How to Build an Electric Fence

How to Build an Electric Fence

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Basic Items

All electric fences need appropriate wire, some kind of power controller or converter box, a strong ground for the electrical current and suitable support beams to hold everything in place.  Keep in mind that you can’t use regular household wire for electric fencing.  Home wires are generally limited to around 600 volts whereas standard electrical fencing is designed to hold upwards of 12,000 volts.  You can purchase standard 12.5 guage wire or products that include synthetic material as well.  There are also different types of kits that are available if you want to make something less rudimentary.

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Installing the Box
You should be able to connect a controller or regulator box to a standard 220 volt plug, and many commercial products will also have all of the connections fitted and ready to go.  Simply attach the wires to the box and the fence will be electrified.  You can also make your own if you have some basic electrical skills.

In any case, you want to mount the box in a secure location where it will be minimally-impacted by weather.  You also want to make sure that the box as well as all connecting wires and associated components are encased in waterproof material to prevent the unit from shorting out.  Mount the box securely.

When choosing voltage, consider that a box that produces between 2-5,000 volts is enough to keep cattle contained, and many of us know the force of that shock from accidentally touching a charged fence.  You will probably need to also research if there are any regulations that limit the amount of voltage that a fence can produce in your area as well.

Wiring the Fence
There are different opinions out there with respect to how to wire electric fences.  However, you should be working with a 12 guage wire at the very least.  Some people use high-voltage power boxes and use wire that has a guage of 18 or higher.  Choose wire that best suits your needs.  You should evenly space out the wires on the fence, and make sure that they are connected properly with insulators and corner strainers.  Insulators are used when wires are attached to a stake or pole and wire strainers are used to maintain a consistent tension along the line.

However, wire strainers are not necessary for lengths of fence that are shorter than 1000 feet in a straight line in most cases.  The spacing of your fence posts will also help with keeping the line taut, and the distance between posts will depend on the length of fence as well.  Plan on attaching a wire strainer along each line at 1000-1500 foot intervals, but only attach them at end posts on shorter fences.  Do it for every corner.

To attach the wire strainer at the end post, simply feed the end of the wire through the hole on the end that is opposite the ratchet sprocket.  Crimp the wire securely after wrapping it around the post and use the ratchet to pull the wire taut.

Make sure that the fence posts are securely anchored into the ground in order to prevent them from leaning, collapsing or allowing the wires to droop.

Attaching the insulators to each post is relatively easy, but the steps may vary depending on the product that you choose.  Simply secure the insulator to the post and rest or feed the wire across the component as directed.

Wiring and Grounding
You will need an insulated ground wire that runs from the power box to the ground rod.  The ground rod should be at least five or six feet long and made of appropriate galvenized material.  Attach the wire and bury it into the ground.  You will also need two more ground stakes of equal length that are placed 10 feet apart.  Connect both stakes with an insulated wire and bury underground as well.  Take another insulated wire and connect it from the ground of the power box to the bottom wire of the fence.

Run an insulated wire from the positive connector and attach it to the wire above the ground line.  Then take another wire and connect it to the live wire before attaching it to each of the other wires using special connecting plates.  These are just little connectors that secure the wire to the other wires, and they come in many different shapes and sizes.

Once all of the connections are made, you can connect the power box to the power source and test the fence.  Make sure that all of your connections are properly insulated and secured with appropriate material in order to keep the fence running properly and minimizing problems.

You also want to make sure that you never electrify a barbed or razor wire fence.  Doing so can cause the animal to get shocked, struggle and then get caught up and cut on these materials.  They can lead to serious injury or death and they are also a challenge to clean.

Keep in mind that this is just a rough sketch of what is involved in making a useful and reliable electrified fence.  It can be applied to small properties or large ranches as long as you have the appropriate material on hand.  This is a fantastic and effective way to secure the perimeter of a property, and building one is not that difficult or expensive.  Consider how installing an electric fence can give you an excellent additional layer of security that requires minimal monitoring and maintenance.

 

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