Automated Gates - the Workings
This page covers the working of an automated gate from gate openers, power and activation.
Electric Gate Openers
Articulated gate openers otherwise known as ‘Crank Arm’ operated can be used for gates with wide posts opening up in small spaces. This system does the job but may not be considered as being as aesthetically pleasing as other motor designs.
Articulated Arm Gate operators are mounted on the gate posts and an extended arm reaches around the post to the gate. When looking at the gate from the outside the arms usually blend in with the gate and it becomes difficult to see that the gate is automated.
Underground gate openers are placed underneath the gate to provide discreet opening of the gate. Underground automation if correctly installed, leaves no apparent sign of the mechanism other than the lid of the foundation casing box and the pivotal arm to which the gate is attached.
Worm Driven (ram) Gate Operators are ideal for large, heavy gates they are sturdy, reliable machines that offer years of exceptional service. Being attached to the gate posts they pivot around the attachment point and a screw type movement opens the gate.
Sliding Gate Operators are suitable if space is at a minimum and also if a driveway turns to the left or right sharply.
Solar panels can be used to operate an automatic gate where an electricity source is not immediately available, or the purchaser wishes to use a renewable energy source. Remote controls, keypads, sensors and intercom can all be ways of operating gate openers.
All electric gates whether automatic or not have a motor which enables the electric gate to open and close and there are many different kinds of electric gate motors.
Powering the Gates
Your electrically automated gates will be powered by the mains but will run at either 230v or 24v depending on your requirements.
230v systems will meet the needs of most residential users, due to 230v systems being easier to install, they are usually the cheaper option. 230v systems are not intended to be used over 8 times an hour in regular service and have a thermal cut out device which will step in if the machine starts to overheat, preventing breakdown.
A 230v control board can allow a user to operate additional features such as lighting when the gates open. The newest 230v control panels have now got the latest activation and safety features built in. These include a slow down function to make sure that if the gate comes into contact with an obstacle the gate stops and begins to reverse.
24v DC operators reduce the power from the mains using transformers in order to operate the gates. They have the same features as 230v systems plus some additional elements.
24v motors, these are suitable for intensive use and are recommended particularly for commercial situations or on residential apartments where the gates will be opened over 8 times an hour. Installing 24v operators is more time intensive therefore can be more expensive.
Remote Controls, Audio Intercoms, Visual Intercoms
Remote controls allow an automatic gate to be opened from a distance, from your car for instance. Most users require more than one remote understandably there may be more than one driver with a car in a family. Remotes can be:- small, compact and pocket-able or large with easier to press operations. There are multi-function handsets that can operate additional automations such as garage doors or lighting.
Remote controls function using approved radio frequencies and all have long lasting battery lives for maximum convenience.
A two-way speech 'Audible Intercom’ allows you to speak to a visitor that may approach your gate way from inside your home, if you wish to let them through your gates then you would operate your gates. There would be a button at the gate way that any visitor would have to press in order to speak persons inside the property, a handset inside the property would sound enabling the person inside the property to speak to the visitor at the gate way.
Should you wish to leave your gates open a 'Leave-open switch' can be fitted to the wall phone inside your home so all you would have to do is activate it.
A standard 'Visual Intercom' unit enables one outside camera with speech facility to communicate with one indoor (usually wall mounted) telephone / miniature tv monitor.
DF Sensitive Safety Edges
Of course safety around automatic gates is very important and should not be overlooked. DF safety edges are an exclusive patented system, DF edges are made of soft collapsible ABS material, they are sensitive along their whole length and they are attached to the leading edges of opening gates for safety and protection. If something comes into contact with the DF, it could be an object, a pet or a person, the gates will stop or reverse their operation, deeming the person or object safe from further harm.
These DF safety edges are particularly useful for sliding gates and in situations where obstructions could get into the gate movement area whilst avoiding the safety beams. The DF can be fitted alongside a wireless connection, eliminating complicated and unsightly wiring.
Induction loops are buried under a driveway; they create a miniature magnetic induction field above. When a metallic vehicle passes over this magnetic induction field, its presence is detected. This can then be used in two different ways:- to trigger the gate to open, or even as an additional safety device to prevent the gates from closing on a vehicle.
When installed on busy, accessible gateways they usually allow freedom of vehicle movement without the need to push any sort of button and so s a result, they are usually used to trigger the gates from inside the property.