Fence charger grounding

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Jim62

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I just set up a 110v charger on some fence because the solar chargers weren't getting the message across. It's in a metal pole-type barn built with 8 posts (3" square tubing) set in the ground, in concrete. I grounded it by putting a screw in one of the posts and hooking the ground wire from there to the charger. Seemed like an excellent idea at first, but the more I think on it, the more I wonder if that's really a good setup to use.

Seems to work pretty good, as I get right at 6,000 v. all over the fence, but I wonder about the "shockability" of it. Doesn't the AMPS have a lot to do with that? How would I test it, short of touching it my own self? I've pretty much ruled that method out..........
 

dun

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Fence chargers work by voltage not amperage. Volts shock - amps kill! The only problem I see with grounding it to the building itsel;f is you can get some feed back on the ground side and may get a light shock at times when you touch to metal of the building.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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dun":36accr99 said:
Fence chargers work by voltage not amperage. Volts shock - amps kill! The only problem I see with grounding it to the building itsel;f is you can get some feed back on the ground side and may get a light shock at times when you touch to metal of the building.
That's exactly what I was thinking. If you have cattle in the building, they may get stray voltage - makes for a very nervous, upset cow.
And, ground is really really important. You always read how you should put so many in the ground, so far apart. Well, it really is true! We thought we had plenty, but hubby put more in - wow - fence REALLY got hot!!! Made the world of difference.
 

SRBeef

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I think there are all sorts of potential problems trying to ground your fence to building supports set in concrete. First of all the grounds need to be in contact with MOIST soil. Your posts are in concrete at least partially inside the building or at least under eaves....lots of reasons for a marginal ground, not to mention the possible feedback through the building.

I also have one charger inside a shed with a lead wire out to the fence passing by about 10 ft outside the building. What I did was to run a second good quality (Gallagher double insulated) 12 gage underground wire (one hot, one ground) in the trench out to the fence and then put FOUR 8 ft galvanized ground rods in a line directly under the fence(drove them in at a bit of an angle with a T-post hand driver then a sledge) halfway between posts which put them about 12 ft apart leaving only about 2 or 3" exposed, take a hoe and make a shallow trench under the fence and connecting the four ground rods, run the 12 gage insulated underground wire in this trench and continuously through four brass grounding clamps out to the end ground rod (40 or 50 ft).

Strip the insulation for about 4 " off of the wire at each rod slip the clamp over the rod and tighten the hex screw without cutting the wire...

This way you have enough rods deep enough to be in moist soil and a continuous wire running from the outermost ground rod all the way into the charger in your building.

You will be amazed at how well this works, even miles away, and you won't be messing with it all the time. As Bez suggests, don't forget the lightning choke and drive a SEPARATE ground rod 10 or 12 ft the other direction under the fence for the SEPARATE choke ground, away from your main ground system.

This method also leaves all ground rods under the fence where folks are not tripping on them, hitting them with the mower or breaking the buried ground wire. You can still get weeds with a weed wacker.

I think it's worth doing right the first time. jmho.

Jim
 

backhoeboogie

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If you have a 500 foot deep well with steel casing, you won't get a better ground than the steel casing. Any well with steel casing in the water table is good. If you don't have that, improvise as best you can. During periods of drought, a lot of folks have grounding problems.
 

Aero

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anybody ever grounded to a pond? i have a solar charger right beside a pond and i have considered it, but have never seen anyone do it. anybody?
 

dun

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Aero":35dgaez3 said:
anybody ever grounded to a pond? i have a solar charger right beside a pond and i have considered it, but have never seen anyone do it. anybody?

At the other farm I used a solar and put the ground rods in around the edge of the pond (not in the water). Ground worked great and that place was pretty much one 80 acre chunk of limestone.
 
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Jim62

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So, my second attempt will be to use the ground rods (if I can get them in the ground) as described, with the last connection being with the barn post. OR, would it be better just to forget the barn as a ground??
 
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Jim62

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Thanks! I wound up using 3 8' copper (coated ?) rods. Checked voltage before and after. Had right at 6,000 with both ground systems (barn and ground rods), so no big difference there. Lightening choke is next.

Just out of curiousity, why do we use INSULATED ground wire? The power company's grounds are not insulated.
 

dun

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Jim62":1f06y806 said:
Just out of curiousity, why do we use INSULATED ground wire? The power company's grounds are not insulated.

I don;t
It may be recommnded because of possible shock hazard from the ground if something is screwed up
 

V_Key

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dun":ls876k8t said:
Jim62":ls876k8t said:
Just out of curiousity, why do we use INSULATED ground wire? The power company's grounds are not insulated.

I don;t
It may be recommnded because of possible shock hazard from the ground if something is screwed up
My Dad is an electrican - He uses #8 Bare copper and he says to keep it OUT OF THE WAY - because people like to Disk Close .

I'm out the door - more later if you have questions
 

SRBeef

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Jim62":38wv7jxf said:
Thanks! I wound up using 3 8' copper (coated ?) rods. Checked voltage before and after. Had right at 6,000 with both ground systems (barn and ground rods), so no big difference there. Lightening choke is next.

Just out of curiousity, why do we use INSULATED ground wire? The power company's grounds are not insulated.

As I believe several people have said, the voltage may be there but it takes a good ground to give the animal (or you touching it) the amps to give a real shock. There are various high voltage toys and tricks that put on fancy displays but don't give you much shock because there is no current flow.

When an animal touches the hot wire, current flows across the hair coat through the body and to the ground. If the current is not sufficient or the ground is not good even high voltages do not produce enough current across the haircoat, hooves, grass, possibly dry ground and all the way back to the fencer ground rods to complete the circuit.

Completing the circuit is what gives the animal the shock. The better the grounding system, the more likely the circuit will be completed well enough to make the animal remember not to do it again.

As fas a s why use insulated wire for the ground connection, it really is not necessary to do so. Some folks use #12 fence wire for the grounds. I use insulated 12 ga underground wire for my grounds because it is usually in the same trench as the hot wire for at least part of the run and having two insulated wires reduces the chance of a short between them. The good under ground wire such as the Gallagher is also very well galvanized. Grounds should be galvanized, not copper rods as used in household electrical systems.

Corrosion can be a problem and on outdoor systems like fence grounds, good galvanized wire clamped to well-galvanized ground rods with either brass or galvanized clamps will have less chance of losing connection due to corrosion over the years. Copper does corrode over time. If you use copper ground rods you should check the contact points to the wire every couple years and clean with sandpaper etc. It is probably not worth taking copper rods out but the connection contact point between the zinc galvanizing and the copper rod can be a source of what's called galvanic corrosion.

Power company pole ground wires are copper but do not connect to a ground rod. They extend into the soils and usually wrap around the bottom of the pole. These are for lightning usually and there is enough juice in that wire there is no trouble crossing over to ground!

Jim
 

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