This article will show you how you can make an Automatic Gate Opener from readily available parts, and also the parts that you will need to do so. An assumption has been made that you already have a gate and fence fitted.
What is an automatic gate opener?
An automatic gate opener can be fitted to either a swing or a sliding gate. The installation of a gate opener allows the gate to be opened and closed automatically rather than manually. The mechanism can be operated through a remote-control signal, a keypad, or automatically using a sensor fitted some way from the gate itself so that the gate opens as you drive up.
The installation of an automatic gate opener saves a vehicle passenger or driver leaving a vehicle, opening, driving through, then closing. In bad weather, this is a much better system.
It can improve security because if you choose a remote opening mechanism or a keypad, then without the remote device or key code no one can access the property.
It also means that entering and leaving your property is quicker – as the gate opens and closes for you.
How do automatic gate openers work?
The gate openers are driven by electricity. An impulse created by a remote control, sensor, or keypad either opens or closes the gate mechanism. The impulse is received by the operator and opens the gate for a prescribed period of time, then it closes.
The operator that receives the impulse is attached to a swinging arm which controls the gate movement in a prescribed manner. The control box is mounted onto the gatepost near the gate hinge and receives the signals.
The gate opener relies upon electricity and is battery operated. The battery needs changing periodically The batter can be charged by solar power, making it suitable for installation at any location.
How to make your own automatic gate opener.
There are a wide variety of automatic and self-install gate openers on the market, however for the purposes of this guide we are looking at making your own Automatic Gate Opener, and therefore saving yourself some money.
Step One – what do you already have?
First things first, have you got fencing and a gate? Take a good look at what you have currently installed because the force on the posts of an automatic gate opener is far greater than that of manually opening and closing.
If your fence posts are not that robust or have been in situ for a long time then you may wish to replace them. If you are looking at a brand-new project then you may want to think about concreting in concrete fence posts to ensure that you have a good stable frame for your gate.
Step Two – What parts do I need?
For the actual gate opening mechanism using solar power to charge the battery and a remote-control mechanism you would need the following;
- Winch relay
- Solar Panel – to charge the battery
- Small lead acid battery
- Remote relay
- Solar charge controller
- Linear Actuator
Step Three – Powering the Gate
If you are installing the gate opener near a power source then an ac/dc converter, similar to the one powering your router will enable you to run the gate without the need for solar power or batteries.
The wiring is the technical bit! If you aren’t confident then do get help from an electrician.
The panel is used to charge the battery through the controller. The remote relay wires to the winch circuit to create a reversing circuit – label the wires, check everything twice.
Step Four – The Physical Installation
Mount your actuator to the gate post. Then secure to the gate using a system with enough strength to withstand the movement of the gate, it would be easy to underestimate the force exerted, a metal bar would work well. Pay close attention to the opening and closing stopping points, and the angle of fitting. This is definitely a case of measure twice and then cut once.
Finally – Test thoroughly and remember the safety points;
Having learned how to make an automatic gate opener, if you install one be careful of children and livestock when in operation – there is no cut out in a home-made system. If you aren’t using a 12 volt system then follow all necessary electrical standards.