Failure in electric fence systems that have been working is almost always found in the failure of the energizer or the failure in electrical connections including the ground rods. Keep in mind that severe loss of ground moisture can radically affect the flow of fence power.
A sequence that can be used to troubleshoot fence failure is as follows.
- Disconnect the energizer from the fence and test the power across the positive and negative posts. A five light or, better yet, digital tester should be used for this test. A full positive charge does not always indicate that the energizer is working properly. It may be failing to develop enough power to overcome normal fence load but shows adequate power on the tester. Testing the energizer first will eliminate the possibility of complete charger failure. Do not use an ohmmeter to test fence energizer power as the extreme output of the charger will damage an ohmmeter.
- Walk the fence line looking for broken wire on the ground, or cracked insulators allowing wire to touch posts or broken connecting wire. Also, look for larger weeds or broken tree branches touching the fence.
- Check the ground rod connections, taking them apart, cleaning and reconnecting.
- If all seems in good order, start testing the fence power close to the energizer and in increments of 40 to 50 feet out to the farthest point from the energizer. If the power is good close to the energizer and declines to a point of dysfunction, the farther away you get, you may need more ground rods or the energizer is failing to produce adequate Joules to maintain fence power. Try another energizer. Keep in mind that a strong fence in the spring may be weak in the summer due to declining ground moisture. If this is the case you may not have a strong enough fence charger to work year round. You may also need to upgrade to a hot ground system or install a ground wire to the farthest end of the fence with additional ground rods at that point.