electric fence problem

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Akane, Apr 3, 2009.

  1. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    Jun 15, 2008
    I have never had a problem like this with the electric fence. I have good quality electric tape on tposts and no matter what charger we hooked up or how many times we checked the fenceline it would not work beyond about 10' and if you touch the posts you get zapped. Today after another escaped horse we put up a strand of electric wire which works on the small pasture. However it loses power quickly as you go around the pasture so someone grabbed a post while leaning down to check the charger and *zap*. The insulators are on right, the wire and the rail both aren't touching the posts, but it seems like every insulator is leaking to the posts and grounding the fence. There's a good several foot deep ground because we were running the charger on about 2miles of double rail fence line. Right now it's only running the smaller pasture which is probably not even 1000' and only 1 rail. Any ideas to get my electric tape working again before we run out of hay? Like I said this has never happened and we've had this fence up for probably 8years.
     
  2. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Wisconsin
    Have you double checked all the insulators to make sure none of them have a crack/break in them therefore, shorting out?
     
  3. flopshot

    flopshot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 17, 2009
    it's a bit odd that the post is able to conduct the current to a person.
    you say the current stops. how are you testing it? how did you make the connection from the power supply to the wire ? does your unit require a second ground connection ?
    electricity take the easy path to ground and that would be a metal post not a person. you have a leak to the post though. try eliminating the connection to the insulator at the post where the current seems to stop.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Can I ask a few troubleshooting questions...

    First, has this exact same charger ever worked properly on this exact same tape fence (not just same brand, but the actual particular roll of tape itself, in its current configuration)?

    Have you tested the charger with a RELIABLE fence tester (i.e., preferably *not* one of those five-neon-bulbs dealies, which are notoriously unreliable -- if you must use the neon bulb thingies, at least go buy a second one) to see what how many volts the charge is, right at the 'fence' terminal of the charger? And how many volts it is just beyond the terminal, testing on the leadout wire or first bit of tape it attaches to?

    What kind of insulators are you using? (what material and style, and how long are they?) What kind of fenceposts?

    Have you had freezing rain or unusually wet weather lately?

    Is the charger plug-in or battery-operated, and if the latter, have you checked the battery charge lately?


    Pat
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Added question: how old are these insulators, and what brand (if you remember).

    Some plastic insulators (I think I'm assuming you have t-posts here, since wood posts probably wouldn't shock you except in the rain) are made of, er, not very electrically insulating material in the first place, and their performance um does not improve with age. So if these are older and/or less-expensive insulators, your problem may be solveable by replacement with a good brand.

    If the insulators are held on by wire clips, or if these are nail-on insulators, the problem can also be arcing to the clip or nail, which is likelier on older insulators and almost unavoidable if insulators are cracked (you can't always see the crack). Again, solution is replace all insulators.

    Pat
     
  6. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Wisconsin
    Quote:Not odd at all if there is a short, which there obviously is. I get shocks off our bulktank when there is a short in the electric fence. The electricity will go down the post into the ground then anythiing that will conduct electricity will pick it up-metal being a good conductor. If you are grounded when you touch the object conducting the metal you will be ZAPPED!
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    FarmerKitty raises a very good point about the fencepost shock maybe being stray voltage rather than the *location* of the fence short.

    Hey, is the leadout wire from the charger to the fence by any chance buried, or is it by any chance a plug-in charger with a buried or otherwise-hidden cord to where it plugs in? Because if it is shorting out essentially "at" the charger -- either where the current goes to the charger, or from charger to fence -- that would give you exactly what you describe. It is not uncommon for the coating of burial wire to crack, or if it's run through a buried hosepipe or such *that* can crack enough to let current arc to the soil. (e.t.a. - the classic place for this to happen is where you've buried the wire under a gateway)

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2009
  8. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    We've hooked 3 chargers to it including the one that worked for the past couple years. The old one that ran the fence fine, a battery operated one I used last year for the small arena, and now a very powerful brand new charger. None say anything about needing 2 grounds and only have one connection. The corded ones are plugged in with a raised wire that goes over the gates and short section of yard to the building within 5' of the fence that has an outside outlet. The wire from the charger to the fence is only about 1' above ground, and on the tape we wire it to a metal buckle like we were told to and have for years. The strand of wire I think it is just wrapped directly around it but I didn't put that up. Some of the insulators are old, some were replaced 2 years ago, some are the new style they put out last year, and we just used new insulators for the temporary wire. It isn't one post leaking. It's many if not every post. So far 3 people have gotten shocked from 6 different posts in different places along the fenceline. I say the electricity is ending but I don't mean a specific point. It fades off. You get the 7000v light to come on right where the charger connect to the fence. Then you get 400v a short distance away. By the end of the fenceline nothing registers on the tester but someone still got a slight tingle up their fingers touching that post.

    As for weather the answer is yes. [​IMG] It's spring here in Iowa. We get everything. Rain, sleet, snow, sometimes all of those in the same day, ground so wet that the water just pools cause there's too much to soak in, then it refreezes, then it thaws, then it refreezes... You should see what the humidity in my bators does from day to day. [​IMG] However we get that weather every year and every year the electric fence has worked fine. The only time it's ever arced from insulators to posts is during a very heavy rain or when the wild birds poop right at the base of the insulator. Apparently bird poop is mildly conductive.
     
  9. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Wisconsin
    It may not be every post leaking. That goes back to the fact that a short in the fence onto a post will conduct into the ground. Anything that will conduct electricity and is touching or in the ground will conduct it. So if you have one post with a bad insulator and it's shorting out, it will flow to the ground. The other posts are in the ground and being metal will conduct the electricity and you will get a shock off of them, if you are grounded. With the ground being wet from the snowfall and rain the electricity will conduct further way than if it were dry.

    Also, I would expect the electricity flow to decrease if there is a short.

    Another good way to see about a short is if you have a cordless phone or a radio and see if there is a tick noise. That would be a short.
     
  10. RockyToggRanch

    RockyToggRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2008
    Upstate NY
    I think that the ground water effects that ground rod and even if it hasn't in the past, perhaps the ground water levels are different or waterflow direction has changed. Just a guess. I was told that I would need 2 ground rods in wetter areas.
     

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