Automatic Front Gate

The following information has been reproduced with permission from the book
 ‘RURAL‘ (R U Ready for A Life Change), page 39, by author Bernie Webb.

RURAL-Automatic-Front-Gate-1.pdf (PDF 190KB)

Automatic Gate- showing control box and actuator unit. Note: hinges on gate have been upgraded to a ball bearing type to make the auto-gate opener’s job easier (not essential).

Automatic front gates are a bit like air-conditioning in cars, once you’ve got it you wonder how you could have possibility survived without it.  Your first decision is whether you want a swing gate or a sliding gate.  To keep the cost down you can simply add a Swing Automatic Gate Kit to your existing swinging farm gate.

Automatic gate kits can be sourced in AC (240V) and DC (12V and 24V) units.  Prior to the 1990’s all gate kits were provided with AC motors, but as technology slowly improved AC to DC conversion and control circuits, DC motors became more available and are now more widely used.  DC motors have a number of advantages over AC motors such as being faster, more efficient (about two to four times less power required than an AC motor) and offer more accurate speed and position control.  DC motors are also smoother, quieter and safer than AC motors.  Kits with DC powered motors usually have a battery backup option for when mains power has dropped out or, with the addition of a solar panel (see Figure 1) can operate without any mains power, which is the preferred option if the gate is a long way away from mains power.

Solar panel to charge 12v battery and an antenna for wireless remote control.

You will obviously have remote controls in your vehicles to open the gates before you get to them.   Don’t forget to have buttons conveniently located both outside and inside your gate, to allow for any visitors to open the gate to enter or exit your property.  This would also be useful should your remote control’s battery die.  Yet another advantage of conveniently positioned buttons is when you need to open the gate to either check the mail, or to put out or bring in, your rubbish bin(s).An approximate costing for an automatic gate kit (not including the gate), with battery backup and a solar panel, would be between $1,500 and $2,000, plus an additional few hundred dollars to have it installed, or nothing extra if you are able to fit it yourself.  Over time you would find this money very well spent, especially when approaching your gate and it is bucketing down with rain and blowing a gale.