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OT: Help needed on residential gate opener

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  • OT: Help needed on residential gate opener

    MY friend lives at the end of the road in a mountain area. For 50 years he used a chain between gate posts and has walked up and down the hill to lock or unlock the chain. He has had a stroke and would like to have an electric opener installed. We talked to a contractor yesterday and he chatted on about smart phones and wifi. Scott does not use a smart phone and would not know a wifi if it bit him on the ankle. Besides, his internet connection is sketchy due to his geographic location. There is one 3/4" conduit from the house to the gate location. The house is in line of sight through trees and brush and about 500 ft away.

    We are seeking advice on three issues. An intercom system with a public side remote station. Remote control: the contractor talked about a single button that would only change the status of the gate without any indication of where the gate was at the time and wanted to do it via wifi. We would like to have LED indication of the gate status or a three button control for Open, Close and Stop, or better, both pilot lights and push buttons. Hard wired is preferred. The longest conduit run between pull boxes is about 125 feet and we can pull that. Last: the contractor was selling LiftMaster but my first look at the reviews of their single panel gate operator was not encouraging. Looking for vendor recommendations etc.

    Scott is a EE and I am an electrician, so we are comfortable with wires and can fabricate custom controls etc. Our major problem is the reliance of vendors on smart phones and wifi.


  • #2
    We had a Mighty Mule solar powered opener on our gate for six or seven years - finally removed it because of access issues for deliveries, meter readers, etc. It was a basic unit, so no bells and whistles - just a remote control, and a keypad where you could punch in the entry code manually. I know that the company now makes smartphone-enabled openers, but I don't know what other accessories are available. The opener worked fine for us, but the trickle charge for the battery struggled to keep up in really cold weather.


    • #3
      Pull some cat 5e or 6 through the conduit and use a relay for switching if you have to.
      Gate operators must have a wired activation input. Can you preview a manual?
      I work in a plant that makes door operators all day long. If it is only wireless activation
      (I doubt it), it is probably 433 or 900 Mhz and you can get a transmitter for wiring to a
      hard pushbutton. Look at BEA controls.



      • #4
        You might look at powerline carrier technology. Signals get imposed on the AC line powering the operator. On a dedicated circuit like that it might work very well. Intercom that way too.


        • #5
          RE: powerline carrier technology.

          I've more than 30 years experience with the X10 powerline carrier technology. It can work remarkably well, but the protocol that it uses to pass signals from point to point does not usually include a handshake to allow you to see that the signal was received by the switch module. It's not designed for anything that is critical.

          So if you use something like an X10 device, make sure that you add a local switch that can override it if noise on the power line triggers it or prevents it from activating.

          At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

          Location: SF East Bay.


          • #6
            Thanks for the responding. I've passed your replies to Scott for guidance. Carl


            • #7
              In addition to setting up a powered gate, I think I would add a security camera to the system. Easy to confirm gate status that way, and can record activity too.