Fire ants nested in my charger.

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Fire ants nested in my charger.

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    05-23-2012, 09:50 AM
Fire ants nested in my charger.

Has anyone ever had ants short out their electric fence charger? I tested it yesterday and it was getting zero juice. I took it down and ants went everywhere. I finally got them cleaned out and still nothing.

I have walked the fence, checked insulators, posts, I can't find anything wrong. My charger says it is putting out the juice but the fence tester says otherwise. This is getting frustrating. It seems like I am fooling with this darn thing all the time anymore.

I have three ground rods sunk 6' and spaced 12' apart. I took the wire brush and cleaned the clamps. I'm baffled.
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    05-23-2012, 10:17 AM
Did you try disconnecting any fence wire and checking the charge from the charger by itself?
    05-23-2012, 11:01 AM
Originally Posted by iridehorses    
Did you try disconnecting any fence wire and checking the charge from the charger by itself?
Yep that was what I was doing when I saw the ants to start with.

It's a Zareba 5 mile charger, fencing a little less than 2 acres. Model # 115V04J-4
This is the second one to do the same thing. We've checked the ground, checked as well as we can for any old piping systems, the house is grounded over 200 feet (at least) away. Ground rods are steel, so is the wire.

Rascal is having a field day over top of the woven fence and has already run a considerable portion down from last night to this morning. It's why we put the hot wire up to start with, he's such a pest LOL
    05-23-2012, 11:14 AM
Could the fact that it is spliced wire be causing this? Rascal will break it if it isn't on 24/7 and I have had to splice a couple places. I am replacing the 14 gauge with 12.5 soon (possibly now if I can't fix this)
    05-23-2012, 11:43 AM
The splice should have nothing to do with it especially if the charger isn't working without anything attached. Sounds more like the ants have caused a short. Is there a fuse on the unit? Maybe inside?

I had a problem with a mig welder that stopped working because spiders got inside the switches and caused a short.
    05-23-2012, 01:12 PM
No fuse that I can find. I have it torn apart right now. It's really simple inside, ants are cleaned out totally now. I can't see a burnt place or anything on the board. No visible signs of anything. I am waiting on DH to get home, I left the tester in his truck earlier (no fun sitting on the probe OUCH) ...DUHHHHH Me.
Thanks for the ideas though. This is making me bonkers. It's our second charger in less than a year. I called Zareba and they sent the replacement, but this one isn't under warranty as it is a replacement of the first. They keep telling me it is my ground. I honestly don't think so...but I could be wrong.

I have the hose on low to soak the ground rods and will try it again to make sure it isn't that, but I've never had this much problem with a charger before. Usually it's set up the ground, mount the charger under cover, run the wire, hook it up, turn it on, test it, double check it, and done with it. I miss my old ones. 2 ground rods, one wire, a light that came on if it was working, and not if it wasn't. Simple and easy to replace the parts if they went bad.
    05-23-2012, 02:51 PM
Green Broke
Turn on the charger, connect it to the ground ONLY, stick your fence tester into the ground touch it to the "fence" stud, see if it is working and if you have full voltage. If it isnt, you have a bad charger, if it is your fence is grounded somewhere.
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    05-23-2012, 03:32 PM
Originally Posted by Joe4d    
turn on the charger, connect it to the ground ONLY, stick your fence tester into the ground touch it to the "fence" stud, see if it is working and if you have full voltage. If it isnt, you have a bad charger, if it is your fence is grounded somewhere.
Did that with my arm earlier . I hooked the charger back up, Rascal came to investigate, petted him for a minute, shooed a yellow jacket away, and hit both bolts. IT has power for sure.

Now I just have to figure out wth is going on with the fence. I can't find where it is grounding out. Testing by section is out for a few more hours til DH is home. I am not checking it by hand LOL.
    05-23-2012, 04:48 PM
If you have porcelain conductors on your fence corners, check those. The last crew we had work fence here used those on every corner. We had a lightening strike somewhere close and lost conductivity over 3 of them. Not a mark on them but they weren't working. Fencing isn't my first love and it took me all day to figure it out.
    05-23-2012, 05:29 PM
Wait a moment ... the charger is putting out voltage? That isn't what I was getting from your description.

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