Troubleshooting & FAQ
It can appear to be a daunting task, to locate and fix a fault on your electric fence. Although there are several things that can go wrong with any electric fence, going through them methodically will allow you to find and repair any problems. Starting with the fence energiser the steps below will guide you on how to test your fence set-up.
What you will need
An essential piece of equipment for dealing with a fault on any fence is a Digital Voltmeter/Fence Tester. This will allow you to test the power levels on the fence, and aid in locating areas where there may be problems. Finding a problem on any fence is done by a process of elimination. Working through from the energiser to the earthing, then the cables, and finally the connections and fence line.
Using the voltmeter
- The first step to testing any electric fence is for you to use your Voltmeter to take a reading of the fence line. To do this attach it to the fence line, moving it for laterally to make sure you have good contact, then place the probe into the ground.
- If the fence has a power drop of between 10 – 20% then it is most probably a problem on the fence line and you should check for vegetation touching the line. If it’s a larger drop that would suggest there is a problem with the energiser.
- To locate the fault you should move along the fence taking readings at 100 metre intervals. You will know you are heading in the correct direction of the fault as the voltage will drop by approx 100 volts every 100 metres as you get closer.
To check the energiser the first step to take is to disconnect the earth and fence cables from the terminals, then use a voltmeter in these terminals. A standard reading should be well over 5000 volts, although this can vary so you should consult the instruction booklet for your energiser.
If the reading is under 5000 volts the the fault is with the energiser and this may need replaced.
If there is no voltage you need to check the supply of power to the energiser. On a battery powered energiser you should check the battery is fully charged. On mains powered you should check the fuse and make sure the power supply from the mains is working. If the voltmeter reading is over 5000 volts then the next step is to check the earthing.
The earthing installation being poorly installed is a common cause of low voltage on your electric fence. With up to 80% of all faults being caused by earthing. Ensure that your energisers earth stake is placed where it isn’t overly dry. In the summer months it may be necessary to water the area.
The next step of checking your electric fence is to test the connection cables. To do this you need to disconnect the cables form the fence line. Then use the voltmeter to take a reading. You are looking for the reading here to match the earlier reading from the energiser.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What’s the best energiser for me – battery, mains or solar powered?
2. How many posts will I need to use on my fence?
3. Is it better that I have a more powerful energiser than I need?
4. There doesn’t seem to be much of a kick off my electric fence?
5. If I don’t put the fence line in a loop will it still work?
6. Is it a problem if vegetation is making contact with my electric fence?
7. Why does my electric fence not work as well when the weather is dry?
8. Will the electric fence hurt my animals?