The Apollo 1550 Gate Opener

The Apollo 1550 Gate Opener is the intelligent version of the two Apollo linear actuators. Below you will find a feature comparison of the two openers. Apollo is known as the premier solar gate opener because of its low power consumption and large battery. The Apollo was designed for ranchers and is built in Texas. This opener gives you the freedom to set your operating arm on the inside, outside, left side or right side of the gate operating in either pull or push to open; thus giving you as much freedom as you need to have a gate opener that will work with the contours of your property.

The Apollo 1550 Single Gate Opener is a low voltage system, eliminating the need to run 110 AC to your gate. Simply run 14-gauge low voltage to a household outlet within 1000′ of the operator (provided) or use a Gate Crafters solar panel (sold separately). With Apollo’s generous sized NEMA 3R control box you can house a larger battery than most gate operating systems. A larger battery means more cycles during a time of power outages or low sunlight (if solar is being used). A fully charged deep cycle battery will provide up to 300 cycles or an average of 30 days usage on a basic system before requiring a recharge (Battery is not included). Each cycle is a full open and close and takes approximately 15 seconds each direction.

The 1050 series control board is a new release from Apollo as of 2013. This is the next generation of smart boards for gate openers. It has a built in solar regulator, LCD display for programming and diagnostics, digital controls over force, speed, delay, etc, built in surge suppression, Built in clock and timer, and built in multimeter for knowing battery voltage.
   Additional features only available with the 1050 option Top of Page

936 board is a standardized option that will come with this opener, the 1050 board is the alternative option.

You will need to pair your control board with either the Nice Apollo Moon safety photocells which is a thru beam system that is included or the NIR-50-325 with adaptor which is a reflective photo eye system or the EMX IRB-RET Universal Safety Retroreflective Photoeye.

936 Board – The 936 board comes with pre-programmed options and will be compatible with most photo eyes. For your convenience, the 936 board does not require proprietary photo eyes.

1050 Board – The 1050 Board can be customizable to your needs and is UL 325-16 compliant, which is necessary to be OSCA complaint. This board is compatible with monitored photo eyes, so that if the photo eye fails it will prevent the gate openers from failing.

See the list below for the additional features of the 1050 board:

  • Board compatible with Nice Opera System (facilitates programming and diagnostic’s away from the site of installation)
  • LCD display and dedicated buttons
  • Built-in voltmeter to check input voltage, battery voltage, solar panel volt age, motors’ current
  • Temperature sensor to optimize charging battery and system performance
  • Programmable service alarm
  • 2 Programmable timers (from 1 sec to 9 hours)
  • 2 Programmable inputs (open, close, step, mid-position, hold to open, hold to close, activating timer)
GateCrafters.com is the DIY factor. GateCrafters.com further adds to most of our gate openers for easier DIY installation. We have developed exclusive components (example: easy adjustable mounting brackets), customized instructions, and offer a full spectrum of accessories to truly cover all aspects of the installation of your gate opener. In addition we have the largest staff of factory trained technicians in the US.

The new Estate Swing Wireless Cellular Telephone 3GSM 4-in-1 Intercom (EST-200) is setting a new standard

 

The Estate Swing EST-200 Cellular 3GSM 4-in-1 Intercom is the ultimate in versatility and convenience for remote operation of any gate opener. The range of this intercom is truly unlimited, so long as there is a cell tower available to receive and transmit the call. This is particularly beneficial in areas that have a great deal of interference for traditional radio transmitters and intercoms, or for users who wish to open the gate from extended distances (such as from a home, cell phone, or even another state!). Additionally, since it’s a wireless communication system, it is needless to run to a phone line or wires to the house. The process of running wires can be time-consuming, complicated and expensive. The Estate Swing Cell Phone Access Intercom allows the user to avoid all that while providing a simple, secure, and convenient means of operating the gate opener.

It works this way. Purchase a 3GSM SIM card* (AT&T or T-Mobile) and a cell number. Customers can purchase pay-as-you-go cell numbers (disposable phones for example) or add another line to the current cellular plan. The intercom will then receive commands from authorized users via cell signal and also place outgoing intercom calls to the administrators through cell signals. The intercom system rarely uses the cell service. The only time minutes are used is when a guest is at the gate talking to a person to let them in; the other features don’t actually answer the calls – they utilize caller ID to allow access.

This intercom totally eliminates the necessity of purchasing or carrying extra remotes because it provides access to the gate opener through an item most people already carry – a cell phone. Simply dial the intercom number and, through caller ID, the intercom will recognize the programmed number(s) and open the gate. This is more secure than traditional remotes because the number has to be programmed into the intercom to operate it, so there is less of a chance that unauthorized persons will be able to operate the gate. Additional security can be provided by the password protected mode; when the intercom picks up the call, the user must enter the programmed password.

It’s convenient for homeowners because each member of the family, plus friends, extended family, and others, can operate the intercom easily and conveniently. Similarly, the intercom function permits homeowners to allow entry for personnel requiring access to the property, even when the homeowner is not home. When the intercom button is pressed, the intercom dials one of three programmed administrator numbers; if the first attempt is unsuccessful, it will try each of the other administrator numbers. When the call is received, the administrator can talk to the person at the gate and press a few keys to allow entry to the property. This is an excellent feature for deliveries since the homeowner can allow entry even when not at home.

This accessory also has a number of convenient functions for ease of operation and enhanced reliability. The intercom runs off a battery backup in the case of a power failure, and it has an alarm to indicate when the battery has been engaged due to power failure. Moreover, users can program the intercom to text administrator numbers for updates, including power failures. Users can program extended delay opening/closing functions for larger vehicles (such as those with trailers), as well as a party mode. The party mode engages the gate in an open position until an administrator sends a text to close the gate. All programming can be done by phone and text message for the most convenient operation possible.

* The 3GSM Intercom has to be used with a 3GSM SIM card. To our knowledge only AT&T and T-Mobile use this platform in the US.

How to: Test your limit switches on Estate Swing Linear Gate Openers

In this video Anthony Gaeto shows you how to test your gate openers’ limit switches for continuity, using your control board and a volt meter.

Need help? Visit Gate Crafters to live chat with one of our knowledgeable staff members, Monday – Sunday 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM Eastern Time.

This test is good for the Estate Swing models:

Estate Swing E-S 300 Classic Single Gate Opener Packages

Estate Swing E-S300 / E-S500 Control Board

Estate Swing E-S 500 Classic Single Swing Gate Opener Packages

Estate Swing E-S1000H Single Swing Solar Gate Opener Packages

Estate Swing E-S1000D Solar Dual Swing Gate Opener Packages

Estate Swing E-S 1600 Single Gate Opener Packages

 

Increasing Your Property Value

Seven seconds. That’s the time it takes for a person to create their own first impression on something. This fact also relates to your home. You don’t want people to have a negative connotation when driving by your home, so what can you do to change this? We’ll talk about what typical changes do to property value, as well as the addition of a front entrance driveway gate.

It is essential to plan out what will bring the greatest value to your property.

If you read a multitude of articles on the web concerning the return on investment of your home, the number one thing they speak on is curb appeal. Curb appeal is the allurement that the exterior of a property provides. I’ve decided to go a bit further and see just what brings in the big bucks as it pertains to curb appeal.

 

According to Remodeling Magazine’s “Cost vs. Value Report of 2015”, the top three things that bring a great return on investment are the replacement of a garage, siding, windows, and front door. Depending on if you replace the door with fiberglass or steel, your ROI can range between 72% and 101.8%. A garage door replacement brought in approximately 88.4% in 2015. The siding and window replacement brought a little lower ROI of 77.6% and 72%.

Door, window, siding, and garage door replacements are great upgrades. The addition of a driveway gate brings a curb appeal the other homes can’t provide.

While all these bring in a significant ROI, the addition of a driveway gate brings your property value up and will help sell your property faster. These other replacements only increase the ROI in dollars. A gate is the better choice because it increases your ROI monetarily while also giving off a perceived exclusivity and feeling of security. Let’s talk what’s important first: the numbers.

 

According to Chris McGoey at Crime Doctor’s, “Adding an attractive automatic entry gate system can add $50,000 or more to single family home values.” According to Riverside Fence Blog, “automatic driveway gates can add up to 5% to your home’s value.” With gate packages as low as $3,000 at Gate Crafters, you can easily reap the benefits of having an automatic gate on your property. Let’s say you purchase a high end gate opener for $5,000 from Gate Crafters and your property is appraised at $400,000. With the addition of just that driveway gate, you can increase your property value to $420,000. This is a $15,000 return, from a $5,000 investment.

Photo sent in from a happy customer with the purchase of a driveway gate from GateCrafters.

The three most important concepts to understand when buying a property (whether for living purposes or as an investment) is always location, location, and location. People want to purchase a residence where the schools are exceptional and crime rates are remarkably low. To add an extra sense of security to any property (whether it is in a crime stricken area or not) you can put up a driveway gate. Chris McGoey at Crime Doctor’s states, “criminals will bypass a gated community for one that is not gated simply because of the restricted access.” Now along with the security comes the ease of getting into your property with your remote or even the capability of using your cell phone. The driveway gate also gives the perception that someone important lives in the home. When buyers look to purchase a home, they always check to see what the neighboring homes are going for. They usually aren’t afraid to spend a couple more dollars if the home provides just the right curb appeal.
If you want your property to bring a greater ROI while standing out from the other properties in the neighborhood, the addition of a driveway gate is your best bet. Check out our website or get in contact with our sales reps to boost your property value today.

Reliability and Your Gate Opener

From time to time our customers ask us why their gate opener is not as reliable as their garage door opener.  Last week we covered routine gate and gate opener maintenance tips that every gate owner should do.  These tips will lead to higher levels of reliability for your gate and gate opener.

Lets first discuss why your garage door opener tends to be more reliable than your gate opener.  One of the major areas that leads to the increased reliability of the garage door opener is that the garage door opener is protected from the elements.  Because of this the lubricants on the garage door tracks last longer and need less maintenance.  The springs on the garage door assembly help the door become neutrally buoyant.  When the garage door is neutrally buoyant, it allows the opener to pull the door open with minimal force.  Now, here is one of the areas where you can increase the reliability of your gate opener system.  You should be able move your gate to the mid point of its cycle.  The gate should not move towards the open or closed position.  If your gate does move adjust the hinges so the gate become neutrally buoyant.

Additionally your garage door opener is protected from the elements whereas, your gate opener is constantly exposed to the weather.  This is where the continual maintenance is key for the reliability of your gate opener.  If you have a swinging gate, the force of the wind can cause additional strain on your gate opener.

So if take both of these videos into consideration, you will be able to get garage door opener reliability with your gate opener.

Routine Gate Maintenance

One topic that every old, new, or potential gate owner should cover is the proper maintenance of a gate. Everyone knows that every great product requires care, and a gate opener is no different. Let’s discuss some simple tech tips to keep your gate opener operating at its full potential for years to come.

For this entire discussion, we will be referring to the Estate Swing E-S1000 gate opener due to its popularity. If you have a linear actuator style gate opener, you may notice that your opener may stop and try to reverse when opening. This problem is occurring due to buildup on the screw drive, so we’ll tackle that problem first.

Blaster Spray Garage Door Lubricant
This is the GateCrafters’s choice of lubricant for your gate opener’s screw drive

Heat and humidity can cause surface rust to form on your screw drive. To perform the task you need a screwdriver and Blaster’s Spray Garage Door Opener Lubrication (seen above). What you want to do first is extend the gate opener arm fully and remove the limit switch track. Spray just a small amount of the lubricant into the holes at the bottom of the tube assembly. To get an even coating of the lubricant, run the opener either manually or via remote. Repeat this process to ensure that the arm is sufficiently lubricated. Once your arm is gliding smoothly, re-attach the limit switch track and make sure the limit positions have not changed by operating the gate (adjust as necessary).

WD-40's Specialist Water Resistant
GateCrafters recommends WD-40’s Specialist Water Resistant Silicone Lubricant for all exterior moving parts of your gate opener.

Now let’s shift our attention towards the piston and get that lubricated. This process requires two materials: WD-40 Specialist Water Resistant Silicone Lubricant and a rag. Grab your lubricant and spray it onto the piston surface. Now, using the rag spread the lubricant on the piston surface in its entirety. This process will help protect the rubber scrub seal and prevent any surface rust or corrosion. Once this is complete you are now halfway through the process.

While your silicone is curing from the previous step, you can now lubricate your post and gate brackets. This is often one of the most overlooked areas of proper gate maintenance,  yet it is the easiest step. You just grab your WD-40 lubricant as mentioned in the previous step and apply a liberal amount to the opener’s pivot points.  That wasn’t to bad, right?

Now we are on to the final step. We can now cover an area of the gate that should get the most attention: the lubrication of your gate hinge. Any high quality gate hinges will feature a zerk grease fitting, and now is the time to grease the ball bearings with your choice of grease. You can use anything from marine grease to any automotive grease. Just a quick note: when you are inspecting your hinges, be sure to place a level on your gate. You are doing this to ensure that your posts haven’t shifted over time causing stress on the opener.

By doing all these essential yet simple routine check-ups, you can extend the life of your system and prevent any issues down the road. We here at GateCrafters recommend performing these checkups every 3-months and the internal lubrication once a year. That’s all from “GateCrafters Tech Tips” for today. Watch the video below for a visual representation of the steps above.

Walking Dead Zombies Are NO Match For Our Driveway Gates

With the 6th season of AMC’s hit television show “The Walking Dead” set to premier on Sunday, October 11 at 9:00 pm EST, we are reminded once again of the big problem at hand: the pending zombie apocalypse. You may be thinking to yourself, “I don’t think I’m prepared for the imminent doom that zombies will soon bring.” What you should be thinking is, “How in the world can I secure my home from the zombie herd or the passing door to door salesperson?”

With the 6th season of the hit television show set to premier this October 11th at 9:00 PM Easter, be on the lookout for zombies trying to enter your property.
With the 6th season of the hit television show set to premier this October 11th at 9:00 PM Eastern, be on the lookout for zombies trying to enter your property.

Without fail, the zombies come out to play on Sunday nights. What goes to say Rick and the others are the only ones that have to deal with ghoulish zombies. Maybe you don’t have “zombies” in your neighborhood, but what about that door to door salesperson? The temporary fix is to ignore the door and just remove their pile of flyers once they leave. But this doesn’t happen until you’ve been struck with a barrage of knocks and doorbell rings. We’ve heard your cries of fear of impending zombies and perused through your letters of irritation with unwanted salespeople, and we’ve gathered only the best products to assist you in your new protection plan.

GateCrafters Semi-Custom Driveway Gate
This is a great example of a customer installation of a GateCrafters’s Driveway Gate!

Now the impending zombie horde may not be the strongest threat to your safety (zombies are kinda mushy), but you can rest assured that your driveway gate is made from top quality materials.  Other area that needs to be addressed is driveway gate automation.  When you want to go foraging for supplies at your local grocery or home improvement store, GateCrafters has a gate opener for your gate.

Our zombie response experts are standing by to help you design a zombie proof gate system that will fit your unique needs, whether that be a high horse power system to move the herd of zombies from your property or a custom designed solar powered system than continue to power your gate opener during power outages.  Solar power is perfect for remote properties where you have long driveways and perfect for those who want to decrease their reliance on grid power.

GateCrafters can build the zombie proof gate the zombie proof gate of your dreams. Whether that is a 8 foot tall Zombie Blocker or gate frame that you clad with the wood of your choice and barbed/razor wire of your choosing. If you’re like me and don’t want to take any chances with this zombie apocalypse, GateCrafters has a selection of ready to ship Estate Swing gates for your choosing (both swing and slide gates available).

Estate Swing Driveway Gates are ready to ship right from the GateCrafters' warehouse right to your front door!
Estate Swing Driveway Gates are ready to ship right from the GateCrafters’s warehouse right to your front door!

If you have any additional questions regarding the zombie proofing of your driveway or general questions you may have about purchasing a driveway gate and gate opener, please call our sales reps at 1-800-537-4283.

When Do I Need a Charging Control Board for my Gate Opener?

 

One of the many questions that we receive regarding gate openers is “When does my gate opener system require a charge controller?”  So we sat down and put together a quick video guide explaining your options.

Just as a reminder, the info in this post and video typically only applies for 12VDC systems from Apollo, Estate Swing, LiftMaster, GTO, and Mighty Mule.  Typically 24VDC systems do not utilize solar power or batteries and so you will always have a charge controller in your system (if needed).

Most residential gate opener systems use solar panels between 5 and 30 watts.  When you buy any 5 or 10 watt solar panel from GateCrafters they have a built in charging diode that prevent the battery from being discharged during the night.  These panels can be directly mounted to the battery terminals on a group size 24 deep cycle battery.  When you start using solar panels greater than 10 watts, you will need a charging control board.  GateCrafters offers a very popular 12VDC charge controller that works with solar panels up to 30 watts and 1800mA A/C charging transformer.

Charging control boards are intended to extend the life of your batteries in your gate opener system.  Most solar gate opener systems utilize group size 24 batteries, however some use smaller batteries such as, 7ah batteries.  Systems with the smaller size batteries will always have to use charge controllers.  This is due to the charging device (whether it is a solar panel or charging transformer) over powering the battery, therefore decreasing its useful life.

When working with commercial 12VDC gate opener systems, you will typically be using solar panels greater than 30 watts.  GateCrafters sells solar panels up to 245 watts and has charge controllers to work with these higher wattage panels.  If you are looking to add a commercial solar powered gate opener system please call the technicians at GateCrafters.com and they will be able to specially design a system based on your needs and unique solar zone.

Stay tuned for more helpful advice from the staff at GateCrafters.com

Gate Opener warranties: The brands, the processes, and who pays for what

One of the issues that can come up when installing a gate opener yourself is having to fulfill a warranty. Below we have outlined each gate opener brand’s process for warranty fulfillment. We want our customers to be fully aware, when you are purchasing a particular brand, there are considerations past the features of the product that need to be made and warranty process is probably one of the most important ones.

Liftmaster:

Liftmaster Warranty Summary:

Pros: We have not experienced Liftmaster denying many warranties (some other manufacturers declare user error or natural forces causing issue much more frequently than Liftmaster)

Cons: It is a long process because they are insistent that there are a minimum of 3 parties involved. Also the lack of flexibility on Liftmaster to talk to home owners directly or cover inbound transportation costs for warranties adds a potential expense that is a pure crap shoot on if you are going to have to incur this or not on a Liftmaster purchase.

Liftmaster Warranty Process:

Liftmaster has a warranty that must be fulfilled through the manufacturer with the assistance of an installer and dealer with technical knowledge.

1(A). Call from the gate to your dealer you purchased from and troubleshoot to the point that the dealer can understand and answer any questions Liftmaster staff may have about what is happening. This is why it is important to have purchased from GateCrafters.com. Big box companies or non-specialized retailers cannot do this AND most importantly, Liftmaster techs will not speak directly to home owners. They will inform you to hire an installer (see 1(B)) and have them call to get the warranty filled.

1(B). The other option is to have a Liftmaster approved installer call directly to the Liftmaster techs from the gate.

2. In either case the Liftmaster tech will provide the caller a Reference Number. The reference number is to be provided to the Liftmaster dealer from which the product was purchased. One the dealer has the reference number they will call back into Liftmaster technicians and receive a RMA number.

3(A). After you receive the RMA number from the dealer you can send the product in to Liftmaster for warranty. Liftmaster does not cover any shipping charges on warranty items, including on dead out of box items. When the product is received by Liftmaster they will take on average about 2 weeks to process it. They will send the warranty fixed or replaced product to your dealer and then your dealer will return it to you.

3(B). Another option is advanced replacement. However this method was designed by Liftmaster for the dealers and from the dealers for installers with revolving credit accounts that are due in 30 days. After you receive the RMA number and you can request advanced replacement. Liftmaster will ship the replacement item to the dealer and send the dealer an Invoice that is due in 30 days. They can also ship directly to the installer or home owner for a 25% of the replacement part cost fee (this part is non-refundable). The dealer will receive the replacement part and issue an invoice to the installer for payment in 30 days (if a credit line has been established) or charge the installer or customers credit card for the replacement part. They will then ship the part to the customer. GateCrafters.com covers the shipping of the advance replacement part being shipped ground from us to our customer, other dealers may charge shipping, that is up to the dealer. The customer will write the RMA number on the outside of the package and ship at their expense the defective part to Liftmaster. Once Liftmaster processes the warranty they will issue a credit offsetting the Invoice for the advance replacement to the dealer and the dealer will do the same, issuing a credit to offset the invoice to the installer with a credit account or they will refund the credit card that was charged for the replacement part.

 

Estate Swing:

Estate Swing Warranty Summary:

Pros: Estate Swing very rarely denies a warranty, even for known user error during install. Their main interest is finding out want happened and correcting the issue so it doesn’t happen again. Shipping costs are covered by the manufacturer. They also allow dealers to handle the warranty directly with the customer and talk to them on the back end. They don’t require direct contact to fulfill warranties.

Cons: Because they are a company that specializes in DIY home owner installation they will not accept the reasoning of “because I’m a professional with years of experience and I know it is defective” to skip the troubleshooting/picture process. Troubleshooting notes and pictures have to be done and turned in by dealers as part of the warranty process to get credit from the factory, no exceptions.

Estate Swing Warranty Process:

1. The home owner should call into the dealer techs or Estate Swing techs from the gate. They should have some basic tools such as a multi-meter, small screw driver and small amount of wire to make a connection with. After troubleshooting and warranty is determined the tech will request pictures of the installation to be emailed. The tech will reply to the email with a RMA number and warranty instructions.

2(A). The customer can send in the part and include the receipt for any ground shipping charges (UPS ground, Fed Ex ground or USPS mail) for reimbursement. Once the part is received, tested and repair or replaced it will be shipped back to the customer. This typically take about 1 week.

2(B). Advanced replacement is available through the dealers for most warranties. When the RMA number is received the customer can call into the dealer and use a charge on their credit card as a guarantee of return of the defective part. The dealer will charge the price of the part and ship the part. Then the customer will return the defective part to the dealer and after it is processed the customer will have a refund of that amount on their credit card. The shipping to the customer is covered by the dealer. The return shipping of the defective part can be covered if a receipt is included for the cost with the shipment. One thing to note, advanced replacements are readily available for control boards, receivers, things of that nature. However for motors that have been in the field for a while they will be replaced in advance with refurbished motors; if there are no refurbished motors available and advance replacement is necessary for your application they will allow replacement with a new actuator if the difference in price between refurbished and new is paid (the entire price of a new arm will be charged but when the refund is done it will only be in the amount of a refurbished motor).

 

Apollo / NICE:

Apollo/NICE Warranty Summary:

Pros: Homeowners can work directly with the Apollo/NICE technicians on trouble shooting. Apollo tries to solve issues rather than just replace parts, for example we have seen where a customer is replacing an 835 board under warranty and they replace it with a 1050 board because they believe it is a better fit for the application.

Cons: The dealer AND the manufacturer still must be involved. However the dealers role in this process since the home owner can troubleshoot direct can be limited to obtaining the RMA through a quick phone call. Apollo / NICE does not cover any inbound shipping charges of defective goods.

 

Apollo / NICE Warranty Process:

Apollo / NICE has a warranty that must be fulfilled through the manufacturer with the assistance of the dealer for the processing.

1. The home owner should call into Apollo / NICE techs from the gate. They should have some basic tools such as a multi-meter, small screw driver and small amount of wire to make a connection with. After troubleshooting and warranty is determined the tech will ask the caller to get in touch with their dealer they purchased from to obtain a RMA. Make sure this is done ASAP and remember to give the name of the technician worked with at Apollo / NICE. If you wait too many days the tech may need to get back in touch with you to go over some of the details.

2. The dealer will call Apollo and obtain a RMA number. The dealer will provide this RMA number to the customer.

3(A). After you receive the RMA number from the dealer you can send the product in to Apollo / NICE for warranty. Apollo / NICE does not cover any shipping charges on warranty items, including on dead out of box items. When the product is received by Apollo / NICE they will take on average about 1 week to process it. They will send the warranty fixed or replaced product to your dealer and then your dealer will return it to you.

3(B). Another option is advanced replacement. However this method was designed by Apollo / NICE for the dealers and from the dealers for installers with revolving credit accounts that are due in 30 days. After you receive the RMA number and you can request advanced replacement. Apollo / NICE will ship the replacement item to the dealer and send the dealer an Invoice that is due in 30 days. They can also ship directly to the installer or home owner (there is normally a fee associated with this, so proper warranty documentation must be established first to have fee waved). The dealer will receive the replacement part and issue an invoice to the installer for payment in 30 days (if a credit line has been established) or charge the installer or home owner’s credit card for the replacement part. They will then ship the part to the customer. GateCrafters.com covers the shipping of the advance replacement part being shipped ground from us to our customer, other dealers may charge shipping, that is up to the dealer. The customer will write the RMA number on the outside of the package and ship at their expense the defective part to Apollo / NICE. Once Apollo / NICE processes the warranty they will issue a credit offsetting the Invoice for the advance replacement to the dealer and the dealer will do the same, issuing a credit to offset the invoice to the installer with a credit account or they will refund the credit card that was charged for the replacement part.

 

GTO/PRO and Mighty Mule (same company):

GTO/PRO and Mighty Mule Warranty Summary:

Pros: Home owners deal directly with the manufacturer. They handle all their warranties directly and do not ask or want the distributor or retailer to be involved.

Cons: They are strict on what will be covered under warranty. If there is a lightening or a surge they will not cover the product. Also the time frames for getting a technician on the phone can take longer during the summer season. Inbound shipping is not covered. No advanced replacement program so you have to wait for the fulfillment of the warranty.

GTO/PRO and Mighty Mule Warranty Process:

1. Call Mighty Mule from the gate and troubleshoot with their technicians. Once they determine what is defective they will ask you for your purchase information so if you believe something is going to returned it is best to have your receipt ready when you call. They will give you a RGA#.

2. Ship the product to Mighty Mule with the RGA on the outside of the box and the receipt from purchase on the inside of the box. Shipping is not covered or reimbursed by Mighty Mule.

3. Mighty Mule will determine if under warranty or not. If covered they will repair and send back. If it is not covered they will reply to you with a quote for repair.

Sentry / US Automatic:

Sentry / US Automatic Summary:

Pros: Home owners deal directly with the manufacturer. They handle all their warranties directly and do not require the distributor to be involved. Distributors can be involved by choice to acquire an advanced replacement.

Cons: Inbound shipping is not covered. Troubleshooting with the manufacturer is required and they are in during the week days.

Sentry / US Automatic Warranty Process:

1. The home owner should call into Sentry / US Automatic techs from the gate. They should have some basic tools such as a multi-meter, small screw driver and small amount of wire to make a connection with. After troubleshooting and warranty is determined the tech will provide the customer with an RA#.

2(A). After you receive the RA number from you can send the product in to Sentry / US Automatic for warranty. Sentry / US Automatic does not cover any shipping charges on warranty items, including on dead out of box items. When the product is received by Sentry / US Automatic they will take on average about 1 week to process it. They will send the warranty fixed or replaced product directly to you.

2(B). Another option is advanced replacement. However this done through the dealer if the dealer chooses to offer this. GateCrafters.com will offer this for their customers on Sentry and US Automatic products. After you receive the RA number and you can call and request advanced replacement from the dealer. The dealer will process the order like it is a new sale of the product by charging the home owner’s credit card for the replacement part. They will notate that a return should be coming from US Automatic and upon receipt of the warranty replacement at the dealer the charge to the credit card charge for the product (product only) will be refunded. The customer will write the RA number on the outside of the package and ship at their expense the defective part to Sentry / US Automatic. The customer should make sure to notate that they want the warranted part to go to the dealer and not back to the customer.  Once Sentry / US Automatic processes the warranty they will ship the part to the dealer and the dealer will refund the credit card that was charged for the replacement part.

Maintenance Free vs Maintained Gate Openers

In the world of retail products the buzz words “maintenance free” are being promoted as the solution to home owner peace of mind. In the gate opener industry this is being promoted as well. We take issue with this idea for one primary reason:

Commercial grade products are built to a higher standard of reliability than residential products.

Commercial grade products require maintenance and if maintained properly will give many years of service.

Then if you have a product that is “maintenance free” can it really be commercial grade quality and last for years? If such a thing existed wouldn’t it dominate the commercial market?

This is why the notion of “maintenance free” is really just another way to say it is priced to be discarded and a new one purchased. The manufacturers of those products don’t intend it to be kept for long periods of time or repaired.

Maintenance is not a difficult task on most gate openers. Take for example the E-S 1000 or Classic. A “once a year” form of maintenance that will keep it working beautifully is screw-drive lubrication. Here is a video of the process.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OHBvEIemEk

Mechanical products simply perform better when maintained. So our suggestion on maintenance free gate openers is to consider what is being said about maintenance free and why.