Accidentally (or deliberately) picking up the fenz-tika by the red 'business end' and applying the 'handle' to a working electric fence will do no damage to you or the fenz-tika, since it is double insulated. The circuit will even function, but the clicks will not be as loud as usual. This reverse operation can be used on purpose where you want an insulated tip only close to high-voltage wires, so it cannot short anything out or together. Any clicks you hear are from capacitive coupling to the voltage sensor, so there is no direct electrical contact.
A few words on not killing yourself. It is assumed you are testing your own electric fence, and not one you have happened upon. Electric fence energiser units are made to get maximum unpleasant shock from a minimum of power input, and to keep the shock delivered to the target to a safe level. Only criminals, or perhaps the military, would wire up say the AC mains to a fence, or even specifically generate a high DC voltage for that use. Neither will damage the fenz-tika, but it will not click to indicate danger, and contact with such a fence wire could easily kill. Safely detecting mains-level AC and DC voltages is best done by a good quality mains testing neon screwdriver, operated according to the manufacturer's instructions. A commercial-grade neon spark plug tester, from a professional automotive supplier, may be used to indicate high voltage AC and DC. We have done no practical work in this area - much too dangerous. If you want to detect any voltage that might be applied to any fence, you have a lot of skilled and tricky work to do, and we are not getting involved. If I were James Bond, and encountered a non-ticking fence that I still suspected, I would short it to ground, which would look after my immediate safety at the expense of blowing any fuse connected to it. All the alarms then sound, followed by close-ups of big slavering dogs.
The weak point of the fenz-tika case as regards dirt and contamination is the hole where the PVC earpiece tube plugs in. Much less space is needed for storage if the tube is removed, but that allows airborne rubbish to settle into the hole, and if it is two years before the fence fails, enough may have landed down there to stop the piezo speaker working. If you must leave it out on the bench, do it either with the tube still in, or keep it upside-down - that is resting on the four plastic screw heads. Dust and dirt fall downwards, and with the tube hole on the underside it will stay clean. Another way to keep dust and water out, which also applies if the fenz-tika will be spending days in your trouser pocket, is to stick a short strip of insulation tape over the hole, or push a small rolled ball of 'blu-tak' (TM) over and into the hole. When you need to insert the PVC tube, just shift the tape off the hole, sticking it to the body of the fenz-tika until you need it again. The only problem with the tape is sticking it on when there is water down the tube hole already. The speaker then stays damp for months if the fenz-tika is a sealed unit, and is most unlikely to work again. We can service fenz-tikas, replace speakers etc, by the way, if you post them back to us, hopefully in the original tube.
To clean a really dusty fenz-tika make sure before you start that it is dry, by bringing it indoors for a few days. Turn it upside-down and tap the four screw-heads repeatedly on the table. If the dust in the tube hole is dry, enough may fall out to allow the piezo speaker to function. After this put a short length of tape over the tube hole, and brush or flap with a dry rag to get the rest of the case clean. Sealed or unsealed fenz-tikas (see later) may be wiped with a damp rag, but only the sealed variety can handle anything wetter.
Industrial sealants and adhesives come in polythene disposable canisters that fit into applicator guns, and I assume like bottle tops, the size of the canisters is a World standard. Silicon rubber gutter sealant is particularly easy to clean out of an empty canister. You need one canister with the nozzle end cut off, and two internal pistons which are used to drive out the sealant. Smooth the ends of the canister making a perfect tube. Push-fit one piston the 'wrong way round' into the difficult end of the tube, where it will make a cap. The fenz-tika minus tube is the exact size to push inside this plastic transit case, and the second piston is pushed in the 'right way round' to keep the fenz-tika inside. By the way, ugly self-adhesive labels on the canister from its sealant days can be removed before surgery starts by filling the canister with hot water. That warms the label adhesive, making it soft enough for the label to be easily peeled-off.
The sealed fenz-tika is mechanically and electrically identical to the normal version, but costs 80 Australian dollars plus post. The top cap is sealed to the circuit board, and the circuit board underside is sealed to the main body. We use a soft sealant that does not set. First this sticks well to high density polythene, and second it makes dismantling fairly easy. Once the sealant has been applied, the four plastic holding screws are inserted and tightened. Care is taken that no sealant makes its way into the piezo speaker. If are a sealant expert and want to save yourself 20 dollars, you can seal the fenz-tika yourself, but if you have done so, honouring implied warranties is at our discretion. If we can't get the thing apart for service as a result, or have to replace the circuit board, you pay.
With surplus sealant cleaned off the outside, and the normal tapes applied to the ends, the sealed fenz-tika is ready for use. If it really is wet outside, it is well worth giving the fenz-tika a light coat of wax (silicone car polish or similar). Be sure when you do this to first put a short strip of tape over the earpiece tube hole, or plug in the tube, to stop wax polish getting down the hole. Most rain water that hits a clean waxed surface just falls off, and the rest forms isolated beads that will not conduct high voltage. Before you go outside, push the earpiece tube right in to the hole, and keep it there until you get back in the dry, and you have wiped off the fenz-tika. We don't suggest use against underwater electric fences (more James Bond?) but a sealed fenz-tika should keep out falling rain for a pretty long day. Note the earpiece tube is open all the way down to the piezo speaker. Getting water down that length of small tube is close to impossible, but you have been warned. We can't write a manual on fault-finding wet electric fences (unless you write in and tell us you need one), and assume if you are out there in the wet successfully avoiding personal shocks, you know what you're doing. When you come back to the warm and dry, bring the fenz-tika with you. Let it warm up, then remove the tube after wiping the outside of the case. Give it a few hours to dry out.
There are three tapes holding down the ends and performing assorted other duties. If you remove them with care, they can be hung up by one end, and put back. Otherwise you will need 48mm metal aluminium tape, and 48mm polythene tape of the thick variety used for holding together the sheets that cover plastic greenhouses. A label printer would be handy. The red band is top-quality Nitto insulation tape. Remove the tapes.
For both sealed and unsealed units, unscrew the four hex-head plastic screws. The unsealed units just come apart into top, bottom and circuit board. There are no internal traps for unauthorised case-openers, and there is no wiring. Dismantling a soft-sealed unit requires care, and if you don't know what sort of care, don't do it. If the unit clicks on a fence when you put it back together, congratulations. Don't overtighten the plastic screws, which take a lot less force than steel or brass. If you have a non-working mess when it goes back together, send it to us (sigh ...).
design and manufacture: Breck Bowles Development
address: 7 Sykes Court, Pakenham, Vic 3810, Australia
phone and fax international: +613 5941 4789
phone and fax local: 03 5941 4789
please do not phone or fax overnight East Australian Time (as we sleep then)