5 Hints for A Solar Electric Fence

Hopefully by now you are experiencing a new level of freedom with the information I’ve given you.

One of the most important parts of this freedom is of course food supply.  And if you live like we do you have to worry about critters getting to your food supply.  Fortunately there is an easy fix that uses that great big power plant in the sky: the sun.

It’s the easy, low-maintenance solar electric fence

All-in costs for this electric fence should be less than $200 for a 50×50 foot home garden.  This system should last for at least 10 years, so the cost of protecting your food source is really low.  Here’s what you’ll need (nearly everything is available at ranch supply stores, acehardware.com, or spheralsolar.com):

  • 200 feet of polytape or electric wire
  • 24 fiberglass support rods and plastic insulators
  • 4000+ volt fence charger with 12VDC input
  • Copper rod for grounding the system
  • Deep cycle battery from a boat or marine store
  • 5w-10w 12VDC solar panel for charging the battery
  • Deer repellent and cloth strips

Installation is pretty easy.  Start off by driving the corner posts around the outside perimeter of the garden.  Then space the remaining poles 8-12 feet between the corner posts to keep the charged wire tight.  Now string the wire between the posts about 3’ off the ground, or higher depending on your critter problem.  You can also run several lines around the posts at varying levels if you are concerned about rodents and rabbits.

Before connecting the wires to the fence charger, attach repellent-soaked rags about every 4 feet along the wire.  This will ensure that deer won’t try to jump your wire setup and will stay clear.  You may also want to set up a ‘gate’ where you can enter the garden without turning off the fence.  Now attach the fence wire and grounding rods per the instructions on your fence charger.

Finally connect the fence charger input to the 12 VDC battery, and attach the appropriate leads from the solar panel to the same terminals on the battery.  With a simple set up like this and a fence that is presumably on most of the time, you shouldn’t need a charge controller.  If you take the fence down for the winter, then also disconnect your battery and solar panel and store them in a safe place.

It’s a good idea to test your fence occasionally to make sure its still running.  I shouldn’t have to tell you, don’t do this with your hand! Do it with a simple $5 voltage meter.  If you notice your wires are often dead, you may need an additional solar panel and battery.  This is common for longer fences and fences that are often touched by animals.

Now you can enjoy your garden and its bounty without worrying about the furry friends ruining dinner!

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