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Trouble Shooting My Electric Fence

Troubleshooting My Electric Fence

Last week I went to check our three reel system that surrounds our garden and hens.  There was max 3000v on each line – this is not enough power.  I couldn’t understand it .  I really need 6000-9000v to keep the cattle and sheep out.  Nothing had been changed or moved anything and as far as I could see there were no faults.  I will go through the checks I did below to trouble shooting my electric fence and so in-turn this will show you how to get the best from your fence.

Check Energiser

Our system runs from a water proof outside mains socket.  A cable runs from the socket to a waterproof box which houses our Hotline Gemini 120 energiser.  We have had builders in recently and switches do get inadvertently switched off.  It has happened twice before.  So, I checked the socket but it was on.  I checked the energiser and it was pulsing as usual.  The box was sealed and there was no water affecting the energiser.

Check Battery

If we had been running our system from a battery operated energiser I would have checked the battery out-put, perhaps recharged the battery to see if this was the problem.  If it was a dual powered energiser and wasn’t working from the battery I would have checked it from the mains.

Check Fencing

I picked up our KV10 Tester and walked around the fence.  I made sure the 3 way switch/cut out switch was in the correct position to feed power to the fence.  Checked the power at the start of the fence where the lead out cable connects (still 3000v).  Looked at the connections, the reels, the insulators, plastic posts, grass levels and gate way to ensure there was no shorting.  Everything was as it should have been.  A little grass touching the bottom line but nothing that would have taken so much power out of the system. (If I had been checking our electric poultry netting I would have checked: connections to the fence, that the metal prongs of the posts didn’t hook over a live line of the fencing, that the hotgate was connected correctly, that the guy ropes were keeping the fencing taut and that the live lines were not touching the ground or grass).

Check Earth Stake

Still one more thing to check.  I walked back to the earth stake having found no shorts on the fence.  I must admit I was beginning to worry… maybe I had missed something else.  But when I reached the earth stake I realised what the problem was…. The builders had knocked the earth stake and as they had done this the lead out cable had come detached from the earth stake.  The bare end of the lead out earth cable was stuck in the ground.  This was enough to give the fence 3000v but not as much power as I wanted down my fence.  I turned the whole system off at the mains and reattached the lead out to the earth stake.  I also moved the earth stake and pushed it into the ground as far as I could.

Everything was turned back on again and then walked over to test the fence… wooosh it was back up at 9000v!  It is clear to see that an earth stake is an integral part of an electric fencing system.  Sometimes it is the simplest of things that can make a fence drop its power.  So when trouble shooting my electric fence it is clear to see that it is always worth checking these in order:

  1. Check energiser
  2. Check your battery
  3. Check your fencing
  4. Check your earthing

My advice would be never go out to your electric fence without your fence tester … this will make your life a whole load easier and you won’t have to get a zap yourself!!

We are always keen to talk electric fencing.  If you have a problem with your electric fence or need some help to develop a system get in touch:

email: or call: 01620 860058

Meriel Younger

About Meriel Younger

Farmers daughter (my mother was the farmer!) with many years experience of farming, equestrian and electric fencing. Living the 'good life' and forever trying to find the perfect work/life balance!
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