Electric Fence Fault Finding

The following information is only for general customer edification. Please do not examine or try and repair any electrified fence or electric appliance if you are not qualified to do so!
Grounding and the importance of a good “ground”
Grounding is critical in electrified fence system and over 80% of all electrified fence “problems” are attributable to poor grounding. For an electrified fence to be effective a circuit must be completed and this is done through the ground, or earth wires.
For most domestic and industrial applications, 1,2m earth-spikes driven into the ground at suitable intervals provide an efficient ground.
Remember … if your fence is not producing the output expected, the problem is most likely to be your ground system – so this should be checked first.

In terms of general fault finding, the most common number of reasons for reduced voltage on a fence line, include:
• Vegetation growth
• Broken wires
• Corrosion
• Poor grounding
• Bad connections
• Poor insulation
• The fence being too long for the energizer chosen.

If the above have been checked and the fault remains, one should then examine:
• If the energizer is switched on
• If the lead-out wire is connected to the energizer and the fence-line
• If there’s a break in the lead-out
• If the earth wire is connected to the energizer and earth rods
• If there’s a break in the earth-wire
• If all the on/off or cut-out switches are turned on.

Fault Finding with a Voltage Meter

Always check the voltage at the energizer FIRST. To check if the energizer is faulty, disconnect both the lead-out and the ground wires and test the energizer without any load. If the energizer is reading below the manufacturer’s specification there could be a fault with the energizer. If the energizer is reading “normal”, then check the ground system before checking the fence-line.
If no fault is discovered with either the energizer or the ground system, then check the fence-line. On/off or cut-out switches make the job of finding faults easier as different sections of the fence can be isolated. When the faulty area of fence is switched off, the voltage on the remainder of the fence will rise. Once you have isolated the section of fence at fault, move along the fence-line and take voltage readings every 100 m. Readings will continue to drop until you reach, or pass the fault. After the Fault, the readings should remain constant. Remember there may be more than one fault!