How does an electric fence work?

Are you considering buying an electric fence?  Do you have the stock you need to keep in? Maybe you have a large grazing area that you would like to manage into smaller areas to aid land management or stock control?  For an overall understanding of how an electric fence works, what you will need to buy, and what you should consider before you make a decision take a look through this guide.

Firstly you must have a source of power – your electricity energizer provides a high voltage pulse using energy from either main, solar or a battery (or a combination of solar and battery).

This pulse is released to a fence line which is insulated, this means that no part of the live fencing is earthing to the ground, insulators are used to run the fencing through or plastic poles, and the integrity of the pulse is maintained to the end of the fence.  The energiser releases power at a rate of around one pulse per second, the pulses are very short, around 150 microseconds.  As you have taken care that the fence is insulated without any part of it touching the ground – posts are either wooden or plastic normally – then the current flows unhindered the length of the fencing.

In common language the pulse is considered an ‘electric shock’ and any animal – or person – touching the fence completes the circuit and receives the shock by earthing the fence.

This ‘shock’ is how such a flimsy fence can be very effective at keeping large stock confined.

The pulse causes no damage to livestock, but the fear of the sudden shock is very effective.

Electric fencing is a great choice for a number of reasons:

  • As a fencing solution compared with permanent wooden fencing or even metal fencing, electric fencing is very budget friendly.
  • Re-locatable. As well as being cheap it can be used over and over in different locations – for livestock and horses, this gives the option to strip graze or section out larger fields.
  • Easily constructed. The materials are light to handle and easy to transport.
  • Wide variety of uses. Electric Fencing will contain most stock.
  • Reinforces existing fencing. If you have old or damaged fencing you can affect an instant repair.
  • Low maintenance. Easy to maintain and renew.
  • Safe for stock. Unlike metal or wooden fencing, stock cannot damage themselves on electric fencing.

Sound like the perfect solution for you?

You would need to consider obtaining the following:

For a Battery system;

  • Posts and/or insulators
  • Wire, tape, netting or rope designed for electric fencing
  • A spike or earth wire
  • An energiser
  • Lead-out cable (between energiser and fence)
  • A battery (generally a 12v leisure battery)

If you are intending to use a mains supply;

  • Posts and/or insulators
  • Wire, tape, netting or rope designed for electric fencing
  • A spike or earth wire
  • An energiser
  • Lead out cable (between energiser and fence)
  • Crocodile clips
  • Cut out switch

If you are going to use both battery and solar on your system:

  • Posts and/or insulators
  • Wire, tape, netting or rope designed for electric fencing
  • A spike or earth wire
  • A solar energiser OR a battery energiser
  • Solar pane (Solar assist system)
  • Lead out cable (between energiser and fence)
  • A battery (generally a 12v leisure battery)

Be sure to consider well the length of fence you wish to use, the type of animal and the type of fencing you wish to keep live.  This will all help you choose the correct energiser for your project.

The earth stake needs to go into the ground away from tree roots and building foundations and be driven in far enough to remain secure.

Ensure that there is no possibility of a short on the fencing – you want the current to travel the length of the fence and only go to ground if it is touched by an animal.

The better and more conductive the fencing you work with the further you can get the pulse to travel.

You do not have to bring the fencing back to the base unit (energiser) – you can just run a long string of fencing from the energiser in any direction –  you are not looking to make a circuit, the circuit is formed when an animal, or person, touches the fence and grounds the current.

 

 

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