Gate operator projects typically present a variety of challenges. If you have performed service on gate operators or have previously installed them, you probably have more experience than most of your competitors.
Generally the gate to which you are installing the operator is in good condition. Hopefully it will be a new installation, and the gate has not been hit by trucks and fallen trees and barely opens. Gate operators are forgiving and work great, but a damaged gate that drags will trip the overload on the gate operator and you will waste valuable trying to grease the wheels on the gate.
If the gate and the operator are both being installed within the same timeframe, be sure to clearly state as a condition that the gate must be prepped to the installation spec you submit, and then try to be involved enough so you won’t be in for a big surprise when you show up installation day. Prep work involves setting a concrete pad upon which you will mount the gate operator, and electric conduit to provide the operating voltage and several circuits required for the complete gate operator installation.
You need to be sure the required line voltage feeds are available to your operator. Be sure the electrician clearly identifies the panel and breaker feeding your operator. A local line voltage on/off switch is very handy, but the electricians may charge a steep fee.. Since a lot of conduit used these days is non-metallic, be sure that the electrical circuit is adequately grounded to protect the gate operator, the end-user and you from possible damage from power surges or other anomalities.
Most gates are outdoors and extremely unsheltered. That means you have to take steps to ensure that your equipment is watertight, and does not collect moisture. When water collects, it either seeps into where it doesn’t belong, and causes corrosion and short circuits, or it freezes, expands, and cracks conduit allowing water to enter and seepage to occur. Google the term drip loop.
Due to the fact that the gate is probably isolated from structures and other infrastructure, interfacing your gate operator and associated accessories will most likely present you with some decisions to make.
My installs usually involve a card reader, intercom, remote release, video surveillance, safety and approach sensors, and voltage drop.
Card readers use a Wiegand interface. When a card is presented to the reader, a serial data stream is sent from the reader to the access control circuit board. Depending on the reader, an excessive length of the cable between the reader and the controller may become a problem resulting in inconsistent reader operation.
Gate operator access control will frequently require an intercom link between the gate and a guard station or other location within the facility where the gate is remotely controlled. Since the gate is outside and there may be high levels of ambient vehicle or wind noise, special consideration should be given to intercom selection.
In many situations it is desirable to view individuals who are requesting access through a controlled vehicle gate. A camera designed to provide the desired image (the driver’s face, or perhaps the vehicle’s plate number) must be selected.
Gate operators are required to be equipped with two types of auxiliary control sensors referred to as approach sensors and safety sensors. Approach sensors can be magnetic detection loops buried into the pavement adjacent the gate. Safety presence sensors are situated under the pavement under the gate itself. Other types of motion and presence sensors may be used above ground, thereby making the labor intensive burying of sensor loops unnecessary.
The standard to which vehicular gate operators are designed, manufactured and tested is UL 325; Underwriters Laboratories Inc., Standard for Safety: Door, Drapery, Gate, Louver, and Window Operators and Systems.
Make sure the site is prepped and the gate itself is operating well, then carefully select the right equipment. In this case the DoorKing 9100 and BEA remote filled the bill.