Gate Opener Wind Resistance Issues on Driveway Gates

Wind is an issue for all vehicular gate openers, irregardless of the brand if the gate opener is UL325 compliant. Resistance detection is something that is built into all vehicular gate openers and is discussed as a part of UL325. It is discussed primarily as a positive; protects children, pets, cars, etc. But then there are many forms of resistance that can be brought on by nature that gate openers are subject to that sometimes people don’t think of as resistance, but the reality is snow build up, wind, sagging gates, slope, etc are all the same as hitting something you would want the gate opener to stop for and therefore the gate opener stops.
Sometimes we are asked what the acceptable wind speed is. This really cannot be answered as a wind speed that is acceptable to a gate opener vs one that is not. It is not possible to ever say that 15 mph is fine in all circumstances and 45 is not. It depends on how much pressure that wind exerts on the gate. On some style gates if you placed a cinder block holding the gate and 15 mph winds blew it would push the block. Other style gates it would not, the block would hold. That is the determining factor of obstruction, not really the wind speed. It would not be possible to engineer to account for a certain wind speed under UL325 in all gate designs as the gate design surface area/resistance is not a constant.
If your gate opener is having wind resistance obstructions typically GateCrafters.com can assist in trying to make recommendations for changes to your setup to make it work as to the best of that particular gate openers ability. There are a few factors when dealing with resistance to make sure the wind is the only resistance factor and not just the tipping factor of an already existing resistance issue. The battery size/voltage (on a 12V gate opener system), the design of the gate, hinges of the gate, stroke of the arm in the open and closed position, the P3 setting, the length of wire from motors, and a few other things. If we can give the opener the maximum leverage and least amount of operational resistance, then perhaps the wind itself wont be enough to make it obstruct where now it could be a combination factor.
Apollo gate openers makes a pre-UL325 gate opener, the Apollo 1500/1600 gate opener. However this is not a vehicular gate opener as it does not comply with UL 325 safety standards. This is why it can push through wind. The down side is it cannot distinguish wind from a child and can do serious bodily harm, we only sell it as an agricultural gate opener as there is too much liability otherwise and we will not be involved in a situation where a gate opener causes harm to a person.
A way to go is an FAAC hydraulic gate opener which we can special order for you, however they are expensive. The way a hydraulic gate opener handles obstruction is different. Screw drive gate openers stop and reverse when there is resistance. Hydraulic gate openers cycle the fluid when there is resistance through a bypass. What it would look like is as follows: the hydraulic gate opener would be opening and then slow to a crawl or stand still until the wind dies down and then continue on when the resistance is no longer there. If you stand in front of one it just feels like a gentle continuous nudge.
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Gate opener GSM receiver and intercom troubleshooting tip

Estate Swing gate openers makes a GSM controlled intercom and receiver. In both products the units can be programmed through text messaging. The system manager (in most cases with GateCrafters.com products, the home owner installing this gate opener DIY) will purchase a SIM card with a phone number and insert it in the GSM intercom or receiver. That phone number will have to be kept active and will be dedicated to the gate opener. The text messaging for programming is sent to the phone number of that SIM card from the system managers phone.
When doing so we get technical assistant calls some times that the system is not receiving or responding to the text messages that are being sent for programming. In some cases this could be the gate opener is installed in an are with poor cellular reception.  However we have discovered another possible cause: the programming individual’s cell phone is connected to and using WIFI or data instead of cellular.
Many people with smart phones in order to save text messaging charges and data charges have their phones set up to connect to WIFI where possible. Other have their texts set up to be sent as data messages. In both situations this alters the caller id of the text message being sent and the system requires to identify the caller ID of the senders phone to accept programming. When programming your GSM make sure to turn off WIFI and data, use it a basic cell phone instead. This should allow your text messages to go through fine to the GSM intercom or receiver and allow it to program properly.

 

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Gate opener limit switch replacement for an Estate Swing E-S 1600

The Estate Swing E-S 1600 / E-S 1602 gate opener has been on the market for well over a decade now. Most are still out there doing their job opening and closing their owner’s driveway gate on a daily basis. Because of their stout build and reliable service many choose to repair this gate opener rather than scrap it if it stops working. One of the most common things to have to repair or replace on any gate opener system over time are the limit switches. Here we are going to show you how to easily remove the limit switches on an E-S 1600 gate opener.

First step is to take the two bottom plates off the main gate opener motor housing and separate the motor from the gears. Unlock the gears using the manual release first to do this. Also take off the limit wire clamps (the clamps that hold the black wire that runs from the piston tube to the back of the motor housing). Once this is done the gate opener motor and motor housing will be separate from the piston and the piston tube where the limit switches are located.

Gate opener motor housing disassembled
Separate the gate opener motor housing from the piston and piston tube housing. Also release the limit switch wire from its holders in the upper housing.

Next take the cap off the end of the piston tube where you normally turn the screws to adjust the limit switches. Here you will find that where the adjustment screws exit the body of the piston tube there are C clips.

Gate opener limit adjustment screw is held in place by a C clip that must be removed.
Pry off the gate opener limit adjustment screw C clip

Remove the C clips.

Overview of what the Gate opener limit adjustment screw C clip looks like
Once pried off the gate opener limit adjustment screw C clip looks like this.

While pressing firmly in toward the body of the piston tube, turn each of the limit switch adjustment screws clockwise as if you were screwing them into the piston tube body. They will probably turn one or two rotations and then slide through the hole the rest of the way.

Turn the gate opener limit adjustment screw clockwise while pushing in.
Turn clockwise and firmly press in the gate opener limit adjustment screw to push it into the body and remove the limit switch kit.

Once both screws are inside the body the limit switch kit can be pulled out of the rear of the piston tube body where it connects with the gate opener motor housing.

Limit switch kit being slide out the rear of the piston tube
Slide the gate opener limit switch kit out the rear of the piston tube where it attaches to the gate opener motor.

 

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Gate Opener wiring for an Apollo 1550 and 1500 with 1050 board

The gate opener Apollo 1550 and the Apollo 1500 are now able to be paired to the new Italian NICE 1050 smart gate opener board. However because the 1050 smart board is so versatile to be paired with many gate openers we have had a few customers as use for quick guide wiring. Last weekend one of our tech made this on the fly for a customer and we thought we would share this with our other gate opener customers for assisting them in wiring.

gate opener control board 1050, gate oepner solar panel, gate opener battery, gate opener receiver
The 1050 smart board with the color coded wiring for the gate opener motor of the 1550, solar panel, battery and Estate Swing gate opener receiver
gate opener control board 1050, gate opener 1500
1050 Smart Board paired with the Apollo 1500, color coded wires
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Ramset RAM 100 gate opener improved with long range 433 Estate Swing receiver

We have recently been hearing more frequently from owners of Ramset gate openers that have receiver of 318, 300 or 310 MHz. In the past 2 years these common gate opener frequencies have been having many issues with loss of range.

Receiver: http://www.gatecrafters.com/product_detail_31741_11084.aspx

Remotes: http://www.gatecrafters.com/product_detail_31740.aspx

Transformer (needed because the Ram uses VAC instead of VDC): http://www.gatecrafters.com/product_detail_11140.aspx
Can hold up to 400 remotes. Rated range is 300 feet. Tested range in open field with line of sight 1200 feet.
Programming:
Press and release the Learn1 button on the gate opener receiver. The learn light will illuminate.
Press and hold a button on the remote until the learn light on the receiver blinks.
That button is then learned. Proceed to the next button or remote with same procedure.
Wiring of the Estate Swing gate opener receiver to the Ram-100:
  • 2nd terminal from left on receiver, labeled CH1: connect to terminal 7 Radio of the Ram gate opener main control board.
  • 3rd terminal from left on receiver, labeled CH1: connect to terminal 12 Common of the Ram gate opener main control board.
  • 6th terminal from left on receiver, labeled V+: connect to positive terminal of the transformer main control board
  • 7th terminal from left on receiver, labeled gnd: connect to negative terminal of the transformer main control board
In the RAM 100 gate opener manual it also illustrates a radio terminal strip that would be pre-wired to the above terminals, if you have and are utilizing the strip please see the below picture from the RAM 100 gate opener manual that was modified for the 433 receiver.
Ramset RAM-100 gate opener radio terminal strip modified to illustrate the Estate Swing 433 receiver wired in.
Ramset RAM-100 gate opener radio terminal strip modified to illustrate the Estate Swing 433 receiver wired in.
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Gate Opener Remotes for a commercial property

Gate openers on a commercial property are quite common and value an convenience to the tenants and employees using the property. Most gate opener systems come with remotes and receivers however they are typically completely inadequate for maintaining control over the gate access. Luckily all gate openers are designed to be able to have any receiver wired into them as an accessory, even if it has a specialized port for the standard provided gate opener receiver, a secondary or alternate receiver can be wired into every single model of gate opener.

Here is the main issue with most remotes in a commercial application: disabling a single remotes. For almost all gate opener remotes they learn to the receiver in one of two ways; one method is dip switch matching and the other is a learning process.

For remotes that sync via dip switches, the syncing process is taking all remotes and the receiver and matching dips switches that are on all of the devices to the same pattern of up, middle or down. The issue with this is if a resident leaves and takes the remote, an employee is terminated and doesn’t turn in the remote or a remote is lost; in order to disable that remote for opening the gate opener the dip switch pattern must be changed. This means every remote has to come back into the manager and the pattern changed on all remotes and the receiver. Try rounding up hundreds of remotes at once in an apartment complex; this is not a fun task.

The other popular style of remote requires programming each gate opener remote to the receiver. With this style each remote is “learned” or “unlearned” during a programming process. Typically the user will press a learn button on the receiver and then hold a button on the remote until that remote is “learned’ to the gate opener receiver. This too has a similar problem with lost or stolen remotes. If you do not have in hand he remote you want to remove from the system, the receiver has to be cleared of all remotes and each one learned back into the receiver. This would also require all residents to bring their remotes to the main person doing the programming.

The answer is the Linear AP-5 Access  Control Receiver paired with the Linear Access Mega-Code transmitters.  The main difference is how these remotes are managed to access the gate opener system. First, the AP-5 receiver is a universally accepted receiver that can be added to every brand of gate opener (P.S. the GateCrafters.com gate opener technicians know how to or can look up and tell you how to wire it to every single gate opener, even gate openers not on our website. Just ask.). The AP-5 has a keyboard on the face of the receiver. The Mega-Code remotes have a identification number on the back of the remotes. Each remote when programmed has its identification number typed into the AP-5 receiver to sync the two for gate access. Once typed into the receiver the remote can open the gate. It is best to keep a log of who has what number remote. If a remote is ever lost, you can look up the remote number of the lost remote, type it into the AP-5 receiver and disable just that one remote. All the other remotes would remain active and unaffected.

Once this is understood about gate opener access and the relationship of the remote controls to the situation we have hardly ever had a property manager not make this very necessary upgrade.

Linear AP-5 Access Control gate opener receiver

 

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