How To Test Electric Fence With Multimeter? Step by step Guide

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An electric fence is a useful security measure for containing animals within a restricted area or keeping intruders away from your property. Even though the idea sounds to be quite a high-risk one, the current passing through such a fence is only meant to be a deterring force.

Today we will show you how to test electric fence with multimeter.

how to test electric fence with multimeter

How To Test If An Electric Fence Is Working?

After you set up the electric fence, you need to test it to ensure that it is carrying live current. And if it does, is the current within the recommended level to avoid fatalities? Electric fences feature high voltage (8,000 volts), even though the current amperage is minimal (120 milliamps). So, we would be using a voltmeter to determine its effectiveness.

We can use a dedicated voltmeter, or we can use a multimeter. Since multimeters are capable of measuring both current and voltage, they are more common in an electrician or a DIY enthusiast’s toolkit. Switch the voltmeter mode on, make sure the metal prong is properly connected to the multimeter, and then place it on the fence.

Instead of taking the reading at a single point, walk around and measure the voltage at different spots. You need to particularly check in the spots that lie far away from the power source. Sometimes, fence areas located furthest from the power source stay out of electric coverage. You need to rule out that possibility for a properly functioning electric fence.

How Do You Make An Electric Fence Tester? 

If you don’t have a multimeter for electric work or a voltmeter lying around, here’s a DIY hack that you can use to test your electric fence. Take a fluorescent tube and attach a wire to one end of it. The other end of the wire should lie on the ground. Step on it, so that you can make sure it stays grounded. This will establish an earthing mechanism.

Before stepping on the other end of the wire, you should have rubber sole shoes to minimize electrocution risks. Now touch the tube to the fence and see if it lights up or not. If the tube illuminates, it would confirm that the fence has voltage. This is a very simple trick, but it would be difficult under bright daylight.

How Many Volts Should My Electric Fence Have?

The voltage of an electric fence can fluctuate between 2,000 to 10,000 volts. This choice, however, depends on the thickness of the hide of your cattle. As a rule of thumb, you would need 2000 volts to penetrate every millimeter of skin. Therefore, you would have to tailor the voltage level depending on the livestock you want to keep away from the fence.

Can An Electric Fence Kill You?

Electric fences are put in place to induce an unpleasant shock rather than cause serious harm to any living being. The current amplification in these fences is very low (around 120 milliamps). So, an electric fence will not kill you.

Does Rain Affect Electric Fence?

Rain can cause the fence to lose some voltage, and short. So, it is important to check the fence after rain. A good indicator of the fence shorting is a “tick tick” sound. Shorting or arcing would compromise the voltage of the fence, increase amperage, and might harm the battery. You have to use good quality insulators, to avoid such a situation.

How Do I Make My Electric Fence Stronger?

Here are some tips that can make your electric fence stronger:

  • Use high capacity energizer.
  • Install additional earthing stakes. You can install 2 meters away from the original one. Moist soil would be the ideal choice for planting earth posts.
  • In dry climates, use an earth return fence to compensate for the poor ground conductivity.
  • The fence wires should target the knee region of animals or below, because the skin insulation is minimal in those parts of cattle.

How To Test An Electric Fence Without A Tester?

You can use indicator lights to test an electric fence instead of a tester. Install them at regular intervals. If the fence is operational, the lights would light up. Alternatively, you can just stand near the fence with a compass. If you are 2 to 3 meters away from a live wire, the compass arrow should oscillate because of the magnetic field created by the electric charge of the wire.

Final Say

If you know how to test electric fence with multimeter, you would be able to check your electric fence regularly and ensure its functionality.

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