Which gate motor can I choose for my gate?
The moment comes when you have to answer: “Which motor for the gate should you choose?”. When choosing an automatic device for a garage, swing or sliding gate, you should first answer a number of seemingly insignificant questions. However, if we delve into the subject, we will find out that such a small thing can help in making the right choice.
1. How many times a day do I plan to open the gate?
The answer to this question is particularly important and strongly correlated with the longevity of the machine. It is an average value, i.e. if one day a week we open the gate 6 times (e.g. we host guests, go shopping, etc.), and on other days of the week only 2 times (leaving and returning from work), the average is 3 cycles / day. It is worth informing the seller about this value.
Furthermore, it is known that if it is a car park or a housing community, the average number of cycles a day may exceed 100. Then the machine must be of the highest class. In addition, an important parameter is the controller’s memory – how many remotes it can remember. The situation is completely different with an automatic entry system, e.g. for a rarely frequented plot. Then you can afford a lower-class machine – cheaper, which will serve you just as efficiently by opening the gate once a week (minimum number of cycles). In this case, it will be less of a pity if the machine is damaged or stolen, and such aspects should also be considered.
Remember, however, that the basic function of the automation is to make it simply work. Therefore, it is necessary to estimate what the requirements for it are.
2. Do I have electricity and cables available where I intend to automate the gate?
A 230V earth power cord should be planned in advance. An additional element may be the use of a computer twisted-pair, which can be used in the future for a bell, photocells, warning lamp, video intercom, external limit switches, etc. Thanks to this, we will not have to dig up the lawn again or remove the paving stones. An induction loop could also be considered if required. Remember that it is always useful to lay the cable between the end posts that hold the gate (for photocells or other devices).
For a double-leaf gate, it is a necessity due to the power supply of the leaf actuator, which is located on the opposite side from the controller. If, for example, there is no access to electricity in the place where the gate is located, you can use a small solar battery (e.g. 5W) and a small gel battery e.g. 5 Ah. A battery of this size is more than enough because the opening of the gate itself is short compared to a day’s charging by the sun. A gel battery has a high instantaneous current capacity, and at the same time such a battery is able to store energy even for several dozen opening cycles. Most of the automatic swing gates available on the market are operated with low voltage and do not require a lot of power.
3. What are the dimensions and estimated weight of my gate?
What are the dimensions and estimated weight of my gate?
The dimensions of each gate can be obtained at any time. However, with weight measurement, things get complicated. Of course, one should not overdo it with accuracy. We don’t have to take the gate off and put on the weight. It is mainly about weight estimation to make sure that we are not out of the weight range in the machine specification. In most cases of gates available on the market, their weight is very low compared to the capacity of the motor.
The typical weight value for swing gates ranges from 20 to 50 kg for one wing. A typical garage door weighs approximately 50 kg. Sliding gates usually weigh between 150 and 200 kg, for a 4-meter gate. Of course, these values may differ, but it is worth knowing in which range we are moving. Gate automations available on the market usually deal with weights much higher. In the case of swing gates, it is worth paying attention to whether the gate is full (e.g. filled with rails) or airy. The automation will be much easier with an airy gate (unfilled). For a full gate, it is worth considering the parameters of the automation, such as maximum weight and length of the gate wing.
4. What functions will I really need?
Safety functions and increasing the service life of the machine:
- Soft start and stop function (significantly increases the service life of mechanical parts).
- Overload protection function (or amperometric function).
- Emergency input in the controller (photocell, induction loop, etc.).
- Beacon function (warns and informs that the remote control has met the range).
- Low voltage operation of the automation and actuators (transformer in the controller).
Functions that are an option of the motor, but may turn out to be unnecessary:
- External activation function, e.g. from a button, keyboard, induction loop, GSM module.
- The first wing advance function is useful when there is a so-called tab on the gate wings.
- Back-up battery function. The battery supplies the machine when there is no mains voltage.
- Automatic gate closing function.
- Wicket function, i.e. opening only one gate leaf.
- Electric lock function (redundant in most cases).
- Key-operated opening function, e.g. when power fails.
The above functions are sometimes useful and increase the comfort of use, but you can opt out of them if you have a limited budget.
5. Is the price of my automation adequate to its value?
The prices of the machines range from PLN 400 to over PLN 5,000 gross, due to their longevity, functionality and brand. A wide selection is offered by online stores and the Allegro portal. You can find a machine “tailored” to your needs. The sellers are pleased to advise and help you choose the right equipment, and the prices are much lower than the market prices of sales representatives. The price of an automation usually reflects its class and higher quality, but this is not always the case.
Comprehensive services with the installation of the motor are often 2-3 times higher than the basic value of the machine. Therefore, many customers choose different paths to reduce costs. You can save a lot by buying directly from the manufacturer – in machine wholesaler, which deals with mail order sales. The savings are significant, but the assembly issue remains on the customer’s mind. There are many motors available on the market, both from well-known and less known companies. When buying, customers are often guided only by the fact that they have already seen a given brand of machine somewhere. It is not always an economical and good approach. Often, behind the badge of a well-known brand, there is no high-quality hiding. But there is certainly a higher price, sometimes even 100% higher.
The desire for profit quite often causes even well-known companies to inflate the prices of spare parts. In addition, ordering the service is also not the cheapest. Therefore, many companies see a good deal in it and do not necessarily want their product to be solid.
Therefore, we suggest that you follow the price-quality ratio and user opinions, and not necessarily the name of a well-known brand.
6. What else should you pay attention to when choosing the machine?
At the end, when we already have precise functions and parameters of the machine and the price range that interests us, it is worth looking for a suitable distributor. Experience shows that large corporations are not necessarily good at customer service. This is because of the unnecessary bureaucracy and the dispersion of various departments. Often such companies outsource service, for example, to external companies. Then the individual approach to the client disappears. There is no specific person responsible for comprehensive service, as the responsibility is blurred across all departments.
The prices of the machines themselves are also highly inflated. After all, we have to pay for the “brand”, that is, the logo on the housing. In addition, we pay for the entire network of intermediaries.
On the other hand, often small sole proprietorships may not be the best solution either.
That is why it is so important to choose a reliable company that is proven, has good opinions and has an established position in the market.
What to look for when making a choice? Here are some questions to ask yourself::
- Is the sold machine under warranty and authorized service?
- Is it possible to immediately get support from the seller or the service, e.g. by phone?
- Does a Polish company sell the device, with communicative and competent service, which, if necessary, is able to provide spare parts and professional advice?
- Does the machine meet the recommendations of its users?
- Does the selling company have good opinions from its customers?
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