FAQ

ViviLnk

I get this question all the time:

Q: What are you going to do when a weed touches your fence and shorts it out?
A: It’s going to take more than one weed to short out an electric fence. It will take thousands of weeds to lower the voltage to a point where it is ineffective. A Cyclops fence charger is designed to keep your fence voltage between 4,000 to 8,000 volts. Less than 4,000 volts is an ineffective shock, while 8,000 volts is about the maximum of what most insulators can handle without leaking and wasting  your voltage.  So when you start with a clean fence, you should be in the 7,000 to 8,000 volt range. What you will see is that as more weeds touch the fence, the voltage begins to drop, and when it gets below 5,000 volts or so, it’s time to weedeat around your fence. It’s best to clear the weeds off your fence before the voltage drops below 4,000 volts and your charger stops working and the shock on your fence becomes ineffective. The best shock to your animals will always be with a clean weed free fence.

To see photos of examples of different stages of weed growth, go to the “which charger” page on the Cyclops charger website and on the menu on the left there is a picture of weed growth: http://www.taylorfence.net/whichCharger.php

Barbed Wire

Q: Can you electrify my barbed wire fence?

A: Absolutely not. Barbed wire should never be electrified, for two main reasons. First, when you touch an electric fence, your reaction is to rapidly pull away from it. If you are in contact with a barb and you rapidly pull away, it can rip flesh and cause nasty wounds in both man and animal.

Though some people may think that they are justified in electrifying barbed wire on their land because a trespasser has no business on their land in the first place, they may be surprised to find that in even such a situation they may find themselves legally liable for injuries caused by electrifying a barbed wire fence.

We can add an electric wire to a hog wire fence, though this is not the best situation. However, if it has any barbed wire on it, you must remove it before I will work on it. I am not interested in handling barbed wire and removing it from your fence for you.

Here’s some photos of barbed wire injuries to drive this point home:

Barbed wire may have had it’s day back in the 1800’s, but the fence of the 21st century is the humane and effective Electric Fence.

Why did I become an Electric Fence Specialist?

I created the position of Electric Fence Specialist because I could see that it was a very effective type of fence. When I first installed my own electric fence to keep pigs out, I many low quality components and the fence took a lot of time to maintain. I kept learning all I could about electric fencing and found the high quality components you will see on this website. Now I can say that building a high quality, effective, affordable electric is quite possible, and I can do it for you.

I also heard comments from people that that went like this: “I tried electric fencing, but it didn’t work.” After questioning these people I could see that education about electric fencing was sorely needed because many people simply did not do their homework and thus constructed a poor quality fence. I could then see that an electric fence specialist was badly needed here on the Big Island. So let me help you construct a quality electric fence.

Off – Grid power usage

Q: I live off-grid and am concerned about how much power an AC electric fence charger uses because I would be plugging it into my inverter and if it uses too much it will draw down my batteries.

A: They use very little power. For example (for AC units):  1.5 joule Cyclops Hero charger – uses 7 watts, 2.5 joule Stallion charger uses 12 watts, 5 joule Champ charger uses 18 watts, 8 joule Brute about 12-20 watts ( it has variable output).

The battery chargers use even less:  1.5 joule Hero uses 1.7 watts, 2.5 joule Stallion uses 2.25 watts, 5 joule Champ uses 4.2 watts, 8 joule Brute uses 3.18 – 6 watts (variable output).

Q: Does an electric fence charger use electricity all the time or just when an animal touches it and completes the circuit?

A: Chargers use electricity all the time they are on. The capacitors are discharging some with every pulse.

Guarantee/Warranty

Q: What is the warranty when you install a fence? Do you guarantee your work?

A: Yes, my work when I install your fence has a 1 year warranty. This means that if I install your fence a bit too high and the pigs can get it, I will come and fix it free. Or if a fence post comes out because I didn’t put it in deep enough, I will come and put it in better. It does not cover damage from trees or neglect on your part.

The Timeless Fence System has a 20 year warranty and Cyclops fence chargers have a 1 year warranty and you can also purchase additional warranty for $25/year for up to 5 years additional.

The reason I have a warranty is because I want happy customers and word of mouth advertising from them, so I make every effort to install your fence correctly the first time.

How does an Electric Fence work?

I think this picture is worth a thousand words:

Electricity comes out of the fence terminal of the fence charger and is connected to the hot wires on the fence. When an animal touches a hot wire, electricity flows through the body of the animal into the ground, through the ground back to the ground rod which is connected to the ground rod terminal of the fence charger. The fact that electricity flows through the ground for long distances sounds like something Tesla would have invented, but what’s interesting is that electricity on an electric fence system can travel through the ground for very long distances – far enough for any size electric fence you could possibly construct.

In dry or rocky soil conditions, alternated hot and ground wires are used to insure the animal gets a good shock because it is the moisture in the soil that conducts electricity back to the ground rod. Dry soil and rock does not conduct very well. This picture shows how this is done:

    

How do you know how many wires to put on a fence?

It depends upon the animal you wish to contain or keep out. There are charts like the one below to give you ideas:

The main idea when selecting how many wires to use it to have the wires low enough so that the animal cannot go under the fence, and high enough so that they cannot jump over it. It’s also good to have a hot wire at the nose height of the animal because where an animal gets shocked determines it’s reaction to the shock. If they get shocked on the nose, they will back up. If they get shocked too low or too high, they may charge forward into the fence.

Poly wire/rope

Q: What’s the best way to use poly wire?

A: First, the polywire that gives the best shock is made with copper conductors because copper is a much better conductor than stainless steel.  A good poly wire will have at least 3 copper conductors.

When setting up a fence using polywire, think of a ladder, that is, the sides of the ladder are solid wires that carry the electricity to the rungs on the ladder which is poly wire. Because of it’s high resistance, polywire should be used for short lengths between steel or aluminum wire for the best shock delivery.

Q: Where’s the best place to buy a good quality polywire:

A: Kencove farm fence. Here’s the link to the exact page: https://www.kencove.com/fence/Braided+Twine+Mixed+Metal+6SS+3CU_detail_RBT46S3CW.php

Q: Is it possible to keep people out with an electric fence?

A:  Electric fences are primarily for animals because they don’t understand the fence and will walk right into it, whereas people can figure it out, though some people are afraid of it and won’t go near it, but the determined trespasser could figure out how to get through. I would say in the city, yes, because people can’t tamper with the fence because someone will most likely see them doing it. In the country though, where no one can watch, a trespasser will have lots of time to tamper with the fence and get through.

There are, though devices that will sound an alarm if someone tampers with a fence, or if the fence voltage drops for some reason. A fence alarm can even activate an auto dialer and give you a call in such a case. The Fence Hawk is sold by Intellligent Fencing Systems for about $500 at http://intelligentfencing.com/    On their website, IFS gives an example of the effectiveness of electric fencing for a boat dealer who had a theft problem that completely stopped once electric fencing was installed with an alarm system. Here’s that page: http://intelligentfencing.com/?p=3479

Kencove farm fence supply also has a fence alarm that could be used for people or farm animals: kencove.com/…/Fence-AlarmElectric+Fence+Monitoring+System_detail_VFA.php

Electric security fences are used in high crime areas of the world like this example on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Efence-Electric-Security-Fence-Systems-311867142308646/?fref=ts

Yes, I can install either alarm on your fence.

Fencing just one side of your property

Q: Can I fence just one side of my property to stop pigs from coming in?

A: No, you can’t. Such a fence will block an existing pig trail, but the pigs will just find their way around the fence. To keep pigs out, you must fence all four sides, the entire perimeter.

Gates

electrified gate
Electrified gate using Timeless Fence System T posts

Q: Can you electrify a metal gate?

A: Yes, as the picture shows, I cut Timeless fence system T posts and attach them to the gate as insulators. I can mount a hot wire at the bottom to keep animals from squeezing under the gate and hot wires on top to keep people from climbing on the gate or animals from pushing down on the gate because I have seen horses push down on gates, bending the metal and destroying the gate.

Q: Can an electric fence start a grass fire?
 
A: No.  Modern low impedance fence chargers send very brief (less than 3/10,000 of a second in duration), high voltage (usually 4000-8,000 volts) pulses of electricity down the fence wire every 1.5 seconds. Though powerful enough to deter animals, pulses this brief and this infrequent almost never pose a fire risk when the conductor is near combustible material. There simply isn’t enough “on” time for heat to build and allow ignition to occur.
 
Modern low impedance fence chargers have solved the problems of the early type fence “weed burner” and high impedance type fence chargers by shortening the pulse length down from tenths or thousands of a second down to millionths of a second. A typical output of a low impedance charger is 20 to 300 micro seconds, or .000020 to .000300 seconds. At this pulse length, the high amp, high voltage charge isn’t long enough to cause enough heat to start a fire, but is powerful enough to electrify a longer distance of fence.