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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 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

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. Click here for more information on “what is an electric fence energiser?” 

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2. Electric Fence Posts

Electric fence posts can be made from varying materials. Permanent electric fences tent to use more solid post like timber or steel posts. For temporary and strip grazing electric fence set ups, plastic or steel tread-in posts that are easier to remove from the  ground are used. 

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3. Electric Fence Wire Braid or Tape

Electric fence wires and tapes come in many many widths, thicknesses, colours and constructions. The width and visibility required differs for every situation. As a general example horses and flighty animals generally respect a wider more visual tape over a thin polywire, while a small containment dog or pet fence will be quite effective with a budget standard polywire. Some longer fences require the use of a wire or tape the incorporates mixed metal wire for greater conductivity or at extreme distances or circumstances only plain single core metal wire can be used. For more information on how to select the right wire or tape for your electric fence click here

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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

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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!

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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 95

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

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6. Electric Fence End strainers

Electric fence end strainers are used to take the tension or strain of the wire or tape when it is pulled tight.

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7. Electric fence Wire Joiners or Connection Bolts

Electric fence joiners are used to secure and join multiple strands of electric fence wire or tape, secure ends, connect paddocks and used wherever an electrical connection is required.

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8. Electric Fence Signs

Electric fence signs are used to warn people of the presence of an electric fence line and to avoid contact. 

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9. Electric Fence Lead out cable

Electric fence lead out cable can also be known as undergate or underground cable. It is usually a solid core galvanized wire with 2 layers of insulation. It can be used to connect the energiser to the fence, connect paddocks, join multiple wire strands and anywhere an insulated connection is required.

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10. A D.I.Y attitude!

With a bit of a Do it Yourself Attitude, electric fencing can be easy and convenient to use. It is very cost effective compared to traditional fencing and can save you time , money and heart ache if used correctly.

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