Getting Started With Electranets Masterfence
Energisers, Solar cells, Batteries,
'useful sunlight' and helpful information
We are often asked "just what do I need to get started with a system which is going to let me manage my stock effectively and sustainably and not become redundant when I want to add to it?". Here are answers to questions asked by people who encounter Electranets for the first time and are a little puzzled by just what is involved in getting started with a flexible netting system and how they are going to power it.
There are two basic modes - Mains 240 volt AC and remote 12 volt DC. Both methods work equally well. If you have mains power on the farm and you can easily connect your electric fencing to it then use it. It is a cheap and reliable option. If you have no mains power and want a highly flexible, easily moveable system you should use a battery powered energiser which you can run off a 12 volt battery. This can be powered by a solar cell or alternatively by recharging the battery with a battery charger.
The new manufacturer of Electranets is Kencove Farm Fence and their recommendation for what sized enegizer is necessary is as follows:
"We recommend a .25 joule low-impedance charger minimum per net . (Example: 4 nets connected together would require 1 joule charger)"
How an Electric Energiser Works
An energiser works on the principle of energising the fence line with pulses of high voltage for a short duration.
A typical energiser will supply 80,000 pulses per day, each one of which may peak at over 8,000 volts, 200,000 watts, 200 amps, and have a duration of less than 1/5000 of a second. An animal touching the energised wires will then complete the circuit from the fence wires, through its body and then through the ground. The discomfort of this shock will then "encourage" the animal to stay away from the fence. A Pavlovian reaction or course in aversion conditioning. The energiser spends most of its time collecting energy from the power source, (either the 12 volt DC battery or 240 volt AC mains), transforming the voltage electronically to higher levels and storing the energy in one or more capacitors. When the capacitor/s is/are fully charged, the energy is discharged in an instant (1/5000 of a second), sent through the main transformer for a final voltage transformation and then delivered to the fence line . To an animal it feels like a very painful electric whiplash. What renders the pulse harmless to people and animals is its short duration.
What is a Solar Panel?
A Solar Panel is the device which can power a 12 volt DC energiser by converting sunlight into useful electricity. The most common type is made up of semi-crystalline silicon solar cells laminated between sheet of acetate and tempered glass. If you are contemplating running your Electranets with a battery and solar panel you should buy only the best available and be sure to match the solar panel, battery and energiser. The two tables overleaf describe the size of solar panel and battery which best match the size of energiser which is recommended for the number of Electranets Masterfence you are intending to use.
Which type of battery is best and what are "useful daily sunlight hours"?
Will any 12 volt battery do ? Well yes and no. A 12 volt car or truck battery will deliver volts to the energiser but is not designed for continuous draw down (when a vehicle is running the battery is being charged all the time). What is needed is a deepdischarge battery, that is one which can be flattened without damaging itself and then be fully recharged. Experience has shown that the best type of batteries for powering energisers are what are usually called gel cells. These are not cheap batteries, being at the forefront of technology, but they are certainly worth the cost in the long run. If you are at all confused about batteries or can't find a supplier who has what you want, talk to us and we can make some recommendations. Please note well that the only battery chargers which are suitable for deep discharge batteries are those that have a fully automatic mode of operation. ALWAYS recharge your deep discharge battery with the battery charger set on FULLY AUTOMATIC mode (NEVER on boost).
Useful daily sunlight hours are the hours of sunlight which are useful for activating solar cells. Obviously this will vary from place to place. Alice Springs having far more useful hours than say Melbourne. The Bureau of Meteorology has kept records of daily sunlight for locations all over Australia for many years and have published maps giving the average daily bright sunshine hours for January, April, July, October. and average annual. They are in the Climatic Atlas of Australia a copy of which should be in most public libraries but if you have difficulties getting the information for your location give us a call and we should be able to look up the data for you.
Decide if you are going to use mains or battery power
Try to decide the maximum number of nets that you are going to use.
If you are going to use mains look for the appropriate sized energiser which will be adequate for the maximum number of nets you are likely to require.
If you are going to use battery or battery plus solar consult the tables overleaf and decide which battery, solar cell and energiser are going to meet your needs.
If anything is not clear we will be pleased to help.