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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This spring I plan to establish a small outyard. It will require an electric fence powered by solar and or battery.

I have seen numerous recommendations for the parmac mag 12 solar.

I can assemble the separate pieces for less than the consolidated unit....parmac mag 12, deep cell battery, and solar panel with charge regulator.

Am I giving something up by avoiding the package unit?
It seems like it will be easier to conceal in pieces, as well as easier to maintain over time.

I can see where the package would be great if moving it frequently(like rotating pasture) bunt I don't see an upside for my use.
 

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The National Outdoor Leadership School has some excellent information on using portable electric fences in grizzly bear country to protect humans.

Here is a research video that shows fences being tested with bears http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv2G-aRDvyY

Here are two links to a research papers with detailed specifications for fences - I think it provides some good ideas that show what beekeepers need to get close to for bear protection. http://rendezvous.nols.edu//content/view/1945/739/ and http://rendezvous.nols.edu/files/Cu...cts/Risk Management Reports/MTDCfoodfence.pdf

I have an inexpensive digital volt meter that I use to always check the fence after it has been disconnected.

The fences do work and in the end help save bears from getting into places that do them no good
 

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I agree that separate components is a better choice for a solar powered charger than an all-in-one unit.

Not only are the individual pieces less expensive, but are easier to troubleshoot/swap, and you can size the collector/battery subsystem to your local conditions (and wallet).
 

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Would anyone care to share there diy set up?
We've been selling solar fencing units for years and have found them to be very reliable. Personally I would go with the self contained unit for their simplicity, compact size and the fact that the entire unit is covered by the manufacturer's warranty. I have seen these units give years of trouble free operation. About once every 2 to 3 years you will probably have to replace the battery as it breaks down over time from the repeated charging and discharging, but other than that I have seen no problems. One thing to keep in mind though is that the solar panel is susceptible to damage though I think it's rare.

As with all electric fence setups, the grounding system is critical. If you are in areas with plentiful rainfall, using two or three 6' ground rods should be enough. If you are in an arid region, the soil may get so dry that the current won't make ground. In that case make sure some of the wires of you fence are ground wires so that when the critter hits a hot wire he will also hit a ground wire and get zapped.

Folks are often tempted to use some surplus copper wire for making connections, but I'd advise against it. When you attach copper wire to steel wire and pass current through the connection, electrolysis corrosion occurs and before long you have a bad connect and a poorly performing fence.
 

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For those who want to use individual components, Kencove offers a page that will assist in sizing a solar panel in terms of watts related to joules:

http://www.kencove.com/fence/131_Solar+Panel+Calculator_resource.php


My personal experience with powering a fence charger from a solar system involves a system with (3) 15 watt panels feeding through a charge controller into 3 deep cycle batteries (in parallel). This was originally set up to provide cell and computer recharge capability at an undeveloped property since no commercial power was available at that time. After commercial power was run to the property, I used the solar system to power a fence charger to protect a garden that was some distance away from available power.When I decided to add a separate fence system to protect my hives, I decided that running a UF buried power line to the hives and garden offered enough benefits beyond the fence chargers that it was worthwhile to do so. The point is that I have some experience setting up and maintaining a small solar system, but currently am using line-powered fence chargers.

I would review the Kencove page linked, and then most likely buy a single 15 watt solar panel and charge a 12 volt battery, without a regulator. The fence charger IMO will likely approximately offset the power from the panel. Monitor the battery voltage periodically to see whether the solar panel is keeping up. If necessary, you could later add another solar panel if you have a high joule fence energiser. If you have more than one solar panel, wiring those panels though a charging regulator would probably be a good plan.

Suitable panels and regulators are widely available at many places, including electric fence specialists like Kencove, but also through Amazon and Harbor Freight. Batteries are available anyplace that sells 12 volt motorcycle/automobile/tractor batteries.

Unless you expect to go multiple weeks without sunshine,:eek: I don't see a need for a "deep cycle" style battery.

.
 

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You won't be disappointed with a parmac 12V fencer.

I have both separate and self contained units (about 10 of each). My preference is the self contained units for the reasons coopbee stated. Fewer hassles and easier to transport. The parmac solar units have very reliable solar panels.

I went with separate components on my first fences because it was cheaper, but after I tried the self contained units, I decided the savings weren't worth it for me. I've upgraded the electrical connectors to quick couplers. Cheaper solar panels don't always deliver the power that they are advertised to deliver I have found. A 5W panel that actually delivers 5W keeps the battery charged if vegetation is maintained and the panel is not in the shade for any length of time during the day. Not charge controller is required for a 5W panel. I have used all types of batteries but my preference is gel batteries. Seem to last decently long, handle discharge and charging, and aren't heavy.
 

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TSC sells fence testers that run up towards 7K volts. Easy to use and yeah you dont have to zap yourself. I would make sure the meter is pegged to keep the bears out and remember to wrap raw bacon around the fence to educate your furry friends.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Thanks for the thoughts folks.

Although it's nice to save a bit of money, the main interest in parting it out was two fold

1)I thought it would be a lot easier to hide the system.
Everything in empty hive body with a solar cell on the top. I know it's not optimal angle but I just assume compensate with an oversized panel and charge controller.
Deep cycle batteries are overkill, but fit into other gear in a pinch...

2)It seemed more likely that I would not lose use of the fence while repaired should either the battery or panel fail.

But the ease of a smaller compact unit is tempting. Sure stores and moves a lot more readily.
 

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We run a self contained solar powered hot fence for our perimeter on the paddocks.
It's a pretty small contraption that mounts on a t post, then we run the wire along the top of the fence line with insulators.
Keeps coyote's out of the pens and every once in a while we find a well done sparrow that bridged the fence and hot wire inadvertently.
Be aware of your grounding, and never pee on it...just saying....
 
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