Electric Fencing

 

An electric fence is a barrier that uses electric shocks to deter people and animals from crossing a boundary. While traditionally it has been used to protect high-security assets such as military bases and security outposts, they are also common in residential and commercial properties in Kenya. The electric fence business either supplies the equipment, does the installation or both. At Hubtech Limited we supply, install and maintain all the equipment mentioned below.

What Does an Electric Fencing System Consist Of?

Before we get on to how an electric fence works it is important to know what the main components of an electric fence are.  An electric fence can be powered from mains, battery, or battery & solar panel.  So, in very general terms the components below are what you would need for each system:

Battery System

  • Battery (Preferably 12v battery)
  • Energiser
  • An earth stake or spike
  • Polywire, Galvanised Wire, Rope, Tape, or Netting
  • Posts and/or insulators
  • Mains system

Battery & Solar System

  • Solar energiser or battery-operated energiser and solar panel and stand (i.e. solar assist system)
  • An earth stake or spike
  • Battery (preferably 12v Battery)
  • Polywire, Galvanised Wire, Rope, Tape, or Netting
  • Posts and/or insulators

Fencer/Energizer

The heart of an electric fence system is the energizer (power unit).  The electric fence energizer is a necessity.  The electric fence energizer converts mains or battery power (240 volts AC or 12 volts DC) into a high voltage pulse (non-lethal shock). This box is filled with capacitors that store this charge. It also controls its movement down the wires, every +-1.5 seconds.

Energizers running the electric fence have a low energy consumption and you will not see any noticeable increase on your electricity bill.

If you are using a battery as your main power source to run the electric fence, keep in mind that the battery will need to be replaced every 2-3 years and you will need a system to charge the battery.  Also, keep in mind that as the battery loses charge, so does your electric fence. The higher the battery voltage, the higher the Energizer running your electric fence output pulse. It is a lot more convenient to run your electric fence off mains electricity if it is available.

For an electric shock to occur, the current must complete a full circuit. When a grounded person touches the live wires of the fence, or touches the earth & live wire simultaneously, the electric fence circuit is complete. Electricity flows through the body & back through the ground to the earth, or down the earth wire, to the return terminal of the energizer.  It is at this point that a person receives a shock from the electric fence and hopefully has experienced enough discomfort to lose interest in trying to climb over your wall!

All equipment should be purchased from a reputable company, thus ensuring good materials that will be backed by your supplier. When purchasing the energizer, you should think ‘bigger is better.’ Meaning, purchase a fencer that is a little bigger than your requirements. This will allow for ensuring enough voltage is flowing through the wire to deal with brush and wet grass taking some of the power and for future expansions.

Ground Rods

The grounding system is the most important part of the fence. Ensure you have installed your ground rods properly. You will need a minimum of 3, 6-8 foot long, rods placed at least 2 meters away from the energizer and 3 meters apart from each other. The rods and clamps are connected back to the energizer using galvanized wire.

Once the fence is installed you should check to see if the fence is properly grounded. This is done by ‘grounding’ out the fence with a metal bar and then checking the ground rods with a voltmeter. If the reading on the voltmeter is higher than 200 volts you need more ground rods. There should be no volt reading on the meter with a properly grounded fence.

Types of Electric Fence Wire

Rope

Conducting electricity through a rope made from tightly woven fibers is a good option if you require a strong electric fence wire. The rope comprises a filament that is woven through it, which is how the electrical current travels along. The manner in which the rope is constructed and the materials that it is made from make it hard-wearing and long-lasting enough to often be given a warranty by the manufacturer. Rope used for electric wire is less likely to be affected by inclement weather and will remain steady in high winds.

Twine

If you are looking for an electric fence wire that is light and easy to set up then twine would be an ideal option. Though it is not as strong as rope or solid wire, it is equally as effective due to the high conductivity of the copper filament that twine comprises. It is ideal when you require a less conspicuous wire and it is also resistant to the sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays.

Tape

Stainless steel conductors can be woven into plastic filaments to create a tape which can be used as part of electric fencing. Though this option is a good one if a high visibility fence is necessary, it can also suffer damage as it is prone to being affected by high winds.

Wire

A solid electric fence wire is often the most popular type used when constructing an electric fence. Rather than having a conducting filament woven into it, a solid wire is itself the filament which will make it a very effective option for a fence as the ability for the electrical current will be second to none.

The strength of the wire makes it the best option where you are erecting very long fences and ensures it’s durable. Using a variety of wire that has been galvanized by aluminium or zinc will allow it to accept a normal charge which will ensure that it is effective enough.

Conclusion

There are a number of reasons for choosing electric fencing:

  • Low Cost – Electric fences require less materials and labour than conventional fences.
  • Easily Constructed – With fewer and lighter materials.
  • Longer Life – Due to reduced physical pressure.
  • Universal Application – Will contain all types of animals while discouraging predators and trespassers.
  • Improves Existing Fences – By including 1 or 2 electrified wires in your conventional fence or by adding offsets. This will extend the fence life.
  • Simplicity and Flexibility – A quick and easy way to effectively subdivide a paddock for intensive grazing, improving pasture management and production.
  • Low Maintenance – Due to reduced stock pressure.
  • Less Damage to Stock – The shock from an electric fence causes no physical damage to stock and if they are forced through electric fences by wild animals or bush fires there is reduced likelihood of injury.

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