OT- advise me on automated gate openers and gates
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  1. #1
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    Default OT- advise me on automated gate openers and gates

    We are looking to have a 16' gate put in, automatic exit, , keypad and remote transmitter for entry. Rural gravel drive, I will run 120v power either to supply the opener directly or to a transformer, depending on voltage requirements. There will be a security light and camera on one of the posts (it will be 8' high)
    Frequency of use about 10-20 cycles per day-

    Budget about $5-6000.

    It seems there are two basic styles of opener- one is a linear screw type and the other a gear-motor with an arm- cost of a "good one" seems to be from $1500 to $3000-

    I have priced gates from locally made @ $2500 + , to less than $1000 + shipping (Chinese made with ball bearing hinges , hot dipped and painted) .

    I also found an online place that sells aluminum gates $1-2000 with $199 shipping.

    It was interesting to me that the local quote and the internet quote were both around $5000- the big difference was the local guy gate cost was way higher (2 or 3x) , and his opener cost way lower, than the online company. He was using a GTO 4000 linear screw, and the online place quoted for a Doorking gear-motor type.

    I would appreciate any do's or don'ts you folks may have learned through experience.
    Hopefully I can do this once...!
    Thanks, stoneaxe.

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    I would go with the local guy based on the sheer fact that these types of things require regular maintenance and work. You're going to need a servicing dealer.

    Plus, I like the linear actuator style better. That's a lot of torque to put on a gear motor.

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    My brother in law modified a garage door opener to run his gate . He has been using it now for about 10 years and it works well. It was much cheaper then using a opener marketed for gates and required very little modification to turn it into a gate opener

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    i put 16' gates, at the house, rural asphalt millings driveway, about 3 years ago. i bought the gates and openers from gatecrafters as i couldn't buy the material for what the gates cost delivered. i made the posts/fencing and used the es302 openers, twin 8' gates on ball bearing hinges. i have not had a single issue. i didn't get the automatic exit as i figured the dogs and the deer would open the gates. no battery backup. i keep keys hidden to open in case of a power failure.
    i also found american made post lights, in california, that ship in chinese newspaper. there was some discussion about that until they pointed out it was the chinese version of the LA times

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    Quote Originally Posted by cg285 View Post
    i put 16' gates, at the house, rural asphalt millings driveway, about 3 years ago. i bought the gates and openers from gatecrafters as i couldn't buy the material for what the gates cost delivered. i made the posts/fencing and used the es302 openers, twin 8' gates on ball bearing hinges. i have not had a single issue. i didn't get the automatic exit as i figured the dogs and the deer would open the gates. no battery backup. i keep keys hidden to open in case of a power failure.
    i also found american made post lights, in california, that ship in chinese newspaper. there was some discussion about that until they pointed out it was the chinese version of the LA times
    Were those aluminum or steel gates? I have wondered if an aluminum gate is easier on the operator.
    Also- I don't understand how dogs or deer could open a gate- those loops for automatic opening are magnetic, aren't they? or were you going to put in a photo eye type?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cg285 View Post
    i put 16' gates, at the house, rural asphalt millings driveway, about 3 years ago. i bought the gates and openers from gatecrafters as i couldn't buy the material for what the gates cost delivered. i made the posts/fencing and used the es302 openers, twin 8' gates on ball bearing hinges. i have not had a single issue. i didn't get the automatic exit as i figured the dogs and the deer would open the gates. no battery backup.
    I also put up a dual 8' (16' opening) swing gate. I used the earlier model LA400. (The manual looks the same) The only issues I've had is the batteries needed to be replaced, and it NEEDS the batteries to function. It's hot in Phoenix and no battery lasts long outside. Biggest installation hurdle is the gate panel weight. As long as the panel has an "open' design it won't act like a sail and rip your actuator arm off if there are excessive winds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stoneaxe View Post
    Were those aluminum or steel gates? I have wondered if an aluminum gate is easier on the operator.
    Also- I don't understand how dogs or deer could open a gate- those loops for automatic opening are magnetic, aren't they? or were you going to put in a photo eye type?
    aluminum gates - powder coated. what i saw listed were a photo eye. didn't see any magnetic ones

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeanQ View Post
    I also put up a dual 8' (16' opening) swing gate. I used the earlier model LA400. (The manual looks the same) The only issues I've had is the batteries needed to be replaced, and it NEEDS the batteries to function. It's hot in Phoenix and no battery lasts long outside. Biggest installation hurdle is the gate panel weight. As long as the panel has an "open' design it won't act like a sail and rip your actuator arm off if there are excessive winds.
    mine needs 120vac. battery option was for a backup. backup batteries always turn to shit by the time you need them so i didn't bother.

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    oh, and i put an automatic lock on the gate too as the dog figured out he could pull one gate back and push the other away just far enough to get out.

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    Apollo.

    I have installed hundreds of openers from apollo, elite, and chamberlain. The Apollo is hands down the way to go. I have a Apollo 1550 on my gate at home that is a 16 ft swing gate that weighs about #400. The opener, driveway sensor, key pad, and remotes run about $1400. For commercial the 3500's are the way to go for swing gates. They both have provisions to add magnetic or mechanical locks also. I prefer swing gates myself as slide gate tracks get destroyed, or you have to spend a bunch of money on a no ground track setup. If you go swing gate hinges, plumb and level are critical to the opener living a long life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick Harvie View Post
    My brother in law modified a garage door opener to run his gate . He has been using it now for about 10 years and it works well. It was much cheaper then using a opener marketed for gates and required very little modification to turn it into a gate opener
    I did the same with a salvaged garage door opener that did not work on remote. I used the chain to slide it open and closed but you have to get out to operate. I am in the vancouver area with lots of rain and the unit is just under a flat piece of plastic with a ground fault interupter for safety. Mine is not quite to ten years:'))

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakefreese View Post
    Apollo.

    I have installed hundreds of openers from apollo, elite, and chamberlain. The Apollo is hands down the way to go. I have a Apollo 1550 on my gate at home that is a 16 ft swing gate that weighs about #400. The opener, driveway sensor, key pad, and remotes run about $1400. For commercial the 3500's are the way to go for swing gates. They both have provisions to add magnetic or mechanical locks also. I prefer swing gates myself as slide gate tracks get destroyed, or you have to spend a bunch of money on a no ground track setup. If you go swing gate hinges, plumb and level are critical to the opener living a long life.
    Been installing these for years too, money well spent. Just don't ground them like other gate openers. We have a lot of lighting strikes so we quit grounding and the problems stopped. Plumb plumb , did I say plumb and level , that's the key , plumb and level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emcmike View Post
    Been installing these for years too, money well spent. Just don't ground them like other gate openers. We have a lot of lighting strikes so we quit grounding and the problems stopped. Plumb plumb , did I say plumb and level , that's the key , plumb and level.

    What is the deal with the emphasis on level- don't these openers have a hiem (ball) joint on the ends to take up a misalignment? Or am I missing something? This is a general inquiry, yes, I can make it level , just curious why everyone mentions it.

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    Push you car uphill ...

    Gate needs to swing flat so actuator is just fighting friction and newton and not also gravity

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    Being out of plumb and level puts excessive strain on the lead screw of actuater type openers. With most gates that are 8ft and wider , with heavy weight , being out of plumb or level increases the angle weight factor. This means the screw drive motor has to work harder during it's opening or closing cycle. In turn some actuaters have built in overload protection. Another thing is these type motors are designed or high toque and are intermittent operation. The main thing here is weight angle , this is determined from the post mount to the gate hinge. Your only looking at 4ft opening a 10foot gate weighing 350lbs to 600lbs , even live stock gates have overhung weight and these are much lighter.

    At my sisters house I had to redesign the Apollo board to using selonoids instead of electronic board and interfacing with the federal requirements for safety. This system was being hit by lightning at least 5 times a year, wiping the board out at 250 a wack my cost. Then there's the voice activated openers with video /audio interconnect, that's another folder..........

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    The company I am leaning toward supplys a surge protector with the opener package, as well as anything that may be integral to the opener itself. We don't get much lightning here, but do get frequent power surges from trees falling on the lines.

    The main question now is linear screw arrn type and brand or gear motor type and brand.
    A viking G5 was suggested on the quote- rated to 16' and 700 pounds.

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    We had a sliding gate put in several years ago. The installer used an IBF (Italian) power unit. It has a gear drive with the gear track welded to the bottom of the gate. The gate is was made integral with the cattle guard. It does have battery back up and runs on 120AC. I have seen few swinging gates that were as good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FredC View Post
    We had a sliding gate put in several years ago. The installer used an IBF (Italian) power unit. It has a gear drive with the gear track welded to the bottom of the gate. The gate is was made integral with the cattle guard. It does have battery back up and runs on 120AC. I have seen few swinging gates that were as good.
    So having to be a bit more secure over here than that side loads of people have motorised gates and I would have to say 90% of them go with sliding gates. Swinging gate motors are temperamental,are loads more difficult to install correctly and don't have service life anywhere close to sliding gate motors. I recently bought a house and might have to put one in because of length restrictions and am really dreading it. Trying to think of a way to make it sliding rather.

    The rack is welded or bolted to the bottom of the gate and alignment is done on the motor side. When buying a motor don't skimp on price. Go for something that is reputable over there (over here it's centurion or Hansa). Older systems worked with a limit switch style for the opening and closing shut off on the rack but newer one's use a sensor and work on a programmable system. Deceleration time,distance,speed and resistance for the motor to stop to prevent bad accidents can all be programmed. Make sure to keep the rail the gate slides on clean and just oil/grease the wheels every now and again so that the motor doesn't load unnecessarily. It really isn't a tough job for someone that knows how to use their hands. Once closed you are not going to open it up manually very easily so a lock system isn't necessary.

    Generally the motors run off 220V incoming to a 24V/12V DC motor and have a battery backup. Pics are from one we had to put in recently at our workshop because we moved the driveway which is still a work in progress. Gate is heavy so we put in centurions D10 (24V) motor but might have been able to get away with using a D5 (12V) which can take 500KG. Link is just for ideas since I am sure a motor from here is not going to do you any good D1 - Industrial Sliding Gates - Centurion Systems
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails dsc_1942.jpg   dsc_1943.jpg   dsc_1944.jpg   dsc_1945.jpg  

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    I was going to ask if you're married to the swing gate idea or if a sliding gate would work for you. I have a 24' sliding gate put in by idiots that still works. It uses an Eagle DM 2000 gate opener - 120V and 1HP. One of these days I'm going to hack out all the concrete and remount the gate drive the way the manufacturer specified it.


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