Grounding Rod - Invisible Fence

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Old 08-19-11, 11:10 AM
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Grounding Rod - Invisible Fence

I keep experiencing problems with an invisible fence that I installed, and believe it may be due to the electrical outlet not being grounded properly. In my research it seems that adding a grounding rod can help to cure this.

But, how do I attach the fence to the grounding rod? The steps I have read say to insert the grounding rod into the ground, then run a green THHN wire (does it need to be green THHN wire in order to satisfy code? or can I use any 12 gauge wire) from the grounding rod to the fence transmitter box negative terminal.

Is that all there is to it? The part I am not sure about is that I don't think my invisible fence transmitter has a positive / negative terminal.

Any help appreciated.

Thanks.
 
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Old 08-19-11, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by naiku View Post
run a green THHN wire (does it need to be green THHN wire in order to satisfy code? or can I use any 12 gauge wire) from the grounding rod to the fence transmitter box
Code only allows ground rods that are connected to the single-point grounding system of your building's electrical service. Additional ground rods can cause interference in electronics and increased chances of lightning damage.

Is the outlet grounded (three-prong)? Does the wiring in the wall have a ground wire? Is your electrical service (meter and/or main panel) grounded to ground rods or a water pipe? I would start by checking these before modifying the transmitter.
 
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Old 08-19-11, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
Code only allows ground rods that are connected to the single-point grounding system of your building's electrical service. Additional ground rods can cause interference in electronics and increased chances of lightning damage.

Is the outlet grounded (three-prong)? Does the wiring in the wall have a ground wire? Is your electrical service (meter and/or main panel) grounded to ground rods or a water pipe? I would start by checking these before modifying the transmitter.
Thank you for taking the time to reply.

I am fairly certain that it is a 2 prong outlet, I have no idea about the wiring in the wall. I do have an existing ground rod buried at the front of the house that goes to the main panel in the garage.
 
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Old 08-19-11, 02:22 PM
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How does the transmitter hook up? I have an electric fence but I don't know how much they compare to the invisible fence. On an electric fence, the positive goes to the fence wire and the negative goes to a ground rod although I just use the bottom barb wire for the ground. You would be grounding the transformer/charger not the electrical system.
 
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Old 08-19-11, 02:49 PM
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The transmitter is plugged into the wall, and then a loop of copper wire goes out from one terminal, around the boundary of the yard, and back into another terminal.

Neither terminal is marked, and as far as I can tell from the directions with the fence, it makes no difference as to which end of the wire you plug into which terminal.

Typically when the transmitter is beeping, it means there is a break in the wire. However, I traced all of my wire and could find no breaks, and would imagine if there was a break in the wire that it would beep constantly, instead of beeping intermittently.
 
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Old 08-19-11, 03:31 PM
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It may be an intermittent short in the wire -- perhaps a break in the insulation that let some water in.

These dog fences are basically low power AM transmitters using a loop antenna around the perimeter of the yard. The dog wears a collar with a receiver that picks up the signal when he gets near the wire and buzzes or shocks him from a battery. I can't see how grounding the antenna could have any positive effect.

An electric fence is actually completing a circuit through the animals' feet so it makes sense to ground the fence controller.
 
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Old 08-20-11, 07:52 PM
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A ground rod plays no part in the operation of a normal circuit. I don't have any experience with invisible fences or their wiring.
 
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Old 08-21-11, 01:33 PM
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I don't think grounding an invisible fence would help or work. As others have pointed out, it's really just a long low-power antenna. Grounding it would probably make it stop working completely. Also, most invisible fence boxes (transmitters) use a wall wart power supply without a ground, likely to not have to worry about ground planes and such.

What kinds of problems are you experiencing specifically? Does it work in some places and not others?

One thing I'd try is attach a 10' or 20' piece of wire to the terminals and disconnect the underground wire. Test it out with the collar beeping. Presuming it works, that would lead to indicating that the underground wire is broken somewhere.

A while ago, I used a small choke (not sure what size it was) attached between the two terminals, then walked around the perimiter with an AM radio tuned to approximately that frequency. When you got to a break in the wire, the static or tone (don't remember exactly what it was) decreased significantly.
To be honest, I'm not sure exactly how the choke helped or worked, but that's what the installer used and it worked great.
 
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Old 08-22-11, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Zorfdt View Post
What kinds of problems are you experiencing specifically? Does it work in some places and not others?
It works all the way around, but I appear to be getting really poor range out of it. As in the collar needs to be almost on top of where the wire is for it to beep. I have the dial set to 8-9 which should give me almost the maximum range, and if I turn it down any it starts to beep and the loop indicator light goes out.

Originally Posted by Zorfdt View Post
One thing I'd try is attach a 10' or 20' piece of wire to the terminals and disconnect the underground wire. Test it out with the collar beeping. Presuming it works, that would lead to indicating that the underground wire is broken somewhere.
I tried that before and it was working fine, but have not tried again, will try that this week to rule it out though.

Originally Posted by Zorfdt View Post
A while ago, I used a small choke (not sure what size it was) attached between the two terminals, then walked around the perimiter with an AM radio tuned to approximately that frequency. When you got to a break in the wire, the static or tone (don't remember exactly what it was) decreased significantly.
Did this as well, I think I walked around the yard twice doing this and the signal while it got weaker in some spots, never dropped out. Nonetheless I dug up the fence where I knew connections were and check them. I think I will try again though, since that was a couple months ago now. What's odd is that it was working fine, then beeped intermittently, I moved the transmitter, checked the wires etc and it was fine for a few more weeks. Now it is doing it again, but I have to turn the dial even further around.

I have an idea of where my splices are, so will check those. Hopefully the ground is not too hard!!
 
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Old 08-22-11, 12:59 PM
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I dug up the fence where I knew connections were and check them
What kind of connection, a splice? How is it made? If it isn't fully water proof that could be it. Best to have a continuous wire with no splices. I'd put any splices above ground.
 
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Old 08-22-11, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
What kind of connection, a splice? How is it made? If it isn't fully water proof that could be it. Best to have a continuous wire with no splices. I'd put any splices above ground.
Yes, a splice. Made it with waterproof connectors that are supposed to be good for being underground. I did not like how the wire felt though when in the connectors to be honest. Maybe I will dig up the connectors, replace them all with new ones, and leave it above ground temporarily. I think I only have 4 connections in total.
 
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Old 08-22-11, 01:49 PM
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I would use solder and adhesive luined heatshrink for those connections.
 
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Old 08-22-11, 02:32 PM
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Simplest solution is to trade the dog for a cat.
 
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Old 08-23-11, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Furd View Post
Simplest solution is to trade the dog for a cat.
Have you ever seen a cat with one of those shock collars? The poor thing!

 
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Old 08-31-11, 05:42 AM
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It is possible the transmitter is starting to fail.
 
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Old 08-31-11, 06:56 AM
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I would check the batteries in the collar.
 
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Old 09-09-11, 08:11 AM
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Bringing this back up as I have some new information. I contacted the manufacturer who sent me out a replacement transmitter.

Same problem with the wire, so at this point it looks like I have to start digging up and checking the wire. I have tried various methods for tracing breaks, and none work.

Anyways, back sort of to my original question. I checked the outlet with a tester and it is properly grounded. However, the new transmitter now includes a 3rd terminal, which in the instructions indicate should be connected to a ground rod. If I already have an existing ground rod, do I hook into this one? or install a second? From earlier replies here if I install a 2nd then I can run into additional problems.

Thanks.

Not looking forward to a weekend of digging up 1500'+ of wire to trace a (partial) break.
 
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