Despite the careful construction of an electric fence, there are always situations where we have to repair something on the fence. Manual repairs of fence posts, insulators or the conductor material are quite simple to identify and correct, for example, with Litzclip fence connectors.
However, if there is too little or no more voltage on the electric fence (for sensitive animals, it should have at least 2,500 volts, for robust animals at least 4,000 volts), finding the fault is somewhat more difficult. We recommend these four steps:
- Test for discharges along the electric fence
- Testing the fence energizer
- Inspection of the supply line
- Grounding test
Step 1: Test for Discharge along the Fence Line
Walk along your electric fence and check if there are any visible damages or discharges. These can be caused by:
- Vegetation or branches that have fallen upon the fence -> remove those
- Conductor material has contact with the ground -> tighten/ connect
- Cut through insulators -> replace with new insulators
- Broken metal conductor wires -> exchange the conductor material
- Knotted conductor material -> replace with stainless steel connector
Another possibility is to improve the conductivity of your pasture fence by connecting the conductor material perpendicularly to each other every 200m.
Step 2: Check the Fence Energizer
If no external influences are obvious, check the fence energizer. For this, you disconnect the fence connection from the turned-off energizer, but not the ground connection! Switch on the device and check with the help of a fence tester whether the output voltage of the fence energizer is over 6,000V. If so, you can reconnect the device to the fence and continue with step 3. If not, check the power supply of the energizer. You may need to recharge the 12V battery, replace the 9V battery or have the 230V supply checked by a specialist. A red flashing or non-lit LED on the energizer gives you a hint for an existing problem. If the power supply of the device appears to be ok, call for service!
Step 3: Inspection of the Supply Line
If the cause of the fault is not found in the fence energizer, check the supply line to the fence. For this, you measure the fence voltage at the end of the supply line. You should be able to measure at least 6,000 Volt here as well. If this is the case, the supply line is also intact and you continue with step 4. If the voltage is below 6,000 volts, the fence cable is disturbed. In case of an underground supply line, there may be damage to the underground cable. Make sure that you use a suitable high-voltage underground cable! In the case of an overground supply line, there may be discharges somewhere between the fence energizer and the electric fence: Does the supply line have contact with the building? For example, through ivy or bushes or at a gutter? If so, remove the cause of the discharge, if not, proceed to step 4.
Step 4: Check of the grounding
For testing the earthing, you must first short-circuit the fence wire at a distance of about 10 m from the grounding with the help of iron rods. Then, you can check the voltage directly at the grounding post using a digital voltmeter. If the voltage is above 1,000 volts, improve the grounding and pay attention to these points:
- Drive the earth rods at least 1 m deep into humid soil at a distance from the building.
- Use several earth rods at a distance from each other of at least 3 m and connect them.
- Use earth rods made of rustproof material, e.g. stainless steel or galvanized steel.
If the voltage at the earth rod is below 1,000 volts, the grounding is all right and the fault must be somewhere in the fence system. Go back to step 1 and check whether there is, for example, a broken insulator after all. Then check the fence tension again with a fence tester.
We hope that with this guide you will be able to find and fix the problem in your electric fence.
Want to learn more about electric fencing? Download our Electric Fence Guidebook: