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Improving the Power and Reliability of the Charge for Your Solar Powered Fencer

By   /  October 29, 2018  /  2 Comments

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Dean Schneider of Bell Rule Genetics wasn’t satisfied with the typical all-in-one solar charged fencers he’d used. He’d tried a variety of brands and found they weren’t as reliable as he liked, he couldn’t get as much power out of them as he needed, and the batteries kept going bad. Since there was no electrical power on this place, solar was his only option. So he decided to figure out a solar powered set up that would let him power 3 miles of single, hi-tensile, wire with paddock subdivisions.

Here is a photo of the pastures served by the new solar fencer set up. The light yellow lines are hi-tensile electric and the darker gold lines are barbed wire. Blue is a water line.

 

In this video Brandon describes what he came up with – a set up that allows him to use a better fencer, and provide it with more, and more reliable power. It includes a 100 watt solar panel, a controller box and extra cables ($177), a 12 volt deep cycle battery, and a Stafix X6i charger. He chose the version with a remote control for $575 for the convenience of being able to turn it off and on from the paddocks. The same version without the remote is $385. He also chose use a fencer that operates off 12 volt, saving the cost of the inverter and using slightly less power.

When Brandon steps outdoors, the wind overpowers his voice temporarily. What he’s showing you is his 100 watt solar panel mounted on a DirectTV Satellite dish mount he had. He also points out the output box that comes with the panel. These boxes generally come with solar panels these days, (they didn’t back when I first started using them). The box comes with two wires, a positive and a negative with MC4 connectors on the ends. These are solar specific connectors and are weatherproof so that they can be mounted outdoors. He purchased extension cables for these wires to connect to the charge controller.

Dean and Brandon put this set up together with the help of Jim Gerrish and family, the folks at Powerflex fence and Missouri Wind and Solar. Both Gerrish and Powerflex Fence have put these kinds of set ups together before and helped Dean determine the size of the fencer and panel he needed.

Though this particular set up isn’t portable, it is possible to make one that is portable. Here’s a picture of one I built back in the ’90s for the research project I was working on using goats to build firebreaks. This was before there was any other option but a do-it-yourself set up. (Thanks to my Dad, a mechanical engineer, for helping me figure out how to hook everything up!)

Meet Dean and learn more at the Field day and Private Treaty Sale at the Adair Ranch on November 3, 2018 (436355 E 360 Rd, Adair, OK 74330).

Dean and Brandon are working on a portable version out of a wooden box. Dean says, “if you wanted to get even a little fancier, it would be pretty easy to mount the setup on a small trailer to just pull around. We were lucky and had a good mounting spot on a shed.”

You can share your examples of good fencing alternatives with the On Pasture community in the comments section, or contact me with details and we can put an article together.

It’s November and we have only 2 months left to raise $7,000 to make the match for the grant that helps keep On Pasture online.

Can you chip in? To be sustainable, we need a community-wide effort. Any amount helps! If it’s an option for you, consider becoming an “Ongoing Supporter” at just $5/month. The support you give is especially helpful to help show outside funders that On Pasture is a great investment for them.

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About the author

Publisher, Editor and Author

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.

2 Comments

  1. Karen says:

    We have been setting up systems like this for many years. Most of the large ranchers use an x3or x6 with a 30 watt or 80 watt regulated solar panel. Very reliable and trust worthy systems.

  2. Jim Gerrish says:

    I just want to point out that it is the ‘and family’ who deal with our product planning and sales, not Jim Gerrish.

    If you want to know how to put a solar fence charger system together for specific application, you want to talk to Galen Gerrish, not Jim. If you call me, I will tell you to ‘talk to Galen’.
    He is the one who knows the products best.

    If you want to know how to best build a fence, talk to Ian Gerrish, not Jim. Ian is the one who has taken fence construction technique far beyond what I taught him as a boy.

    If you want to seed a pasture or a cover crop, talk to Dawn Gerrish. She is the one who knows the current best varieties and routinely plans mixes for all corners of the country with specificity that Jim overlooks.

    I appreciate the reference to ‘Jim Gerrish and family’ in the article, but it is the ‘and family’ who makes the details of our business work.

    Jim Gerrish

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