Using Conduit For an Installation

by Gajan Retnasaba on July 11, 2011

A reader asks about using conduit for an installation:

I recently purchased an Innotek SD-2000 with 2 collars to self-install. When I was getting ready to install it, I did some searching for answers to a few questions and came across your web site. Wish I had found it BEFORE I bought my unit. Some of this information spawned more questions. So, I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me?

My wife and I have three dogs (132 pound Rottweiler, a 67 pound lab mix, and a 19 pound Pomeranian/Yorkshire Terrier known as a Porky). After reading your site, it looks like the unit I purchased won’t work for us since the dogs are so far apart in weight. We have a chain link fence around the backyard, but the Rottweiler digs along the fence and then the Porky finishes it off and crawls under the fence. I was going to put the 2 collars on them and prevent the escapes and hopefully end the digging if they can’t get close to the fence. The lab mix recently found a section of the fence where she can push it out enough to crawl under. I believe the previous owner installed the fence and the fence posts are too far apart. The fence flexes out when the dogs push on the bottom of it. So I will need a system with 3 collars that can manage all 3 dogs. I figure we will just train all of them to stay back from the fence.

If you would, can you answer the following questions for me? I’ve attached a diagram file that shows a drawing of the backyard and buildings so you can see the lay out. Hopefully it will allow you to understand better what I am trying to accomplish. We want to be able to put the dogs on the porch when we are at work so they have access to the yard through the doggie door and have a place to stay out of the rain, cold, and direct sun. They have food, water, and dog beds on the porch, which worked pretty well until they get bored and start sneaking out.

System questions:

– What system would you recommend?

– If I’m going to spend the money, I want one that is dependable and good quality, so are some better than others? If I’m going to take the time and money to put a system in, I want it to work.

– I purchased an Innotek LP-4100 surge protector with the system I bought. Is this necessary? Will it work with the system you recommend? Should I keep it and use it? Looks like you plug it into the outlet and then plug your unit into this for power. It also has connectors for the underground wire to isolate/protect them from a surge.

Installation questions:
– I’ve read a lot of comments about wire breaks/continuity failures. Is this a frequent occurrence? Because of this, I was considering the following:

o I was planning on renting a trencher and putting the wire 2 – 3” underground. Does running the wire in a conduit prevent wiring breaks or other problems that it is worth the extra work/cost? I was going to install a pull string so if I had a failure, I could just pull a new piece of wire through the conduit to repair it.

o I was also thinking of putting in 4 junction boxes, spaced at intervals around the perimeter, for the underground wire. I thought of mounting a basic electrical box (designed for weather exposure) to the chain link fence, breaking the wire at the box, and connecting it with wire nuts at these junction points. I could use a continuity tester to determine if a section had a break and just replace a section if there is a problem. From what I read on your site, it sounds like it can be a tricky proposition to reliably find breaks in the wire if you have problems. Sounds like some users had hit or miss success with using the shunt and the AM radio to find breaks. It also sounds like not all units will work with that troubleshooting tool. Do you think this is worth doing or if I have a break I can’t find, is it just easier/faster to run new wire? Looking for how you would do it.

– Is running the wires along the eave of the house far enough above the dogs that they won’t get “zapped” when they go under it?

I originally planned on running the conduit, but I just don’t know if it is worth the effort. So, any help/insight that you can provide would be greatly appreciated. If you have any questions that I can answer about our dogs or the layout of our future invisible fence, let me know and I’ll try to get that answered.


Hi Pete,

System Answers
With that much variation in the size of the dogs, I would indeed look for something with variable correction levels. The PetSafe systems are well suited to heterogeneous dogs because you can mix and match collars. A PetSafe Stubborn system would be a good choice. Use PetSafe Stubborn collars for the Rottweiler and the Lab mix (warning they are strong collars – so start on lower levels) and then add a PetSafe Deluxe collar for the Porky.

The LP-4100 lightning protection is useful for large installation or where there are a lot of lightning strikes around your property. If lightning is not an issue where you live it is something you don’t need. You can use the lightning protection module with any brand of wired dog fence – it is not tied to any particular brand.

Installation Answers

The wire breaks are mostly caused by bad splices, lawn edgers, lawn mowers and lawn aerators. They should not happen more than once every couple of years. You can eliminate 80% of wire breaks by:

(1) Knotting the wire before splicing it (so that all the tension is on the knot not the splice if the wire gets pulled)
(2) Running the wire a few inches underground or running it along an existing fence a 1+ feet above the ground (to avoid weed whackers)
(3) Not aerating along the path of the dog fence wire.

Conduit definitely helps reduce the number of breaks to virtually zero – but it is also a lot more trouble for most people to put in. In my estimation, it would take more work to lay the conduit than hunt the occasional wire break. But, if you would prefer to put the work in up front, conduit is a good way to go.

Whether you use a conduit or not, a trencher with a wire laying attachment is great for burying the wire. I would also consider just fence mounting the wire. Since you already have a chain link fence in place, weaving the wire through the fence is a really easy way to keep the wire installed and go right into the training.

The junction box is a clever idea to help you quickly figure out where the break is on the system. I had never heard that before. Thanks for suggesting the idea.

Finding wire breaks is a bit of an art, but it is certainly not difficult. You just need to be slow and methodical. Most of the problems come from folks using the RF-Choke + radio with a system that it is not designed for. The RF-Choke/Radio method only works with a few systems like the Innotek Ultrasmart 4100/5100, for other systems you need to purchase the PetSafe Wire Break Locator.

Running the wire through the eaves is almost always high enough that the dog does not get the correction down at ground level. If it is a problem, you can just turn down the boundary width dial so the field is a little less wide.

Took a look at your diagram. The layout looks good.

Best Regards,
Mr. Jody Riojas
Customer Support Manager
DogFenceDIY (888) 936.4349 ext. 701

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