Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Sprite had cows out

A couple of days ago, one of Sprite's cattle got out.

We spent four hours yesterday troubleshooting Sprite's fence.

Based on what we saw, one three-hundred yard run of the fence had not been electrified in more than a year. Also based on the amount of wire touching the ground, I am not sure if he had any significant charge in any of the fence for the last couple of months.

God bless cows. If they have water, food, salt and company they will stay in a fence out of habit.

Not to speak ill of the dead, but the Captain's frugality caused him to weave every strand of material that remotely resembled "fence" or "insulator" into his perimeter fences. He also jumpered from top wire to middle wire or bottom wire in a random kind of way.

It made for challenging troubleshooting.

I showed Sprite how to use a long blade of grass as an impromptu fence tester. Hold the base of the blade and touch the wire with the very tip of the blade. If you hear somebody yell, the world jumps and you are suddenly sitting, then the fence is hot.

Even though we were finding issues, we were still not getting any voltage in her fence.

The leads from the energizer to the fence were battered and the end of the hot lead was wrapped around the fence wire. I replaced those and used a clamp to ensure there was good contact. Still, nothing.

One of the outlets on the receptacles was so loose the plug for the energizer kept wanting to fall out. We plugged into another receptacle. Still, no heat.

We finally made progress when we tied our two fences together. A couple of years ago I ran some wire over-head to the Captain's fence and it ends in a set of vice-grips so that I can clamp to one of his fence wires. That gave both of us more redundancy in case of lightning strikes.

My fence energizer is more energetic than hers.  We started hearing pinging and snapping. Then it was easy to find the major issues.

After cleaning up a hard short caused by piece of wire that had been scrapped-in-place we had a hot wire. We made the executive decision to leave her fence connected to our energizer until we made a few hardware upgrades to her fence.

Oddly, she had no desire to test the fence after I demonstrated the yell-and-jump blade-of-grass method.

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