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All About Fence Chargers

Electric Fence Chargers - Tips

Selecting the right electric fence controller, sometimes called fence energizer or charger, with adequate power for your enclosure is critical to keeping your animals safe. 


Consider the power source AC- (110 volt), DC- (battery) or solar-operated; type of animal controlled; length of fence line; amount of vegetation growing on the fence line and the output of the electric fence controller.



More Fence Charger Tips





The right fence charger is the heart of your electric fence system. Finding the best-matched charger for your fence is imperative to successfully contain/exclude animals. The experts at Zareba® Systems explain a simple process to ensure you buy the right fence charger to meet your needs.

  • Powering your fence charger. The recommended and most reliable choice is AC-power. If you need to power your fence from a remote location, DC  or Solar powered fence chargers are an excellent choice for remote locations. Solar powered fence chargers feature the benefits of charging your battery using solar power.

  • Type of fence line. Steel wire creates less electrical resistance than poly wire, rope or tape, which draw more power. If you are using poly rope or tape, we recommend a low impedance fence controller.  Aluminum wire has less resistance than steel wire.

  • Number of fence wire strands. As a general rule for multi-wire fences, divide the charger’s distance rating by the number of strands, then select a charger with a mileage rating that meets those needs. NOTE: 1 square mile = 4 mile perimeter = 640 acres. Remember that poly wire, rope and tape have a higher resistance rating and thus will need a charger with a higher distance rating.

  • Amount of weeds. The more weeds touching your fence line, the more draw from your charger. If you have light to medium to heavy weeds near your fence, we recommend a low impedance fence controller as they can maintain high energy on the fence even as power is drawn by weeds.

  • Area to enclose. Give some thought to the possibility of your fence area expanding (which may require a more powerful charger). Zareba® chargers list a mileage rating, but keep in mind that rating is for a single strand of steel wire on a weed-free fence.

  • Type of animal controlled. Large animals with thicker hide, hair, hooves or foot pads require a stronger shock. Also, determined animals like bulls or stallions require a more powerful fence charger.


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Every Zareba® Systems fence charger comes with a detailed installation manual. In addition, individual components include “how-to” instructions to assist in your fence system assembly.



Installation of charger



Your fence charger should be:

  • Sheltered from the weather (except solar chargers). Indoors protected from moisture or outdoors in a protective enclosure.

  • Close to 110-volt AC power source (unless battery or solar powered).

  • Accessible to a ground rod system that is separate from building or grounding rods used by other systems or buildings.

Mount the fence charger off the ground using a screw or nail through the hanger hole in the charger case. Connect the ground wire to the ground terminal and ground rods using insulated ground wire. Connect the fence terminal to the fence wire using 20,000-volt (or higher) hook up wire.


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Lightning is often the cause of fence charger failure. When lightning strikes the fence, the sudden power surge can travel down the fence wire and damage the fence charger.


A variety of properly installed products can prevent or limit lightning damage.

  • To prolong the life of your fence charger, consider disconnecting the fence charger from the power source when storms are near.lightning arrestor

  • Install a lightning diverter/arrestor to divert lightning to the earth before it can damage the charger. For the greatest protection, install one lightning diverter/arrestor at each corner of the fence, but no closer than 50 feet to the fence charger.

  • Use a lightning choke between the fence line and fence charger to dissipate power surges caused by lightning.

  • Use an AC surge suppressor to protect against AC power surges.


Proper Voltage


A fence tester or voltage tester can help you determine that adequate voltage is on the fence line.


Recharging Your Energizer's Battery


A trickle charger should be used to maintain a solar fence battery when the fence controller is not in use for more than three months. The battery should be stored outside of the energizer. When the battery is removed from the fence controller, it should be charged for no longer than 18 hours, stored at a moderate temperature and placed on a wooden board keeping it off the ground.


Before the battery is reinstalled into the fencer for use, it should be recharged for an additional 18 hours to ensure it is fully charged for operation.



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Zareba® has a fence charger to meet your electric fence needs whether you want to protect a small garden from critters or to fence in livestock with many miles of electric fence. 


zareba electric fence systems

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