About three years ago I bought and installed an Innotek invisible fence even though Smokey was too young to use it yet. It was up and running but I just shut it down until he was ready to use it. In the interim I really started thinking about it and decided I really didn't want to trust it for several reasons. But that's another story. It's been sitting there for three years unused. I finally decided to sell it because I'm never going to use it so I listed it on craigslist. Yesterday I got a call from a guy who wanted to buy it. He wanted to come out today and pick it up. So I disconnected the wire and removed the transmitter. I told him that I would check it out and make sure it worked before he headed up because he's all the way down in Southgate.

It was a simple matter to disconnect the transmitter and I brought it upstairs and grabbed the box with the rest of the gear. I just cut a length of wire to make a short loop and test it out. I hooked up the loop and plugged in the transmitter. But for some reason the indicator light didn't come on. Upon closer inspection I could see a little bit of discoloration around the bottom of the control knob so I pulled it off. Sure enough, there was soot around the hole. What the heck? I've never used this thing! It was installed but been turned off since I tested it and was sure that it was working. I removed the screws and opened the enclosure, it was TOAST! It obviously wasn't going to work. I'm glad that I checked it out before he drove all the way here from Southgate. I got on the phone and told him the sad news. While talking to him I was still stumped as to what happened. But all of a sudden it dawned on me. About two years ago we had a lot of rain and a big wind storm that brought down a tree in the back and it knocked down the wires too. The wires stayed live and it took over an hour for DTE to show up and cut the power. All of the primary and secondary lines were flipping around arcing and scorching the ground. Well I just realized that the area where the wires were arcing crossed right over the antenna loop for my system. The power was turned off to the transmitter but it was still plugged in. Obviously the second the power line hit the loop, the system was done for. So if you have an invisible fence, I'd STRONGLY recommend investing in a lightning protector. It could save you a lot in the long run. Here's what a smoked fence transmitter looks like....

Notice the component stuck to the lid on the right side of the picture. That component was blown right off of the circuit board and fused itself to the lid!