December 28, 2013




There are a number of reasons for reduced voltage on the fence line.

  • Vegetation growth
  • Broken wires
  • Corrosion
  • Poor grounding
  • Bad connections
  • Poor insulation
  • Increasing the length of fence

The most important piece of equipment required to check for faults is the GALLAGHER Digital Voltmeter. With the GALLAGHER SMARTFIX voltmeter you can pinpoint faults accurately.


  • Wire strainers
  • Pliers
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Joint clamps


  • Is the energizer switched on?
    Is the leadout wire connected to the energizer and the fenceline? · Is there a break in the leadout?
  • Is the earth wire connected to the energizer and earth rods?
  • Is there a break in the earthwire?
  • Are all the cutout switches turned on?
  • Is there a dead short on the fenceline?
  • Are there any faulty or broken insulators?
  • Use the fault finding chart below to help you locate faults.

Always check the voltage at the energizer First.

To check if the energizer is faulty, disconnect both the leadout and the ground wires and test the energizer without any load. If the energizer is reading below the manufacturer's specification there could be a fault with the energizer.

If the energizer is reading normal then:

  • Check the Ground System before checking the fenceline.
  • Refer to the section on grounding in ENERGIZER INSTALLATION.
  • If no fault is discovered with either the energizer or the ground system, then check the fenceline.
  • The use of Gallagher Cut Out Switches makes the job of finding faults easier as different sections of the fence can be isolated.
  • When the area of fence which is at fault is switched off, the voltage on the remainder of the fence will rise.
  • Once you have isolated the section of fence at fault, move along the fenceline and take voltage readings every 330ft.
  • The readings will continue to drop until you reach, or pass the fault. After the Fault, the readings should remain constant. (Remember there may be more than one fault)

A phenomenon known as induction is common with electric fences. This is the transfer of electricity from an electrified wire to a non electrified wire without the wires physically touching each other. This is often mistakenly blamed on insulator leakage. This phenomenon is also more common in areas where the air is damp such as in conditions of fog.

As this phenomenon is a quirk of nature it cannot be stopped from occurring. However, to avoid receiving shocks caused by induction on non electrified fences and gates etc. you can "ground out" the offending fence by connecting a ground wire to all wires on the non electrified fence. Push the end of this wire into the ground as far as possible and this will send all the offending voltage into the ground.


NOTE: Induction has very little effect on the voltage on the electrified fence.


All GALLAGHER energizers comply with the usual regulations, but problems can occur for various reasons, particularly in areas with poor radio reception. These are usually noticed when an audible "click" is heard on the radio and coincides with the pulsing of the energizer.

To reduce or eliminate the problem, look for faults in the following areas:

  • The energizer earth must be very good and should be at least 33ft away from any other ground. No part of the energizer ground system should come into contact with any buildings.
  • Avoid having any leadout wires or fencelines running parallel to telephone or power wires.
  • Check for any fence faults such as: broken insulators, poor connections and joints, any shorting caused by broken wires etc. Also check that cut out switches are not arcing.
  • Check that no underground cable has been damaged and is shorting out.
  • Walking the fencelines with a portable radio tuned off the station and on high volume is a quick and easy way to locate any electrical leakage.


Check the voltage reading at the energizer

Is the voltage lower than normal?


Is the voltage normal?


Has the fenceline been extended or added onto?


Check that the ground voltage is not greater than 300 volts (see ENERGIZER INSTALLATION)


A larger energizer may be required but check the fenceline first
Upgrade your ground system (see ENERGIZER INSTALLATION)

Check the fenceline for possible shorting at:




Vegetation growth

Accidental shorting


Mike said:

I just put up a solar powered electric fence around my farm yard and the separate testing unit does not illuminate though the energiser is charged and blinking green. I only suspect that the grounding may not be working. I have tried both a piece of rebar and a crowbar sunk into the earth but to no avail.


Darlene Taylor said:

Same problem here, plus the ground wire shocks the crap out of ya, and the hot wire fence line is NOT hot.

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