Is there a way to check an electric fence?

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  #1  
Old 06-21-03, 01:20 PM
starchild
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Is there a way to check an electric fence?

I have several acres of land in back of my home, and a few years ago asked my neighbor to run his electric fence around it, so his horse and several cows could graze there. The grass and brush was too much for a regular lawnmower, and they keep it down easier and better.

Sometimes they are in another pasture (not my land) which now has a real wooden fence around it.

I'm wondering if there is a way for me to test the fence wire to see if it's currently turned on?

I occasionally like to walk around in the field, and sometimes will take a stick and hit one of the insulators and slide it down the post, so I can step over it.

Then I do the same to push the insulator and wire back up again.

The neighbor's house and barn isn't too near to me, and I don't know where he keeps the fence charger (plugged in) to see if it's off or on at any given time. It might not even be on a lot of the time, because the animals find out what it is and won't go near the wire, anyway.

I'm thinking of something simple I could make with a light or something, with two wires on it? Or, maybe from an old flashlight, without the batteries in it? Putting wires on instead? I'm not sure but think the fence might be DC current, that pulses? I know it is quite powerful and strong.

I imagine these are sold, like DC testers? Probably not a lot but it's hard for me to get to stores without a car, so I was thinking I could make something myself. I was thinking of something that might even hang on the wire and would show if the fence was on at the time? If the current was going through it it would blink or something?

Also, if it was on and I wanted to safely step over it, could I learn something against it to temporarily ground it and turn it off? It would probably have to be something metal with insulated end to pick it up with.

Not a big deal, just something I was wondering about.

It's not worth the trouble of asking my neighbor to put a gate on it somewhere on my end of the field.

I'm an older woman and not like a young person that could "leap" over the fence wire- on or not (LOL)

This is probably one of the strangest questions you've had on here?

Thanks,

Carrie
 
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Old 06-21-03, 01:41 PM
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A simple $12 voltmeter could test the voltage of the wire relative to ground. Just put one probe on the wire and stick one in the ground.

If you want to make something yourself, then lick your fingers and touch the wire. Your body will tell you whether or not it's on.
 
  #3  
Old 06-21-03, 02:03 PM
starchild
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Yeah, I already knew that way.

And if I had an extra $12 and a way to get to the store to buy something I probably wouldn't have asked here.


I guess I can figure it out for myself.

Maybe the name of this forum should be "have a lot of money and go to the store and buy something"?


~ Carrie
 
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Old 06-21-03, 02:11 PM
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Sorry. I can't think of anything cheaper. There are some problems you can solve for free, and maybe this is one of them but I can't figure it out. Check back later to see if someone else can suggest something.

I'll talk to the administrator to see if we can do something about renaming the forum.
 
  #5  
Old 06-21-03, 02:24 PM
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They also make those AC/DC test lights that you can pick up pretty cheap. It will only tell you if it on or off. Or you could just trick your dog in to urinating on it, you should be able to judge by his reaction if it is on or off. In the dark you might be able to get a very small visible arc. The same why you can see if a spark plug is getting spark.
 
  #6  
Old 06-21-03, 04:18 PM
starchild
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I've thought of some of those ideas (LOL)

I was thinking of... 2 pieces of wire (I have some on spindles, plastic coated copper wire), strip the ends, make one side into hooks (to hand on the fence) attach the other to a bulb- something that was made for DC?

Like from a flashlight (might be too small) car headlilght or light?

I live in an old house with a lot of that stuff around, in fact out in the barn I think there are some amber running lights, might have come off an old trailer.

But, would it need to have a ground, like one end hitting the ground, besides the 2 wires hanging on the fence wire?

And how big a light? If I tried one too small would it blow up or something?

I like to try and find out this stuff before I try something.

I don't know how much current is going through the fence, I accidentally touched it with my leg once and it felt like getting hit by a sledge hammer. was sore for a few days after.

It goes around quite a lot of land, maybe 3 acres at one time, and doesn't seem to be bothered by grass and brush touching it.(30 years ago I had an electric fence that would ground out if grass grew under it)

I also don't want to hang anything on it that might harm the fence charger, or cause the fence not to work.

I guess I am a little touchy about not having money to do things, I'm on a very limited income, and I've asked questions on this board before- stressing I don't have extra money and have to try and do what I can, and been told I should "pay a professional" to do it, or "bite the bullet and buy something".

Never could figure out how to pay someone and buy something without any money (or credit cards).

Maybe there should be a topic here for "finding ways to do things without money".

Actually, I think my husband used to have some of those tester lights (he had a stroke 5 years ago and is in a nursing home). They might be somewhere in his tools, but I can't find them.

And not sure which would be for AC and which DC.

Finding out if the fence is on or not isn't really the top priority in my life. I was just thinking about it today, while out in the yard.

There's probably something one can buy to hang on it, just for that purpose. I just got to thinking about it and curious to know if there was some simple way I could make something from stuff I have around the house.

I let you know if I get something that works.


~ Carrie
 
  #7  
Old 06-21-03, 04:47 PM
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Have a fence tester in my hand, it looks like this.



You can have it, PM me your address I will send it to you
 
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Old 06-21-03, 04:53 PM
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Positively cool! Now we don't have to rename the forum!
 
  #9  
Old 06-21-03, 05:07 PM
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Thumbs up

Carrie,
I have it boxed up, I will get it in the mail on Monday.

 
  #10  
Old 06-21-03, 06:44 PM
texsparky
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Thank you

comtnman,
That is a wonderful gesture on your part. My hats off to you!
 
  #11  
Old 06-23-03, 08:34 AM
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I grew up on a farm and I can give you a pointer on how we used to test an electric fence for current (aside from my Dad's method of simply grabbing ahold of it to test it. )

If you have a standard, or a long (even better) screwdriver with an insulated handle (fairly important), you can touch one part of the screwdriver shaft to the electric fence wire, and rotate the screwdriver to the point that another part of the shaft touches the metal electric fence post. If there is current there, it will start to "pop", and you will see a small spark when it pops.

I realize this may seem crude, but when you're 5 miles from home on some pasture land, and all you have is a screwdriver, it worked really well for us. Generally, an electric fence doesn't generate enough power to seriously injure you, but if you aren't sure how powerful a system your neighbor put in, you should really find out, before doing anything to test it.

Just my 2 cents.
 
  #12  
Old 06-24-03, 07:01 AM
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Just pee on it.

Note: This will only work one time if the fence is working properly.
 
  #13  
Old 06-24-03, 12:20 PM
magister
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Supposedly, if you squeeze real hard...

I'm not going to suggest that we rename the thread "What Our Daddy's Would Do", but to reiterate Claasen's method; The screwdriver method also works when the fence is strung between trees or wooden posts; You just have to jockey it around so that you can get the arc between the electric wire and the head of the nail which affixes the insulator, or you could simply add a nail for testing.

And for those on a less-fixed income, if they were to surf over to the catalog portion of this website, they would discover electric fence testers for as little as $3.29 and the old plastic handle gates for $1.59 which is something I'd suggest Starchild should ask her tenant to install because then, it wouldn't matter if the fence was on or not; Just unhook it and throw it on the ground; Installation would be as easy as simply cutting the wire and twisting the cut-piece onto the backside of the handle and making a loop in front for hooking..

Edit: Rubber gate handles are listed on the 2nd page...
http://doityourself.com/store/electr...ccessories.htm
 

Last edited by magister; 06-24-03 at 12:45 PM.
  #14  
Old 06-24-03, 12:44 PM
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Originally posted by txdiyguy
Just pee on it.

Been there... Done that... I DO NOT recommend this method.
 
  #15  
Old 06-24-03, 03:12 PM
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You should also know that electric fences often pulse. They are not on constant.
 
  #16  
Old 06-25-03, 07:51 AM
starchild
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Thanks everyone

I haven't checked back here for awhile, and it's nice to see so many responses that don't involve "just go buy something".

Aside from being on a very limited (fixed) income (Social Security) I don't have a car, so it's not like running to the hardware store to pick up some cheap little gadget is easy to do.

I just thought there might be something I could use from around he house (and shed and barn).

The screwsdriver idea sounds great! I never thought of that (which is why I asked here (LOL) the first one who suggested this, I thought it wouldn't work because the fenceposts are plastic. Thin plastic that push into the ground.

But then someone said to use the nail head.

And I would also add to wear shoes when I do this? (I tend to go barefoot and think this might create a better "ground" if I accidentally touched it without the screwdriver)

When the fence was around the neighbor's other pasture they did have a plastic handle- gate hook on it. Two in fact (it's a double strand fence). I didn't really want it to be that big a deal, I don't go in the pasture that much and usually don't when the cows and horse are there. There are also two oxen, used for pulling who have sharp horns. I'm not really afraid of them, but they seem so darn BIG. I get the idea if anyone walked in there they'd think they had food and start crowding around (LOL)

There are ways to get into it, in one place it's very low (between trees) and the land slopes, so it can be stepped over. Or, I can use something to slide the insulator down the pole to step over it.

I just would like to know when it's actually on. Sometimes the animals are on one side and sometimes "mine". (btw they are great for cutting down the tall grass and brush only an expensive brush cutter would do otherwise)

As to peeing on it, I have heard of that one and it only seem to be do-able for men.

Doesn't seem fair, women are supposed to have equal rights!

Somebody invent something!

This is probably not the usual question asked here (how to tell if the fence is on) and I think at first people might not have known how to take it.

May first thought about a problem is "how can I do something MYSELF (without money and a way to get to the store) to solve this?"

I have written like this on a computer tech help board and had people accuse me of doing it to "try and get people to send you stuff". And asking me if I'm so poor how come I have a computer and internet? (well, after my husband had a stroke 5 years ago, and I was left "on my own", I decided to get a computer and learn it- with the idea of finding a way to earn a living. Me and a million others, huh? I found a place to get one on with payments. I had 49 cents for a bank balance at the time. I paid that off and have learned a lot- and still am. Taught myself how to make webpages (and fix computers along the way to keep mine working) and currently making screensavers. Haven't made much money from any of this (so far) but it helps me feel busy and productive and connected with other people around the world. Maybe that's the overall benefit? I can come on a board and say HELP!!! (like here) I suppose most people who have computers do have a better source of income than I do...

But, I don't have people giving me things in mind. At one tme I would have refused help like this (New England pride or something?) but now feel it's a form of sharing. And I give to others anytime I can and the chance comes up.

The internet is great for this.


~ Carrie
 
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Old 06-25-03, 06:49 PM
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hello starchild, sorry to hear about your husband and your struggles, but it sounds like you are the type of person who can handle adversity. way to go! well i used to carry a wooden handle shovel and would lay the point across the fence, not touching it and allow the wooden handle to weigh the fence down and it made it low enough to step across. or if you have an old rubber tire you might keep it where you cross and lay it across it when you need to. i am also the type of person who will try to find a solution with what i have on hand, sort of the McGyver type i guess. anyway i hope this might help.
gary
 
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Old 06-25-03, 07:14 PM
starchild
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That's a good idea about the shovel.

People have come up with ideas I wonder why I didn't thnk of.

I did wonder about grounding it with something, like laying an old curtain rod on it, and then knocking it off after with a stick (LOL)

It's not like my neighbors are wonderful and wouldn't put a gate on or tell me if it's on or not!

It's just that they all work and are hardly ever home, and it didn't seem like that big a deal for the few times I want to know.

Sometimes when the animals aren't in it (my side of it) I wonder if it's on, but don't know for sure.

Yeah, I do get by, but sometimes it seems like the old house we had bought (to fix up, my husband was a house painter or did home repairs) is winning.

I know there's the "right" way (like hiring professionals and buying the proper gadgets, etc) and the "do what you can with what you have" way.

Like asking my neighbor to run the electric fence around the back field (around 1 1/2 acres) because I had nothing that would cut it down. It's rocky and was overgrown with brush and tall grass.

The horse and cows are great at this. And I enjoy looking out the window and seeing them. Especially when there are calves playing.

I used to have horses, before I had children and horses got too expensive (LOL)


~ Carrie
 
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Old 06-25-03, 07:54 PM
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i just read your post and while i was reading it i thought of another idea. if you could mount some kind of light on a post somewhere on your side of the fence to let you know when it was on and you wouldn't have to rig up a tester. that way when the fence was on the light would be on. it shouldn't be that hard to do if you can find out what voltage and how much? just a thought.
gary
 
  #20  
Old 06-25-03, 11:36 PM
DaveB.inVa
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Dont put a meter on the fence.. the voltage probably would be high enough so as to kill the meter. The light might be a problem. Even though the voltage is very high, the fence's coil has such a high impedance that any decent load (low resistance) will cause a good voltage drop. Kind of the same if you were to really load down a high impedance transformer.. the output voltage will droop. So selecting a light that would show the fence is live but not be detrimental to the fences performance might be a problem.

I just always watched for a place where the weeds were touching the fence. If the fence is on it will pop through the weeds. If you carry a walking stick or something like that use it to push a weed into the wire.

The screwdriver trick is a good one though.. Ive used that before... no sensitive electronics to kill.



Just a note, watch out for multistrand fencing. Most times the wires will alternate between a hot and ground. So check at least two adjacent wires before touching.
 
  #21  
Old 06-28-03, 10:09 AM
starchild
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The tester came!

Thanks again, comtnman

I tried it (assume the probe is stuck in the ground?) and hung it on and nothing happened. I watched for awhile in case it's slow pulsing.

Apparently it's not on. I think only the horse is on this side, and she is well aware of the fence and avoiding it.

But I'm going to leave it handing out there (this is okay? Like if it rains?)


~ Carrie
 
  #22  
Old 06-28-03, 08:14 PM
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Thumbs up

Yes the probe goes into the ground, I don't know how the weather will effect the tester if you leave it outside. I don't think it would be very good for it. The neon light should flash each time the fence "pulses" maybe you can call the owner of the fence to confirm the fence being on or off just for testing the tester?
Or maybe you could take a shovel to the fence to test the the fence for being on or off, put the point of the shovel on the ground and slowly pivot the blade of the shovel toward the fence wire to see if it sparks to the shovel, use a wooden handle shovel for this.
Glad you got the tester ok.
You are welcome
 
  #23  
Old 05-07-08, 09:50 AM
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Checking electric fence

Hi

The only way to be sure is to have a tester.

If there are horses around they can sense pulse in electric fence and will stay away.

From experience, and maybe mine is not strong enough, the shock doesn't hurt. Your mind definitely doesn't want to get shocked again.

My fence is a white tape. There are metal wire fences, that pack a bigger "zap"
 
  #24  
Old 05-07-08, 10:19 AM
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James Poole, welcome to the forums. May I suggest that you look at the posting dates, which are in the upper left corner of the post.

This subject is five years old. Hopefully they figured it out by now.

Enjoy the forums.
 
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