The market reacts quickly to the needs of customers. Today, you can make a choice between slide and swing, single and double gate opener system. Besides, each model varies in quality performance and additional features. Moreover, the installation is comparatively easy. Usually, it does not require welding works or the employment of specialized wire workers. As a rule, the manufacturers provide installation manuals that come together with the gates and openers. The manual provides detailed instructions so that installing the opener yourself is relatively easy.
It is crucial to take all necessary protective measures prior to installing electric gate openers. This type of gates prompts a high level of power, and the protection measures have to be taken throughout the entire installation process. In this write-up, I will do my best to give all details on choosing and installing the product successfully and safely. This article also covers the best three models according to my research and analysis.
How Electric Gate Openers Work
Automatic gate systems, as their name suggests, work in a way that allows opening and closing your gates with minimal actions. In practice, this looks like this. To activate the gate door opener, you need to simply press the remote transmitter installed in your car. The transmitted signal activates the power gate opener mechanism immediately. After you have passed through the gate, one more press on the transmitter will close the gate. There is also a popular function that prevents leaving the gate open accidentally. If you forget to press the remote transmitter the second time, the gate opener will automatically close the gate a minute after opening. This adds to the safety functions of the device.
The gate openers available in the market use either the power supply coming from the house, the solar panels powers, or the power back-up provided by batteries. Many models allow connecting to all three sources thus guaranteeing stable operation.
The mechanism of the motorized gate depends on its type: sliding or swinging. Below, I will explain their main peculiarities and differences.
Types of Automatic Gate Openers
Understanding the general difference between types of gate openers will make the process of choosing one much easier. There are two major types of automatic gate openers:
1.) Slide gate openers
2.) Swing gate openers (one-piece and two-piece gates)
Slide Gate Openers
The mechanism of sliding gate openers works on a motorized gear wheel. It enables the gate to move to a right of left direction thus opening or closing the driveway. The simple mechanism consists of two wheels and a gear track installed on the gate. When activated, it lets the gate move in a sliding manner, which has given it its name.
Swing Gate Openers
The mechanism of the swing-type gate openers includes electric RAM arms that perform an in-and-out movement. They are connected to the gate and its posts. When activated, the mechanism swings the gate on the hinges.
Basically, this works the same way as any typical door in your house, except for the movement is automatic.
Swing gate openers divide into single and double types, depending on the type of swing gates you have. Single-piece swing gates are usually less expensive. They require less hardware since the gate has only one leaf. However, two-piece openers are often a more popular choice. Double gates possess a more traditional look and are available in various sizes. When choosing the swinging gate opener, make sure you pay attention to the number of leaves it is designed for.
How to Choose an Electric Gate Opener
To make the process of choosing between various models, I recommend using this checklist as your guide. When you have made clear all the points for yourself, making a final decision should not be a problem.
Analyze the peculiarities of slide and swing gate openers that I have described above. If you are only planning to buy a new gate to protect your property, take into consideration the space available. The landscape also determines the suitable gate opener type. For instance, sliding electric gates are generally better for sloping landscapes and limited spaces.
It is necessary to take into account the size of the gate you already have or are planning to buy. If it is a two-piece gate, make sure you know the size of each of the leaves. The size of the columns is crucial as well. Even the materials play their role: extra heavy gate would require a more powerful automatic gate closer.
Think about how you plan to power your gate opener. If you want to choose an AC powered model, check if electricity is available in the place where the gate opener will be located. Note, that the size of your gate also influences the amount of power used by the automatic gate opener. You can also check the eco-friendly solar panels that can supply some of the models with enough power for operation.
4. Extra safety features
The biggest part of the models available now include the stop-and-reverse feature. It uses the infrared photobeams to detect if the gate is about to contact an obstacle when moving. This prevents any damage to people and property. Underground loop detectors that detect metal object nearby provide extra safety in preventing collisions. An Auto-close function will guarantee your gate is closed even if you have forgotten to press the remote control for closing the gate.
Practically all models are operated with the remote control. You can even install it in the car. More complex gate openers include a card reader or a keypad. One of the newest solutions is controlling the device with an app on your mobile phone. Decide which type will be more convenient for you to use. Note that this is one of the features that also influence the price.
Since you are buying a device that will be used for a long time, the warranty period is crucial. Check the types of damages that each warranty covers. This is the case when it is worth considering buying the extended warranty.
The Best 3 Electronic Gate Openers
It is relatively difficult to come to the consensus when purchasing the gate opener, which will meet all your requests and fit into your budget. There are two reasons that might get you stall with the choice. First, you might lack the information about the product and its features. Second, a huge assortment currently available on the market might overcome your mind.
To come up with the following top three openers, I analyzed sources such as Amazon.com reviews and the recommendations of acquaintances. To pick the most suitable model for yourself, your final choice has to suit to gate’s specifications. These include size, weight, and type, frequency of use, power charge alternatives. Finally, the product has to satisfy all your requirements.
Below I will review the following gate openers: ALEKO AC1400 Electric Sliding Gate and two models, manufactured by the US Automatic Sentry: the 300 S Commercial Grade and the 300D Commercial Grade models.
Top 3 Electric Gate Openers: The Review
Brand: The ALECO
Gate Type: Sliding Gates
The particular gate opener was designed for sliding gates type. It is produced from aluminum alloy chassis, which is one of the leading materials used by engineers due to its resistance features. The Gate opener is chain-operated, which holds up the length of 50ft and the weight up to 635kg. This work is performed by a large motor and the chain of 6 meters long. As the AC-powered supplementary, the introduction motor’s model of 120V AC 1.5 HP is included in the purchase kit. This introduction motor is able to perform the complete stop and reverse function of gate opener if the collision of gates with other object occurred. My personal opinion about the particular gate opener is simple: I believe this is the perfect gate opener, which has a remarkable starting torque and persistent operation.
The product is lightweight, so it is easy to perform the entire installation process no your own. Because it was produced from aluminum alloy chassis, the whole body of gate opener is corrosion-resistant. This makes it a life-long product. It is constructed to have a high base, 2 sensors and the reasonable length of additional chain. Moreover, it backs up the maximum of 100 remote controls. The manufacturer provides the 2-year guarantee, which is a good measure for the market of electric gate openers. For the person who is looking for a good quality hardware under the loyal budget, this model will be a great choice.
Brand: the US Automatic Sentry
Model: 300S Commercial Grade
Gate Type: Swing Gates
The particular model of electric gate openers is suitable for swing gates only. It weighs almost 15 kilos and performs the operation with six meters long gates. One of the best features of this model is that it does not require any complex installation processes, such as wiring. This makes it very simple in terms of interface and application. The whole process of installation will require less than an hour of person’s work. Another great characteristic of 300S model is that it is able to operate without a charge for a couple of weeks. The US Automatic Sentry made it possible by adopting the solar power charge to this automatic gate opener. According to analyzed reviews, the 300 line produced by the US Automatic Sentry is among the earliest DIY gate openers. All products in the line have the 12V DC battery, charged from the integrated Alternating Current (AC) transformer.
Available as a choice solar panel kit, it is a great support for a consistent maintenance of remote controls. The linear actuator provides additional 180kg of a push power along with the pressure rate of 450kg. The chain is able to reach the maximum length of 4.3 meters, and it is applicable for the decorated iron gates, using the 3.65 meters of the chain. The opening and closing time frame is fixed at 16 seconds, independently of the weight or size of the gate. This choice will be the best for my personal hamlet’s single swing gate.
Brand: the US Automatic Sentry
Model: 300D Commercial Grade
Gate Type: Swing Gate
The particular model of automatic gate opener, also manufactured by the US Automatic Sentry is suitable for swing gates. In addition to the mounting tools, this kit includes the 15m cable for a single and the 6m-length cable for a dual swing gate. The 300D model is the supplement to the 300S model opener, so the first gate should be operated by the 300S model. The 300S is simply set up on 6m long decorated iron gates and is perfect for a wood panel gate type. It can be viewed as the second power of the dual gate, which weight 13 kilos only. The purchase kit includes the waterproof junction box, controlling kit and the wire connections. This particular electric gate opener is one of the best choices on the market for its correspondence of price to the quality.
The Gate Opener Installation Guide:
First of all, the gate opener has to conform to the measurements of your gate, notably gate’s type, weight, and size. The frequency of usage is the additional important element to consider before purchasing the automatic gate opener. It is worth to keep in mind that a gate opener will not perform on a badly designed gate for a reasonable time.
Secondly, prior to the installation, you should watch all installation videos and pay attention to each detail. These videos are commonly provided by the producer in the purchased kit alongside with the manual for gate openers. All tutorials and manuals are made to avoid any possible risks potentially caused by the incorrect establishment of the system. Starting at this point, you are ready for the actual installation.
Step 1: Determine the Position
Firstly, you should decide on the final position where to establish the gate opener. In most cases, it is installed inside the building, namely, in the garage or on the fence. However, it should not be installed on the outward side of the fence to prevent the access of other people to the gate opener.
The most suitable position is the middle line of the gate. It belittles the bending of gates at the moment the opener is activated. During the rainy weather, it prevents back splashes.
Step 2: Installation of Control Box
To hang the box, you will require only the self-tapping screws for the fence panel contiguous to the main side of the entrance gate. It also can be hanged on the column or similar surface. However, note that the control box should be at least 1 meter up from the ground and 1 meter from the AC power source. This is to avoid any possible electrical intervention. You should note that not all automatic gate opener models include the control box in the purchase set.
Step 3: Mount the Post-Assembly Brackets
Bring together the bracket and arrange it inside and outside the gate slightly below the middle horizontal frame level. Tighten all bolts and fix the assembly to the back side of the gate opener. Make sure that the gate is fixed in the open position so that the arm of the opener is completely forsworn. Then install the gate corbel to the front side of the opener. Afterwards, the attached gate corbel and the post-assembly bracket have to be fitted to the same level.
Using the C-clamps, keep the opener level of the post-assembly corbel and the gate bracket together at fixed positions for several minutes.
Step 4: Tack on the Arm of Gate Opener:
Following, the opener arm has to be installed on the gate corbel and post-assembly bracket. Again, the opener arm has to be leveled. In the reverse case, the post-assembly corbel needs to be adopted back to maintain the level of the opener arm.
Step 5: Connect the Battery Wires to the Control Box
Take away the box cover and interlay the battery wires together in the control board’s strain relief slot. Remain the relevant length of the wire behind to effortlessly connect them to the plugs in the control box. Then join those with the relevant terminals.
Step 6: Connect the Power Cable of the Gate
As the next step, insert the power cable of the gate through the strain relief slot in the control box and connect it to the relevant terminal block.
Step 7: Secure the Transformer
The transformer comes together with the gate opener, so there is no need to buy it. It should be attached to the control box as a power source for charging the battery. You need to cut the wires of the length equal to the distance between the electrical outlet plugs and the control box. Then bury from the socket-outlet to control box the low voltage wire in prior dug gutter alongside the gate. It is also required to leave the extra wire above the surface to run through the electrical PVC conduit.
The hauled through electric conduit wire should be now linked to the power points of the control box. Link the low voltage wire to terminals of the transformer that is located on the electrical outlet and plug the transformer into the outlet.
Step 8: Connect the Battery to Control Board
There are two alternatives of battery connection. The first option is to wire the battery from the gate opener’s purchase kit. The second option is to place the 12V automotive or marine-type battery at the distance of 2 or more meters from the control board.
Step 9: Adjust the Coding Settings
When this operation is finished, state the limit for a close position of the gate. You can do this through the entry transmitter, which commonly comes with the electric opener. After that, adapt the settings for the stall force to regulate the obstacle sensitivity. Then regulate the time of an auto-close function. Finally, set the protection code for the transmitter and manage the warning signals.
Now, the installation is finished, and the automatic gate opener is ready to operate.
In order to avoid any difficulties during and after the installation of automatic gate opener, the measures of your gate should be the fundamental aspect of the purchase. By devoting a little bit more time to the search of the most suitable opener, it is relatively easy to find the model that will fit into your budget. Due to the easy installation process, you can perform it on your own from the beginning to the end and enjoy the result of your work. It is worth to make sure that the gate is fixed and works well. Otherwise, your investment in the automatic opener will last only in the short-term period.
Please note that it is dangerous to install the electric gate opener to badly performed gates. Remember that the opener produces a huge force. Additionally, the inappropriate installation process may result in damage to your own property. Moreover, it can create a dangerous situation for the lives of other people. If you detected any defects, the fault parts should be repaired or switched.