Common problems with automated gate openers in Los Angeles
Installing automatic electric gates is not that easy. It is a really complicated process and this is why it is extremely important for the future owners to know what they will use the gate for. They should thoroughly explain to the technician what the purpose of that gate will be so that the technician could recommend the most suitable gate for them. The future owners will also have to choose between different materials, styles, colors, types of automation and ways of opening. There should be a safety check done by the technician before the gate is installed so that the technician could know if the gate is suitable for the given conditions.
As with any other device, some problems may occur during the installation process. These are some of the most usual ones.
1. Problems due to cold weather and low temperatures
There are several problems your gate might experience when the low temperatures strike. You might notice some delay in opening of your gate, or even the inability to open at all.
Metal components will contract as the temperature drops and unless you are using grease specially intended for lower temperatures, the grease will thicken, too. All this makes it harder for the gate to move and open since it requires more power.
Another problem is the battery since it is inside a metal box. Due to this, as the temperature gets lower outside, the internal temperature of the battery will also drop and this will make it harder for the battery to start because of the reduction of the electro-chemical reaction. This reaction is meant to produce the electrical current which allows the gate system to operate. You may have noticed that if you try to open it a couple of times, it will finally work.
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What happens here is very similar to what happens to your car when it is cold outside. When the engine won’t start because it is too cold outside, you can turn on your headlights for half a minute or a minute and then the engine will start. The same thing happens when you repeatedly try to start the engine. These actions create an internal resistance in the battery causing it to physically warm up from the inside, just enough to start the engine.
If you hear a clicking sound coming from your gate, that is the indication that the battery solenoid switch is trying to close, but it can’t because the power is too weak.
Luckily for all of us, there are several corrective steps that a person can take. If you follow the order of these steps, you will get an inexpensive solution to your problem.
Disconnect the cables from the battery and then clean the ends of the cables, as well as the battery terminals.
If your battery box is made of metal, then you should take some Styrofoam insulation and apply a thin layer of it onto the bottom and the sides of the box.
WARNING – Never apply the Styrofoam insulation on the top of the battery!!!
Since Lead acid batteries emit Hydrogen gas during the charging process, the top part of the battery and the battery box MUST be vented to eliminate the hydrogen and prevent a disaster such as an explosion.
Look at the solenoid switch and its electrical connections. You should look for corrosion and if you happen to find any, you have to clean the terminals.
Take care of the rollers and bearing surfaces. You will have to clean them and then apply grease which is specially meant for cold weather. You can find this type of grease in any store for automotive parts.
You should check the trickle charger and make sure that it is charging properly.
If all these steps did not help you and you still notice problems with the working of your gate opening mechanism, then I suggest you to take your battery out and take it to an auto parts store to be tested under load. There they will tell you if you need to buy a new battery or not. If it happens so that you need a new one, make sure you buy a battery which is rated for “High Cold Cranking Amps” and not the “Deep Cycle battery” because these “High Cold Cranking Amps” batteries are designed to provide maximum amperage for a short period of time, even when the battery and the weather is cold. “Deep Cycle battery” is meant for long continuous small amperage loads. This battery could be used on electronics on recreational vehicles or on boats and for lights.
2. The gate is not reacting, moving or making any sound
First you should check if the breaker and the switch are working properly.
Check the outlet in which the gate is plugged. You can use some other device to see if they work when plugged in the same outlet.
Then look at all your outlets to see if their ground fault interrupter is tripping. You have to check all of them because if GFI is tripping this action will cause power to be cut from any device in the GFI’s circuit.
The problem might be the remote controller, maybe it’s broken, the batteries are dead and need replacement or it has run out of its “working hours”.
3. The gate doesn’t stop where it is supposed to
If your gate doesn’t stop where it is supposed to it is mainly due to the limit switch nut or cam failing to hit the limit switch at the designated time. If you have a slide gate you’ll notice that a lever is holding the limit nut in place. It’s riding inside the slots of the limit nut. To solve this problem you have to press it back out of the slot on the limit shaft. This will put it back in its correct place.