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I have an AC powered electric fence controller (Fieldmaster 15) that is giving me a problem. I find that at times it is not working. If I unplug it and plug it back in it starts working. While working if I short it out with a screwdriver it will arc and then stop until I unplug and replug again. Can't find anything grounding the fence out to knock it off. Anyone ever have this situation happen to them. I checked the voltage with a meter when it is operating and it pegs the meter so I know it is putting out maximine power.
 

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Brand makes a difference.

It's worth buying higher quality brands.

I happily spend $200 on an electric fence energizer I know will work without me losing any sleep.
 

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It appears that the transformer windings and capacitor are OK. Being able to troubleshoot those items on fencers is about the limit of my 1960ish automotive technology!
There would be solid state timers and sensors that control powering and triggering the capacitor discharge. There are forums with members that really dish on that kind of problem. Probably not worth pursuing for you but have a look at this one. This link has some discussion about fencers. https://www.electronicspoint.com/forums/threads/electric-fence-charger.288535/

There is a wide range of quality in fencers. The cheap ones are not worth the agravation. Their windings are not varnish saturated and in a relatively short time absorb moisture from the air and then short out winding to winding or to ground. The circuit boards are not coated and moisture condensation on the printed circuits causes corrosion that either eats out the foil or shorts them. I have taken a few of them apart.

Gallagher is a good name but pricey. The common ParMak is American made I believe or offshored by Parker-McCoy. Their Parmak Magnum 12 is what my son uses and has half a dozen of them on the go. I have one running now for about 4 years.
 

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Hi bear. I have never heard of that charger. I googled it and found it lacking: any charger that touts how strong it is and how many miles of fence it can charge but does not say how many joules it is is not worth buying. Recommended brands that I have used are speedrite and Gallagher. Premier is also good but I have not used them. Consider: 15 miles of single strand twine for cows, ie out of the weeds, is very different from pouldtry netting which sags into the weeds. You'd never get 15 miles of that. The 1 joule plug in speedrite I have cost about $100 and is fine for bees and bear. I've had it about 5 years with no problems (it is plugged in in a shed). So I'd recommend and upgrade. Around here big box stores sell junk like zareba, which is Maybe fine for horses but certainly would never keep our sheep in, even their "30 mile" ones....
However, how many volts does the fence test at when it is working and how many volts does the ground rod test at the same settings? What is the minimum and maximum reading on you meter? Do you have galvanised or copper ground rods? And what crofter said is good too.
Bottom line, get a better charger. A bear can "sniff" the voltage before he touches the fence. I have heard of bear cought on trail cam that would come to the fence, sense it's voltage, and sit down and wait (because they had somehow discovered it worked intermittently). When the charger malfunctioned he would get up and calmly walk through the fence to tip the hives....
Good chargers and fences are good for beekeepers.... Good luck!
 

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"Fieldmaster" is a brand owned by Parker McCrory Mfg. Co., who also make the ParMak line of chargers. The FieldMaster3 is described as a "15 mile range" charger.
https://parmakusa.com/product/field-master-3/

My guess is that the OP has one of these chargers, but some resellers may use the Fieldmaster 15 name to emphasize the 15 mile range.


Assuming it is a Parker McCrory charger, I'd contact Parker McCrory to see if they can offer any diagnosis. The worst they can do is not reply / hang up. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi bear. I have never heard of that charger. I googled it and found it lacking: any charger that touts how strong it is and how many miles of fence it can charge but does not say how many joules it is is not worth buying. Recommended brands that I have used are speedrite and Gallagher. Premier is also good but I have not used them. Consider: 15 miles of single strand twine for cows, ie out of the weeds, is very different from pouldtry netting which sags into the weeds. You'd never get 15 miles of that. The 1 joule plug in speedrite I have cost about $100 and is fine for bees and bear. I've had it about 5 years with no problems (it is plugged in in a shed). So I'd recommend and upgrade. Around here big box stores sell junk like zareba, which is Maybe fine for horses but certainly would never keep our sheep in, even their "30 mile" ones....
However, how many volts does the fence test at when it is working and how many volts does the ground rod test at the same settings? What is the minimum and maximum reading on you meter? Do you have galvanised or copper ground rods? And what crofter said is good too.
Bottom line, get a better charger. A bear can "sniff" the voltage before he touches the fence. I have heard of bear cought on trail cam that would come to the fence, sense it's voltage, and sit down and wait (because they had somehow discovered it worked intermittently). When the charger malfunctioned he would get up and calmly walk through the fence to tip the hives....
Good chargers and fences are good for beekeepers.... Good luck!
My tester starts at 600 volts and goes up to 7000 volts. I t pegs at 7000 every time the charger pulses. The ground rod is galvanized and the tester pegs at 7000 when touching it. Without touching it is has been operating fine the last fiew days.
 

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"Fieldmaster" is a brand owned by Parker McCrory Mfg. Co., who also make the ParMak line of chargers.
Ah, this explains why when I went to a rural hardware that was 'supposed' to be a ParMak dealer, they had never heard of the brand. Had several Fieldmaster chargers in stock but I did not even look closely since they were not on my list.

Ended up with a Gallagher at a great price. A bit smaller than I wanted (had SWMBO's permission to buy a "melt your face" charger) but it is rated for bears. And apparently had been sitting on the shelf for a long time. Looked up the current retail at Gallagher and it was about twice what I paid. Happy I got a good deal!
 

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"My tester starts at 600 volts and goes up to 7000 volts. I t pegs at 7000 every time the charger pulses. The ground rod is galvanized and the tester pegs at 7000 when touching it. Without touching it is has been operating fine the last fiew days."
Hi beer. When you say the ground rod pegs at 7000 is that the ground clip not attached to the rod? The rod should test at less than 300.... Galvanized grounds are best.
WB what model Gallagher did you get?
 

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WB what model Gallagher did you get?
M120 rated at 15 miles 1.2 joules. Not a lot of bears here but one does pass through every few years. So need something ASAP. Biggest fear is a bear that has learned about bees and electric fences elsewhere. Will upgrade if nessacary and this one will be used to (help) keep deer out of the garden.
 

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I tried a Ghallager last year and was not impressed with its voltage output.
 

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User, what model and how many feet of ground rod did you have and how much weed pressure was leaking juice? When voltage output is low it means there is either not enough grounding from rod (open circuit) or too much grounding from weeds/shorts (leaking). The more joules your charger puts out the harder it can hit through wool/fur and the more "water tight" it is, meaning if you have a lot of weeds leaking voltage it will still pack a punch if properly grounded. When you first set up the fence a rule of thumb is that if a properly set up fence and ground have more than 300v on the GROUND ROD you need more ground.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I don't understand how to exactly test the voltage at the ground rod. Do I disconnect the ground wire from it and where do I connect the 2 leads from the tester? How do I see voltage less then 300 when my tester starts at 600??
 

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Beer, with fence set up to run test fence as usual. Then test ground rod in same way. If your tester has a wire with pin you stick in ground, stick it in the ground and put the hot test on the ground rod. So you test it just like you test the fence. It may be a bit counter intuitive but the hot and ground leads from the charger are actually interchangeable. You can put either lead on the fence and the other one to ground. The lead that is grounded best will become the "ground rod." So if you have netting that is burried in weeds and the ground rod is only 1 foot long the charger will "reverse" sending the charge to the rod and using the netting as the ground field.... Did I write that understandably? I'll try again if not.
You won't be able to tell if it's 300v or less with your tester but 600v is probably close enough.
 

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WB, 1 joule should be plenty. More is fine. Just make sure your wires are close enough together. If the intruder gets shocked behind the ears it will go forwards. So with about 6-8 inch spacing the bear is more likely to sniff the wire and get zapped on his nose than with 18-24 inch spacing he may just dive right through....
 
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