I've had a Harbor Freight solar electric fence charger for a couple of years now—not very powerful, but cheap, and it's been effective in discouraging my dog from escaping on jaunts around the neighborhood; which around here is likely to get her shot. However, checking the battery is an awkward job. Living with solar electricity has made me very aware of the importance of keeping batteries happy. Overcharging them or allowing them to go flat will shorten their lives considerably, and replacing them is expensive and usually inconvenient.

But the opening to the battery compartment on these units is on the bottom of the fence charger, held in place with two tiny screws just waiting for a chance to slip from your grasp to bury themselves in the sand (and which will in the nature of things eventually strip out the plastic casing). Once the screws are secured (gripped between the teeth, usually) and the cover set aside, hopefully where the ever-present wind won't blow it away, you've got to manage both the battery (dangling from its leads) and the multimeter, applying the probes of the latter to the posts of the former. Not hard, exactly, but frustrating. 

So I decided to make it easier by adding test leads which would be accessible without opening the case. Once I got the few materials I didn't already have, the job took about an easy half hour.

Step 1: Tools & Materials

-6” red electrical wire (14-16 gauge)
-6” black electrical wire (14-16 gauge)
-2 male spade connectors (14-16 gauge; not the kind that look like a 2-tined fork, but ones with a solid blade)
-2 female spade connectors (14-16 gauge)
-2 butt connectors (14-16 gauge)

-drill w/ 5/32” bit (or whatever fits the diameter of your wire)
-crimping pliers
-wire cutters
-multimeter or voltmeter

About This Instructable




Bio: I live on a small homestead in western New Mexico, in a small light-straw-clay house I built with much help from friends. My spare time ... More »
More by gwylan:A Dog Door: The Two-Flap Solution Boards & Baling Twine: A Rafter Bookshelf EZ Test Leads for Solar Fence Charger 
Add instructable to: