A Guide to Electric Fence Fault Finding

What You'll Need
Safety gloves
Scythe or weed whacker
Wire brush

Discovering that an electric fence has suddenly stopped working will make it important to undertake a fault finding exercise in order to locate the cause. Because there can only be a few reasons for the problem, it will only take a little investigation to determine this.

Step 1 – Examine Fence

The first step necessary for fault finding is to examine the fence itself to ensure that it has been fitted correctly and that there is nothing hindering it from working properly. Vegetation that is allowed to grow until it comes into contact with the fence may interfere with its ability by reducing the voltage. Rectify this by switching off the power supply in order to clear away any plants or other debris that has become caught up on the wire. Similarly, rust on the wire can act as an insulator and prevent the wire from having any effect. Switch of the power supply to the fence before thoroughly cleaning it. This process will enable you to examine the entire length of the fence to check for problems with the connectors, insulators and posts that make up the electric fence.

Where nothing appears to be interfering with the fence, a problem is likely to lie with the power cable. Disconnect it and use a voltmeter to check that the voltage is sufficient for the purpose of the fence. A low voltage could be a sign of a damaged cable and should be rectified by replacing it.

Step 2 – Power Supply

Fault finding with an electric fence will involve checking the power supply to determine whether this is causing the problem. If the fence is powered by the mains, make sure that there are not defects with the cable. A fence powered by a battery is likely to be more problematic as there are more components that can go wrong. If the battery is fully charged, disconnect it from the energizer and check the volt reading with a voltmeter. The energizer requires a certain level of volts depending on what it operates at.

Step 3 – Energizer

The fault finding process will need to include the energizer that is attached to the electric fence. After disconnecting the energizer, test the fence and earth terminal to ensure that the voltage is as it should be. If the voltage is extremely low or non existent, the problem may lie with the circuit board so it will need to be repaired or placed. A solar powered energizer may simply not be getting enough sun, if it does not appear to comprise any defects, change the position of it to see if this rectifies the problem.

Step 4 – Earthed

For an electric fence to work properly, it has to be earthed sufficiently. Include the earth system in your fault finding procedure. If the wire is fitted as it should be, test it to determine whether it is working as it should. A fence that fails to work at all is often due to a defective earth wire.