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10 Basic Electric Fencing Parts and Components Needed To Set Up a D.I.Y Electric Fence

Big Red Fencing have a complete guide containing an electric fence materials list that discusses the 10 Basic Electric Fencing Parts and Components Needed To Set Up a DIY Electric Fence.

Now that you have the list of materials needed for a basic electric fence installation we can discuss a little bit about what each electric fence component is, its importance in keeping your electric fence running effectively and smoothly and what you can and can’t do if your electric fence has a weak pulse or is not working at stopping your animals.

1. Electric fence energiser

What is an electric fence energiser? The electric fence energiser (or energizer in the U.S.A) is the control unit that regulates the pulse on the electric fence, It is responsible for converting the input energy (mains power, battery and solar power) to a safe and pulsed output energy that will run along your fences hot wires or live wires.

2. Electric Fence Posts

3. Electric Fence wire braid or tape

4. Electric Fence Insulators

The main purpose of an electric fence insulator is to keep the live wires from touching anything conductive that would cause a short or connection to earth resulting in a ineffective electric fence. Power needs to remain in the live wires until an animal touches the fence and an earth source resulting in an effective shock. Electric fence insulators come in many different varieties, shapes and sizes for many different applications. Some of the basic types include:

  • Wood Post Insulators
  • Steel Post Insulators
  • Offset Insulators
  • Plastic Insulators
  • Ceramic insulators
  • Screw-in Insulators
  • Nail-on Insulators

5. Electric Fence Earth Stakes

An Electric Fence Earth Stake is one of the most important parts of effective electric fence set up. The Earth stake acts like an antennae for the electrical flow to run back to after it has passed through the animals body and into the ground (as displayed in the diagram above). The more earth attraction you have in your electric fence circuit, the better the current will flow and the more shock will be received by anything that contacts the live wires. There are several factors that can improve and worsen the condition of your electric fence earth system.

Every electric fence system is different with varying conditions and factors contributing to the overall effectiveness of the electric fence. The earth system is integral to 50% of those factors, so while everyone has differing opinions on earth stakes one thing’s for sure. More is More!

Big Red Fencing

Main Factors That decrease The Earth Of An Electric Fence

  • Poor soil or ground properties that do not allow for good electrical flow
  • Dry soil holding little or no moisture resulting in poor conductivity
  • Earth Stake too far from the point of contact on the fence. For longer electric fence set ups use a live and earth wire system.
  • Corrosion on the outer layer of the earth stake – Use slow deteriorating materials like galvanized or stainless metals to avoid rust and other electrical inhibitors forming on the earth stakes surface. Things like painted star pickets will not work very well if at all. You need a clean conductive surface.

Main Factors that can Improve the earth of an electric fence

  • Add more earth stakes – Connected together in a bank. Any electric fence over 200m should have at least a bank of 3 earth stakes or an earth wire to connect banks of earth stakes at certain intervals eg: every 200m. Different soil conditions will vary the requirements.
  • Improve surface area of earth stakes.
    • Longer Earth Stakes – Longer earth stakes give you more surface area and can reach down to soil conditions that are far more favourable for electrical conductivity.
    • Surface Area – The surface area can be increased by using galvanized star pickets. This greatly increases the surface area as apposed to a rod.
  • Improve the soil conditions. Make a drip system to feed constant moisture to the soils and ground around your earth stake bank. This will greatly increase conductivity.
  • Use a Super Earth Kit. Usually containing a material called Bentonite and an earth stake, these kits can significantly increase the effectiveness of your fence in areas where soil conditions are poor
  • Use a live and earth wire electric fence system – The electrical flow back to the earth or ultimately the negative terminal on the energiser, can be achieved through a wire as well as the ground. If an object touches both the live and the earth wire the easier path of electrical flow will be taken and the current will pass back through the earth wire instead of the ground. This generally results in a larger shock due to less resistance in the earth wire compared to the ground or earth.

Electric fence grounding diagram live and earth circuit for dry soil
10 Basic Electric Fencing Parts and Components Needed To Set Up a D.I.Y Electric Fence 35

Here’s what Tim Thompson has to say about electric fence earth stakes.


View our Electric Fence Earth Stakes In store

6. Electric Fence End strainers

7. Electric fence Wire Joiners or Connection Bolts

8. Electric Fence Signs

9. Electric Fence Lead out cable

10. A D.I.Y attitude!

  • Some other questions that get asked a lot are:
  • How do you set up an electric fence?
  • How does an electric fence work?
  • Does an electric fence need to be a complete circle?
  • Does an electric fence have to make a complete loop?
  • How many ground rods do I need for electric fence?

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