For several years, I’ve used a 12v deep cycle battery to power an electric fence around ~3 acres of garden. This year, tired of hauling the battery up to the house regularly for charging, I planned to convert to a large solar setup. So I’ve been reading some threads here about that. One thing I came across was that if the distance from an AC source was less that 1/4 mile, the best option was to just use AC power instead. My orchard fence is 250 yards from my house. Is the best option to get a quality high joule AC energizer? I could run the wire below ground partway, but there is a slough between the house and orchard which might require suspending the wire in the air. Might could trench it in the late summer when driest. If this is feasible, what size/type insulated wire would you recommend?
Is the battery charger doing the job of keeping out what you want kept out?
There are small solar units designed to keep a battery charged.
Sort of. The main culprits have been deer, raccoons and wild hogs in the sweet corn. The fence has helped, but they test it regularly, and if they knock it down and I don’t catch it quickly they will destroy a lot in a hurry. Sometimes groups of 20+ hogs
I’ve pretty much scratched the sweet corn and let my dad fight that battle on his place lol. I’ve started an orchard in the same field. As it’s being established, I need to keep the hogs from uprooting trees/plants, keep the deer from eating and rubbing trees. Once they start producing, coons and possums will need to be addressed.
There is a telephone pole in the center of the field. There are many hawks and falcons, and 2 bald eagles who patrol in daytime. Owls help at night. Keeping the orchard mowed and sprayed helps the raptors as well. Love seeing those guys perched on that pole
I agree that running it off of commercial electricity makes the most sense. You might consider running a raised hot wire all the way to the area being protected instead of running a 110V feed. If you want to try a solar charger, there are a few decent models on the market in the $250 to $300 range.
Running the hot wire is doable. Burying works only for a short time before it shorts out somewhere. AC units are safe and reliable. Try 2 strands or more around your garden. Works well. DC with solar charger work well too. Tried them all!
Also heavy posts on corners and stretch as tight as you can. Deer will stumble into it and are not smart enough turn back but may bolt forward and break wire. Heavy wire works best. May also try a grounded strand 6 inches up and a hot strand 6 inches above that and more above that. Forget the plastic strand. A couple of years and the sun disintegrates it. Also the hotter spark units work best.
I have some friends at the local electric co-op. Might see if they have some bulk insulated wire I could run from the house to the orchard/field.
The AC models have way more zap than the battery or solar models. If you have wild hogs wanting to visit it is the only way to go.
I ran a decent AC two-wire unit around my garden. The deer don’t go near it. It packs a wallop- I light myself up all the time when pruning around it.
You need underground feeder cable known as UF. 12 gage would be best with no splices. Cable lasts for a long time but its expensive - probably over $500 for 750 feet. Add in the rental for the ditching machine and your at $1000 plus.
I like AC units better, but high cost may rule it out for this situation.
I considered UF for a line to our garage but it has to be at least 18" deep. In rocky soil that can be a real hassle even with the trencher. Since I had a short run I used steel conduit 6" deep and pulled wire.
Have not done electric fence for the garden, but the 110 acres of pasture here is fenced & cross-fenced with electrified high-tensile wire. Probably somewhere between 15 & 20 total miles of wire. Have always had an AC high voltage/low impedance fence energizer. Usually used two strands of double-insulated 12.5 ga. electric fence wire for lead-outs from the energizer to the fence, but my runs were only 60-80 ft or so… not 250 yds.
If you’ve not looked there, Kencove is a great supplier of all things electric fence. Have used them as a primary source for most electric fencing materials for over 25 years. I’d call and discuss best lead-out wire for your needs, if I were in your position.
Most recent fence energizer we purchased was a 24-joule Kencove, with remote - allows us to turn the fencer on/off from points out on the farm instead of having to walk or drive a mile back to barn to turn it off in order to do repairs.
Properly grounded, adequately spaced wires, with enough joules… will probably effectively exclude feral pigs. Getting it high enough to keep deer out… I’m probably not up for that, at this stage of my life.
It is relatively easy to keep deer out. Look up the design for an offset deer fence.
Also, and not something I would always recommend, I found out that a spark plug goes a long way toward keeping deer away. I use wire to tie a spark plug to one of the steel posts, then run a short wire from the electric fence up to the end of the spark plug. Once a second, the spark plug arcs which gives a visible flash and an audible pop. Deer won’t come anywhere near it. Caution that this will only work for a fence charger that is hot enough to drive the plug as well as keep the fence charged. It is only effective in a radius of about 100 yards.
Have you thought about contacting your local electric company? Call them and explain to them that you would like to run a line to the desired point. They would send an engineer to take a look and measurements and then they would let you know what would be the cost.
If they have to bury the cable that could be an opportunity for you to install your tubing for irrigation as well. Just a thought!
At the end you would need to build a pedestal to install the meter box, breaker switch box and outdoor outlets.
Have you considered a physical (low) barrier for the fence to deal with the hogs, then an electric fence in addition? This would be expensive but if done well and you are able to maintain it, it would slow down the hogs. Disclaimer: I am just spit-balling and don’t have experience with this scenario. Just throwing out ideas.
If you had access to a trencher, excavator, or have soft enough soil to dig by hand, you could even bury cattle panels (or something like that) low and create more of a deterrent from the hogs digging under the fence. An offset setup like @Fusion_power is suggesting appears to be the most effective strategy for deer.
Morningstar - SunSaver 6A PWM Solar Charge Controller for 12V Batteries, LVD, Lowest Fail Rate in The Industry, Built-in Diagnostics, (SS-6L-12V) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002MQOXVC/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_i_PTQMTPMHG0CSVNQQVE6S?psc=1
Or the 10A version. You want LVD to protect the battery.
You can also buy one if the cheaper PWM chargers, they usually work fine.
If you get a 10A charger, get a 100 watt panel. Get a 50 watt panel for the 6A.
Just make sure your charger matches your battery type.
Love your new meter setup from the power company. How much does that cost in your area?
May I suggest keeping the ac charger near existing ac power supply. ( near the house ).
Run a high tensile wire supply line overhead on poles to the orchard fence . ( like the power co. Does ) carrying the output from fence charger . This 250 yd. distance is insignificant ,providing it has good insulators on the poles ( porcelain ).
Guy wires at end poles , etc. these can be very far apart .like the power Co. Poles .out of the way for mowing ,etc.
Much cheaper than running AC power to the orchard fence.
Also will allow having a flashing light fence tester near the house.
So the status of the fence can be monitored from the house at a glance.
Underground primary $0.39 x # of feet plus $100.00 cost to tie in
Underground service $0.70 x # of feet plus $96.40 to tie in to transformer
Plus $20.00 for connection fees
Seems reasonable! Do you have a minimum charge each month too?
I have a building about 100 feet from the house on a separate meter here. The bill runs about $50/month.