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October 03, 2006

Electric Fence Rope

And my experiences with it...

I haven't had a lot of experience with hot wire, but I thought I'd share what I found when putting up ours this summer. I bought a solar charger that is supposed to work for up to 10 miles of wire. It seems like that should be plenty big enough for my use, and we have plenty of sunshine here in Utah so that shouldn't be a problem. I only put the wire up as a single top strand of wire above my no-climb horse fence. The hot wire goes along the top (single strand) of the fence around 4 adjoining paddocks that total about 1 1/2 acres. It seems like it was somewhere around 2500 feet of wire total - less than 1/2 mile.

I originally put up the nifty new electric rope wire - 1/8" nylon rope with thin wire threads woven in. It looked cool, and was more visible than traditional solid wire, but I wasn't very happy with its performance! It worked ok for about the first month and then the resistance became so great that the current couldn't make it down the line (and I did check to make sure nothing was touching the line and shorting it out). I was only able to detect any charge with my fence meter about 300 feet down the line!

I tried a different charger - one that plugged into power instead of running off a solar panel & battery. It worked about the same as the solar charger. Both chargers had plenty of juice (all the way to the top of the meter when disconnected from the hot wire.

Not being an electrician, I hadn't thought about it ahead of time, but soon learned that larger gauge wire carries the current much easier (less resistance) than smaller gauge wire. So the 6 or so tiny wire threads in the rope weren’t able to carry anywhere near as much current as regular 14 gauge electric fence wire.

So I replaced all of the electric rope with 14-gauge wire, and it has been working beautifully ever since - for several months now!

I have read since then that the polywire and polytape require a certain kind of charger, but I just looked at the box for the A/C charger, and it says it is designed for all types of polywire, polytape and traditional wire. I don't have the solar charger packaging in front of me, but I believe it is the same.

Some people love their polywire and polytape electric fence wire, but from my limited experience it didn't work very well for me. I guess the wise thing to do is check around and find people who have been using theirs for a long while and are happy with it, then find out what brand of polywire and charger they have!

Kristie Jorgensen

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at October 3, 2006 03:20 PM