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Electric Fence Grounding Question

 
Strouse Campbell
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Background:

I am fencing deer out of 1-acre homestead using a single baited hot wire about 4 feet up. The hot wire is not in a loop, rather it is enclosing 3 sides of the property. I have 2 grounding rods 6ft. The system is a 25-mile system. There are about 150 total yards of wire, but the ends are only about 75 yards away from each other. I'm in NC red clay, very moist.

Questions:
1) How central to the fence perimeter do the ground rods need to be, or can they be at one end, relatively far from the other end? Will the deer receive a shock even if they are 100 yards from grounding rods?

2) How far from a 500-gallon natural bee-watering pond should the grounding rods be? Would shock affect fish?

3) Must I hook the energizer up to one end of the hot wire or the other, or could I connect the energizer and grounds somewhere in the middle of the 150-yard hot wire.

4) Baiting tips welcomed.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Strouse: The grounding rods are connected directly to the control box by short wires, so install the grounding rods wherever you install the control box. (You don't ground the electrified part of the fence, you gound the control box.) The control box can be installed anywhere along the line. It doesn't matter where. I like the controller to be located in a convenient place: near a gate, or on a shed, or somewhere that I don't have to trudge a long ways to turn them on or off. If you use a solar powered controller, make sure it's not installed in a shady spot. The grounding rods work better if installed in damp soil than in dry soil.

The return path is diffused over a huge area, so there is no measurable effect on ponds, or worms, or whatever. (When swimming we don't get shocked by the utility grid when we are in a swimming pool, or a lake, even though it is also using the ground as a return path.)
 
Christine Wilcox
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Location: Los Anchorage, near Alaska
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The location of the ground relative to the hot wire is really not important provided it has solid connection with moist earth. The ground can easily be places near the energizer and connected to the ground terminal. There is no reason that a hot wire needs to make a complete circuit back to the energizer and multple lines can be led off from the energizer. The key is to prevent unwanted grounding by branches or other vegetation. From the sound of the rated fencing coverage, you should easily get the attention of the deer provided they come in contact and don't either scoot under or jump over the single wire. In really dry times, the resistance at the surface soil level can reduce the shock, but changing the ground position can't do much for this and placement near a pond is perfect. No harm will come from the ground wire unless the circuit is completed!. Some critters may also push through if startled by the shock, especially if they can't see the wire.

The goal is have the target animal complete the circuit to provide a strong warning that this is a "no go situation". However, a single wire doesn't sound like the best option for protection but it is an understandable attempt to reduce cost and material. This minimalist approach may deserve experimentation provided there is nothing too precious that you are protecting. Sometimes it is best to have a layered or three dimensional fence to discourage intrusion. If a deer or in my case moose is approaching the fence it slows them down visually and if there are a few strands of energized wire on an angled 2 by 2 projecting outward at ear or nose level, it makes for an unpleasant surprise and even moose can learn to stay away from the fence. We use five feet of welded wire fencing below and keep it grounded so that climbers such a black bears are grounded between the fence and energized wires running above to reduce there visits. Our fences are pretty lightly built and a fast moving moose or brown bear could blast through them with little effort! It would take a lot of expense to make a fence that stopped this. Many approaches can work, and there are always unexpected ways for the systems to fail!

A lot of jittery electrons still seem like the most cost effective way to reduce unwanted critters from the garden. Good luck with your fencing.
 
Strouse Campbell
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Joseph and Christine,

Thank you both for your helpful responses. I have a layout that will work well. In considering the question of whether or not a single strand will be effective enough, I have realized that it would be quite easy to add another strand. Hence, my new and hopefully final question:

If I were to run a 2nd hot wire next to the first, either directly above/below or staggered for the 3D effect, should I:
A) run the 2 hot wires in a giant connected loop and use one long piece of wire?
B) run the 2 wires connected at one end and apart at the other end? (a halfway connected loop)
C) run 2 separate unconnected wires and hook them up to the energizer at 2 connection points?

That is to say, will the connection be better if the hot wire is one continuous, uncut piece? Thank you!
 
Christine Wilcox
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Location: Los Anchorage, near Alaska
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Hi Strouse,

Do whatever is easiest. The hot strands can connect to form a loop or consist of individual straight runs. As long as the connection is strong at the energizer, it is all the same. The electrons won"t care. Both will be connected to the same high voltage "hot" connector. We usually do whatever uses the least wire, makes accidental grounding less likely and makes it the easiest to change out components of the wire. It can be tricky to make durable splices in the middle of the run but there are ways to do this as well. Some of the present galvanized wire is of pretty poor quality and can corrode at an alarming rate. Sad to say periodic replacement of strandshas become part of the maintenance.

Good luck with your fencing! There is something satisfying about successful "area denial".
 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Strouse: The grounding rods are connected directly to the control box by short wires, so install the grounding rods wherever you install the control box. (You don't ground the electrified part of the fence, you gound the control box.) The control box can be installed anywhere along the line. It doesn't matter where. I like the controller to be located in a convenient place: near a gate, or on a shed, or somewhere that I don't have to trudge a long ways to turn them on or off. If you use a solar powered controller, make sure it's not installed in a shady spot. The grounding rods work better if installed in damp soil than in dry soil.

The return path is diffused over a huge area, so there is no measurable effect on ponds, or worms, or whatever. (When swimming we don't get shocked by the utility grid when we are in a swimming pool, or a lake, even though it is also using the ground as a return path.)


Yup. We have a single grounding rod at the box and we have a wire going around 40 acres.
 
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