Fault finding made easy

Fault finding made easy

22 April 2018

A common sight in rural New Zealand is seeing a farmer “walking the fence” with a fence tester to track down the source of a power loss. Often, power issues come from one of two places; the earth setup and the fence line.

Common Earthing Checks

The energizer is the heart of the fencing system. When chosen and installed correctly, energizers can provide effective animal control over long fence distances. But getting the earthing set-up right is vital to ensure the energizer is effectively delivering power to the fence line. Some common earthing issues include:

  • Broken earth wire connecting the stakes
  • Poor connections at the stakes – the earth wire/cable needs to be connected to the earth stake with a galvanised earth clamp
  • Rusty or corroded earth stakes – the current will not travel through rust so earth stakes must be galvanised
  • Not enough/incorrectly installed earth stakes – a minimum of three galvanised stakes are required, four to five metres (m) apart, two m in the ground with one wire connecting all earth stakes. The rule of thumb for energizers larger than 15 joules (J) is one earth stake per five Js.

Fence Fault Finding

A short is a fault somewhere on the fence that has caused it to lose power. The most common culprits are vegetation overgrowth, loose wires and broken insulators. A common mistake is to look for faults based on Voltage (V). The correct indicator of a performance issue is actually the current flow (measured in Amps). Think of it like a water pipe; the higher the Amps, the bigger the leak in the water pipe.

Many fence testers have a fault-finding function with an arrow that will “point” to the direction of the current flow (Amps) in order to ground where the fault is. This fault-finding process can be very time-consuming.

“Saving many frustrating hours of fence-walking.”

Finding the source of the fault can be sped up by placing up to six Gallagher i Series Fence Monitors in strategic locations along the fence line. These act like six sentries continuously monitoring fence Voltage and current flow levels, creating fence “zones” and reporting back to the i Series Energizer Controller and Remote displays. From the energizer or remote the farmer can easily identify which zone has an issue and can begin fault-finding within that section of fence, saving many frustrating hours of fence-walking.

Once the fault is found, the energizer can be turned off at the fence line with the remote, the repair made and the energizer turned back on. There is no need to go back to the energizer to turn it on or off, which could be kilometres away from the fault location.

For more information on fault finding solutions, talk to your local Farm Source TSR or visit your nearest Farm Source store.

Article supplied by Gallagher