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Electric Fencing Help

Electric Fencing Help

It can be daunting knowing where to start when looking into what sort of electric fencing you require. In this section we aim to explain some of your questions about an electric fence, it's applications, materials, installation, etc.
How Does An Electric Fence Work?

How Does An Electric Fence Work?

An electric fence can be either battery or mains powered, using an energiser unit which converts the power into high voltage pulses. If the wire carrying the pulse is touched by an animal, the current passes through the animal to the ground, and this effect gives a shock. As the animal realises that the fence causes pain it quickly learns to stay away and the fence becomes both a physical and psychological boundary. Electric fencing is considered far safer than a lot of conventional fencing methods as the energiser emits the pulse once every 1-2 seconds and it lasts for only a fraction of a second whereas barbed wire has been known to cause injury.

An electric fence is made up of 4 main components:

  1. An energiser which can be either mains, battery powered or both
  2. Conducting line which makes up the actual barrier. This can be electric netting, poly-tape, wire, poly-rope or twine.This carries the current along the fence and is what the animal in the field will touch
  3. Good insulation of the line so the power does not leak to earth
  4. An earth stake that takes the current back to the energiser.

Choice Of Energiser

This is the heart of the system! There are many models available depending on the power supply and output required, the fence length, and the type of animal to be contained or excluded.

Mains Fencer / Energiser
These are best for large areas where a permanent electric fence is required. They are always the preferred choice for any electric fence where a 230v supply is nearby as you don't have to worry about batteries needing to be recharged. The power can be taken from a mains energiser unit to the fence and the earth stake by insulated 'Lead Out Cable' which can be buried. This is a low cost insulated steel cable which has the ability to cope with high voltages and has minimal resistance. With a mains energiser, the running costs are very low with no maintenance required - you just switch them on and forget about them!

9v Battery Energiser
These are very mobile fence energisers powered by dry-cell 9v disposable batteries. Very popular for strip grazing and seasonal use by farmers and horse owners alike as they're so portable. Please note that 9v batteries are non-rechargeable and you will need to consider the cost of replacing the battery when it runs out - the larger capacity batteries will last considerably longer and some models of 9v energiser have battery saving features that allow the batteries to last longer and therefore lower running costs.

12v Battery Energiser
Ideal for semi-permanent electric fences or where no mains power is available. These energisers are powered by a rechargeable 12v battery and are generally able to power longer fences at a higher voltage than 9v energisers. While a car battery can be used, it is always better to use a 'leisure' battery because a car battery gives out maximum power over a few days and then the power dwindles over the weeks whereas a leisure battery is designed to give a steady output over the weeks and will then go from full strength to flat in a couple of days. This is termed 'deep discharging'. Please consider when buying a 12v leisure battery, the higher the Ah of the battery, the longer between recharges.

Mains & 12v Combination Energisers

These are a relatively new concept in electric fence energisers in recent years and have become very popular very quickly. These units are designed to run from a variety of power sources and are supplied with different adapter cables. One for the mains which just plugs into a socket on the wall and one with crocodile clips to clamp onto the terminals of a 12v battery. Some units can also run from 6v battery.

This gives the ultimate in versatility and is the perfect solution for those whose circumstances change from time to time. Animals which are quite often kept in remote fields during the summer can have their fencing powered by battey and if brought closer to home in winter can be powered from the mains if outbuildings have 230v sockets.

Very popular for those with portable electric poultry fencing and horse owners who strip graze in summer pasture but want a more permanent power supply in winter without having to think about recharging batteries.