How wire cuts, nicks and bad splicing affect a hidden dog fence wire.

Nobody has been working in my yard. How is it that my wire is cut?

A wire can be nicked or cut with garden and hand tools. Rodents can chew into a plastic casing and sometimes bite through it. Environmental forces can damage a wire in unexpected ways. One of these forces is expansion or contraction of the ground, forcing concrete slabs in driveways, sidewalks and stairs to squash the wire so hard that it pinches it in half.  Sun can also damage and crack the plastic casing so that moisture can infiltrate and corrode the wire.

About Wire

Wire is a metal conductor – Usually it is between 14 to 18 AWG Copper or Copper Clad Steel (either is typically used in the dog fence industry). The wire is highly conductive and subject to rapid corrosion when open to a wet or corrosive environment. Buried and submerged wire are always exposed to moisture that makes ground contact. This makes them more susceptible to corrosion than wire that is attached to above ground fences or laid on the surface in consistently dry conditions.

Tensile strength: Wire can be stretched some before it breaks.  A wire’s tensile strength when it is new and in perfect condition is different from when it is older and subjected to conditions which cause deterioration on the metal conductor. If too much metal corrodes away, the line may break under much less stretching force than it might have otherwise at the same temperature and pressures.

Sun exposure to the wire casing can damage non-UV protected wire casing. This damage allows water to penetrate and react with the metal. However, if sun deterioration is occurring, then the wire is probably not in a wet environment, as it is not buried.

Moisture absorbent wire casing – PVC wire casing is not my favorite, for I believe it absorbs and then holds moisture against the wire. This is why we do not use PVC cased wire. We only use HDPE or HMW wire casings.

What happens to a wire over time?

Time – Conditions constantly change over time. Heat, cold, wet, dry, digging, shaking, movement, shovels, rodents chewing, splices, nicks, more dry, more wet. All things are possible given enough time.

An intrusive yard job (Aeration, verticut, sprinkler system installation, outdoor lighting, cable TV lines, etc.) can cut cleanly through a wire, and other times nick or skin a wire. A wire does not heal itself like you or I if we cut our finger or skin our knee. A single nick in a line is bad, as it eventually corrodes given enough time and exposure to moisture in the soil. The oxygen of water binds to the copper and corrosion begins immediately.  Eventual corrosion creates a weakness in the wire in that spot. Over time, ground settles then swells again like a big sponge. Expansion puts pressure on a wire, and stretches it. Eventually the stretching wire breaks due to pressures exerted by the pulling forces of the swelling ground around it.

Clean Cuts and Nicks

Multiple nicks in a wire sometimes happen with a single yard aeration or verticut. Sometimes only one nick happens. But, multiple nicks over several years in the same wire are also a distinct possibility. For instance lawn aeration, or burying a CATV or fiber optic line can nick the line multiple times, and maybe even cut it clean thru a time or two.

Clean cuts in yards with just the right amount of moisture in the ground are relatively easy to find for us.  But dry the ground out too much, or put too much moisture in the ground and it gets tricky and takes more time.

Clay soils hold moisture longer. Well-drained sandy soils corrode slower than clay soils.

Nicks in the line do not present an immediate problem to the system until the nicks begin to fail in a cascading manner over time. This means that you unplug the fence when the first one fails, then the others may soon fail shortly thereafter.  We do not know if the one break is the first of many more to come, or the one and only. Though, with a Volt/Ohm meter, we can generally tell if there are other problems in the yard, such as bad splices.  That doesn’t mean we can find the bad splice, only tell that it/they exist.


Wind?   Yes, even wind. Wind will dry out a yard when the yard dries out, big cracks can open in the ground. That causes pressure or pulling forces on a line.  As moisture content is lowered, then a yard’s soil is less conductive and a bad splice may cease to carry enough current and a wire break alert can sound.

Wind also exacerbates a bad splice situation when the bad splice is near a tree that can move as the tree sways a little. Gentle swaying rocks the ground in the vicinity of the tree. This slight movement shifts the ground around a tiny break, or bad splice. Continuous pulling of the wire just a tiny bit, over and over again can cause a splice to separate, or a nick to break or pull and relax, pull and relax. Connect, disconnect, connect, disconnect.

Lightning Strikes

Lightning strikes near enough to the line are a problem as the high voltage and amperage of lightning can blow bad spots out like a fuse gets blown in your car or home.

Another way a nicked line can affect us is that sometimes after a wire pulls apart and breaks, it can also move back together as the ground shrinks and expands, over and over.  The close proximity of the two wire ends and the electrical current in the line carried across a short distance (thanks to moisture and sometimes even high conductivity levels of some soils is sufficient to allow the fence to operate again.

Some waterproof and direct burial wire connectors fail over time due to lightning strikes or the waterproof materials drying out or incomplete submersion of the copper wires into the waterproofing connector gel.


Water – H2O Content of soil aids in the conditions required to cause wire corrosion. Water can also help delay some wire break alerts by conducting electricity thru the moist soils.

Moisture causes expansion and contraction of the soil – Think of a sponge on the counter behind your sink that is sometimes dry and shrunken while other times it is wet and full. Imagine a wire in that sponge that under proper conditions will expand to the size of the sponge. However, damage the wire, and it is subject to breaking under the pressure of expansion.

On the other hand, damage on a wire in a dry area may never become an issue.  This may happen if a wire is buried in dry sandy or rocky soil.  Well-drained soil allows the moisture to drain away so the wire remains relatively drier, slowing corrosion.  A wire stapled to a fence post, chewed on by a rodent may also never fail from corrosion.  Also, a damaged wire laid on top of a garden may also not corrode as quickly as one under the mulch or in the dirt.

Acidity Levels and Conductivity

Some soils are more acidic than others, hurrying the corrosion process.

Another factor to consider is the effects of electrolysis. This is where electrons of dissimilar materials will migrate from an area of high concentration to a lower concentration. In the dog fence world, we recognize this effect and are aware that even a bad splice, or open nick or scrape on a wire will fail slowly as long as there is a steady low voltage energy supplied to the wire.  However, once that voltage is removed (ie. the wire is cut clean thru and separated, or the unit is unplugged from the power source) then a wire quickly fails, and not only in the spot where it was cut, but in all places with exposure to the environment. Some places will fail quicker than others, depending on the micro-environment of that troubled wire spot.  This is why when a wire gets cut we will often find multiple breaks and bad splices during a service call. While you waited three weeks to call because the dog wasn’t leaving the yard yet, or in the two hrs it took us to get there, electrolysis occured and your apparently good wire, suddenly blew up into two or three wire cuts and a few bad splices from the cable or phone company.

Conductivity of soils change as moisture is added. Some soils are more conductive than others. This happens from dissolved fertilizers containing salts. Any concentration of salt creates a corrosive environment. Aqueous saline solutions flowing by chance to, around and thru the vicinity of exposed conductors create potential for invasion of corrosive moisture and materials to the copper wire. A wire loses electrons to the environment. This causes a wire to thin and break or change to a less conductive state, creating a wire break or wire break alert.

Use of fertilizers  – Fertilizers increases conductivity of soil and aids in Electrolysis. Electrolysis occurs quicker with higher concentrations of electrolytes in the soil.

Soils that receive fertilizers have more metals and electrolytes in the soil. This allows corrosion to occur more quickly. Add moisture (irrigation systems) to the soil, dissolving the salts, and metals into liquid solutions that penetrate a wire nick or bad splice (wrapped in electrical tape), and the corrosion will occur more quickly.

My theory:

Acknowledging that a fence with a constant low voltage power supply with a wire/line resistance below the minimum threshold to trigger the wire break alarm corrodes slower than one with the power supply removed at a higher than optimal resistance. What do I mean by that? If you leave your fence plugged in, the bad splices and nicks corrode slowly. On the other hand, if you unplug an otherwise normally operating fence with nicks and bad splices, the lines is exposed to a lower naturally occurring nominal electrical background of the earth. Under this environment, a wire will often deteriorate quickly. Thus, a fence left energized, albeit in a state of high resistance will generally not trigger a wire break alert for much longer than one left unplugged.

This theory is important because once a fence fails from one event, by the time we get it fixed, we often find many old damaged areas that have failed at nearly the same time, or shortly thereafter, and for weeks and months after the main disruption. We always hear the same thing from our customers… “You were just out here to fix our fence, and it is beeping again.” Now, re-read that statement this way: “you didn’t fix my fence”.

Bad Splices

Bad splices are the crux of many service calls. This creates an intermittent situation where the fence will work for a while, then stop, then start, then stop.  This happens when an improperly spliced line gets moisture into the splice causing corrosion between the two wires. Corrosion creates resistance and weakness in the line. High resistance causes a wire break alarm to trip, and the weakness of the splice can cause it to pull apart.

When we suspect that the line will fail again because of high Ohm readings, or fluctuating readings caused by bad splices or shifting ground around broken wires, we will inform the homeowner that they will be calling us again.  Sometimes that can happen before we can get out of the neighborhood. Other times it takes hours, or years.

A succession of breaks is very frustrating for a homeowner.  They always want to blame us for not fixing it right the first time. This is why we offer to go back for free to check our work. We expect with 99% certainty that we will find another break or another bad splice that someone else made before us.  When we find someone else’s bad splice or another break we charge again for our service.

When wires fail from nicks and bad splices in the wire, a customer can usually count on seeing us multiple times before we can work all of the bad spots out.  Each trip will cost the owner money again and again. Those multiple trips usually upset a customer and stress our relationship with them. But we cannot find things that are not CUT all the way thru. Consequently, all we can do is respond to your next requests for service. We ask that you remain patient with us as we gradually work our way thru each repair until it finally quits breaking again someday.


  • Lynette Rogers Posted 04/26/2018 8:31 PM

    Help! My fence says it is a continuous loop with a solid green light. But collars do not
    Receive a signal and when I cut the boundary wire the solid green light is on the
    Transmitter as though it is functioning. I’m thinking it is some sort of interference,
    But I never had a problem like this before. I borrowed my neighbors transmitter and
    Has the some result.
    Please help.
    Thank you

  • Roger McCoy Posted 05/23/2018 9:13 AM

    Hi Lynette.

    It Sounds like the green light is not for the fence. It might be for the Lightning surge protector. Send me a picture and I will give you my opinion.

    Maybe the wall mounted transmitter is not plugged in. I think you need to keep looking for a solution.

    If the wire is cut the fence is not working so keep a close watch on the dogs.

    From Lynette

    Thank you for the help. I think I have too many splices. I’m going to go back to work on my wire and go from there. The green light is definitely for the fence wire . For Some reason it still thinks it’s connected. It did start working properly intermittently.
    Thank you for the reply.

    From Pet DeFence: Please let me know what you found out. I feel like your problem is that transmitter. The lights are on but nobody is home. Replace your transmitter.

  • Ray Hiestand Posted 02/27/2019 9:09 AM

    I think I have the same problem as Lynette, Green light as normal, collars look good, but don’t respond to the wire in the yard. I tried a 10 foot piece of new wire and just ran it around the garage and the collar worked as expected. I have about 8-10 ohms across my loop and I have a number of splices. I’m thinking the signal is getting grounded (?) but the wire isn’t open. Since the wire is about 10 years old and runs 1000 feet through woods and yard. I’m thinking I may need to replace the wire.

  • Roger McCoy Posted 02/27/2019 3:10 PM

    Ray, just for clarification to the rest of the readers, the wall-mounted transmitter you are using is not one that we sold you. Is it a professional brand or is it a retail brand? Which brand?

    8-10 ohms is an excellent reading for a wire of up to around 500 ft. So that low on 1000 is over the top good. Makes me wonder why it is so good with splices in it. Maybe exposed copper to earth somewhere could cause the signal to drop while maintaining such a good ohm reading.

    I find retail units fail in the manner you described. I call it “Lights on, but nobody’s home” syndrome. It works on a short loop, but not on the real loop. The first thing I would check is what happens when you put a different known good transmitter on the loop? It’s easier and cheaper than replacing the whole 500 or 1000 ft of wire. Try that first since your ohms are low. Move past the fact that it works on 10 ft.

  • Thys Smith Posted 04/08/2019 8:04 AM

    Good day,

    Our pet invinsible wire system’s wire is too long for the area that we want to use it for, which means that there is still a lot of wire left on the role.

    Can we cut the wire so that the wire is shorter and fits perfectly into the reciever without excess wire?

    System: PET803-1×2

    Kind Regards,
    Thys Smith

  • Roger McCoy Posted 04/08/2019 9:01 AM


  • DENNIS PARADIS Posted 07/26/2019 10:22 PM

    Our underground dog fence hasnt been used for about 18 months due to the death of our dog. We have a new dog and have replaced all of the 14 guage wire with 10 guage wire-used but in good shape.The fence is about 1200 ft long and we had to do a few splices. The connectors were apparently aluminum or steel and we heat shrunk tubing over the splices and now we are not getting a radio signal even though the transmitter seems to be fine.The fence company says they recommend 14 or 18 gauge wire. We were told by electrical guys that the bigger gauge would be fine .We are wondering if the wire is too big or if we might redo the splices. Hate to waste the wire. Maybe the electrical guys were not thinking radio signals?

  • Roger McCoy Posted 07/30/2019 11:07 AM

    Hi Dennis –

    Well, Your electricians were heading down the right path, but… Smaller gauge wire is preferred for longer runs. So 14, 16 or 18 is actually a better thing in the dog fence business. The reason has something to do with impedance, not resistance. I learned this after installing enough wire for an 80 acre farm. That amounted to a huge waste of wire, time and money. The next day I went back and installed it all over again using 16 AWG.

    But, before you do that, try putting a resistor on the line. I suggest something around 86 Ohms of resistance. A bit less is OK too. You might also tests the fence to see if it is activating the collars even thought the wire break indicator is sounding. If it works but the wire break alert is still going off, then find a way to muffle the wire break alert and keep an eye on the LOOP indicator to know if the wire is intact in the future.

  • Shawn Vinroe Posted 09/02/2019 9:12 AM

    Will an old underground fence wire cancel out the new wire? My box and collar work in short loop test never buried new line until I knew it worked.

  • Roger McCoy Posted 09/04/2019 9:09 PM

    Hi Shawn, Your old wire that is not energized will not cancel out your signal.

    However, sometimes an old wire will pick up and carry a signal in two places you’re not expecting it. This is called a piggyback signal.

    Therefore, before I install a new wire I usually go around the yard and cut the old wire in a few places just to make sure there’s no continuity in the old wire any longer. This is not necessary in most instances. However an ounce of prevention can save a lot of frustration in the future.

    Thank you for leaving your question.

  • Tia Sumption Posted 10/29/2019 2:18 PM

    Hi. I have a loop indicator alarm going off. Can’t find the break, and the collars are actually alarming when they are touching the wire. What might be causing the weak signal??

  • Roger McCoy Posted 10/30/2019 12:35 PM

    Hola Tia! –

    Facts to know:
    1) Just because the wire-break alarm is going off, it does not mean that the signal is not being sent down the line. (Probably the case in all systems, but there could in theory be a signal “shut off” algorithm in some products)
    2) Sometimes a fence is installed using two ground rods. The signal then travels thru the ground from Rod 1 to Rod 2. I do not like this method as they are quite troublesome whenever the ground dries out.

    I conclude that you are correct about having a cut line. The signal still travels down the line and travels thru the moisture in the ground across the break in the line, like the ground rod example above, but there is only enough signal to barely trigger your receiver. You might get more signal (inches, not feet) if you turn the signal up on your wall-mounted transmitter, but that will not be enough to deactivate your wire-break alarm. Trace your line, find the break and fix it properly. Good Luck!

  • Darryl Thompson Posted 02/10/2020 12:40 AM

    Hi Roger,

    I have purchased a Petainer PET803-1. Initial testing with around 20-25 meters of signal wire (70-80ft) has been unsuccessful. With the signal strength set to 0, line is good, collar doesn’t trigger. If I up it to 1 or above, the line break alarm triggers constantly. Using a short test wire obviously doesn’t work either, probably too low a resistance, the units lights just go on an off. My initial suspicions are that the transmitter is faulty, Is there any further testing you would suggest?


  • Roger McCoy Posted 02/10/2020 7:11 AM

    Hi Darryl,
    It sounds like the wall mounted transmitter is the problem. However please verify it with an even tinier piece of wire. Use a metal paperclip or a bread bag twist tie. If it still continues to beep above a setting of one then you definitely have a problem with the transmitter. Otherwise, I hate to ask, but are you certain that you stripped the ends of the copper wire so that metal is exposed? I’ve seen it happen before. I hope you saved the packaging and your receipt. Good luck.

  • ccutrer Posted 02/27/2020 3:31 PM

    I have a PetSafe Elite Little Dog system. I have ~25′ of pre-twisted 16 gauge wire that then splices to the main loop, which is ~1200′ of 14 gauge wire, with a single splice in it. When I first laid out the system last year, I had the transmitter set at about mid-range, and it gave me a protected zone several feet wide. But now I literally have to hold the collar over the line less than a foot, and it barely beeps at me even then, with the transmitter on its highest setting. Since the fence was first installed, landscaping has been completed and the line has been run over many times with heavy equipment in a few areas. There were no noticeable breaks or nicks before final burial after landscaping. The twisted wire also runs concurrently with ~20 control wires for the sprinkler system now, in a _very_ tight conduit. I’ve replaced the battery in the collar to rule that out. What would your recommendation be? My thoughts are:
    * blindly splice in and replace the sections that I know would have had the most trauma, and hope that helps
    * replace the 14 gauge loop completely (with 16?) This wouldn’t be tooo bad, as the vast majority is just along a fence line under a small amount of gravel. Only a few feet cross under grass, that it would be easiest to replace now while it hasn’t grown roots and I can simply lift it up.
    * re-run the twisted lead wire in a different way so that it’s not so close to all those other wires (could they be causing some sort of inductance problem?)

  • Roger McCoy Posted 02/27/2020 7:09 PM

    I would call the PetSafe customer service number. I think they will take a credit card hold and send you a new transmitter. If the new transmitter doesn’t fix the problem then return the new transmitter for a full refund. However, first I would look to see if the wires are shorting each other out somewhere in the twisted line starting at the transmitter until it goes into the conduit. Usually the short occurs at a staple holding the twisted line after a lightning strike. It sounds to me like lightning caused a short in the twisted wire at a staple or damaged the transmitter. I wouldn’t replace any line until I’ve checked the twisted pair at every staple. Good luck

  • ccutrer Posted 02/28/2020 1:28 PM

    Hmm, nope the twisted wires are definitely not shorted. Infinite resistance between them when I disconnect them at both ends (from the transmitter, and from the loop). Lightning is very rare in my area, though there was a period of time that the transmitter wasn’t grounded yet. The transmitter does beep fairly often. I measured resistance of the loop (while I had it disconnected from the twisted wires) – it fluctuates anywhere from 0.0 ohms to 4.0ohms, but usually 1-3ohms. I’ll try a replacement transmitter next. It does beep intermittently quite a bit.

  • Roger McCoy Posted 02/29/2020 8:24 AM

    Your additional information indicates to me that you have a bad splice somewhere in the system. Or no splice at all and an intermittently open and shut cut. Your first solution of replacing segments May resolve the issue. But before you replace a section completely just try laying a new wire on the surface and connecting points around the yard to see how the resistance changes so you can divide and isolate where the problem lies.

  • Thomas C Johnson Posted 06/28/2020 1:43 PM

    I have two separate loops of 20 gage wire of about 500 feet. I twisted the wires along the back porch which is a concrete slab. At first I buried the twisted wire about 1 inch but the collar started beeping anytime I passed it over the twisted wire. My dogs are long haired Chihuahuas. I then tried buring the wire about 10 inches but it made it worse. Where the wires aren’t twisted I placed them about 5 feet apart. I am still working on the initial installation as I sending you this.

  • Jamie Trebing Posted 06/28/2020 2:22 PM

    Hi, so our family has been using the Petsafe Basic underground dog fence for almost 4 years! It’s been great and we’re quite pleased….however, starting in January, we had to unplug our system and not use it for about 5 months (due to construction being done on our property). We bought new collars, batteries, and new wire. We didn’t replace the transmitter. The new system will loop when it’s initially plugged in, but loses the loop thereafter. We unplug and replug, and it’s fixed…for a short amount of time. Just wondering if you have any ideas as to what the problem is? Thank you!

  • Roger McCoy Posted 06/30/2020 8:36 AM

    Jamie – You have a faulty splice OR you need to turn the range knob up a little higher.

  • Roger McCoy Posted 06/30/2020 8:52 AM

    Thomas –

    Fact: Twisting means almost nothing. The twist keeps them together so they do not separate and create signal. Take the twist out of your equation.

    We are trying to generate an ‘EQUAL BUT OPPOSITE” effect by canceling out the signal with the same amount of energy going “out” equalling the same amount of energy coming back (-). Thus, your equation becomes 1+(-1)=0 (2 Wires). As long as the answer in your equation is anything other than “0” you get signal.

    Think of the wire going out as a “+” or positive charge. The wire coming back is a “-” charge.

    In your example, (twisting a single wire does nothing) you still have a single wire because you have an odd number of wires. 1=1 = (1 Wire).

    Doubling a single wire out, then back, then out again does nothing because you still have an ODD number of wires 1-1+1=1.
    The number of wires don’t matter as long as it adds up to “1” (or -1 in theory) then you are going to get signal.

    You will have to find another solution. Sorry.

    Burying it to 10 ft might allow your dog to walk over it. Not practical.
    Lead pipe. Not practical
    Go around the house to close the loop or make a double loop in the back yard.
    Call a pro to have them install it for you.
    Good luck.

  • Carrie Austin Posted 04/30/2021 6:00 PM

    I have had a pet safe underground fence for years. While doing some yard construction I lost the “loop”. Used my wire break finder to find the break in the line and fixed it. Now the transmitter finds the loop, but does not give a signal to shock, unless I have the collar directly on the wire.

    I just purchased a new system and used the existing wiring. It’s not finding a loop now. I’m guessing I’m gonna have to desire the yard.

    This line has been cut and desired several times over the past 10+ years.

    My question is, does the wire lose power/signal strength with all of the breaks and requires?

    Also, I had the wire run underground under my concrete driveway years ago with my original system, that used the braided wire. Can I attach to that existing braided wire (don’t wanna have to rerun the wire under the concrete again).

    Thanks in advance!

  • Roger McCoy Posted 05/13/2021 11:40 AM

    Hi Carrie –

    Sorry for the delay. I just published my new website and was unaware that I had my notifications turned off for comments.

    Well, that’s a short question for a potentially very long answer. I think my ansers can be found in the article you found online. My answer: NO. The wire does not lose power/signal strength. But splices could act as a block or bottleneck if you will. Each splice can create a bit of a bottleneck and have a bit more, or a whole lot more resistance over time, causing you to have to increase the signal strength to maintain your signal field to the levels prior to the cut and splice. Eventually, poor/bad non-waterproof splices will go bad and corrode. Even a proper, good waterproof splice can go bad, especially after a lightning strike, increasing line resistance and decreasing the “flow” so to speak of the signal. Suggestion: if your PetSafe Transmitter has an A-B-C switch on the side, use B. I find the best signal strength on “B”. Solutions: 1) Don’t cut your wire, but if you do, make a perfect waterproof splice every time. 2) Turn it up 3) Replace your wire. Eventually, too many splices is a ticking time bomb 4) Replace the transmitter. They wear out eventually and lightning strikes 100’s of yards away affects a trransmitter just a little bit each time a surge occurs.

    YES. Use your old wire under the driveway. Braided or solid doesn’t matter. You can mix and match.

    If you liked my free article and my reply, and if you think I deserve it, please consider giving us a 5-star review on Google.
    Thanks – Roger @ Pet DeFence
    This link takes you to our review page.

  • Wendy L Posted 10/18/2021 9:08 PM

    Hi. My invisible fence system is beeping. I have replaced the entire line loop with 2500′ of continuous new line except the one joint where the line intersects the twisted line. The twisted line is new too. The new wire is currently laying on top of the ground so there is no chance it was damaged during burial. But still after the line replacement, it beeps as if there is a line break. The fence is working though. My receivers activate properly when they get near the line. What could be causing the beeping when there is definitely no line break?

  • Roger McCoy Posted 10/19/2021 10:49 AM

    Hi Wendy –
    What brand do you have? Is it PetSafe?
    Did it ever work before with this much wire? What gauge wire was on the fence the first time when it worked?
    What gauge wire did you use this time?

    I would try shorting the double line where it connects to the outer loop to see what happens. If it stops beeping, you know the double line is not damaged. If it beeps, then your problem could still be the double line or the transmitter.

    Try a short 10 ft loop at the transmitter to see if it stops beeping.

    I had the same experience once with a PetSafe Pro model with over 5000′ of wire. I found out the hard way that Petsafe systems are impedance based, where most other brands are resistance based. That meant I used too heavy of a line to create enough impedance to prevent the wire break alarm from triggering. I had to rerun the entire 5000′ the next day with a smaller guage wire. This did the trick.

    This is about all I can tell you here. It’s like giving a haircut over the phone. But we could talk on the phone and I can give you some more ideas. You will need to have a volt-ohm meter before you call. Check the resistance of the entire loop from the transmitter and report that back to me. That way we can be certain the wire is not cut.

    Since the fence works, you could always disable the buzzer with some silicone caulk in the buzzer hole. Just keep an eye on the “loop” light

    You should contact the manufacturer with your question. They won’t be able to help you either though I am afraid. If they do, let me know.

  • Roger McCoy Posted 10/22/2021 12:18 PM

    I think your wire is too big. If it is PetSafe then you probably also have a wire break alert going off. You need to use 14- 16 or maybe even 18 AWG on PetSafe. PetSafe is Impedance based, not Resistance based.
    Also, look for a short in the double line. That could explain.

  • Robert Posted 12/21/2021 3:33 PM

    Hello, found your site very helpful. I just ran a ~4500ft loop primarily above ground zip tied to a wire mesh (non powered) fence. I have tested with both an E-collar system and a Dogtra system and both have a reduced field width. The e-collar system only activates when the collar is ~12″ away and the Dogtra when the collar is ~36″ away vs a spec of 8ft and 15ft respectively.

    When I measure the resistance of my loop (20g wire) I get ~190 ohms. Is this too high/ the cause of a reduced field width? I’ve struggled to find a spec from either manufacturer on an acceptable resistance of the loop.

    Thanks for any suggestions

  • Roger McCoy Posted 12/22/2021 11:06 AM

    Hi Robert –
    Yes. 190 ohms is likely the cause of the problem. You would have less resistance with 18, 16, 14 AGW. PetSafe brand is probably ok with that reading since they’re impedance-based instead of resistance. You might try the SportDog made by (Radio Systems) transmitter with one of their collars. I am under the impression that all other brands are resistance-based.

    You could take the resistance reading on a 500 ft roll of 20 awg wire and multiply by 9. If you get about 190 ohms then you know that everything is normal. If it is not, then check your splices.

    Call e-collar in Garret, IN and ask this same question. Call Dogtra and ask too. Customer support people rarely have any field experience and the spec is not the call of the mfctr, it is the wire manufacturer’s deal. You can likely find some tables somewhere to find what is normal resistance, or the formula to calculate it.

    Warning: at 4500 ft of wire, the Sport Dog Transmitter may trigger the wire break alarm. If it works with this much wire and it is beeping, put some silicone caulk in the beeper hole and it will quiet it. Then you will have to keep an eye on the loop light to know that you do not have a wire break.

    Good Luck.

  • Roger McCoy Posted 12/22/2021 12:35 PM

    Additionally… “Attached to a wire mesh fence”… Is the signal the same at the fence as in the rest of the installation? I have never discovered the reasoning, but the mfctrs always say not to do that. I have done it for short runs without problem, but never have I done it on more than 50 ft or so.

    The signal will “Piggyback” onto metallic things, like CATV lines or trampolines, or metal door frames. When this happens, the piggybacked signal is much smaller than the signal at the line. However, I am not aware of the compound effect of a piggyback and primary on the same “platform”. The wire mesh fence may well be your problem if not a bad splice, or just so much wire on an underpowered transmitter.

    In the Pet Stop professional line we install, if we run into this kind of a problem, we will switch the power supply from 12 VAC to 18 or 24 VAC 1000 mA transformer. Rarely had to do it though, but would expect to on a 4500 ft perimeter. What kind of power supply are you using? I might be able to source you a proper transformer, but can’t speak to whether it will burn out your transmitter or if not, that it will solve your problem. It is worth trying though. If it smokes the transmitter, return it under warranty.

  • Robert Norton Posted 12/23/2021 1:19 PM

    Hey Roger, appreciate the feedback. I’ve reached out to both manufacturers. Neither know the spec off hand but have both promised a call back. We’ll see if that happens.

    I tested a 500 wire roll of stranded wire that came w/ the dogtra fence, 5 ohms. I used a solid wire for my run, I have some extra but its burried in snow. Good call to test that.

    They both run off a 24V 500ma transformer. I’ll give a larger a try if the wire testing doesn’t pan out.

    The signal is the same regardless of proximity to the fence. I have read that a solid metal fence will actually amplify the signal but not that a mesh will reduce it. Would the piggy backed signal be in the same frequency or possibility of it cancelling out?

    This is also the first i’ve heard of the petsafe product by finding your site so if this all fails i’ll be looking into that as a backup

  • Roger McCoy Posted 12/24/2021 1:33 PM

    The piggyback signal would be the same frequency. A neighbors fence on the same frequency by different modulation would/could cancel you out. Not just a little, but entirely. PetSafe/Sportsdog comes with baggage of its own, but will likey best fix this problem.

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