Aluminum Electric Fence Wire

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by YuccaFlatsRanch, Nov 16, 2007.

  1. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,649
    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Location:
    Hill Country, Texas
    An internet company sells 17 gauge, 15 gauge and 14 gauge aluminum electrical fence wire. Other than breaking strength which is 90 lbs for the 17 and 215 for the 14 and 15 how much performance will I lose using the 17 vs the 14/15. I will be running approx 8000 linear feet of electrified fence or approx 1 1/2 miles and my charger is rated for 30 acres and approx 1 to 1 1/3 joules of stored energy. I have a good ground.
     
  2. RedTartan

    RedTartan Icelandic Sheep Supporter

    Messages:
    3,344
    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Location:
    Northeast Ohio
    I'm not sure how much performance (if any) you'd lose, but I thought I'd mention that fiascofarm.com uses 17 gauge alum. to hold their goats in and it works well for that.

    What are you containing with it?

    :) RedTartan
     

  3. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,649
    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Location:
    Hill Country, Texas
    Sheep, goats, and as a reminder to my LGD's to leave the fence alone. Since it is new fence it is guaranteed that the dogs will investigate. I want the wire HOT!!!
     
  4. deaconjim

    deaconjim Appalachian American Supporter

    Messages:
    10,637
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Location:
    SW VA
    My concern is with corrosion, just like with aluminum electrical wire.
     
  5. Trisha-MN

    Trisha-MN www.BilriteFarms.com

    Messages:
    345
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    We tried Al wire several years ago since it was so light weight. We've since replaced everywhere we used it with the regular fence wire. If it kinks at all, it breaks very easily. It is lightweight though.
     
  6. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,649
    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Location:
    Hill Country, Texas
    It also transmits current better than the steel wire. I use it at the top and bottom of 48 inch high field fence and also run a barb wire about 2 inches above the ground.
     
  7. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,972
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2005
    Location:
    PA
    Too bad you already bought the charger. That is where you can really make the difference. I use a 50 mile fencer. It's great because even if the snow covers the bottom wires the top ones still shock. I'd get the steel. It's stronger. Thats the only reason. But we have deer that like to run into the fence.
     
  8. ksfarmer

    ksfarmer Retired farmer-rancher

    Messages:
    2,987
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Location:
    north-central Kansas
    I use both , steel and aluminum. Aluminum is light, easy to work with, transmits current well, but, any twist or kink in the wire will easily break. For endurance and strength, I much prefer the steel wire. I am gradually getting rid of the aluminum. I run from 2 to 4 miles of wire to graze cattle on stubble fields and can't afford all the down fence from the aluminum. If a deer hits it, it snaps.
     
  9. bill not in oh

    bill not in oh Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,869
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Earth
    When you say 8000 feet are you talking about the perimeter distance or the total amount of wire?

    Either way, I'd also suggest the double galvanized steel - the heaviest gauge you can afford. Although aluminum does work well and is easy to work with, electricity travels on the surface of the wire and as aluminum oxidizes, it's ability to transmit electricity is degraded - and it begins to oxidize as soon as it's made.
     
  10. Jim S.

    Jim S. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,963
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2004
    Location:
    Tennessee
    :shrug: If you get the heavier weight steel wire, ideally with galvanized coating, it will last 10+ years. Compare costs.
     
  11. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm This Space For Rent Supporter

    Messages:
    47,629
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Location:
    Eastern North Carolina
    If deer are breaking your aluminum wires, your fence is too tight. An electric fence is NOT a "hi tensile" fence, and the wires dont have to be stretched to do the job

    I use 12 1/2 Ga aluminum and have had very few wires break, and if they do its simple to fix them by hand.

    Even oxidized aluminum will carry more current than steel, and the steel will continue to rust, whereas the slight oxidization of the aluminum actually protects it from further degredation. It starts out with 4-6 times less resistance than steel, so even if it degrades it will still carry more current
     
  12. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    Messages:
    10,853
    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Location:
    Zone 7
    Use the grade 3 galvanized high tensile wire! Your small charger is inadequate for the 8000 feet you mentioned. Send it back and get a real charger. Look at the Par Maks in the $100 range and up. Do the effort once correctly and the fence will last as long as the post. My 10 year old wire looks as good as it did when I installed it in 1997.
     
  13. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck Member

    Messages:
    23
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007

    Deer will break it here, tight or loose....17 gauge or 12 1/2 gauge.

    It's too prone to electrolysis damage when in contact with other metals...like metal clips on fiberglass pots.

    The stuff is junk and should never be used for permanent fence...IMHO...not if you want to sleep at night anyway!

    <woodchuck>
     
  14. george darby

    george darby Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    236
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    the aluminum wire caries the current better but tends to break easy in my experience any kinks in the wire become weak spots there is a cable type galvenized steel wire that is easy to use and very sturdy it has been up here for over 10 years and going strong . A cheep fence alert can be made using an old spark plug and a pice of wire on the tip and another on the other end you can see the spark for miles at night just disconect it dur
    ing very dry weather conditions
     
  15. NorthernWoods

    NorthernWoods Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    171
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Ever think of ACSR (aluminum coated steel reinforced) or copper/steel alloy? I would go to your local power company and talk to them, and kind of feel out the situation. Find out what the story is, where does the waist wire go, offer them some money, etc. They might even say just go take it out of the dumpster. I know I take down so much wire it is rediculous, and we just pitch it. This is still good #2 stranded and 1/0 ACSR and 6A copper/steel alloy (not worth anything copper wise). I know some guys run small farms on the side and they eat up that 6A to build fences when they need it. I think your post is more likely to break before this stuff does.
     
  16. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,169
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN
    The wire it too weak to make it through a winter up here in MN, but you are in Texas so might work well there?

    You need a stronger fencer, you have a pretty weak one. They over-rate those things terribly, the milage rating on them is at the point it basically doesn't work any more. I got a 6 joule for my about 1 mile fence, finally the cattle behave. What you have can be a backup, or for temp fencing.

    --->Paul
     
  17. BlueFlames

    BlueFlames Looking to the skies

    Messages:
    55
    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    Well having been in the electric fence wire manufacturing business for almost 20 years I'll add to the thread.

    For 8000 ft the 17ga will do with a decent charger, the 14 is best but very heavy to work with. I'd stay away from the aluminum, we introduced it to the market in 1989 and like most folks here have noted if you get a kink in it
    it will break easily. We intended it for small yards where you might want to keep in a dog or other small animal. Then everyone got on the bandwagon and by 1995 you could get 12ga aluminum everywhere.

    But to me nothing beats good old fashioned galvanized steel wire.
    And if you want to buy the best, buy Bekaert brand, it is made in the USA
    and is the cadillac of fence wire.
     
  18. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,169
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN
    I will add, I use only barbed wire for the electric strand of my pastures. As well as for the single wire I put around the corn fields.

    I am containing cattle, part Holstien. Other types of animals you might prefer the smooth wire, but these critters need something that they notice..... The barbed is more visible in the single strand case as well. I have tried some real thin wire in temp fencing and was very disappointed, the cattle did not notice it nearly as well.

    Some folks say barbed & electric is a no-no. For my size critters, it is not an issue.

    Again, for other species I have no experience, only saying what works well for my particular case.

    --->Paul
     
  19. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,278
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I've used the 14 gauge steel and 16 gauge steel. I MUCH prefer the 16 gauge. I find it far easier to work with without special fencing tools. I believe you would be far better off to spend more money on a better charger and buying the cheap but totally adequate 16 gauge steel wire. The only downfall I can see with the thinner wire is that it could break a little easier if a deer ran into it. Deer are not stupid, they will learn where the hot wire is just as fast as your domesticated animals.

    Pete
     
  20. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,649
    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Location:
    Hill Country, Texas
    So the Parmak SE-4 charger which does 50 miles of fence and puts out over 9 joules of energy on high and 2 1/2 joules on low plus galvanized steel wire is the way to go. I have about 8-10,000 total feet of wire to string.