Grounding your energizer

Your ground system is the most important component of your electric fence system.  An effective ground system is necessary to achieve the maximum results of your energizer and your fence.

Understanding Grounding

What is a ground system?
The ground system consists of a number of ground rods that provide an effective (low resistance) path for the current to return to the energizer’s ground terminal. Larger energizers with large fence lines require more ground rods.

How does grounding work?
For an electric fence to give an electric shock the current produced by an energizer must complete a full circuit. The current leaves the energizer and moves along the fence wires through the animal, into the soil and back to the energizer via the ground system.

What factors affect your ground system?
Dry, sandy or non-conductive soil provides and ineffective grounding system.  If you have this type of soil, it's a good idea to 1) use additional ground rods or 2) choose a better location for the ground system (such as damp soil) or 3) consider an alternative method of groiunding such as the Hot  / Ground System.

Contact your local Tru-Test Group representative or Stafix dealer or distributor for advice.


Setting up your Ground System

Step 1. Choose the right system for you

Option 1 - All Live
Recommended where soil is conductive.  This system is suitable for most moist soils. Current flows through the animal and the ground back to the ground rods.

Option 2 - Hot / Ground
Recommended where soil is not conductive. If the soil is dry or sandy it is usually not very conductive. The fence is constructed using both live and ground wires. If the animal touches the live wire the current flows through the animal and the ground back to the ground rods. If the animal touches the live wire and the ground wire the current flows through the ground and fence ground wire to the ground rods


Option 3 - Betonite Salt Ground
Recommended for extremely dry soil conditions. A mixture of bentonite and salt surrounds each ground rod. The salt attracts moisture and acts as a conductor while the bentonite retains moisture over long periods of time. Stainless steel ground rods are required in order to prevent salt corrosion.

Option 3 - Bi Polar
Recommended where soil has little or no conductivity (sand, extremely dry conditions) and for fences that require all wires to be live. Enables you to set up an electrical system that performs exceptionally well in dry, low conductive soil.


Step 2: Select the site for your ground system

A suitable place for an ground system is:

At least 33’ (10 m) away from other ground systems, e.g. house electrical system, underground power or phone lines.
Away from animals or other traffic that could interfere with the installation.
Easily accessible for maintenance.
Where there is damp soil all year round, e.g. shaded or swampy areas.


Step 3: Insert the ground rods

The number of ground rods required depends on the type of energizer you're using to power the fence and the soil conductivity.  It is recommended that you consult your user manual or your local Stafix dealer for the correct number of ground rods to suit your specific location.
1. Space the required number of 6' (2 m) ground rods at least 10 ft (3 m) apart.  If using a betonite salt ground system, space the ground rods at least 33' (10 m) apart.
2. Ensure that the ground rods protrude out of the soil by 4" (10 cm) so they can be easily connected
3. Connect the ground rods in a series using joint clamps and insulated cable* in one continuous length without joins.

*Note you will need to strip small sections of the insulation away from the cable to connect the joint clamp/ground rod.


Step 4: Testing your ground system

Test your ground system to ensure it’s working properly. To do this:
  1. Turn off the energizer.
  2. Short circuit the fence to ground at least 330' (100 m) away from the energizer.  This can be done by laying steel rods or pipe against the fence. In dry or sandy soils, drive the rods into the soil up to 12" (30 cm).
  3. Turn on the energizer.
  4. Use a digital voltmeter to measure the fence voltage. It should read less than 2 kV. If not, repeat steps 1 - 3 using more steel rods or pipe.
  5. Attach the voltmeter clip to the last ground rod of the grounding system.
  6. Insert the voltmeter probe into the soil at the full length of the leads. 
  7. The voltmeter reading should be no more than 0.3 kV. If the reading is higher than this, the ground system is inadequate. Therefore you will need to add more ground rods or find a better location for your ground system. It is recommended you review the checklist below.


  • Connections to ground rods are secure
  • Ground rods are at least 10' (3 m) apart
  • Ground rods are at least 6' (2 m) long
  • There are a sufficient number of ground rods - refer to your user manual
  • All parts of the ground system are made of the same metal
  • The ground rods are driven deeply into the soil, leaving 4" (10 cm) exposed
  • Ground rods are a minimum of 33' (10 m) away from buildings or other electrified ground systems, e.g. house electric system, underground power or phone lines.