5 Step Fencing Check
1. Find out where there are telecommunication cables or phone lines on or near your electric fence. This includes both buried and overhead wires and cables. They almost always run along or near the roadside reserve or along driveways. A marker post or grey connection pillar should be nearby. If you can't work out where they are call Telecom, on 124, for help.
2. Identify the electric fence wires and connecting leads within 100 meters of the phone lines and running either parallel or nearly parallel to them. Long sections running parallel to the phone lines feeding other sections are more likely to be a problem than short sections that go nowhere else.
3. Check the current in these wires. You can use a Red Snap’r Fence Doctor, Pakton Power Probe or any other fault finder to do this. The current in a well-maintained fence should be less than two amps per kilometer of energised fence line. If it's higher, there could be a short on the fence, too much overgrowth, live wires contacting the ground or old deteriorating insulators. Work along the section with high current, and the downstream parts fed via this section, to locate and fix shorts by removing overgrowth, fixing live wires touching the ground and replacing old insulators.
4. If, after fixing faults, the current is still too high, find a way to feed the main supply through sections of the fence that are further away from the phone line. For example feed the power out through fences in the middle of the farm, away from the phone line, rather than through the roadside boundary fence next to the phone lines.
5. Check that the earthing system meets the manufacturer's instructions. Make sure that it is at least ten metres from any buildings and ten metres from another earthing system. Also check that the energizer, earth electrode connecting lead and output leads to the fence are well clear of phone lines.
Caution: If you're not familiar working with electric fences, consult your electrician. This article is intended to provide general tips - please contact your electrician if the problem persists or you need further advice.
The ideal way to set up your electric fence is to feed the power out from the energizer in a "star" fashion, with no closed loops and low currents in parts of the fence that closely parallel phone lines.
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