18 May 2007

Fitting a solar panel to a shed roof for an electric fence unit.

Yesterday evening after dark, we watched in disbelief as Peggy, our 250 kilo sow wandered along the back terrace, grunting and snuffling around the edges of the walls - right next to all my seedlings and plants!

She was looking for snails, her favourite delicacy. So we picked up a dozen or so really juicy ones, and with them and a few cobs of corn, tempted her to return to her quarters. We then had a look around her park to see how she got out. It seems that the battery for the electric fence has been working overtime and had become discharged because there's lots of grass and weeds touching the wire. She'd simply pushed the wire up, dug under and lifted the fence - complete with fenceposts - an easy job for a huge sow in this very wet weather.

We normally charge the battery regularly with the house solar panels, but we've been busy and I've been lazy about making sure the battery is charged. So, we decided to fit a solar panel to charge the battery in situ. You can buy complete electric fencing units complete with a solar panel, but they're expensive and this was urgent, so we used a panel which we use for demonstrating them to visitors. It's 40watts, and a bit too powerful for charging a 45ah battery but it will save me humphing batteries and later, I can either buy a smaller panel and re-connect that, or use the excess power to charge another battery for lights and music in our little caravan.
Equipment for fitting a solar panel
We strimmed under the wire in the three parks and I started preparing the equipment for putting a solar panel on the roof of the chicken shed to charge the electric fence battery.

Fabrice did the fitting on the roof, screwing in the bolts with me holding the nuts in place below, then he left me to get on with the wiring. Fabrice drilling holes for the solar panels

Wiring up the solar controllerFortunately, we had a small controller which we used for our first windgenerator which limits the charge to the battery and stops it being completely discharged so that it lasts much longer.

Wiring the controller up is a simple job as long as all the terminals are marked, and as the one I used has been lying in a box for about 12 years, all I can say is that I'm very pleased I tabbed and marked all the wires because the wiring system is a bit like a car radio and the black, orange, blue and red wires can all become very confusing !
Connecting the solar controller to the battery I then connected the controller to the battery (which was reading 9.5 volts before and 12.8 with help from the panel) then connected the energiser from the fence unit to the battery, then the earth from the energiser to a metal pole stuck deeply into the ground in a handy damp spot under the roof where the rain falls (To ensure a good earth for the pole), then connected the positive wire to the existing fence wires. Everything done, I tested the fencing and it's working.

So despite the overcast sky, the solar panel is powering the electric fencing and charging the battery, and Miss Peggy is contained and can't go off wandering into the night.

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4 comments:

info said...

I'm glad we are not the only ones with wandering pigs!I have mains on mine at the moment and they still rush through with a shriek!

I have been looking at all your house building archive and the extension and I really think you are both amazing...........and I know how hard you must work because we are at it non stop too!If you ever want to take a break in Brittany to put your feet up for a weekend let me know and you can borrow my house there 'gratuit'

Val Grainger said...

This got posted from wrong computer so I'm posting it again!!!

I'm glad we are not the only ones with wandering pigs!I have mains on mine at the moment and they still rush through with a shriek!

I have been looking at all your house building archive and the extension and I really think you are both amazing...........and I know how hard you must work because we are at it non stop too!If you ever want to take a break in Brittany to put your feet up for a weekend let me know and you can borrow my house there 'gratuit'

Irene said...

I'm listening Val, but I just can't envisage ever getting away - or even wanting to !!

Irene xxx

solar teju said...
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