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GRAZIER'S CONNECTION | September 2023



Grounding your Energizer

Proper (or improper) grounding of your energizer is linked directly to the performance of an energizer. Your grounding acts like the antenna of a radio or TV; normally, the bigger the antenna, the better the reception. Your grounding system is the most essential component of any electric fence system. If your system is not properly grounded to earth, it will be much less effective.

Location:

  • Place your ground rods at least 33 feet from all other grounds, such as utility grounds, telephone, home, or barn grounds.
  • Place them away from stock or other traffic that could interfere with its performance and periodic maintenance.
  • Place in a place of permanent moisture, such as a shaded or swampy area. A drip line of a building works well.
  • If no such place exists near the energizer, the grounding may be farther away. In this case, you will have a little expense to run the lead wire back to the energizer. If this is not possible and you end up installing your ground rods in areas that are expected to become extremely dry, then you may help out by watering your rods during dry drought conditions.

Materials:

  • We usually suggest that you use galvanized ground rods. The reason is that the rest of your system is galvanized, and mixing dissimilar metals is not recommended as it can cause electrolysis, resulting in corrosion and bad connections. Rods of 5/8 in diameter go into the ground better (without bending) compared to 1/2 in rods.
  • Copper rods are also acceptable. But, if you use copper rods, then also use copper wire to make your connections back to the energizer.
  • Use a suitable quality ground rod clamp.
  • A good choice for your lead-out wire is a 12.5 gauge insulated wire.

Number of Rods and Spacing Requirements:

  • We recommend that you need 3 feet of ground rod for each output joule of your charger. For example, if you have a 6-joule (output) energizer, you will need about 18 feet of ground rods buried in the ground or three 6-foot rods. We recommend that you use rods no less than 6 feet in length and drive them in with only a couple of inches above ground. Leave enough exposed to get your clamp on and still be able to inspect it in the future.
  • Space your ground rods at least 10 feet apart. The effective grounding radius is about 5 feet, so 10-foot spacing is ideal. 3. Join all your ground rods in series and connect to your grounding terminal at the energizer. Again, we recommend using insulated wire for this purpose.

Another Method of Grounding is a Positive / Negative Fence:

  • With a positive/negative fence, the wires are alternately connected to the fence connection (positive terminal) and the ground connection (negative terminal) on the energizer. These wires are separated by a distance that is too small for the animal to slip between them without touching both at the same time. When two wires are touched simultaneously, an electric shock is felt. The current flows directly from the fence wire (positive terminal), through the body that is touching both wires to the ground wire (negative terminal).


 

Testing the Earth System

 

Here is a simple test you can do to make sure that you have enough ground rods for your system.

Turn off the energizer. Go at least 300 feet away from the energizer and heavily short out your system by laying several steel rods, pipes, logging chains, etc., on the fence. If it is dry out, you may need to drive the pipes into the ground. Your goal is to short out your system so that you are getting 1200 KV or less on your voltmeter, which can be hard to do with some of the big energizers.

Turn the energizer back on and check your fence voltage, ensuring you have it down to 1200KV or less (that reads 1.2 on a digital voltmeter). If it is still above that, then add more load. Using a digital voltmeter, take a reading off your system's last or farthest ground rod. It should read no more than 300 volts or 0.3 on your meter. Zero reading is ideal. But if it reads more than 0.3, it tells you to (1) add more ground rods or (2) find a more suitable location for your earth system.

Grounding checklist:

  • All joints and connections are joined correctly.
  • Ground rod clamps are secure.
  • Rods are at least 10 feet apart.
  • All materials in you system are of the same material.
  • Ground rods are buried deeply in the soil.
  • Rods are at least 6 feet long.
  • There is a sufficient number of rods.


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