We’ll discuss here the most easier steps for testing all types of electric fences with a multimeter or voltmeter in nontechnical language so you may understand well how to do it. If an electric fence doesn’t produce enough voltage, you can’t prevent animals from going in or out of your farm house.
To avoid this critical situation follow the steps below to check the electric fence,
How to test electric fence with Multimeter
Some things to keep in mind before testing
- To test the electric fence your multimeter should have capacity to test at least 750 to 6000 volts. As most electric fence voltage lies between 2000 to 4000 volts or higher. Some home use fences may have a minor voltage level.
- An ordinary multimeter can’t handle such a higher level of voltage in kilo volts, for that you should have heavy duty volts meters like fluke.
- Do necessary safety steps like wearing shockproof gloves and safety shoes before making direct contact with a fence to check its voltage.
- Thoroughly read manuals of fence energizers and chargers so you may conclude a valid result after the test.
Easy steps to check electric fence
- Set your multimeter on its highest voltage range like 6kv either ac or dc.
- Now connect red probe of multimeter with one of the fence wire and negative or black probe of meter with some nearby metal surface. It may be a pole, rod, or something having no current and direct contact with the fence.
- Check reading on meter screen, it should be in the range specified by the fence manufacturer or written on the energizer.
- Reading may vary by 400, 500 volts due to several reasons like grid voltage, moisture around the farm, distance between power supply and fence. Like if voltage range is 4000 volts a reading between 3500 to 3800 is still ok.
Building structure and working of an Electric fence?
An electric fence primarily consists of an energizer, naked cables(that work as fence), ground rods, and fencing rods or posts. A fence energizer is a type of power supply that converts general incoming 120/220 volts to higher volts like 5000 , 6000v.
Energizer has a limit of fence length beyond that it will not be able to provide the required voltage. So one has to install an adequate electric fence energizer or use more than one if fence length is higher then limit. For small level livestock farming one or two energizers are enough to prevent your stocks from predators and other wildlife animals.
Another essential piece of equipment for an electric fence is grounding rods. Proper insertion of ground rods is most important thing in fence installation. For a fence, you should have at least 3 ground rods which are 6 to 8 feet in length. These ground rods are usually placed 1.5 to 2 meters away from energizer and three meters away from each other.
Electric fence Voltage recommendations according to Animals categories
The voltage level of the electric fence depends on what type of animals you have in your farm’s surroundings. Our main purpose is to keep animals at a distance from fence boundary. So the voltage level should be a warning for animals to remind them and do not try to touch that fence again.
For farmhouses in wildlife areas, our voltage recommendation is 5000 to 7000 volts. For thick haired goats and sheep, it should be around 6000v, for horses 4000 and for pets like dogs it should be between 3000 to 4000 volts.
How to avoid low voltage in Electric fence?
An electric fence will lose its main purpose if having a voltage level far below then required limit. So maintaining the voltage level is your real task.
- Main cause behind low voltage is a underrated energizer, which is not capable of producing enough voltage. So re check your energizer and install a compatible one with your demands.
- Corps around the fence may also play a role in low volatge, especially in winters with a high level of humidity. Vegetation should be a distance from fence.
- Any foreign object touching the fence or short circuit could also be a reason of low voltage. Nothing should touch a live fence besides its own equipment like strainers, and insulators.
- Nothing should make contact of fence with ground other than grounding rods, otherwise, it may also effect voltage.
Testing voltage in electric fence is quite simpler but dangerous as well. We will advise you not to take risks if you don’t know about multimeter usage and electrical safety and call some expert electrician who can analyze your electric fence in detail.
If you know well how to do it efficiently, make a habit to test fence on weekly or monthly basis to ensure your farm’s safety.
Leo Maxwell is basically an Electrical engineer and hobby tech writer, having 13 years of experience in the electronics and instrumentation industry. He has hands on experience working in various fields like Powerhouses, solar, automotive, and FMCG.
During his career, he has used many power tools and meters in electrical projects. Now his aim is to explain tools and troubleshooting in easy guides to help people. Other then it, leo loves traveling, reading books and DIY tasks.