electric net fault finding

Fault finding in an electric fence

First, you have got to know your fence. If you walk along your fence regularly you will be able to identify faults that you can hear. Normally it is where vegetation is touching the electric fence allowing a short to happen. This results in a loss of power which leads to the fence being ineffective. Faults may also cause other problems, such as interference with telephone lines or weak internet connections.


Causes for faults could include the following:

  • Problems with your main power supply.
  • A faulty or broken energizer.
  • Vegetation touching the live wires.
  • Broken wires.
  • Broken insulators.
  • Poor connection.
  • Poor insulation.
  • Corroded metals somewhere in the fence line.
  • Poor earthing.

Checking your fence extensively using a digital fault finder or digital voltmeter is important to maintain an effective, problem-free electric fence installation.


Finding faults:

Using a digital fault finder.

Electrical current flows toward a fault in the same way that water flows towards the plughole in a bath. A digital fault finder allows you to follow the direction of the electrical current towards the fault.

  • Check the energizer and the earth system.
  • Starting at the lead-out, work your way along the fence taking readings at regular intervals.
  • Always check around gateways, branches in the fence and wire joins as faults are likely to occur in these areas. A fault will show up as an abnormally high reading. A sudden reaction in current between the one point and next indicates a fault between these points.
  • Move backwards in the direction of the lowest reading to locate the fault.


Using a digital voltmeter.

Before commencing, isolate sections of the fence line with cut-out switches.

  • Check the energizer and the earth system.
  • At the first cut-out switch (at the end of the lead-out), disconnect the rest of the fence and take a voltage reading. The reading should be normal.
  • Move along the fence line disconnecting a section of the fence and taking a voltage reading at each cut-out switch. A fault will show up as an abnormally high reading.

There are various digital fault finders and voltmeters on the market. It is always good advice to invest in a good product. If there is a fault in your electric fence, you need to find it quickly for your fence to operate effective again. The Fence Scope from Nemtek is a 4 in 1 tool, which help to diagnose problems on your fence to optimize electric fence installation and ensure that the fence continues to operate at ideal levels.

A good reliable tool will help you to identify the fault quickly and might just keep valuable livestock out of harm’s way.


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