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Discussion Starter #1
The past 2 weeks I have been driving myself crazy trying to fix my electric fence. I have solid perimeter fencing but cross fence with hot rope. Usually it works awesome... on the rare occassion that a pig touches it, you can hear them scream across the whole property. Not that I love hearing a pig squeel, but when I know it's because my fencing is working, there is a satisfaction to it.

A couple weeks ago I noticed my 6 month olds touching it on accident at feeding time and not getting zapped. I started trouble shooting that day and am STILL trying to figure it out today. I have one that doesn't give a rip about the hot rope at this point.

The unit sounds like it is working properly. The clicking sound is nice and loud.

The light that blinks to tell you if it is not grounded is not blinking. I disconnected the ground wire to check and make sure the indicator light is working. It is. I reconnected it and added a 2nd ground line at another farmer's suggestion... That line ran to the wire fence and t-posts in an empty paddock. That seemed to have no affect.

I have been soaking the ground around the grounding rods.

When I use the tester, it says I am getting 10,000 volts.

I used a stick to bend some hot wire over to touch a t-post and it arcs pretty good. My goats aren't testing it but I watched one of them get butted into it and it didn't seem to zap her either.

I have NO idea what the heck is going on. Any insight would be helpful.

I still keep feeling like it is a grounding issue...
 

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Where are you using the tester, at just the charger or different places in the wire? I'd start checking the wire all around the perimeter of the field and see whether or not the charge is going all the way thru. You should get the same charge everyplace you test.

Do you have anything that could be touching the wire that would cause it to short at in places? That's something to check as well.

I don't know if you have your wire w/no breaks in it or not. I have several spots where I can disconnect mine. That way, I can check each section if I'm having a problem in order to find it.
 

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I once had a problem like this and traced it down to the voltage at the outlet the energizer was plugged into being low. It was 90VAC instead of the normal 120VAC. This was caused by a corroded contact. Fixing the contact fixed the voltage which fixed the energizer which brought the fence back to working condition.

Good luck!

-Walter
 

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My guess would be that the pigs aren't being properly grounded. I don't know what state you live in, but here in California I've had to run a separate ground wire close to the Hot so that they would touch them both. I've also grounded the fencing itself so that if they do start really testing it, they'll eventually get zapped.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
dizzy- Yes, I've tested it everywhere. Even used the tester to pull it into a pig and while I was getting the full 10,000 volt reading, it didn't seem to do anything to the pig.

highlands- I will have a good look at the connection tomorrow. It is pretty dark in the room that it is in, so that could be the problem and I wouldn't have known it. I have also had some fans plugged in to the same outlet (for the rabbits). I don't know much about electricity. I wonder if the draw from those is taking the power down enough to do this... I will unplug them tomorrow and try again.

Gravytrain- that tester looks awesome. I will save up for one of those for sure.

jlhmsh and Philosaw- yes, I am in Ca. too. The ground is pretty darn dry near almost all of the fence lines. If that is it then if I wet the ground near the fence they should get zapped, right? So if that "fixes" the problem, then I need to go ahead and run a ground line as well. (right?) Do I understand correctly that it would be another line of hotwire very near but not touching the existing line? And that should come off of the feed that the ground wire comes off of from the unit?

Thank you all SO much for your help!!
 

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... to go ahead and run a ground line as well. (right?) Do I understand correctly that it would be another line of hotwire very near but not touching the existing line? And that should come off of the feed that the ground wire comes off of from the unit?
No. A ground wire is not connected to a hot wire. It is connected to a ground rod placed in a damp area, or an area that you can make damp...then run close to, but not touching the hot wire. The idea is, when an animal touches the hot wire, it will also touch the ground wire thus completing the circuit. The ground wire is artificial wet ground under the animal's feet.
 

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My fence doesn't work that great right now either: I don't respect it like I should! thats why im going to recommend how I test the fence.

ball up and let yourself get a little shock. Take a blade of green grass and touch it to the fence. how hot is it? do you feel a little jolt? no jolt? the grass will cut a strong shock down enough you can shake it off. If you don't feel anything you might get brave enough to touch it and that will really tell you if anything is going through.

One thing you need to do is keep your ground rods moist so they can actually ground. infact, i need to do that this morning!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Gravytrain- So I don't need to connect the ground wire to the ground wire on the electrical unit itself? That would be awesome and save me a good amount of wire.

ErikaMay- that is normally how I test the fence, especially when I get to the back of the property and don't want to make the hike to get a tester. We have no green grass around here at all right now though so I hadn't given it much thought. Even all of our wild herbs like plantain are dead and dry... I will grab a tomato leaf from the garden and give it a try today.
 

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I may have missed how much fence you have, but do you have ground rods driven periodically around the perimeter? On long fence runs we've done this to keep a better ground. Also, when you tested your volts.. were you within 200 feet of the charger? You want an accurate reading, so go further down the line.

Also.. how many ground rods do you have in? I've never used less than 3x6ft bonded together.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Oh gosh I am having one of those "duh" moments. I looked up diagrams and pictures of running extra round wires for dry weather conditions. It was not easy to find- most of the diagrams are of setting up a system the way I already have it but few showed running a separate ground line in addition, especially one that is not run from the ground rods.

I did realize while doing this that I stopped pushing the probe on the tester into the ground because it is too dry and hard. So I have been touching it to the metal fence or a t-post. That is why my tester is getting the crap shocked out of it and the animals are not. I know this is obvious to all of you, lol... but it took me a minute for my brain to really compute what you were telling me :)

I am going to run a wire that is connected to a t-post and runs taught near the current electrical lines so that when they touch one, they almost can't help but touch the ground line.

THANK YOU!
 

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I would check every foot of the fence to make sure it's not touching a fencepost. I had a weird issue where I was getting voltage on the tester at various places, but the pigs weren't feeling it. Wound up just being an insulator was half-broken and the wire was against the tpost. The path of least resistance was the tpost, so that was the only thing getting any current.
 

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Are you using copper ground rods and how deep are you driving them in the ground. I use 3- 1 inch. ground rods in series 10 ft. apart and driven in the ground 5 ft. It does get dry here but with the rods driven in the ground deep where there is more moisture they do work better.http://blog.kencove.com/10-most-common-electric-fence-problems-part-1/

The above link shows a 5 wire electric fence. I only use 2 wires which works good for my pigs.
You can also install a surge protecter and lightning diverter. Part two of the link above shows how to do that. I don't use lightning diverter but it can save your charger if in a bad lightning storm.
 

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Another trick is if you can't drive ground rods deeply then put in a bunch spaced out over a long distance and then join them together. I used six strands of 6AWG copper wire with nuts to join them to multiple ground rods in a wet area. We have ledge close to the surface so I can't go deep in most places. This has worked very well. I ran underground cable from that to the energizer.

-Walter
 

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although you've got it figured out I walked my fence at nightfall tonight and saw sparks a few place telling me where I have shorts to deal with i the morning. I also discovered the logger rolled a small log into my fence knocking the line out of an insulator and lightly grounding me out.
A little moisture and the quite that seems to come with night fall you can see and hear that snap when it jumps across. It's a good way to find that cracked corner insulator that keeps shorting your fence and you can't figure out why.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
This morning I ran bare wire in a hog paddock, starting at point where it wrapped directly around a t-post, ran tight to each t-post in the fenceline and wrapped tightly around each one. It is between the bottom two hot lines. Those hogs were not happy when they pushed enough to touch both a hot line and the "ground" line, so that was definitely most of the problem. They stayed very neatly in their paddock today :)

I did go out to check on my new litter (of 9, they are SO stinkin' cute!!!) tonight and looked at the fence in the dark. My horse pasture that runs off the same charger had a few small spots of spark where it transitions from hot tape to plain wire, so I will re-splice those for a tighter connection a.s.a.p. I am going to walk the whole property tomorrow after dark just to see if there are any other spots where I am losing voltage.

Thanks everyone!!!
 
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