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.
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!)
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.