I’ve had a nasty cold since Sunday. Will picked it up at Barnes and Noble last week and we’ve had it making the rounds. Annoying. That may explain my error. Of course, this happens when I need to be doing planting and moving animals out to new pasture. Grr…
The above diagram is a very simplified transformer. 8,000 volts of alternating current is applied to the black wire which coils around the brown wire but does not touch the brown wire. In fact, they are separated by an insulator.
When we moved the whey feeding tubs out to the south field for the summer I did, what I thought was a smart thing at the time – I hung the 1″ black plastic waterline feed pipe from a section of smooth high tensile wire that was electrified. I wrapped a coil of poly wire around the black plastic water pipe to attach it to the fence wire. This gave me a nice even slope down hill so the pipe would be self draining and so the pigs wouldn’t mess with the pipe. I’ve used short lengths of wire around pipes before like this with no problem. I tested it and no electricity passed through the pipe. I wouldn’t expect any since the plastic is a good insulator – of electricity. I was bit fuzzy headed and my excuse is the cold.
The black wire carries a current which produces an electromagnetic field. When the brown is filled with air there is nothing to notice. If you put a wire in there you can pickup an inducted current. In this case the black wire, the poly wire wrapping around the pipe and fence line, is very long. Whey is a liquid and it has a little bit of salt in it – after all, milk is based on mother’s sweat. The salt makes an ionic solution which is a conductor passing through the black plastic pipe thus creating a ‘wire’. The black plastic pipe insulates against electricity but not against electromagnetic fields. Thus the ‘wire’ picks up the induced current. Oops!
This explains why the pigs did not initially drink from the new whey tub I setup out in the field. Instead they were standing around loudly complaining that something was wrong. Holly noticed that and I checked it while she manned the fence switch. There was no actual connection between the fence and the whey or the tub yet they were acting like the tub was ‘hot’ – how puzzling. I found that the whey was electrified by gingerly sticking my finger in the running stream of whey coming out of the pipe and grounding myself – a real fence tester would have been nice. After rechecking that no fencing was touching and repeating the experiment I figured out what was happening. Removing the coil of wire along the whey pipe solved the problem.
Happy pigs. Fuzzy, slightly electrified, farmer.
Interesting, to my finger’s touch it appeared that the induced current was strongest when the whey was flowing as opposed to when it was sitting in the pipe static. I’m still thinking about that one. Is it merely that the ‘wire’ was longer or is there a generator effect being produced by the ions traveling down the pipe… Now for an infinite supply of whey up the hill. :)
Sun-Weds: Outdoors: 78°F/45°F Sunny, one brief shower Sunday
Farm House: 68°F/52°F
Tiny Cottage: 73°F/63°F