie, fife
  • i have chickens, sheep and opinions!!!
Re: electric fence troubleshooting
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2014, 07:31:11 am »
you can complete the loop by connecting both ends to the output of the energiser, having the wire in loops is slightly more efficient and in the case of a single dodgy not would solve the issues for you as the current can flow either way around the loop.


when something (usually me) touches the wire we complete a circuit to the ground and become the path of least resistance to earth and get a jolt...


in dry weather wearing seriously good rubber boots (best comparison to say a hoof) you can touch it and not get hit, thats where a second ground wire comes in. this is run 6 inches to a foot bellow the live wire and connected to an earthing rod in several places, this wire doesn't connect to the energiser at all... the theory is in any weather the animal (or me) touches both wires as they lean on the fence and they will get a jolt (this method gives the best possible whack)


in a fixed wire installation it is normal to alternate live wires with grounded wires down the posts..

if it helps i can draw you pictures...




 

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