Gate Locks for Challenging Environments

Feb. 1, 2010
The GL-l Electromechanical Gate Lock is designed for vehicle and pedestrian gates applications requiring a secure and weather-resistant solution rated at 2,000 lbs. holding force.

Exterior gates pose a special set of problems for the locksmith.

First of all they are typically outside and therefore subject to weather. They get baked in the summer, sit in the deep freeze in the winter, and need to survive inclement weather and wind borne debris.

Gates are frequently subjected to abuse, especially from vehicles, which contribute to their misalignment and generally poor condition. When gates are located indoors, they usually are on cages which contain inventory, vehicles or inmates.

Being situated in remote locations, such as on the perimeter of the premises, gates may also be vandalized. They also may not have a readily available power source, or means of connecting them to the infrastructure of the premises.

We’ve had the opportunity to outfit several gates with access control and operators, and each was a unique experience.

When working with gates you must become familiar with a whole category of specialized security hardware used on them, learn the problems associated with gate mounted systems and also develop solutions for applications and issues you encounter.


One of the gates I’ve been servicing is a single swinging gate. It originally had a single card reader on it for entry, but we upgraded it so it has a reader for entering and a reader for leaving. We supplied a magnetic gate position sensor for this gate so if it is propped open, or otherwise fails to re-close, the guards will get a signal.

The gate is not used by non-cardholders. There is an intercom on the gate so people can call the security desk if they need to be let in. Several cameras can be aimed at this gate.

The gate has a bolt type locking device which was welded onto the gate, and has been in service for an extended period of time, probably ten years. The gate looks like it has been hit by a few cars. It is galvanized steel with chain link, and it and the adjoining fence is about six feet high.

The pivots on this gate have loosened up quite a bit over the years, and the closer on this gate is a functional but rudimentary device which has been on the market forever and consists of two springs and a pneumatic cylinder. Unlike a typical door closer which has sweep back check and latch adjustments, this device has one valve to adjust how hard it slams, and you turn the valve until the gate gives you the amount of slam you need.

The bolt lock uses a roller switch to detect when the gate is closed and power the bolt to lock. The whole gate system is more or less an integrated system, relying on temperature, wind speed and karma in order to operate properly, and my customer wanted a better solution.

A few design objectives were directed by selection of locking device. For one thing, we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on this gate. It was in poor shape, and selecting something too exotic would increase our equity in a fence and gate which might be scheduled for replacement in the near future.

Welding onto the gate was not desirable. It would be necessary to cut the old locking device and brackets off before I could install a new lock. I can cut things off a gate, but am not equipped or inclined to do welding, and I didn’t want to have to hire a welder.

The client expressed a strong desire to be able to manually override the lock. They were unable to override the existing device that was on the gate.

With gate locks, manual override is a bit tricky because folks can reach through a gate from the outside and let themselves in. Therefore the override needs to be mechanical, but key operated.

Electromagnets work well on gates, but they do not have integral mechanical override.


The new Securitron GL-1 is designed for use on gates, is positive latching and it has integral mechanical key override.

The GL-l Electromechanical Gate Lock is designed for vehicle and pedestrian gates applications requiring a secure and weather-resistant solution rated at 2,000 lbs. holding force. (The corresponding Securitron M62FG electromagnetic lock has a 1,200 lb. holding force rating)

The GL-1 can be used on both electrically and manually operated gates and can be used for swing gates, sliding gates, stock cage gates or other applications.

The GL-1 also has a 1/2” conduit fitting which can be used for wiring. It is also possible to route wires through the back of the lock, in which case it is recommended that the conduit fitting be permanently sealed shut.

The Securitron GL-1 is just one of several gate locking solutions available from Securitron.

They have offered an electromagnetic lock with a conduit fitting and face mounting for a number of years, but recently introduced the GL-1 and gate bracket hardware components and kits for their electromagnetic lock and the GL-1. There is a hardware kit for swinging gates (FMK-SW) and a hardware kit for sliding gates (FMK-SL).

Although I am a custom fabricator from way back, these days my time is too valuable for me to waste it making trips back and forth from sites designing and building brackets. It is also not cost effective consigning a shop to fabricate me brackets.

The Securitron bracket kit is a good idea. They have two types, one for sliding gates and another for swinging gates. A kit may be used for either mounting a maglock or mounting a GL-1.

I surveyed the gate and determined that the pipe sizes of the fixed pole and gate pole, and their relative positions to each other were with in acceptable limits for the gate bracket kit.

The GL-1 operates on either 12VDC or 24VDC, and automatically senses which voltage is being used. At either voltage, current inrush is less than an amp, and holding current does nor exceed 300 ma.

If you anticipate voltage drop due to excessively long wire runs, you might want to consider using an end of line voltage regulator such as the Altronix VR2T, so you can use a large transformer (such as the Altronix TP2440 24VAC/40VA) and locate the regulator closer to the gate to eliminate voltage drop issues.

The GL-1 may be field configured for either fail-safe or fail-secure operation. The procedure to make this conversion takes a couple of minutes.

The GL-1 also has an integral gate position sensor which remotely indicates if the GL-1 is latched or unlatched.

The override key switch may be installed in either of two positions on the GL-1, whichever provides the most convenience for access and operation. A hole plug is provided to seal the unused opening in the GL-1 cover.

Secure physical mounting and adequate weatherproofing will ensure a secure and reliable installation.

Features and benefits of the GL-1 gate lock include:

Lifetime Replacement Warranty

2,000 lbs. holding force

Operates under preload up to 100 lbs

Automatic dual voltage - no field adjustment required

Current draw & Voltage:

12VDC 870mA inrush; 290mA holding Power Consumption: 3.5W

24VDC 720mA inrush; 170mA holding Power Consumption: 4.1W

Fail Secure convertible to Fail Safe

Manual key override {right or left hand)

Self-aligning receiver (+/- 1/2” horizontally and vertically) helps compensate for gate misalignment and sag

Includes latch status monitor

Tamper proof cast aluminum housing

Heavy wall l/2” inside diameter threaded steel coupling

Hardened steel latch

Surface mount

Black powder coated finish

Weather resistant


The Flex Mount Bracket System is a set of mounting brackets designed specifically for use with the 2000 lb. GL1 Gate Lock and the 1200 lb. M62FG Magnalock®

The kit includes pre-formed post channels and plates of varying lengths, permitting a professional looking high security gate lock mounting solution without several trips to the hardware store.

Post Shim Brackets are used to adapt both small and large Post Brackets to pole/post sizes smaller than 2” or 3” respectively in 1/8” increments - 1-7/8”, 1-3/4”, 1-5/8” 2-7/8”, 2-3/4”, etc.

When more than two shims are used together on a single post, welding the bracket to the pole/post is always recommended. All necessary mounting hardware including four Post Shims is included with each Flex-Mount Kit.

Features include:

Pre-configured kits include all lock mounting hardware and post shims

Post brackets are pre-drilled, lock and strike brackets are pre-tapped

8” tall x 3/16” thick zinc-plated steel provides durability and long life

Lock and strike brackets are reversible doubling the mounting variations

Allows simple bolt on installation, or the entire system can be welded

Allows superior adjustability of lock and strike before final welding

Permits electronics to be mounted on either the fence post or gate post

For more information, contact your local locksmith distributor or Securitron Magnalock Corp., 550 Vista Blvd., Sparks, NV 89434. Telephone: 800-MAGLOCK. Web Site:




Nov. 27, 2007