How to install an electric fence


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Your first steps simply involve planning your fence. From creating a layout to sorting out the supplies you need, there is a lot of front-end work to be done before you can start setting up your fence.

Plan your layout

The first thing you should do is clarify exactly what you need to enclose. What kind of livestock – and how many animals? What you need to fence in and out is very important in determining how much fence you will need.

Once you know how much space you are working with, your layout should be easy to assemble.

Don’t forget to consider how high your fence should be in addition to its length.

Use this information to calculate how many wires you will need to make a fence of the length and height you want. You will likely find that the cheapest way to buy your electrical wiring is by walking through your local farm or home improvement dealer.

Decide how many support brackets you need

You need to add a bracket for every corner and gate in your fence. Tensioning will strengthen and reinforce the areas of your fence that are most stressed. It also protects them from damage if something hits your fence.

The number of brackets you will need for each corner post will depend on how tall your fence is. If you are working with six or fewer wires, you should only be able to get by with a single clamp. However, if you have more than seven, consider adding a second.

Get enough fence posts

Using your layout, add up the number of posts you will need for your fence. Be prepared: it’s likely a pretty high number, especially if you are planning on building a large fence.

If you’re trying to save a few bucks, wooden posts are the cheaper option. They do the job but tend to deteriorate over time.

Metal posts cost a little more, but are also easier to install and have a longer lifespan.

Choose a charger

The man's hand is plugged into an electrical outlet Sergey Granev / Shutterstock

Your charger is one of the most important components of your fence. The power supply from electric fence chargers keeps your fence running. So you should make sure you choose the right type for your case.

Solar powered chargers do not require electrical outlets and can be an effective, energy efficient option, but they do require plenty of sunlight. Electric chargers require access to an electrical outlet.

Joule rated chargers are better than feet or miles rated models. A higher rating in joules means more uniform electrical current through the wire.

How many joules you need depends on the size of your case. A good rule of thumb is if you cover 5 acres you need at least one joule.

Choose your wire

There are various cable options to choose from. You can either work with straight wires of various sizes or with electric fence tape cables.

You will find that the duct tape fencing is easier to see after installation, which also makes it safer. If you’re using duct tape, 1.5- or 2-inch poly tape, braid, or rope will work for most fences.

Coated wire is another option that is easy to install and see.

When choosing the size of your wiring, make sure you consider the purpose of the fence. With a massive fence, or when you are dealing with larger animals, half an inch of wiring won’t help cut it.

Put up the fence

Leather tool belt with construction tool on wooden board maintenance concept. mihalec / Shutterstock

Once you’re back from the store with your supplies, it’s time to start putting your fences together.

Set up your charger

Your first task in installation is to find a safe and convenient place to set up your charger. A solar charger needs a place with lots of sunlight to stay charged. An electric charger needs access to an electrical outlet and some protection from the elements.

To keep your charger secure, hang it somewhere out of the way, e.g. B. on a post or on the wall of an outbuilding, e.g. B. in a shed or stable.

Once you’ve set up the charger, leave it – and make sure it stays off until you’ve installed the fence.

Put in your ground posts

Grounding posts protect your fence from electrical surges. To do this, you’ll need at least one 6-foot ground rod, ideally two. Place your first pole near the charger and insert it into the ground. Leave it at least 5 cm above the floor.

If you do decide to use a second ground post (a good idea), place it about 10 to 20 feet from the first pole and install it the same way.

Connect a ground wire

To make your fence more secure, you will need a ground wire that runs from the charger’s ground terminal to the ground posts. Use a ground clamp to secure the cable to the ground post.

Install your fence posts

Fence posts with prairie landscape bokeh. SnelsonStock / Shutterstock

Insert your fence posts securely into the ground using a post hole digger. You can use a long string of characters to make sure you install your posts in a straight line and to mark the distance between them.

For maximum stability, install your posts one-third of their length underground. The same ratio applies to your corner posts, but they should also be slightly thicker than your side posts.

A common mistake when installing fence posts is using too many, provided they make your fence more stable. Posts can be up to 40 feet apart. If you have a larger gap, use wire braces to ensure even spacing between the wires and a little extra stability.

Put brackets on corners and gates

In the planning phase, you determined how many corner struts you would need. After you’ve set up your posts, you’ll want to install the brackets.

If traditional braces don’t suit you, you can also use a cement foundation or anchor.

Another option popular with ranchers is a “floating diagonal” where the support post is notched just below the top of the corner post and the other end is on the floor opposite the corner.

Assemble the isolators

Insulators help you get the current through the wires, not the posts. The type of isolators you should use depends mainly on the wiring you choose.

The most common insulators provide enough space for braided or rope-like cables without causing friction or friction on the cable.

Run the wire

All you have to do to set up your fence is lay the wire.

Start at the post furthest from your charger. Hang up your cables using the terminals supplied with the cabling.

You need to make sure that your wires are stretched. There are a few different tools you can use to accomplish this: a self-locking wire tensioner, a brought along cable puller, or a turnbuckle cable tensioner.

Be careful whichever method you use – too much tension can cause the wiring to break, which could result in serious injury.

Test your line and maintain it

Sheep in a field near an electric fence Marco.Warm / Shutterstock

Now that everything is set up, it’s time to make sure your electric fence is working.

Turn on the charger

Make sure everyone and everything is clear of the fence, then turn on your charger. Use a voltmeter to make sure that the current is flowing through the entire fence.

Note the voltage value. You should check regularly to see if it stays consistent. If it’s not connected to the fence, the number should vary between 6,000 and 10,000 volts depending on the strength of your charger.

Charge the line

You can now charge the line with your base value. Switch the charger off again for this task.

Connect the lines with a jumper cable. Use another jumper wire to connect the top wire of the fence to the charger.

Check the voltage again

Electric fence tester to check the pulse strength. Chelle129 / Shutterstock

After everything is connected, check all cables again before turning the charger back on.

This time, check the voltage while standing at a point as far from the charger as possible. It is normal to see a voltage drop, but it shouldn’t be more than 2,000 volts. If your load has dropped more than that, your fence is likely short-circuited or malfunctioning.

When you’ve figured out and fixed the problem, check the lines again. If the voltage drop is in the 2,000 range, you’re good to go.

Schedule daily reviews of the current status

Even though your fence is operational, it needs regular maintenance. Reviewing your current data daily will avoid signal problems and ensure that you can fix problems sooner rather than later.

Both moisture and vegetation can drain the electricity on your fence wires. If you get lower than usual voltage levels, it is a good idea to examine the fence closely to see what may be causing the problem and sort it out.

Keep shrubs and weeds away from your fence

You should also run across your electric fence line regularly to make sure nothing grows against it, which could affect its effectiveness. Grass, weeds or bushes can lead to a loss of tension. Remove anything that grows along the perimeter and treat the area with an herbicide to prevent further growth.

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