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