10 Most Common Electric Fence Problems Part 1

For me it goes back to the old saying, “You don’t really know a subject until you have to teach it”. I have been repairing and building electric fences with my Dad for our beef herd and sheep flock as long as I can remember.  However, it did not take much time as Quality Assurance Manager at Kencove Farm Fence for me to understand exactly how the simplest issues with an electric fence project can be prevented.    Electric fencing is the most efficient fence in terms of cost and installation.  Technology is constantly changing to make each project easier and easier.  The same problems need to be avoided whether we are charging high-tensile, soft smooth wire, or twine fence.  The next few blog posts are meant to reassure folks that electric fencing failures can be prevented.  Continue to follow the blog as we discuss the top ten most likely problems with electric fence projects.

#1 Poor Grounding:  An electric fence must complete a circuit in order to shock.  We should be generous when it comes to the grounding system for our fence project.  Installing at least 3 galvanized ground rods 5’ deep, 10’ apart creates and adequate ground bed for most small energizers. It is very common for people to install 3’ of ground rod for every joule of output energy.  So if you are using a 3 joule energizer you should install at least 9’ of ground rods. Typically this would mean using 3- 3’ rods spaced 10’ apart to create a large ground bed.  Large ground beds in moist soils are the most effective.  Ground rods should be connected using good ground rod clamps.  Be sure not to mix metals when connecting your rods.  For example attaching steel to copper causes a reaction called electrolysis, which will corrode connections, reducing the shocking potential. Be safe; use stainless steel wire, galvanized ground rods, and brass ground rod clamps.   If at any point you can measure a significant voltage at your ground rods, your ground bed is not large enough.  Keep in mind you can never have too good of a grounding system and soil conditions do have an impact.



#2 Undersized electric fence charger (Energizer):  An undersized fence charger creates an ineffective fence.  If you don’t size your electric fence charger correctly animals will only see the fence as a physical barrier not as a pain or psychological barrier. Basically the fence does not stand a chance without an adequate charger.  So, how do you size an energizer?  Start by identifying what type of animals you are fencing, how much fence and what types will be energizing, and will there be heavy vegetation on the fence line? Most animals can be easily contained with 3,500-5,000 volts.  Choose a low-impedance (narrow pulse) energizer according to output joules.  The higher the joule rating, the greater shocking potential over a longer fence line and weed loads.  Use caution when buying an electric fence charger based solely on the information on the box.  Energizer companies use mileage ratings as a marketing tactic.  Many energizer manufactures establish mileage ratings for their products, such as an energizer that will charge 50 miles of fence.  This energizer might charge 50 miles of golf course fence. Always, always base your purchasing decision off of output joules and a reputable product specialist. For more information on choosing an energizer check out our recent blog post about Volts vs. Joules.

Kencove Energizers


Does your electric fence problem make the top 10 list? Check back as I describe the problems I have found to be most common!


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  1. Dave @ Fencing Derby
    Posted August 22, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I’ve had so many problems with electric fencing, thanks for posting this!

  2. marcella Krusick
    Posted December 16, 2013 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    We have -22 below zero. Fencer stops working. Can tha have anything to do with it? Tried several good fencers, poured water down where the 3 ground posts are, made sure nothing touching metal or wood anywhere? Help?

    • Try this
      Posted December 19, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink


      Same problem. Here’s how I just fixed it after pounding $120 of metal into the frozen ground.

      No ground rods.

      I have 3 wires. Middle got attached to the ground output on the charger. Other two are hot.

      Horse just tested it. Never been so satisfied to see an animal get shocked!

      They will need to touch two at a time, but if they like to push on the fence like they all do, it won’t be a problem.

    • kencove
      Posted January 7, 2014 at 11:56 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.

  3. Allen Smith
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    I just installed an electric fence to keep my dog from escaping. I have a 2 mile charger on less than 1/4 mile of fence. I have 3 eight foot galvanized ground rods placed 10 feet apart. After spending an entire weekend installing this fence, I was very disappointed to see him escape under the fence almost immediately. Do you have any suggestions? Can I jumper my ground to my chain link fence? This would extend my ground to the entire area I am trying to fence.

    • Kencove
      Posted March 25, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      You may have a two mile energizer, but you really need to be concerned with output joules.
      Mileage measurements do not take into account environmental factors. Be sure that your energizer is properly size to the amount of fence you have constructed. Typical recommendation is 1 joule per mile. So for a .25 mile of fence you would want at least .25 joule of output, you can always oversize the energizer.
      If the energizer is not working correctly you may need to do some trouble shooting:
      -Check voltage on the energizer
      *Turn off energizer (Unplug)
      *Disconnected hot lead going to the fence
      *Turn on energizer
      *Check voltage
      -In the case of low voltage
      *Turn off energizer (Unplug)
      *Check power source
      *Check external fuses (replace blown fuses)
      *If no problems found, service energizer
      In the case that the energizer is working properly, you will need to trouble shoot the fence line.
      *Check to be sure ground bed is adequate (3 feet of ground rod per joule)
      *Check all connections and underground
      *Be sure the fence wire does not have any direct shorts, “touching chain link” in your case

      To answer your other question; you can jumper to the chain link fence. However in your application, and with as large of ground bed as you built it is not necessary. Jumping to the chain link will create a larger ground field, but also a positive/negative fence system. In a positive/negative system the animal completes the circuit through the “chain link”. This system is usually used in very dry climates, or for maximum control.

  4. david
    Posted April 6, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Two questions:
    First, I installed a hot wire fence at a friends house to control her dogs, using a Zareba 5 mile charger, .1 joule. It tests 6100 volts at the source. I sunk one 6 foot ground rod 6 feet from the charger, and more than 50 feet from the utility ground rod. I used 20,000 volt insulated stainless wire for the ground and the lead. I used a clamp designed for the galvanized ground rod. I get a weak pulse in my fingers on the fence wire but nothing registers on the Voltmeter, even on the lead wire when not attached to the fence wire. What do you think? Could the soil just be too dry here in central GA?

    Second how do rig the positive/negative system you mentioned–“Jumping to the chain link will create a larger ground field, but also a positive/negative fence system.”

    • david
      Posted April 6, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      My earlier post was from yesterday’s experience. Early this AM it started raining. Last rain was about a week ago. I went out to run a temporary line from the ground rod to the chain link fence. Before I started I tested the voltage on the charger at the source. It was 7000 volts, 1000 volts higher than yesterday before the rain started. So I went and checked the end of the lead that was disconnected from the fence. It too showed 7000 volts. It showed nothing yesterday. I reconnected the fence (about 500 feet) and it all now shows 5600 volts. It showed nothing yesterday.

      So water made the difference. Is it that all the soil is now wet or that water ran down alongside the new ground rod I sunk 2 days ago? I watered the soil where I sunk the rod before I installed it but perhaps the new rod did not make sufficient contact with the soil until it got wet again.

      I have some trouble on my horse farm too when either the conditions are very dry or very wet. In wet weather the posts absorb water and sometimes cause little shorts against the flat plastic insulators. In dry weather occasionally the electricity cannot find its way back to the ground. Thought you might be interested in this experience.

      Should a person water in a new ground rod to ensure good soil contact?

      • Kencove
        Posted April 8, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        Grounding is sometimes the most neglected component of an electric fence system, but also the most important! A general recommendation would be to create a ground bed that consists of multiple ground rods 3-6′ deep and spaced 10′ apart. It can also be remembered as a minimum of 3′ of ground rod per joule of energizer. You can never have to much grounding (a.k.a earthing).

        When conditions are very dry it is not a bad idea at all to water the ground bed. You may need to pull the ground rods, water the holes and return the rods. Drilling new holes near the ground rods and water is also an option.

        Creating a positive/negative system is also a viable option to create a greater shock. With a positive/negative fence, the animal completes the circuit by touching a positive wire and a negative wire at the same time.
        On a normal electric fence the animal touches the positive wire standing on the ground, which is connected to the energizer through the ground bed. The current flows from the point of contact, down to the feet and back through the ground to the ground rod connect to the energizer to complete the circuit. In a positive/negative system, all the neutral wires are connected into the ground bed. So the negative(ground terminal) on the energizer will lead-out to the neutral wires on the fence as well as to the ground bed. Therefore, when the animal touches a positive and a neutral (now negative) wire at the sometime the circuit is complete without the use of the dry ground!

  5. David Scudder
    Posted April 18, 2014 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    A bizzare event: I have had hotwire fences for 25 years. Still not an expert. It has been rainy. Today it is raining. Hotwire voltage has dropped from 6kv plus down to 2-3kv.

    I know I have some issues. Sun has worn some insulators, some stainless 20 kv jumper wires have rusted, some wires under gates need replacing. I went to find where the worst problem was.

    I disconnected the fence entirely and checked the charger. It showed 10 kv as always. (It is a Zareba 10 mile charger with .5 joules.) I have about 1 mile of fence. Usually it runs at 6 kv plus.

    I disconnected the two worst gates, which also disconnected most of the rest of the fence. Voltmeter showed 4.8 kv so I know there are some of the issues in the remaining 1000 or so feet of fence still connected. Then I disconnected all but the first 30 feet of fence leading away from the charger.

    Here is where the bizarre event occurred. I put the voltmeter on that short stretch of fence. It showed 8.9kv but it also shocked me while I was only holding the voltmeter. I took the meter off the fence. Then the voltmeter continued to show 9.9kv when not touching the fence at all.

    At this point I reconnected the 1000 feet of fence and re-tested it. The volmeter went down again to 4.8 kv. But it remained there when not touching the fence. I went back to the house and it still showed 4.8 kv. I disconnected the battery and then connected it again. The meter still showed .1 kv and while I watched it went up, first to .2 kv and then to .3 kv. Doing that again just made the meter go up to 5.8 kv. Hours later it still shows 5.8 kv. Have I fried the voltmeter?

    Any ideas what happened to shock me and fry the voltmeter?

    • Kencove
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      It does seem as though your voltmeter has failed and probably needs replaced. What type of meter are you using?
      What size energizer? How many ground rods? A grounding issue maybe why you got shocked.

  6. Bob
    Posted May 25, 2014 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Have small system , unit supplies over 1,200 volts on the bench, connect hot and ground system may work several hours, then a check will show no output, if I disconnect either the hot or ground then when taking voltage reading at the unit it works or supplies the full voltage, but my system is not working because one of the wires is not connected .

    Any idea ? Total footage is about 500 ft I have two copper grounds about 4 to 5 ft each

    Thanks much for your suggestions

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      What type of energizer are you using? Joule Rating?
      Is there a weed load on your fence line?

  7. Jami
    Posted May 26, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    I want to put up semi permanent electric fencing for my few sheep & pigs. I want to create large paddock areas where the electric-rope stops at each corner and is connected in a way as to be easy to connect to the next panel of fencing. This way I can connect 4 corners and have an electrified paddock, connect different corners and have a new paddock….and so on.

    I cannot find an example of how to do this, I only find examples of moving E-line, setting up new E-line or taking down. I want a paddock system that mostly stays put, where I just trim grass, connect corners, move charger and I’m done! Oh yea, and move the animals.

    Can you help me with how I can set this up?
    Do you know of any resources or information for a system of fencing like I’ve described?

    I’ve been using Kencove electric netting for a couple of years now, but my ground is uneven-forest with hard clay, and I’ve worn myself out with all the moving.

    Thank you for pre-troubleshooting my fencing ~

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      If you don’t want to move any of the fencing, it looks like you have two options. You can make completely separate paddocks and just move your charger or you could share center fence lines and disconnect paddocks with jumpers or cut out switches. You will still need to move the energizer when using the jumpers or switches depending on how the paddocks are designed. We could provide you with better assistance if you send a diagram of your fence thoughts to sales@kencove.com.

  8. Jami
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Yes, jumpers or cut out switches that’s what I need.

    Thank you ~ I’ll send a diagram :-)

  9. Annamaria
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    When installing the ground rods, is it okay to bury the steel wire that goes from the energizer to the ground rod clamps? I need to run the ground wire through a dirt trench to keep the ground rods far enough away from house and other electrical and phone systems. The trench is 8 inches deep through my grass yard. Thank you. AMM

    • Kencove
      Posted June 23, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      You can use galvanized wire for the ground wire, but if you bury the ground wire use insulated cable made for high voltage electric fence, copper or stainless steel wire. Galvanized wire and connections will corrode faster when buried.

  10. Posted July 1, 2014 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    We have a Stafix X3 that has an output of at least 9.9 KV. Our high voltage digital meter reads a maximum of 9.9 KV; therefore, the actual output could be higher. TruTest (manufacturer) says 9.5 KV is typical. We have arcing from the fence wires to the T Posts. The arcing is somewhat random, arcs in one place then another. Don’t notice arcing on low humidity sunny dry days. Normally right before sundown we get a dew and it starts arcing and arcs all through the night. If it is a low to moderately humid day, it stops at about 10 am. On very muggy humid days I can hear the arc during daylight hours anytime. I’ve tried cleaning the insulators with brush and water. Does not help. With a moderate amount of grass touching to the bottom wire and with the volt meter reading 8.7 KV, I still have arcing. I rarely have grass or weeds touching my fence wires. TruTest Techsupport recommends that I replace the insulators. This is a lot of work. The supplier says they give expert advice, so after asking for recommendations on insulators, wire, fence charger, etc, I wonder why I’m having to change the insulators? Since arcing takes energy and ultimately power, a battery runs down faster with arcing than with no arcing.

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted July 2, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      How much fence line are you powering?? Miles or Feet?
      What type of insulator and how old are they?

  11. Richard Barber
    Posted August 3, 2014 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Hello folks, Kayleen Thompson referred me to you. I have a perpetual weed problem. Zareba A100L1 is running about 1.7 kV on about 3 miles of wire. OC V is 9 kV. I was told low impedance would zap weeds but it seems weeds suck power.Grounding is prolific. Adding more rods/plates now makes no difference. Insulators are good, weeds too much for my aged body. What solution do you recommend to control sheep and coyotes?

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted August 4, 2014 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      You can always go with a bigger energizer to help power through the weed-load, but you may want to look at fencing with woven wire. Woven wire will keep out the coyotes. It is always a good idea to add a hot wire to the very bottom of woven wire to prevent digging or critters from entering under the wire.

  12. Warren
    Posted August 22, 2014 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    I have six copper ground rods with 12 half gauge wire for the ground wire. I am having issues with getting the fence to have lot of volts on it by the time it goes all the way around the farm. Been cutting small vegetation away an fixing insulators. Check the fence the other day farthest from energizer it had 4000 volts on it check two days ago an it’s 2.5 2.3. Should I redo ground bed with galvanize rods. Thank

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted August 26, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Copper ground rods are just fine! How large is your energizer? Six rods should be plenty, unless you have larger than a six joule energizer.
      You can check the quality of your ground bed by testing the voltage on your ground rods. If there is more than 600V on your ground bed, the ground bed is insufficient. If there is less than 600V on your ground bed then the ground bed is working properly and the issues are on the fence line. Hope this information helps resolve your voltage loss.

  13. cathy
    Posted August 28, 2014 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Set up a hot wire fence. One of the dogs hit the ground wire and shocked the heck out of herself. What would make the ground wire hot?

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted September 3, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Your ground bed is to small, add another ground rod. If you have more than 600 volts coming from your ground rod, the ground bed is insufficient.

  14. abbey
    Posted September 1, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I have installed and electric fence around my back yard to keep my dogs away from the fence… they fight with the neighbors pitt pulls… I have a 95 lb german sheperd and a 35lb mutt… anyway… it us not working no charge to the line…. if you touch the grounding post with your finger and touch the line….ouch but there is not charge to the line otherwise….. The grounding rod is the same as my bf had at his house and it worked fine there…. we even connected it to the ground used for the house electricity. I don’t know what else to do. I have to take my dogs out on leashes and when the neighbors dogs are out its an all out war… my german shepherd dislocated my shoulder when she bolted after the dogs next door. … please help.

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted September 3, 2014 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      I don’t recommend tying into the ground bed for your house. It seems as though your ground bed is too small. Try adding an additional ground rod. If you have more than 600 volts coming from a ground rod the ground bed is insufficient. Do you have a dry climate? Is the soil extremely dry? Try putting your ground rod in a moist location.

  15. Rebecca
    Posted September 5, 2014 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I am having trouble with my line not getting juice yet when you touch my TPosts you get shocked. My ground pole is near a well and within a 100 feet of a power line – soil is dry rocky creekbed type soil – thanks

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted September 8, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Sounds like you need to check the insulators on the T-post. Voltage must be leaking through to the T-post causing a direct short.

  16. julie
    Posted September 8, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    I have my electric fence around our pond along a bean field. with all the rain we have had and more to come, the wire is less than 1 foot from going under water. Do we need to unplug the fencer? Will the wire under water shock the horses?

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted September 9, 2014 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      If the wire goes under water it will short out the entire fence. The horses will not get shocked any where on the fence line. Is this a single strand fence? If it is a multi-strand fence you could disconnect or limit the energy going to the strand that is going to get flooded.

  17. WALTER
    Posted October 1, 2014 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I have a solar fence charger and recently bought a 12 volt system(12 volt marine battery) to supplement the charge in order to keep in cows. Can you connect the 12 volt charger top the solar fence system or does each have to be seperate circuits?

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted October 3, 2014 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Please give me more details on the items you have, so I can better assist you.
      If your charger is separate from the panel and battery, they should be connect through a solar charge controller (MSP10LVD).

  18. derek carbin
    Posted October 6, 2014 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    We have problems using tape fencing to contain our two horses. I suspect that the tapes have been so stretched (when no fencer was installed) that the woven metal wires are separated in many places creating opens or very high resistance. Rather than replace the tapes I am thinking of running a steel wire alongside each tape to ensure conductivity. This retains the visual barrier but will provide a better voltage jolt for horses that push into the fencing tapes. Do you see any problems with this approach?

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted October 8, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      They only issue I see with the steel wire would be if the horse got tangled. The steel wire could easily cut and injury the horse.
      Please use caution when using steel wire to contain horses.

  19. Patsy Jeanne
    Posted October 19, 2014 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    I have a high tensile fence that after a winter ice storm still isn’t giving enough power to keep goats in. We have replaced resistors. Cleared wires , and little juice. Unhooked to test charger and fully lit up testor. I have 2 grounding rods at charger .
    I started walking again today , looking for problems
    Any suggestions

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      What type of energizer do you have? How many output joules? How much fence do you have, approximate mileage?
      Answers to these questions will let me help you more effectively.

  20. Shirley
    Posted October 19, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    I have a two-strand hot-only electric fence. I replaced an old charger with new low-impedance one this spring. When I put the voltmeter on the fence it reads maybe 45 to 5.5kv, but I can watch a calf put his neck right under, touching it, and never flinch! When I had the new charger put in, it went from 1 x 8ft galv. ground rod to 3 x 8ft ground rods, about 8-10ft apart [maybe too close]. My soil is probably dry at end of summer as this is a hot/dry part of Southern OR, though the fields are irrigated…, and the soil is rocky… so not the greatest of grounding medium! When a ground rod test was done a week ago, we got .9kv on the last ground rod, well over the .3 allowed as OK. So, I plan to add more ground rods, but wonder if I should move the ground field location out by a pond that is damp year-round. That is probably around 200ft from the charger. If so, do I run insulated wire back to the ground terminal of the charger?? Should it be underground [and if so would it have to be in conduit], or could I just run it along an existing barb-wire fence? Also it’s possible that the existing grounds may be too close to a utility ground… I need to get that measured. How far would be too close?
    All this was done BEFORE I read up on how it SHOULD be done!! If it is too close to utility ground then should I just abandon existing grounds, or could they still be in series with the new grounds out by the pond?
    Sorry for so many questions. I would just like to be sure it gets done right this time as I’m just teaching my cattle to not respect the hotwire when it isn’t hot!!
    Also, I now have a new better charger, but I don’t even want to hook it up until I’m sure the grounding is resolved as I’m concerned it could damage the charger. This new one puts out about 7 joules, so I was thinking 4 addl 8ft grounds out by the pond would have to be sufficient!!?
    I’m fencing about 14 acres that is cross-fenced into 3 fields. Most of the electric fence is “interior” fencing, and backup fence adjacent to woven wire hard fence… BUT there are some sections that is primary fencing that is very important.
    Any suggestions and answers to above questions would sure be appreciated. Your article was very informative but as you can see, I did come up with some other questions!!
    The cattle will be off the field in 2-3 weeks, so I will have time between then and Spring when they come back to this pasture to get my system modified to work properly and effectively.
    Thanks so much.

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted October 20, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      If you have dry terrain, putting the ground rods in a wet land would be a great idea. I would use at least 21′ of ground rod in whatever lengths you desire, at least 10′ apart. Putting the underground insulated cable in conduit preserves the life of the cable and cuts time when it needs replaced. When placed in the conduit, the cable and be easily uninstalled and re-installed if needed. Yes, you can be to close to other utility ground beds. You should try to be at least 50′ from all existing ground beds. Poly-wire does have more resistance than fence wire, therefore higher fence line voltages are harder to achieve.

  21. Shirley
    Posted October 19, 2014 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    I should have added to my above comment also that the fence it currently 100% polywire. However, I had planned before next spring to perhaps change that so the top wire is still polywire but the bottom wire is alluminum 12ga. Do you consider that a good or bad idea??!

  22. James Cook
    Posted October 26, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    On a farm of at least 85ac of electric fence bad old fences with 4 fields on 3 boxes with over 25 ares of the fence arkin, how much could it pull , or cause your electric to go up, im owed 4 years of power and have to figure this out, I have paid a 550.00 electric bill for 4 yr tryin to figure out what I am owed,

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted October 31, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      The best estimate I can give you is based on a 1 joule energizer. A 1 joule energizer operates on about $5.00 of electricity per year. Energizers are very efficient. Best of Luck.

  23. Amber
    Posted November 11, 2014 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    I started with the basic install from instructions. This fence is for poultry. I have seen video of foxes and raccoons jumping through and over the wires. Maybe not enough shock at those locations?

    I want to have a hot wire(?) at the top of my chain link enclosure so if the critter is off the ground and jumping and climbing it still gets zapped. Please in plain directions, how do I accomplish?

    2 bottom wires – currently connected to the + terminal.

    Do I run two top wires close together and one connected to bottom 2 courses with the second connected via insulated cable to the -(minus) terminal on the charger?

    These chickens are our pets and we have invested a bunch to keep them from being fox food.

    Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.


    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      The minus terminal on the charger is meant for the ground wire (ground bed) only. You will need to drive several feet of ground rod and connect via copper or insulated wire to the ground terminal of the energizer. This completes the circuit.
      Yes you can connect the top and bottom wires via an insulated cable to carry the charge from bottom to top hotwires.

  24. Susan Hoekstra
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Can you use a ground fault outlet for an electric fence charger and if you electric fence box is at the house how far should your 1st grounding rod be from the house?

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted November 25, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Yes, you can use a ground fault outlet. Ground rods can be as near or far from the charger as desired. Some folks look for wet/moist areas to install ground rods. Just keep in mind, the further you go from the charger you will more underground cable or copper wire.

  25. Wayne
    Posted December 16, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    The indicator light on my 10 mile fencer is not
    Flashing. It is on but is just a solid light. Any ideas?

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      What brand is the energizer?

  26. Trevor
    Posted December 17, 2014 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    I have a parmak magnum 12 with variabele 1.1-3.1 joule output on around 1.5 miles of polywire fence for grazing steers. I have around 8ft of grounding rod randomly space, in the ground. I haven’t checked the voltage yet but as I walk around 300 ft from the energizer it gets really weak a very subpar snap as I can touch it and not be jolted. is the variable joule business messing with me? Its semi dry here but not real bad, I know the rods are into wet soil. and if I touch a T post then the fence it will light me up. What am I missing?

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted December 24, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      The Parmak Magnum 12 is not a variable joule output. We have done bench tests on that unit and it is rated at a .5joule output. I don’t know why manufacturers put information like that on chargers. A couple of things can affect the shock received. 1. The quality of the twine and how many strands of metal conductors it has. 2. Soil conditions being to dry can cause a poor shock, which sounds like may be your problem.

  27. Sid
    Posted January 16, 2015 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    I have a engizer 1.5 jolt solar power fence charger. I am having problems with it not putting out enough. I test it with a short wire coming out the power and it shows 10kv then I put it on the line and then it shows 4kv. Also I have a gate handle and when I attach it it sparks and continues to spark every time it pulses it sparks. I checked the whole line to see if it anything was touching and nothing was. I have some cheap insulators could that be the problem ?

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted January 26, 2015 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      This sounds as though there is a problem with the fence line and not the energizer. Yes I would start by checking all insulators and replacing anything that sounded or looked questionable. Properly UV stabilized insulators would probably make a difference, and last much longer.

  28. Sarah Fisher
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Hi I have a zabera 5 mile solar box. I have redone all insulators, splicind clamps, put a new ground rod and clamp for the ground wire. Everything seems to be perfect except the power. I can grab thw poly tape, but the tape furthest from the box is hot. I dont know what else to do.

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      A Zareba 5 mile solar charger is very small, probably really should only be on about .25 mile of poly-tape.
      Does your fence line complete a circle? You could have broken wires in the poly-tape not allowing current to get to the point that you can grab without getting shocked. It would be helpful to use a voltmeter to check the fence. Checking the voltage the whole way around, would allow you to find out where the current starts and stops. This would show you to find where there are possible broken wires within the poly-tape. How old is the poly-tape and how long is your fence line? Be sure your energizer is larger enough for the job!

  29. Mark
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    My horse has become very jumpy in the boggy corner of the field where the gate is. Someone has suggested that the electric fence is shorting to earth because of the wet and causing her to get shocks through her shoes. Surely if there is leakage to earth, it couldn’t shock her?

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      She could definitely be getting shock if it is a very moist area. Check the fence in the area for all shorts. If it is a gated area with underground, the underground cable could even be leaking. Start by checking to see if the voltage on your fence line has dropped. If it has dropped, there is a definite short somewhere.

  30. Posted January 31, 2015 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    How far can a charger be placed from your ground bed? I have read recommendations that it should be 20′ away and some that say up to 75′ away.

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      The distance from charger to ground bed is not as important as the distance between ground rods.
      You can place your ground bed as near or far from the charger as you desire. Where you place the rods should deep on moisture levels, safety, ability to place rods at least 10′ apart, and ease of installation.

  31. Posted February 2, 2015 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the response. This is for a Zoo installation containing gorillas and we are experiencing getting shocked when touching the ground rods. I suspect that we still have a pour ground field? We have installed 6 ground rods, 10′ apart, on the outside of the exhibit, beyond the containment moat. Maybe not such a good ground path?

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Take a look at one thing first.
      Make sure there is not a short on the fence line forcing voltage back to the ground rods.
      If you do not have any shorts, start adding more ground rods or move ground bed to a moister area.
      Good Luck

      • Posted February 4, 2015 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the response. That explains that, and makes sense. We have detected faults, using a handheld fence volt meter. There is foliage on the fence wiring in places, and I have spoken to the Zoo personnel about that. Thanks so much.

  32. Posted February 8, 2015 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    We have a very small fenced in yard, about 30×30. Our boxer keeps escaping. My husband put in an electric fence as the directions on the energizer said. He only ran 1 ground per instructions on the package. but it is just dead, nothing. We talked to quality farm and fleet and they said we had it right and a friend who has an electric fence came over and looked and he says it is exactly how he has his. Using only one ground. what else could be the problem. At the end of the fence my husband wrapped the end of the wire around itself. Could this be the problem and if so how do you get the end of the fence to stay in place? Thank you so much for any suggestions. Crystal

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted February 9, 2015 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Wrapping the wire around itself is not a problem as long as you have the wire insulated on each fence post, if the posts are not self-insulating. The first thing you want to do is check to see if there is power coming direct from the energizer. Use a fence voltmeter to test the energizer. Disconnect the fence and the ground from the energizer, and use the voltmeter directly at the energizer. Connect the positive of the tester to the positive of the energizer and negative of tester to the ground terminal. If you cannot get a voltage reading there is a problem with the energizer not the fence. Good Luck.

  33. Clinton Overkiller
    Posted February 27, 2015 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    I have two fence controllers. 25mile Zarebra 1J EAC25M-Z and a Zarebra 100 mile 6J EAC100M-Z. I want to know will the bigger controller give a bigger zap at shorter distances. I want to only have to set one box up and leave it. I am planning on expanding the fence as my live stock pins are built. Right now I have 1/4 mile total and want a problem free box and don’t mind going over kill. But in certain of the 100 mile box is work on such a short run.

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted March 2, 2015 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Yes the bigger the energizer, the bigger the zap.

    • Jade
      Posted March 14, 2015 at 12:59 am | Permalink

      THE “SIZE” OF THE ENRGIZER DOES NOT DETERMINE THE “ZAP”. 9 kV will bite you pretty hard whether it is from a 1 joule energizer or a 63 joule energizer. But, a “small” (lower output joules) energizer cannot maintain the “zap” as well when there is leakage (shorts) on the fence (there are invariably shorts), as a “large” (higher output joules) energizer.
      Lower output joules will work on shorter lengths of fence with a low vegetation load. As the length of fence &/or the vegetation load increases so must the output joules of the energizer in order to maintain the “zap.”

  34. faith
    Posted March 6, 2015 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    My fence tape has a rip in it, how do I fix it ? Can I just tie each end to the co Victor? Please help..

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted March 6, 2015 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Yes you can repair by tying, be sure that the metal conductors are connected to one another securely. The conductors have to be touching to transfer electricity. Keep in mind that for every time you make a splice, tie or repair you will see a small voltage drop due to resistance.

  35. Ray Charles
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I share a fence with my neighbor. We both have beef cattle. He has an electric wire on his side of the fence connected to a charger. I want to put an electric wire on my side of the fence as well on my charger. The two wires would be 12 to 18 inches apart. Is there a problem with doing this?

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      This can be done, but a few problems could occur:
      *You could experience induction between the two wires-causing feed-back to the energizers.
      *Bigger Problem-The energizers could operate off of opposing pulses and if an animal got tangle in the fence it would experience one continuous pulse and be electrocuted.

      It would be best to share one energizer if possible.

  36. james
    Posted March 17, 2015 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I have a pastue just started using again been not used for few years ..I using a 200 mile charger and notice a draw but not a dead short i tried using a fault finder not found nothing yet ..Is it posible my inulators are getting old and semi grounding out to t post? my draw is 10a ..I walked over it over and over .. Please any sudjestion’s

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted March 21, 2015 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Yes it is very possible that the t-post insulators have become brittle and are each causing voltage leakage. How big is your fence…10amp is a large loss??

  37. Glenarva
    Posted March 22, 2015 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    i have an electric fence surrounding my vegetable garden. 3 raised beds, 5×12 ea. I am using the eclipse energizer model ds 40. (Solar). The red light isn’t coming on. I installed it
    1 year ago. Any advise on where to start?

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      I would start by checking the output voltage of the energizer…if no output check the battery it may need replaced.

  38. Mel
    Posted March 22, 2015 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Hi there, I’m getting electric shocks from my house … A metal door way has a pulsating shock every time I touch it – I can even hear it ticking. I’m guessing its from the electric fences on ours or neighbors property… Does anyone know how I can stop it?? I just got a real whack of it before when I forgot and leaned on it! The weird things are that we have very dry soil at the moment… the closest electric fence is probably around 200m from the house and nothing else seems to be electrified at the moment! Our electric fence system is also in another shed on our farm far from house! If anyone has any ideas this will be very appreciated! :)

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Is the grounding for the energizer within 35 feet of any other utility grounds, including building grounds, utility poles (which usually have a ground wire going to bottom of pole) , well houses, underground utilities, water lines, phone lines etc? Many times these issues are due to inadequate grounding of the energizer, ie: 3ft of ground rod per output joule & rods spaced 10 ft apart …inspect energizer ground rods, clamps and wiring…
      Our item # MSC Stop Click will help with some clicking problems over phone lines. If getting voltage in metal door, would recommend getting a qualified electrician involved for inspection.

  39. AJ Bellis
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Putting up a hot wire around the bottom and top of a 4′ back yard, wooden fence to keep 2 huskies from (1) digging under the fence and (2) putting any paws on top of fence to escape. I don’t want to shock them to hurt, just scare and to keep away from the fence. The energizer that I got is 0.1 Joule and my dogs weigh 53 and 63 pounds. Is that energizer going to work without seriously hurting my dogs? Thanks

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted March 30, 2015 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      This is very tiny unit…I am nut sure the huskies will even feel it. This may not deter them at all.

  40. Douglas Roberson
    Posted March 28, 2015 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    I need to install a four or five strand electric fence around a field that has a perimeter of around one mile. How large of a joule solar charger would I need to accommodate this fence line. I am concerned about keeping the sheep and cows in, but more concerned about keeping the coyotes out.

    • Lacy Weimer
      Posted March 30, 2015 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      We recommend 1 joule per mile minimum. For added protection I would use at least a 2 joule unit. Units this big are not self contained you will need to purchase an DC energizer, solar panel, solar controller, and battery.
      These units are simply to install.

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