Electric Fence Troubleshooting | Keep Animals in and Predators Out

Electric fences are a great way to keep your animals in and predators out. While they can be very effective, there are many things that can go wrong with an electric fence. That’s why it’s important to know how to troubleshoot them before you need them!

Why Is My Electric Fence Not Working?

The power outlet your fence’s charger is plugged into might not be switched on. You may have also neglected to switch the charger itself on.

These are probably the most common causes of fence malfunction, so you shouldn’t feel embarrassed if either happen to be true. More serious problems include loose or broken wires as well as the possibility of moisture working its way into otherwise sealed connections.

At times, internal components will also blow and they’ll have to be replaced before the fence works properly again.

How Do You Find A Fault In An Electric Fence?

Some faults are very visible and consist of little more than an obvious break in the wires. If that’s the case, then you can spot them simply by walking around it.

Tighten up all of the connectors in your system too, since you might be able to feel a faulty connection if its gone loose over time. Make sure that you’ve disconnected the power before doing this.

After you re-energize your fence, you might consider using a fence voltage meter. These are specialized testing devices that are designed to work exclusively with electric fences and not any other circuits.

How Can I Test My Electric Fence Without A Tester?

Hold a compass near the fence but don’t come into contact with it. The needle should twitch to indicate the presence of an electromagnetic field if your fence is working correctly.

You might be able to hear a buzzing noise from a fence that’s properly working, though not all of them make an audible tone. Depending on how high the voltage is, you could potentially hold a common fluorescent tube light bulb up to it and see if it glows.

Regardless of which method you try, you shouldn’t come into contact with the fencing itself while the power is on.

How Do You Test An Electric Fence With A Multimeter?

Drop your fence’s output power to the lowest setting and then set your multimeter to its voltage testing mode. Very carefully touch the probes to each of the charged wires and check to ensure that the figure that you’re getting is within the specifications of the fence you’re using.

Repeat the test every 100 feet or so until you’ve spotted a fault. If there’s any area that suddenly causes the meter to drop to zero, then there’s a high probability that you’ve found a problem area.

Just like the previous tests, you’ll need to know the voltage of your fence to be able to do this.

How Many Volts Should An Electric Fence Have?

Fences normally have a voltage that’s between 2,000 and 10,000 volts depending on the type of animals that a fence is meant to control. Some smaller and underground (wired) electric fences meant for controlling domestic pets will only have a maximum voltage of around 700-1,000 volts.

In general, manufacturers will provide the exact specifications for the equipment that you’re working with when you first purchase it. Take a few moments to make a note of this whenever you install a new fence.

Chances are that you’ll also see a marking on your equipment that reads 110-120 volt input. This refers to the wall connection that powers your fence rather than the fence itself, so don’t think your fence should be operating at this voltage.

Why Is My Electric Fence Clicking?

Fences normally click because their ground system isn’t working correctly. Turn the system off and then check to make sure that all of the ground rods and terminals are attached properly.

There’s a possibility that one of your connections might be loose, which would allow stray radio frequency energy into the circuit. Tighten your terminals, but make sure that you don’t do so too much because you don’t want anything to crack.

Operating electric fences downstream from any large source of RF, like high-tension lines, can cause them to click as well. An active ground system could mitigate this to some degree.

Consider installing RF chokes on all of your power lines if you’re dealing with that kind of situation.

How Do I Reset My Electric Fence Alarm?

Different manufacturers have decided to implement different reset procedures, but you’ll want to start by switching the unit off. This will normally silence the klaxon if it hasn’t already timed itself out.

Once the fence is completely powered down, you may need to wait for a certain amount of time before powering it back up. This will normally reset the alarm and prevent it from going off again as soon as you reapply the power.

You may have to push and hold down a reset button when restarting the charger to ensure that you’ve gotten the alarm totally switched off.

Does Electric Fence Need To Be A Loop?

While electric fences do technically need to be in a loop in order to complete a circuit, you can actually loop wire around the same poles more than once in a number of convenient patterns if you’re trying to get a fence installed on only three sides. You could theoretically design an electric fence this way that stretches between two permanent structures and therefore only has one side.

As long as the wires don’t touch each other, any orientation is technically possible, though more complex layouts are harder to troubleshoot once they’re put into place.

How Does An Electric Fence Alarm Work?

Electric fences go off whenever something upsets the balance of the electromagnetic field present in their wires. When this happens, it completes a short circuit to ground that could also be used to trigger an indicator light or other electrical component.

Fence systems that have alarms have employed this phenomenon as a way of setting off an electrical buzzer and possibly other components as well. Some of the most sophisticated systems take that signal and convert it into a digital one that they can then transmit via Bluetooth and other computerized protocols.