An Electric Fence Primer for the Total Beginner Part III

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by OldGuy43, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. OldGuy43

    OldGuy43 Chillin' With My Peeps

    The big day is finally here. We're ready to install the fence.

    The first thing we need to do is decide where to put the charger. Read the manual that came with your charger!! While most good ones are reasonably water resistant they still need some protection from the weather. If you're using a 110 volt charger you will need an outlet to plug it into. If it's a solar powered one you'll need access to, you guessed it the sun. If battery powered you'll need easy access to change the batteries. You'll need access to a good ground as well. That's what we'll discuss next.

    Even more important than the wire is the ground. Remember, the ground is the other half of the circuit. Use a poor ground and your fence will not be effective. The most common method is a ground rod. The preferred type of ground rod, while any metal rod will work is copper clad steel with a minimum length of 4'. That will work fine if you live in an area with good alluvial soil that remains damp. If you live in an area of less conductive soil, the worst being sand in a dry climate you may need more than one and longer rods connected together. Before driving the rod think about what is under the ground. Do not drive the rod into your phone line, water line, sewer pipe or septic tank. Be particularly careful if you have an underground power line or gas line coming into your home for obvious reasons. Place the rod(s) so that they are not under the eves of a building and in the case multiple rods place them a minimum of 6' apart.

    If your house or outbuildings are older you may have a much better ground source. If you have all metal water pipes they are an excellent ground. A simple strap and clamp is available at most places that sell electrical supplies. The third is the conduit coming out of your power meter. Use the same type of strap and clamp. Use only the conduit at the power meter. Conduit installed in your building may not be properly grounded. Whichever method you choose be sure you are making good connections. A poor ground can run you ragged trying to figure out why your fence isn't working.

    Now you're ready to install the insulators. First hint. Clear all vegetation away before you start. It's a lot easier now than after the fence is up. Since your probably trying to keep small predators out I recommend setting the insulators about 8" above the ground. That height will make it easier to keep the vegetation down and still be low enough to zap anything big enough to attack your flock. Remember, for this to work your predator has to be in contact with the ground as well as the wire. Make sure that your wire will end up a minimum of an inch from anything that conducts. That means just about anything, wood, vegetation, concrete, whatever. Also remember, things get wet. Just install the insulators so that the wire stays 1" away from anything and you'll be good.

    Now we're ready to run the wire. Next hint. Unroll the wire from the reel. Run something (a large screwdriver works well) through the center and walk it off. If you pull the wire off the end of the reel you'll end up with a big spring-like thing that will be nearly impossible to straighten. If at all possible lay out the wire as one continues piece. Avoid splices if at all possible. Do not kink the wire or put sharp bends in it. You'll weaken the wire. Do not pull the wire up really tight. First because of expansion and contraction due to temperature changes but more importantly to allow a little "give" to the wire so that an animal won't break it.

    The only thing left to do is hook it up to the charger. Clean the wire with a piece of emery cloth or sandpaper. Tighten it onto the correct terminal. Now one more step before plugging the charger in. Walk the complete length of your fence looking for anything that might cause any kind of problem. Now you're ready to plug it in and test it. Start your testing at the end of the wire furthest from the charger. If it's good there it's good everywhere.

    Next, overcoming special problems and other hints.

    For those who came in late Part I is here:
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011

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