Gate motors are not just convenient, but a necessity and in order to keep them functioning we need to understand the what and why of gate motors maintenance. Whilst gate motors are generally a reliable piece of equipment, they have a multitude of potential failure points that could lead to a costly repair. Not only is this a potentially expensive, but it can also be the source of immense frustration, inconvenience, and most importantly a security risk. With over 20 years of industry experience at hand, Glow Innovations has a range of gate motors maintenance plans to ensure that your gate motors remains as reliable as the day you bought it.
What Makes A Gate Motor Run
When we look at a gate motor at first glance all we see is a box with a wheel that turns on a track installed along the length of the gate, but there is more than meets the eye. We will first explain how gate motors work then we will take a slightly more in-depth look at how these different parts may need maintenance.
It all starts when you push the button on your remote to open or close your gate, this sends a signal to the receiver that is either built into your gate motor or an external receiver that is connected to it, much like when you press a button on the remote for your TV to change channels. This receiver will then signal a control board that is in essence the brain of the gate motor. This signal allows the gate to either open or close. This control board controls all the various elements of the system.
Inside the gate motors box, there is a small but powerful electric motor that starts turning once it receives a signal from the control board. This motor is typically connected to a set of gears that it turns in order to maximise the power of the motor and turn the drive wheel, also known as the pinion gear. This pinion gear then turns against the rack, which is the toothed bar running along the length of the gate, causing the gate to open or close.
The gate motor also has sensors that tell the control board exactly where the gate is and at what point it should stop opening or closing. There are also other sensors that detect if the gate has come into contact with an object or if there is an object obstructing the path of the gate.
What Actually Requires Maintenance?
Glow Innovations offers maintenance plans to ensure that all the serviceable parts on your gate motors are covered. Below let us review some of the parts that need to be regularly checked and how they should be serviced and maintained.
All gate motors are ultimately powered by either a single battery or multiple batteries, even when connected to an electric grid. The mains power supply to gate motors is typically used to charge the batteries that are used to power the motor. Furthermore, batteries ensure that in the event of a power failure, your motorised gate does not become an inconvenient manual gate.
All batteries have a limited lifecycle which differs between the different types of batteries. This life cycle is measured in cycles of charge and discharge. Living in a country like South Africa where power outages are commonplace, our battery-operated appliances will be subject to far more of these cycles than one may experience in other places around the world. This means that our battery operated appliances like gate motors go under more stress.
Below are the different types of batteries typically used in gate motors, along with their key characteristics.
Sealed Lead Acid Batteries: Lead acid batteries are the cheapest of the batteries that are commonly used. They also have the shortest lifecycle of all the batteries. The lifespan of these batteries is severely impacted by depth of discharge, making them a less desirable option when faced with extended power outages.
Gel Batteries: Gel batteries are a more robust version of the sealed lead acid batteries and come in at a slightly higher price point. These batteries can withstand greater depths of discharge before being faced with a reduced lifecycle. This means that you will get a battery that will last longer and provide you with greater reliability.
Lithium-Ion Batteries: Lithium-ion batteries can be considered the best when it comes to batteries, but this means that they are also generally more expensive. These batteries are ideal for gate motors because they are extremely durable and last far longer than other battery types. Their high density and lighter weight make it possible to fit a higher capacity battery into the same size casing as a gel or sealed lead acid battery.
Gate motors have moving parts that require lubrication. The primary component requiring oil is the gearbox. The gearbox is responsible for transferring the power from the motor to the pinion gear which moves your gate. Without regular checks, the gearbox may run low on oil, resulting in increased wear and tear. This results in noisy gate motors, and can even lead to total failure of your gate motors.
Fuses protect gate motors from electrical overloads. Given our current power situation, it is not unusual for households to experience voltage fluctuations and power surges which could damage your motor. Checking and replacing fuses on a regular basis will ensure that the system is protected and remains fully functional.
Most electric gate motors make use of brushes to conduct electricity through the motor and make it spin. Over time these brushes wear down and need replacement. Worn-out brushes result in poor conduction which will cause reduced motor efficiency and increased power consumption. Brushes are impossible to see without disassembling the motor, which is where Glow Innovations experienced technicians come to the rescue.
The complete motor requires regular inspections and servicing to ensure all components listed above are functioning correctly. Neglecting to do so could lead to unexpected breakdowns. This is not only a costly consequence, but the resultant downtime is inconvenient and an unnecessary security risk.
There are various important components that whilst not a part of the motor itself, are crucial to the functioning of the system. These include the rack, rail, and rollers. All these parts require regular inspection and periodic replacement. Neglecting to maintain these parts can result in all sorts of issues that negatively impact the reliability of your gate.
How To Maintain Your Gate Motor
Gate motors are complex systems that are made up of multiple moving parts. Now that you know a bit more about how gate motors function and what parts requires maintenance, you are better equipped to take care of your gate motors.
Most of us are not mechanical engineers or have little knowledge about how to maintain all the parts that we have discussed. We live in a high-paced world where our time is important and the last thing one wants to do is spend that time trying to maintain your gate motor, which if neglected, will fail.
This is where a GatePlan™ service contract from Glow Innovations comes in. We offer a variety of different service contracts from only R49 a month. All of these service contracts ensure that you have no hassles with gate breakdowns and faults. You will receive regular maintenance calls and enjoy priority treatment. Regular maintenance can help avoid breakdowns. A fully functional automated gate is both convenient and crucial for your safety.
It takes less than 24 hours for an intruder to break in and steal your hard-earned possessions, exposing you and your family to unnecessary danger. In the event of a breakdown, one would typically need to find a gate technician who is available which may take hours or even days, which is made even more complicated if the gate motor breakdown happens after working hours or over the weekend. Glow Innovations eliminates those complications by including emergency calls as part of our GatePlan™ service plan.
With Glow innovations there are no hidden costs, giving you peace of mind that you are not being taken for a ride. Our experienced technicians will ensure that your gate motor is functioning at their optimum, keeping you safe.
People rarely buy a car without a maintenance plan, why should your gate motors be any different?