What are the best options to power my gate motor?
Most people would love the convenience and security of having an automated gate. But the cost of getting power from your house to the end of the drive can be high - especially if your entrance is a long way from the house. Here we look at some of the pros and cons of the three power options.
- Mains power 230V direct to the gate
- Low voltage (24V or 36V) to the gate
- Solar Power
Your decision will come down to distance and budget.
If you can put in mains power (option 1) then you should do this because its the most reliable solution. You will need to dig a trench 600mm deep and run the cables in this trench in conduit. This is the better option because there will be no voltage drop no matter how far away the gate is from the power source. But digging a long deep trench can be expensive - especially if the ground is hard.
If your run is less than 80m and you have many obstacles in the way, like pathways or tree roots, or you have just laid a new drive and do not want to dig some of it up, then option 2, low voltage, will be your go-to solution. We can supply your gate motor with an external transformer that plugs into a wall socket in your house or garage. Then you can run low voltage 'garden light' cables from there to the gate. Low voltage power is much safer and regulations don't require it to be in a 600mm deep trench. A shallow trench or even just a conduit along the fence line are acceptable. All Roger Technology gate motors run on low voltage (24v or 36v) so this is an option even on their powerful models suitable for very heavy gates. The extra cost of an external transformer may be more than offset by the lower labour required for the trench.
For longer distances with no possibility of getting power to the gate your only solution now will be option 3 - solar. You will need to consider a few things here. Do you have good exposure to sunlight for the panel to charge the batteries? How often the gate will open and close in one day? How many accessories are connected to the control board for the motor? What is the size and weight of the gate? We recommend a 100W panel and big batteries to store energy through those rainy days. The cost of a solar setup is quite high and might be a bit unsightly in some grand entrance ways.
In options 1 and 2 you are relying on mains power supply and it is worth considering having battery backup on your gate motor. This is a small set of batteries that can open the gate a few times in case of a power outage. Even though the motor doesn't drawn much power the passive drain from the control board and accessories such as safety photocells and remote receivers will mean that the backup batteries will only last for a day or so.
Once you have pondered these options. It is recommended that you speak to a professional installation company. Most will provide you a free quote. At Edgesmith we deal with lots of reputable installation companies and we will be happy to put you in contact with them.