Electric gates are becoming increasingly popular, mostly for security reasons, but also for convenience. If you already have gates at the end of your drive then you can fit an electric gate opener. If you have the DIY skills it is possible to buy an electric gate opener kit and install it yourself.
An electric gate opener works via a radio signal which is sent from a transmitter in your car to a receiver mounted near your gates. Then an arm, either articulated or linear, swings the gate open then closes it, either through the transmitter or on a timer.
Different Kits for Different Gates
Whether you have a swing gate or a sliding gate, you should find an electric opener to suit. You’ll need to take into account the size and weight of your gates before deciding on the device. There are different models to choose from. Underground kits are popular as they are more aesthetically pleasing thanks to their hidden components.
Installing a Swing Gate Kit
The kit for a swing gate, depending on the type you buy, comes with either one or two motors, a waterproof control panel, an articulated arm, a remote control, metal brackets, a pair of photocells and a set of instructions.
The gate opener needs to be installed when the gates are open. The first thing to do is mount the control panel. It can be attached to one of the gates, or to a nearby pillar or wall.
Next, the post bracket has to be fitted to the central gate post on the house side of the gate. Attach the motor to this bracket, fit the articulated arm first to the motor and then to the gate, with the help of the gate bracket. Make sure the articulated arm is level.
If you have chosen an underground kit, you will need to dig a trench across the front of the gates in order to bury your cables. To protect your cable, thread it through a PVC tube. Mount your second motor to the other gate and pull your cable through so it can be wired into the control panel.
Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions and wire both motors into the control panel. You should find that everything is clearly labelled and colour coded inside the control panel, which will help you work out which wire goes where. If you have left over cable, don’t coil it up and leave it in the control panel, as this could cause problems with the remote control.
When everything is connected and in working order, all that remains is to set the gates to stop in the desired position.
Sliding Gate Installation
For sliding gates, you will need to base your choice of kit on the size of the motor. The heavier your gates, the more powerful the motor. The kits generally come with a motor, photocells, control panel, guide rail, remote control, brackets and instructions.
The guiding rail and tracks have to be fitted to the ground in the space where the gate opens. It is best to lay down a thick line of concrete then you can safely fix the rail and the tracks to the ground.
Dealing with Sliders
Next you will have to bolt the slider brackets to the gate and fit the gates on the track. The electric opener has to be fixed to the back gate and parallel to the sliding track. Refer to your instructions to fit the chain and wire up the motor. Choose the direction your gate will open and set the opening limits.
You can choose to power your gates with batteries or solar power. You may decide to have an intercom system to open your gates to visitors, or just stick to a hand held remote control. Whichever method you choose, ask the manufacturer’s advice or refer to your instructions before installing.
Keep an Eye on Things
Every motor, when exposed to the elements, will suffer problems. Check on your gate opener regularly and nip any problems in the bud. Your gates will open smoothly for years to come.