Choosing the Right Gate Motor

Let’s say, hypothetically, that you have finally grown tired of your old jalopy and you’re in the market for a new, more reliable, mode of transportation. Naturally, there are a number of factors you would consider and things you would weigh up before finally settling on a car.

Is safety an important consideration for you? Are you in the market for a family sedan or a sports hatch? Are you looking for something with superior fuel economy?

Similarly, when you’re preparing to have your world rocked by the amazing security and convenience provided by a gate motor, there are some things you need to think about to ensure that you get one that’s right for your application. But don’t worry, with some handy tips from your favourite access automation company you’ll be wielding that remote like a magical sceptre in no time.

AC or DC

We’re not referring to the Australian rock band of course (although our gate motors have been known to rock!), but rather to the form in which electric power is supplied to your operator. AC, or alternating current, means that the gate motor is being powered directly via the 230V mains supply from a distribution board in your house.

DC, or direct current, on the other hand, is a method of power delivery relying on some sort of “power store” such as a battery. You’ll find that the vast majority of CENTSYS gate motors are DC-operated.

And there’s a good reason for that. Power delivery, especially in South Africa, is unfortunately quite unreliable and we’ve all borne the brunt of load shedding before. Your gate motor, being the holder of so many titles – security guard, butler, etc. – needs to be on duty around the clock, and DC units are able to continue operation even during lengthy power failures, whereas AC gate motors are not.

On the flipside of the coin, AC motors have a virtually unlimited duty cycle and will work tirelessly as long as they are being fed mains. Both of these modes of power delivery have their virtues, you simply need to decide which is best suited for your application. If you live in an area where power outages are commonplace, a DC unit is probably the best bet.

Weight of the Gate

Unless you’re an ant or former Governor of California (and sometimes actor) Arnold Schwarzenegger, you probably can’t carry much more than your body weight. But through the miracle of engineering gate motors are able to relatively effortlessly lug around several hundred times its own weight.

But that doesn’t mean it should be unrealistically loaded. Subjecting it to that kind of abuse will invariably lead to problems down the line, so first get an approximation of what your gate weighs before selecting a motor. The good news is that gates are usually much, much lighter than we think. For example, if you can lift one side of your gate to about the height of your shin, chances are it doesn’t weigh much more than 250kg.

Pull Force

This is more an extension of the previous point than a whole new heading. Pull force plays a monumental role in what gate motor you install, and has a direct impact on both the reliability and the service life of the operator. If you struggle to open and close your gate manually, be sure to choose a device rated for a high push force such as a D10.

The easiest and most accurate way to determine the weight of the gate is to use a pull scale as found in any angling goods store.

Swing or Slide

This one might seem fairly obvious if you already have a gate fitted, but if you’re looking to install a gate where there isn’t currently one this might warrant some thought. The truth is that both swing and sliding gate motors are equally rich in merit and which one you choose to fit simply depends on preference or, in the case of an existing gate, what the setup necessitates.

If you are going with a swing gate, remember to take into account factors like the length of the individual leafs, wind loading, etc.

If you follow these few simple selection guidelines you’re assured of a gate motor that’ll faithfully serve you for years to come. And if you do get stuck, remember that our technical support centre is open Monday to Friday from 7am until 6pm. Their number is +2711 699 2451.

You’ll also do well to check out our awesome access automation selection guide. Or download your swing gate operator selection chart, or yoursliding gate selection chart!