Repurposing solar lamps as lights for driveway gate posts

One of our more inventive customers has come up with an elegant, functional and cost effective solution for adding a lamp to his driveway gate post. Many customers with driveway gate wish to add lighting to their gates. This can be for many purposes, decorative, security, functional and warning.

Our customer wanted a decorative solar lamp for easy installation and to light up the entry area throughout the night. They had taken a common ground mounting solar lamp they found at Lowes:

 

Hanging solar lamps
Hanging solar lamps found at Lowes

 

And used an adhesive to affix the base of the lamp to the gate posts. With our 3×3 gate posts the base of the lamp fit perfectly over the top of the post. As you can see in the photos this was a really nice solution and required very little installation work.

 

Gate post solar lamps
Close up of lamps mounted to gate posts
lamps attached to the gate posts
Overview of the driveway gate with the lamps attached to the gate posts

 

 

GateCrafters.com also has solutions for lighting your entryway in coordination with the gate opener. One option is a 12VDC solar lamp kit. This kit comes with a 12VDC LED bulb that screws into a standard lamp fixture. This means you can purchase at the hardware store any outdoor lamp that is intended for 120VAC that suits your tastes. This can be used as a standalone system that comes on via timer at night or tied to the gate opener to turn on with a cycle of a gate opener and stay on for a length of time after.

We also have another option for a lamp that is directly powered from the gate opener circuit board (if the particular model has 12V or 24V outputs intended for this purpose). These lights would be for warning of gate movement to prevent accidents.

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This One Gate Opener Installer Trick Could Cost you Hundreds

At GateCrafters.com we have been selling gate openers online to the DIY community for more than a decade. However there are many customers that, due to our amazing volume prices, purchase form us and do not install the gate opener themselves. They hire someone to install the gate opener for them. Now we also work with many installers directly and through customers that choose not to do it themselves and hire someone and we do want to make clear that the vast majority are honest and truly just want to get the job done, working well, and at a reasonable price. However there is one tactic that some unscrupulous installers have been doing for quite some time that we wanted to make you aware of. It is a trick they pull; and just about all the times we see it, the trick unfolds the same way.

The scenario is this: A customer contacts a gate opener installer and gets a very reasonable bid and the installer says they are fine with the gate opener being a different brand that they are not supplying. The installer comes out to the property and begins the installation. During the first hour or so something will come up and they will inform the customer they cannot complete the installation due to the gate opener. Sometimes they will claim a part is missing, defective, not the correct product for their gate or in the worst cases they will intentionally destroy a piece to make it uninstallable (like connecting power to where power is not supposed to be connected and then undoing their work to hide the evidence).

The installer will call the customer out to the gate and inform them that due to no fault of their own they cannot complete installation and will have to charge them for the travel and time spent since they did not supply the equipment and the equipment is at fault! While the customer is trying to make sense of what they are being told sometimes they even tell the customer they don’t have confidence in the equipment and they won’t even come back out to complete the job if they pay them again; this adds more panic for the customer as they have to now pay a person for nothing and find a new installer.

Then the supposed favor comes out: As the customer is reeling over this added hassle and cost that has surfaced the installer comes through with a nice gesture. They say, “Look, I feel bad for you, I will tell you what. I will waive the charges for my morning spent trying to install the gate opener you purchased. Just return that one to the company you got it from and buy today the XXX brand gate opener I have on my truck, I have been installing this one for years and I can have you done in a few hours.” To the customer it is a difficult decision that needs to be made on the spot. Either send the installer away  and fight them on the charges they bill you and find someone new (and maybe even have to get a part replaced if they destroyed something) or give in to avoid headache even though you are now getting an opener you didn’t research yet and may be over paying for.  We have seen over the years this trick applied across every brand of gate opener we sell.

Our suggestions for avoiding this:

  • Hire a handyman service that is not in the gate opener industry as your installer. Because the products we sell are DIY they are easy enough for anyone to install even if it is their first time.
  • Ask for examples of other properties they have installed brands on that they do not sell.
  • Do It Yourself – it really isn’t difficult and we are here to help you.
  • Become well versed on the product using videos and manual and go through the contents prior to arrival of an installer. Be aware of what the installation procedure should look like so you can tell if they are not doing something right. This approach is good for the people that could easily install this themselves that just don’t feel like putting in the labor.
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