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Author Topic: Testing an electric fence charger  (Read 2605 times)
gdoten
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« on: May 17, 2013, 10:06:43 AM »

I've installed an electric fence to keep black bears away from the hives, since they really like our yard. I've tested the fence with two cheap-o fence testers and cannot get a reading. One tester is an on/off thing and the other has readings from 600 V to 5500 V. Putting the tester into the ground then touching the fence doesn't give a reading.

The charger I'm using is a Parmak DF-SP-LI ( www.parmakusa.com/product_details.php?PId=3 ). The charger seems fully charged, the built-in meter pegs out on the "good" side when it is turned on, and it starts making the clicking noise. Probably a stupid question, but if I plug a tester into the ground and then touch the other end of the tester directly to the + terminal of the charger and get no reading is it safe to assume the charger ain't working? I'm brand new to this so thought I'd see how others test their chargers before going to the hassle of contacting the manufacturer for warranty.
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2013, 10:14:57 AM »

Make sure that the soil around the ground rod and where you are testing is moist.

Scott
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« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2013, 10:29:08 AM »

i can loan you my granddaughter.  she's an excellent fence tester.  she also has picked up some of grandmas vocabulary  evil

check your ground again.  how did you attach the ground wire and how deep did you drive the rod?  if you show green it should be working, but if you are not getting a reading.....

when you stuck your tester in the ground, was that soil damp?  try that if it was not.
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2013, 10:33:47 AM »

I have an electric fence around some chickens to keep racoons away.

I think I test that fence by hand on a weekly basis. They don't hurt that bad, just grab it.
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gdoten
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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2013, 11:00:13 AM »

Thanks for the suggestions. I've tried them with no luck. I even disconnected the charger from the fence and ground wire, then put the tester directly to the + and - terminals of the charger and no reading. So I guess the charger must be bad. Time to open it up! (If I can do that without breaking any seals that would void the warranty.)

Here's the thing about the ground rod. Here in N.H. we raise rocks as a crop, so any attempt to get a 6 or 8 foot ground rod in veritcally is more work than I care to partake in (and I'm trying to avoid hiring that out). At one of our club's bee meetings this past winter, a member who is an electrician suggested digging a trench and just laying the rod in it. So I did that for the 6' rod, a foot deep. But I think troubleshooting any issues there may be with that comes after figuring out why the charger gives no reading touching terminal-to-terminal.

Kathy, the granddaughter-as-tester is a good idea. I thought of a dog-as-tester too, but we currently don't have one and the neighbors probably wouldn't let me borrow theirs.
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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2013, 11:19:01 AM »


Kathy, the granddaughter-as-tester is a good idea. I thought of a dog-as-tester too, but we currently don't have one and the neighbors probably wouldn't let me borrow theirs.

As a kid we'd just pull up as long of a weed as we could find, hold one end and lay the other on the electric fence, This reduced the punch quite a bit, but still let you know without a doubt that it was on.  grin
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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2013, 11:46:35 AM »

Don't pee on it.
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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2013, 11:55:44 AM »

Don't pee on it.

I grew up with older brothers and cousins...glad to say, they never pulled that trick on me.  However, I am afraid that I was asked to hold my finger on the spark plug while they tried to start the go-cart.  OUCH!  Luckily that's the kind of lesson that leaves a memorable impression and you only have to learn it once.  laugh
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"We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions."
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gdoten
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2013, 02:11:05 PM »

Turns out the charger and the fence are working fine. No, I didn’t grab on to the terminals with each hand to find out, but was about ready to.

Brought the charger into the house and took off the cover that houses the battery. Checked the voltage of the battery. Rated for 6 V but emitting 7 V. Good. No serviceable parts inside. Put the battery back in and closed it up. Used the tester with the charger on the table and: light dawns! That clicking the charger makes isn’t just an audible clue that it's working, it’s also timed that each click means that a 10,000 V (or whatever) pulse is being sent out the + terminal. In the comfort of the kitchen and without full sunlight in the way, I can see the little tiny lights on the tester light up with each click.

Put the charger back on the fence and at this time of day one part of the fence is in the shade. I can just barely see the lights come on when testing that part of the fence. Will have to try other parts of the fence this evening when it gets darker. I didn’t realize (1) the charger sent pulses and (2) the friggin’ lights on the tester were so dim.

So I guess the bit about digging a trench for the ground rod works OK. I hived two packages inside the fence on Sunday and since the fence has indeed been working it’s probably why the bears haven’t gotten them. I was afraid the sugar water would attract them. Or I was just lucky, since the fence has not been baited. The bear(s) took apart my hive from last year, and it was sitting only 20' or so from where the fenced area now is. It’s two 10-frame deeps and he ate what was left of brood comb and some honey. Amazingly, only 3 of the frames were damaged, the rest of the hive is just fine. A couple years ago we had one bear, and later a bear with a cub, that would head north through our front yard every morning and then back south in the evening, apparently commuting to work. Try my hives now, Pooh!

On to the next problem...
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2013, 03:01:19 PM »

Quote
I didn’t realize (1) the charger sent pulses and (2) the friggin’ lights on the tester were so dim.

the old chargers used to light off the grass and cause field fires smiley  don't put your finger behind that little light so that you can see better.  there's wires in there and if you touch them, you get the jolt.  invest in a voltage meter.  much easier to see that  you have a charge on the fence.
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.....The greatest changes occur in their country without their cooperation. They are not even aware of precisely what has taken place. They suspect it; they have heard of the event by chance. More than that, they are unconcerned with the fortunes of their village, the safety of their streets, the fate of their church and its vestry. They think that such things have nothing to do with them, that they belong to a powerful stranger called “the government.” They enjoy these goods as tenants, without a sense of ownership, and never give a thought to how they might be improved.....

 Alexis de Tocqueville
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2013, 04:08:47 PM »

Glen,

Some advice from a fellow rock grower with plenty of black bear.  There are 2 issues with getting bear trained to the fence.  One is getting them to touch the fence with their nose or tongue, that is why it needs to be baited.   The other one, that most people forget about, is the bear must be grounded through their feet.  If it is rocky or dry and the bear is not grounded good they won't get a shock.   I have had good luck creating a ground plane by laying a 2' section of chicken wire around the fenced in yard and tying it to the ground terminal of the charger.  With this set up,  you don't have to worry about using the ground as your "ground".  This way, the bear has to be standing of the chicken wire to reach the bait.
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Joe D
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2013, 07:59:59 PM »

I had one of the chargers Kathy is talking about, a weed chopper.  Had it around my garden, one night a deer broke the wire, it set a hay field on fire.  Luckily had disc hooked to tractor, got it out in a few minutes.




Joe
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« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2013, 12:03:13 AM »

Why not just use a 30.06? I know that it would take more time but it would be much more satisfying. That bear wouldn't come back. I understand that bears are pretty smart and persistant. One of them would come back and test the fence time and time again. I could be wrong, just my view.
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« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2013, 12:50:18 AM »

If it is too strong to test it by hand, it may be illegal. shocked d2
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Jim 134
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« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2013, 07:36:52 AM »

Back in the fifties my father gave me a nickel to test the fence. Thanks for the memories.




                   BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2013, 08:31:48 AM »

You could shut off fencer. Connect 10 in. long piece of insulated wire to ground side. Turn fencer on and hold other end next to hot terminal if you can get it to jump 3/8 in. gap then your fencer is good. If it jumps 1/2 in. gap then thank God you didnt have to just grab on to it. Ha
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« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2013, 11:31:14 PM »

I thought of a dog-as-tester too, but we currently don't have one and the neighbors probably wouldn't let me borrow theirs.

We taught our dogs to toilet on a fence line (to save us stepping in it) but now we are visiting a relative's farm. Our male dog has 'tested' the electric fence twice - not the best option.  Yike yike yike ... shake all over ... now he is reluctant to pee, just in case ... embarassed
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« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2013, 01:01:32 AM »

As long as your feet are not too wet, or damp standing on dry ground it shouldn't zap you too bad. You could get one of those two step stools made out of the resin/ plastic stuff. stand on it and all you will feel  a slight tingle, even if you can feel it. Or you could get some one to hold your hand, electricity goes to the end of the line you know, Hitting the last one in line. shocked Smiley d2
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