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Glossary of Terms 

Alternating Current (AC)
Current that flows back and forth, changing directions rapidly. AC current is typically used in households in the United States and Canada. It reverses directions 120 times per second or 60 full cycles. 

A measurement of electrical current; what you feel when you receive a shock. The higher the amperage, the more intense shock the animal will feel. (Amps = Volts / Ohms) 


Capacitive Discharge 
A term used to describe electric fence energizers that pulse electricity at regular intervals through a fence, typically at one-second intervals. 


An output capacitor is used to store direct current (DC) electricity between pulses through a fence. Alternating current (AC) can't be stored using a capacitor. 

Corner Posts
Sturdy wooden posts driven deep into the ground to provide extra support for the tension put on a fence line as it changes direction. Corner posts are not only used at corners, but also for gates and end posts.


Direct Current (DC)
Current that flows steadily in one direction, typically produced by batteries through a chemical reaction. 


Distance Ratings
A way of comparing the relative power of fence energizers. Ratings are based on a single strand of 17-gauge steel wire strung 36 inches above the ground under ideal, weed-free laboratory conditions. 


Fence Load
Any number of conditions that cause current to be drawn from a fence wire. Weeds touching the fence, broken insulators, rusty fence wire, and even wire splices all increase fence load and reduce the fence's voltage and amperage. Fence load is measured in ohms. 

Ground Wire Return System
Used where dry or sandy soil conditions do not allow a traditional ground system to work. Consists of running a ground wire parallel to a hot fence wire, delivering at the point where the animal touches the two lines. 


Ground System
Necessary to create a complete electrical circuit: when the animal touches the electrified wire, the electricity travels through the animal, into the soil, back to the ground rods that are connected to the fence energizer, resulting in the animal receiving a brief shock. A ground system consists of ground rods (3), hookup wire, ground rod clamps and line clamps. 


High Tensile
An affordable, long lasting electrified fence system that is an excellent choice for perimeter fences, providing a barrier to contain or exclude animals. These sturdy, permanent fences require braced corner and end posts in wood along with special insulators, hardware, and tools that maintain constant high tension on metal wire. 


A nonconductive material (plastic or ceramic), typically used to offset fence wire from a fence post. Insulators prevent the current from traveling through the post and into the ground, short-circuiting the system. 


A measurement of electrical energy used to rate low impedance fence energizer. The effective power the energizer delivers to the fence, independent of other factors that can drain voltage. The higher the joules, the more intense shock the animal will feel. (Joules = Watts X Seconds) 

When considering an energizer, there are two categories of Joules: 

Stored Joules 
The energy stored internally. When this energy is released to the fence terminal it decreases by about 33% on well designed and constructed fences. 

Output Joules
This is the energy available at the fence terminal to power the fence line. This is the more reliable measurement that should be considered when selecting an energizer. 


Small energy losses from the fence line to the ground. This can be cause by seasonal foliage growing up and over the fence line, defective insulators, etc. 


Line Posts 
A post used to support electric or non-electric fence wire. Line posts support the fence line, and have far less tension put on it than corner posts. As a result, they can be made from a variety of materials, including metal, wood, plastic and fiberglass. 


Load (Loss of Voltage) 
Anything that draws power from the energizer puts a load on the fence line. This can be in the form of leakage or shorts and is measured in ohms. The lower the resistance of the load, the greater it’s effect on the voltage. 


Low Impedance Energizer 
Low impedance fence energizers increase the joules (energy or shock) on the fence line if weeds or other vegetation touch the line.


Ohms are used to measure resistance to the flow of an electric current. A low ohms reading represents a heavy fence load, and a high ohms reading represents a light fence load. (Ohms = Volts / Amps) 


Pulse Shape 
Pulse shape refers to the duration of the electrical pulse produced by a capacitive discharge energizer. The shape of the electrical pulse produced by the energizer also influences its performance on the fence line. Generally speaking:

  • High voltage, narrow pulses (steep spikes) will more easily overcome the high initial contact resistance of and animal, but are not suitable for long distance fence lines.
  • Lower voltage, long pulses (rounded arcs) will maintain a higher voltage under load is much longer in duration and is best suited for longer fence distances.


Resistance is any force that resists the flow of electricity, consuming power from a circuit by changing electric energy into heat. Electricians measure resistance in ohms. 


Rotational Grazing 
A system for livestock grazing, using internal temporary enclosures (within a boundary fence) to control the specific areas where the animals graze. This allows the vegetation in the previous enclosures to grow back.


Large energy losses from the fence line to the ground. Examples include: such as a ground wire touching a live wire, long lengths of electrified wire touching the grounds, etc. 


Splicer (Nicopress Sleeve) 
A component that joins together separate strands of fence wire, tape or rope without breaking the fence's electrical circuit. 


A devise placed within a fence line that is used to apply pressure and increase the tension on a line. There are two types of strainers. 


Temporary Fencing
A one to three-strand electric fence system that is used for rotational grazing or other short-term uses. It typically uses step-in poly posts, rod posts or step-in pigtail posts, and a DC or solar operated fence energizer for portability and flexibility. 

A component used to tighten fence wires, typically polytape, to increase tension on a section of the fence line. 


A device that increases or decreases the voltage of alternating current. 


A measurement of electrical pressure. It functions similarly to water pressure in that it "pushes" amperage down the fence wire. (Volts = Ohms X Amps)