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Patriot Electric Fence

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Patriot Fence Planning Guide


Type of Electric Fence

Ask yourself this, “Do I need a permanent electric fence or a temporary electric fence?STEP 2

Plan the Layout

Sketch a diagram and measure the distance of the area you would like to fence. Make note of any unique features along the proposed fence line (i.e., hills, waterways, trees, roadways, etc.) as well as where you intend to have a gate(s). If necessary, it is also a good idea to have your utility company mark any underground cables/lines that may be in the immediate vicinity.

Select Your Charger

How will you power your charger – 110 volt plug, 12 volt battery, or solar? The Patriot P5, P10, P20 and P30 chargers provide the unique option of operating from either a 110 volt plug or 12 volt battery. If you prefer a totally integrated solar unit, the Patriot PS15 is your best choice. When comparing chargers, make sure you compare them on the basis of their rated output energy as that is the amount of energy delivered to the fence. Some chargers will only list a stored energy rating. As the name implies, stored energy is just the amount of energy stored inside the charger. However, it does not relate to the amount of energy delivered to the fence. (Patriot chargers show both an output and stored rating to give you a complete picture of the charger’s power.)

Select Your Accessories

Now that you have selected your charger, you need to determine how you are going to build your fence. Are you going to use wood posts, steel posts, rod posts, etc.? Or is it just a temporary fence with tread-in posts? What type of gate(s) do you plan on using? Thankfully, there’s a good assortment of Patriot accessories to fit most all of your electric fence needs. Please review the next pages about permanent and temporary electric fences to help determine which Patriot accessories will work best for you.

Grounding & Testing

This is one of the most important parts of the fence. Without a proper ground system, your will not be able to achieve the maximum benefits of your electric fence. Please refer to the Grounding & Testing section of this guide (pages 14-15) for more information on how to properly install and test a good ground system.

Other Things to Consoder in the Planning Process

Converting a barb Wire or Woven Wire Fence

Do you already have a good barb wire or woven wire fence, but want to make it electric? (Note: You should never try to electrify the existing barb or woven wire as it is too dangerous for your livestock and not very effective.) Patriot T-Post Extenders (810841), as shown in the pictures above, and Wood Post Extenders (810843) allow you to maintain your current fence structure while adding hightensile wire to make it electric. This is a much safer and more highly effective way for an electric fence.

Where Should You Install Your Charger?

If you plan to use a 110 volt plug to power your charger, it should be placed inside a barn or shed near the power source. If you plan on using a 12 volt battery, the charger can be placed outside. Because of the weather-resistant case and built-in clip-on-wire feature, the Patriot P5, P10, P20 and P30 chargers can be attached directly to the fence wire. If you are using the Patriot PS15, it too has a weatherresistant case, can be mounted on a standard t-post, and is most effective if placed along the middle of the fence with the panel facing towards the South. In all cases,

refer to your charger’s user manual for specific installation instructions and always mount the charger where it is out of reach of children and animals.

Converting a barb Wire or Woven Wire Fence

Yes, you can use more than one charger, but each charger must be on a separate fence system. NEVER connect more than one charger to the SAME FENCE.

What Type of Wire Should I Use for the Fence Line

The best permanent electric fences are constructed using 12.5 gauge galvanized high tensile wire. It provides a lower level of resistance than a smaller gauge of wire and has sufficient capacity to carry the electrical current of the fence. Some people use a smaller gauge galvanized wire (i.e., 14 ga., 16 ga., etc.); however, these have higher levels of resistance, do not allow you to achieve the maximum benefits of your charger, and your fence life may not be as long. (Aluminum wire is not the same as steel galvanized wire. Small aluminum wire also has less resistance than comparable size steel wire.) For temporary fences, good poliwire or politape with at least 6 strands of conductors are the best choice.”

Patriot Grounding Advice for Patriot Electric Fence and Chargers


What is a Ground System?

A grounding system is the most important component of any electric fence system. If an electric fence is not properly grounded, it will be much less effective.

How does Ground Work?

For an electric fence to give an animal an electric shock, electrons must complete a circuit. Electrons travel from the charger, along the wires, through the animal’s body, through the soil to the grounding system, then back up to the charger. The grounding system consists of a number of ground rods (ground stakes) that absorb electrons in the soil. The larger the charger and the longer the fence line, the more ground rods are required.

What Factors will Affact the Ground System?

Dry, sandy and non-conductive soil types allow electrons to spread out without being absorbed by the ground rods. If you have soil that is not well suited to grounding, use additional ground rods, choose a better location for the ground system, or use an alternate method of grounding. Vegetation touching the live fence wires allows electronsto leak, causing the fence to “short” and voltage to drop. Check the fence regularly to make sure that long grass and overhanging branches are not touching the live fence wire. Using a mixture of metals in the ground system will lead to electrolysis. This may cause the parts of the ground system to disintegrate in a short period of time. For example, never use copper wire with galvanized ground rods.

Ground Systems - All Live

An all live ground system is recommended where soil is conductive (most moist soils are conductive). When an animal standing on the soil touches the fence, the circuit is completed and the animal gets a shock.

Ground Systems - Ground Wire Return

A ground wire return system is recommended where soil is not conductive (most dry or sandy soils are not conductive). The fence is constructed using both live and ground wires. When an animal touches a live and a ground wire at the same time, the circuit is completed and the animal gets a shock.

Selecting a Site for the Ground System

A suitable place for the ground system is:

  • At least 30’ away from any other ground system (i.e., telephone, house power line, etc.).
    • Away from livestock or other traffic that could interfere with the installation.
    • Where the system can easily be accessed for maintenance.
    • Ideally, where there is damp soil all year round (i.e., a shaded area or under the drip line of a building). NOTE: If it is not possible to locate the ground system in close proximity to the energizer, you may be able to use the existing fence line to connect to a remote ground system. In dry weather, it may be necessary to water the ground system in order to improve soil conductivity.
  • Ground Rods

    The number of ground rods depends on the type of charger being used to power the fence. Refer to information supplied with your charger for more information about the correct number of ground rods to use. To insert the ground rods:

    1. Space the required number of 6’ ground rods at least 10’ apart.
    2. Drive 6’ ground rods deeply into the soil, at least 10’ apart. Make sure that the ground rods protrude out of the soil at least 3” so they can be easily connected.
    3. Join the ground rods in a series using joint clamps (or ground clamps) and insulated cable.

    Testing the Ground System

    1. Turn off the charger.
    2. At least 330’ away from the charger, heavily short circuit the fence by laying several steel rods (or lengths of pipe) against the fence. In dry or sandy soils, drive the rods up to 12” into the soil.
    3. Turn on the charger.
    4. Use a digital voltmeter to measure the fence voltage. It should read 2 kV or less. If not, put more steel rods against the fence.
    5. To check the ground system, insert the voltmeter’s ground probe into the soil at the full extent of the lead and attach the clip to the last ground rod. The voltmeter reading should be no more than 0.3 kV. If the reading is higher than this, the ground system is insufficient. See the grounding checklist, add more ground rods, or find a better location for your ground system.

    Ground Checklist

    Check your ground system to make sure:

    • All wires are joined securely.
    • Connections to ground rods are secure.
    • Ground rods are at least 6’ long and at least 10’ apart.
    • There are a sufficient number of ground rods.
    • All parts of the ground system are made of the same metal.
    • Ground rods are buried deeply in the soil.