10 Most Common Electric Fence Problems, Part 2

In continuation to my previous post regarding common electric fence problems, here are two more issues to keep in mind.

#3 Lightning damage to a fence charger (Energizer): There is nothing more bothersome, than testing your fence the morning after a lightning storm and not getting a reading.  Trying to outsmart Mother Nature can be almost impossible, but there are a few tricks.  You cannot guarantee absolute lightning protection, but you can install safeguards such as surge protectors and lightning diverters to help avoid an expensive repair.  Installing a lightning diverter on your fence is not easy, but will relieve stress during those brutal storms.  The lightning diverter must have a separate ground bed 50’ from the energizer’s ground bed, with a minimum of one extra ground rod.  Lightning (electricity) is always looking for a ground.  Lightning diverters simply divert the lightning to ground before it reaches the energizer.  However, lightning diverters are not 100% of the fix. There are a lot of fence chargers on the market that offer a warranty that includes lightning damaged.  Kencove offers a low-impedance energizer line with a 3 year warranty that includes lightning damage.  If your energizer gets struck you can merely box up the pieces and send it to Kencove’s energizer repair station.  As long as the energizer was purchased from Kencove and is under warranty, Kencove is obligated to fix the fence charger or send you a brand new unit. Dean (Kencove’s Energizer Doctor) repairs all makes and models of fence chargers purchased from all farm stores. It is helpful to have a backup fence charger to use while the damaged unit is getting repaired. Kencove offers reconditioned energizers that would serve as excellent backup units in case of lightning damage.  While there is no way to completely avoid a lightning strike, we can be prepared.



#4 Bad Connections:  How many times have you walked your fence line and not been able to find the source of power leakage?  Sometimes it is not always obvious, and you must look very closely at your wire connections.  The best way to find a faulty connection is to use a voltmeter and test each side of the connection.  If the voltage decreases on one side of the connection, you have found the problem.  This connection will need fixed or replaced.  Connections can fail for a number of reasons; crimp sleeves crimped improperly or loosely, a hand knot that is making poor connection, rusty wires, or corrosion.  Be sure to focus on wire connections when building or fixing your electric fence, proper connections are essential to the flow of electricity.


                   Fastlok                          Crimp Sleeves                   Gripple                                  Quik-Splice


Tried these tips and still having issues? Check back for more tips and tricks to keep your fence healthy!


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  1. Cathy
    Posted October 17, 2015 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    We surrounded our 5 acres with a single electric wire. It’s hooked to a Gallagher M100 charger with 3-10′ long grounding rods that are 10′ away from each other and fully in the ground. We tested the charger with the voltage tester and it lights up bright to 4000V. With the voltage tester the 600V, 1000V, 2000V and 3000V lights light up bright, the 4000V light only lights up about 1/4 where the fence wire is connected. The farther away the less the volts. There’s a complete section that is the farthest away from where the charger is connected to the wire that doesn’t light up at all on our voltage tester. We have made sure there is no foliage touching it. Please advise.

    • Lacy Weimer Lacy Weimer
      Posted October 28, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      This energizer is 1 joule stored energy, so that would be about .7 joule output. It sounds as though your energizer is undersized for the job. You may need to think about a larger energizer if you want to read a higher voltage.

  2. kim
    Posted October 2, 2015 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I have copper poly rope around my horse corral. I want to add an additional rope that has steel or aluminum strands to shut off a certain area. Will there be a problem attaching a different type of poly rope to the copper poly rope? Thank-you

    • Lacy Weimer Lacy Weimer
      Posted October 6, 2015 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      I would recommend using a rope splice (CWBT).

  3. Tommy Oakley
    Posted June 4, 2015 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t tried other outlets as this is a stand alone outlet at my barn. I did track the problem to one wire (#3 of 4 strands) being the problem but haven’t seen any issues in the wiring. I unhooked that wire from the others and everything begin working except that one wire. I went over today and now the problem is getting larger as now half the pasture is energized without the GIF tripping. Thanks

  4. Tommy Oakley
    Posted May 30, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    I have a fence charger on a gif breaker and it trips only when I hook up the second half of my fence. I have put one other charger of the same make and it also trips the breaker only when I hook up the second half of fencing. I am getting 0.4 volts on my grounds so I am wondering if you have any idea what the problem would be. I have inspected the fence several times and cant find anything wrong. Thanks

    • Lacy Weimer Lacy Weimer
      Posted June 3, 2015 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Does the energizer seem to work okay or create any problems when plugged into an outlet without GIF? This seems to be a problem with the GIF. Do all other appliances work okay on that particular GIF outlet??

  5. Courtney
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Having lots of trouble! Single line wire fence. Well powered charger 8ft ground rod. All galvanized. Proprietary insulators on chainlink and stepins. But the fence gets a charge only near the charger. By the time it gets 100ft out its barely zapping. Enough for me to notice sometimes, but not always, and definitely not the horses. Help!

    • Lacy Weimer Lacy Weimer
      Posted May 22, 2015 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      What size energizer do you have? Be sure the energizer is properly sized for the amount of fence you are trying to electrify. I recommend one joule of output per mile of fence.

  6. Lilly Jones
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    Awesome descriptions! Most people are unfamiliar with these common problems.

    Lilly Jones |

  7. Jeanine
    Posted December 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    We have an electric fence. It was working fine in the fall. Now snow is on the ground the ground is frozen and our electric fence has stopped working. We got all ice off fence, checked connections, and fencer is reading fully charged. Does anyone know what we can do to get it working?

    • Lacy Weimer kencove
      Posted January 7, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Low fence line voltage during freezing weather is typically caused by poor grounding conditions. Especially in areas that experienced an extremely dry summer. Dry frozen soils limit grounding ability.
      The best solution for a multi-strand fence is to run a wire from the ground out to the field. Connect the negative strand to the ground wire, which is attached to the ground bed through the output terminal on the energizer. Driving additional ground rods along the fence and connecting them to the negative wire will also increase the ground field, as well as create a posi-neg. fence system. Be sure that the ground bed has at least 3 feet of ground rod for each output joule.
      For those that need a quick fix, use the largest drill bit you can find to drill a couple holes into the frozen soil. Dump warm water down the drilled holes and drive the ground rods as deep as possible. This is not a solution to your problem, but sometimes a very small ground can be a large help until temperatures increase.

  8. Kencove kencove
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    While it may seem that there can be a variety of issues with electric fencing, the benefits outweigh the pitfalls. Electric fence is easy to install and requires very little maintenance. Electric fence is economical. The cost of using electric is low, and the use of electricity extends the life of the fence by reducing pressure from livestock. Electric fence is safer than non-electric alternatives. It creates a psychological barrier rather than a physical one, so the animal is trained to respect the fence.
    At Kencove, we understand the difficulty a customer may have while installing their first electric fence. Because of this, we offer a free DVD on how to build high-tensile fence, which shows the electrical hook-up. Two-day training schools are also offered for those who want an in depth knowledge of all aspects of fence building. You can find more information on Kiwi Fence School here: https://www.kencove.com/fence/FenceSchool.php. Our Product Specialists are always happy to answer questions, assist in picking out the correct products for your fence building needs, and to help customers trouble shoot any problems they may run into.

  9. Ruben Flores
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Nice details. Can’t imagine all these things could go wrong on the electric fencing, i don’t think it’s a type of fence someone would install themselves.

  10. Landon
    Posted September 20, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    My theory on electric fence connections is to walk the line and if I can hear it ticking then it’s too poor of a connection.

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