Installing a gate in an electric fence allows you to enter and exit the fenced enclosure without having to risk getting shocked. The gate must connect directly to the charged wires in your electric fence so it is capable of delivering a shock if animals come in contact with it. Use electric fence gate handles, which consist of electricity-conducting metal bars protruding from both ends of insulated plastic handles. Always attach the hinge portion of your electric fence gate to the gate post that's farther away from the energizer; when you open the gate, the gate wire disconnects from the charger and loses its electrical charge, which keeps it from shocking you or starting a fire if you place the handle on the ground, says Heather Smith Thomas, author of "Care and Management of Horses."
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Things you need
- Electric fence post activators
- Insulated cable
- Wire cutters
- Insulated electric fence gate handles
- Electric fence wire
Install your entire electric fence, terminating the strands of electric wire at each of the two gate posts to leave the gate opening completely empty. This should leave you with a gate opening bordered on both sides by a gate post. Check to make sure that your fence energizer is turned off.
Mount one post activator on each gate post for each strand of electric wire you want your fence gate to include; most electric fence gates include one electrified wire for each electrified wire in the fence. For example, if you have a three-wire electric fence with the wires mounted 12, 18 and 30 inches from the ground, you can install on each gate post activators that are 12, 18 and 30 inches from the ground. Use screw-in post activators for wooden gate posts; use clip-on post activators for steel gate posts.
Measure out a stretch of insulated cable long enough to reach from the bottom strand of charged fence wire to the bottom post activator mounted on the first gate post. Peel back the last 1 to 2 inches of insulation from both ends of the cable. Wrap one end of the bare cable around the bottom strand of fence wire; wrap the second end of the exposed cable around the metal clamp protruding from the post activator. Repeat this process with additional strips of insulated cable to connect each post activator to the post activator mounted directly above it on the gate post. Repeat the entire connection process on the second gate post as well.
Cut a length of electric fencing wire long enough to reach between the two gate posts. Wrap one end of the fencing wire around the metal loop on the bottom post activator mounted on the gate post farther away from the energizer; this gate post will serve as the hinge post. Wrap the other end of the fencing wire around the metal hook protruding from the back of the plastic gate handle. Pull the wire taut and hook the front clasp on the insulated gate handle to the metal loop on the bottom post activator mounted on the second gate post; this creates the bottom wire in your electric fence gate. Repeat this entire installation process to install the remaining wires in your electric fence gate.
Check the connections between the post activators and the insulated cable to be sure that they're all making solid metal contact before you turn on the fence energizer. Simply detach the insulated gate handles whenever you want to open the gate.
Tips and warnings
- Post activators typically consist of a plastic insulator attached to a metal clamp or bolt. The insulator portion mounts to a fence post, allowing the metal clamp portion to conduct electricity from one part of your fence to another.
- Always used cable insulated to withstand 20,000 volts when working on electric fences.
- Accidental electrical shock could occur. Always keep your fence energizer turned off and unplugged to minimise potential accidents when working on or near the fence.
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