Automatic Gate Openers ?

Discussion in 'General Home Improvement Discussion' started by zannej, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. Jul 19, 2016 #1

    zannej

    zannej

    zannej

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    So, this is my front gate from the outside:
    [​IMG]

    Well, part of it. I think it is 12 to 16ft and is hollow tube style. It seems fairly heavy, but I think it is under 200lbs.

    Currently it is a pain to open and close (the anchor post needs to be replaced). The current locking mechanism is a chain that wraps around a post.

    I need to be able to keep my gate closed so my cows don't get out and opening and closing the gate in the rain or extreme heat is very inconvenient-- to the point that my brother refuses to close the gate behind him.

    I want a solar powered unit so I don't have to worry about failure during power outages or having to run long runs of electricity from the house out to the gate since it is quite a distance.

    Here is a small section of my yard (I have over 30 acres) from google maps. You can't really see the gate because it is under trees. The security light pole is over 100ft away from the gate.
    [​IMG]

    I was thinking of mounting the solar panel on the light pole because it is the closest spot out from under the trees. Alternatively, I could try to mount it on the car port, but that would be a lot farther and part of the car port needs to be replaced because it was smashed. I'm not sure just how to mount the panel though or in which direction to aim it for the best sun reception.

    When I was looking for gate openers, there didn't seem to be much of a selection. The brand that had the least sucky reviews was Mighty Mule. So, I'm making a list of things I would need, but I'm also open to suggestions that might help keep costs down or would make it more efficient.

    Here is the list of necessary items (that I know of so far):

    Optional items:

    Does anyone here have one of these or have experience with them? Will it damage the mechanism of the opener if someone pushes the gate manually without using the remote to open or close it?


    I'm trying to figure out the best solution for dealing with package delivery. Unlike other people in my area, my gate is right at the very beginning of my property instead of being set back, so I can't really put anything out in front of the gate on the outside without it being in the way of the power company & timber company. Currently with the gate open, FedEx and UPS drivers can just drive right in. I would say I could put my phone number up and have them call me to be let in, but most of them can't get cell signal to be able to call from there. I thought about a "honk to be let in" thing, but I hate when people drive up and honk (usually only Jehova's Witnesses do it)... Maybe I could set up some sort of sensor that makes a noise in the house?



    I would love to have an intercom so people could talk to us inside, but I'm not sure where the best place to put the internal unit would be.


    I still have absolutely no clue what cables/wires to get for the solar panel. I know it will have to be more than 100ft to reach the battery (unless I see if I can put the panel on top of one of the old dog houses out front)-- and it will require digging to put wires underground. So I will need conduit to put it in.
     
  2. Jul 19, 2016 #2

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    Cattle grid. can be made out of 4x4s laying on the ground.

    220px-Cattle_grid_near_Galong_Australia_on_dirt_road.JPG
     
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  3. Jul 19, 2016 #3

    slownsteady

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    I was going to suggest the same thing. It makes the gate less important.
    Or build a roof over the gate. Not sure which will be cheaper (roof or gate opener), but the roof will have less headaches for sure.
    Option 3: move the gate closer.
    Do you know if the solar panel is sized for the energy need of the auto gate? How about the batteries...do they hold charge long enough? Seems like a trickier project than it's worth. Better to put the money in to the bathroom project :2cents:
     
  4. Jul 19, 2016 #4

    zannej

    zannej

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    I used to have a cattle guard, but the former tenants filled it in. Even when we had it, the cows would jump over it. My older cow is so dumb, I'm afraid she'd break her leg on it. I actually tripped on the cattle guard a few times when I was younger. I don't have fond memories of it. LOL.

    Plus, I do want to keep trespassers out. The guy down the street from me is a drug dealer. And sometimes asshats like to ride their 4-wheelers into my yard and over my lawn. And 4-wheelers are loud enough that they can't hear me as I shake my fist and yell "Get off my lawn!" while doing my best Clint Eastwood impression. :p

    The solar panel that was sold with one of the gate kits was 5watts but people who bought it were saying it really required a 15watt to work properly. I found the 20watt one was actually about the same price as some of the 10watt ones. The solar panel I picked says it is specifically for the Mighty Mule gate openers.

    I forgot to include the other option for a gate lock, but I think it requires a separate remote. It allows a cable or chain to attach to hold it in place.
    https://www.amazon.com/Mighty-Mule-L500B-Automatic-Cable/dp/B00PUMWAM4
    It's only $50
    Unfortunately, the way it appears I think it would require getting out of the vehicle to put the chain or whatever back into the lock and I don't know if it would unlock when the gate button is pressed.

    This one is $74.99 and unlocks when the lock opener is triggered, but I don't know if it works the FM200 model (still waiting to hear back on that).
    https://www.amazon.com/Electric-Lock-Mighty-Opener-Operator/dp/B005V1FMCE

    I do need to work on that bathroom. Yeesh. I'm a horrible procrastinator. No joke, I downloaded a Youtube video thing a few months ago that was supposed to help stop procrastination, but I haven't watched it yet.

    I forgot to comment on the roof thing-- the gate is completely covered by trees so adding a roof for a solar panel right over it would not do much good. I need to measure the distance to the dog house though and see if it is far enough away from little trees. It might be less than 100ft. Although I found some cable that I think *might* work with it, but I need to learn more about wiring and stuff. https://www.amazon.com/SunGen-Solar-Extension-Connectors-UL-LISTED/dp/B01CIV85WS

    I suppose if push comes to shove, I could probably just erect something to put the solar panel on that is closer but out of danger from trees. I just need to figure out the optimum position to catch the most sun.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2016
  5. Jul 19, 2016 #5

    bud16415

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    The size of the solar panel and output doesn’t have to match the power requirement of the gate. The gate will have to be powered off a battery and the battery recharged by the sun. Short burst of greater power being replaced by a trickle of power over a long period. The size of the panel will be determined by first off how much sunlight you get per day and secondly how many times per day will the gate be used and the current draw per usage.

    You have to set it up based on the winter sun assuming usage will be the same summer and winter. High tech solar will track the sun but panels fix mounted will have to be aimed at noon day sun and then won’t be as efficient at other times. It has to all be factored in to the design.

    Another way to do it would be to have several batteries charging and at the gate and have a quick change method of switching them when required.

    Or rent a ditch witch and put in a wire and a line for a cam and two way talk system so you can see who is at your gate and talk to them before you open it. Overhead wires also work if you can set some poles.
     
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  6. Jul 19, 2016 #6

    nealtw

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  7. Jul 19, 2016 #7

    zannej

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    Thanks Neal and Bud!

    The solar panel I was looking at is 9.9 x 15.3 x 2.9 inches and says it puts out 20w. I get a lot of sun in my yard-- even more so now that the tree in the middle died. I just looked out at the dog house (when I first posted it was too dark to see) and it is under a tree.

    I do still have some old satellite dishes (Hughesnet and Dishnetwork) lying around and I might have some of the other hardware for them. I wonder if I could rig something from those parts to make a panel that turns with the sun. I might be able to re-use a pole from the original Hughesnet satellite. I would have to raise it up more though-- I need to have it high enough to avoid cow horns. Maybe I could get an inexpensive little shed to set up over near where the tree used to be and let it serve as a dog house (or make something for the dogs) and then use the roof for the solar panel. Or I could just erect a pole and hang a solar powered LED mosquito lamp on it as well as the panel. I think I still have part of a little lean-to that my father built for something. I could check it's condition and see if I could prop it up and maybe add the pole to it or something..

    So many ideas. I hope I'm not losing you guys. LOL.

    To organize my thoughts more, my ideas for mounting the solar panel(s)
    a) Recycle old satellite pole and/or old metal fence posts to mount panel in a sunny spot near the remains of the oak tree.
    b) Recycle old satellites somehow (this is like underpants gnomes idea from South Park-- step one steal underpants-- but in this case it is get old satellite dishes laying around)
    c) Buy or build a cheap shed that can double as a shelter for the dogs and mount solar panel on top of it.
    d) See if old lean-to cover for something my dad built years ago is still in good enough shape to set up use it to put the panel on (it might need to be raised up in height).
    e) Combine a and d and use the pole on the lean-to.

    I want to have it serve more than one purpose and I'm trying to figure out what would be the most effective but also the easiest to do.

    Too bad I can't train my dogs to dig trenches for me-- I can't even get them to fetch.

    If I do the new doghouse idea, I could repair the waterline near the tree stump and have an automatic waterer set up for them there.

    I'm probably sounding like a loon now. LOL.

    Edit: saw this on google but can't load it until after midnight. Does it look any good?
    [ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJTZl-SGGHg[/ame]
     
  8. Jul 19, 2016 #8

    slownsteady

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    I'm not sure if you caught my meaning about the roof over the gate: that's to keep you dry as you (or your asshat brother) open and close the gate.
     
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  9. Jul 20, 2016 #9

    zannej

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    Ohhh! I thought about it, but sometimes large/tall trucks have to come through so it would be in the way-- unless it was extremely high.

    Even then, I still don't think the asshat would close the gate behind himself. He can't even be bothered to close the frickin' bathroom cabinet door, or any kitchen cabinet doors, or to actually put trash in the trash can instead of leaving it on the counter.

    I think the idea of a shed is out, but I could probably set up a pole and see if I can use something from the old satellite setup to prop up a solar panel. I just need to figure out the best spot and the best way to run the wire to it. I think the nearest spot out from under trees is over 50ft from the gate, but I'll have to measure. We've actually been wanting one for years. Maybe if I do that I can power some mosquito zappers at the gate too.
     
  10. Jul 20, 2016 #10

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    I think the idea of the shed is great for your brother. It sounds like a trip to the wood shed would go a long way to solving a bunch of problems. :)
     
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  11. Jul 21, 2016 #11

    oldognewtrick

    oldognewtrick

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    Is his truck running?
     
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  12. Jul 21, 2016 #12

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    zannej, I think you have a sit com show, a diary might be worth a fortune.:thbup:
     
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  13. Jul 23, 2016 #13

    zannej

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    His truck has still not been fixed as far as I know. Or if it is, he hasn't made an effort to get it.
     
  14. Nov 28, 2017 #14

    zannej

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    So, we ordered the Tractor Supply Mighty Mule 360 with 5w solar panel bc it was on sale. Comes with 3 remotes. I've heard the mounting screws strip easily (so I'll find some sturdy galvanized ones instead), but that the rest of it is good. It will hold 550lbs/16ft gate.

    I think think the most difficult part will be digging the trench for the underground wire to reach the solar panel-- I found a spot about 20 to 30ft away that gets good sunlight. Still need to either re-set/stabilize the existing post the gate hangs on or replace it. One of my friends who was going to help just lost his father, but the guy who's been cutting the trees is up for helping and the man who bought our tractor is also willing to help. We will probably get the automatic locking mechanism to keep trespassers from pushing the gate and breaking the opener.

    My truck has a "homelink" thingamabob on the ceiling that can be programmed as a remote gate/garage door opener. Will just have to figure out how to deal with unexpected visitors and package deliveries. The house is over 200ft from the gate and the range for the intercom/keypad is 50ft.

    One of the few things not included in the gate package was a 12v battery and box for the battery. So, I'm trying to pick a good combo. We want something reliable that will last but that won't be too expensive. The Mighty Mule brand batteries are not compatible with this gate opener. Any recommendations/suggestions?
     
  15. Nov 28, 2017 #15

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.low-volt-lanscape-wire-142-100-feet.1000794705.html

    :thbup:
     
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  16. Nov 28, 2017 #16

    zannej

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    Link didn't seem to work-- or rather, didn't have any of the batteries or wire. I found the wire actually-- 100ft of it. Just need appropriate conduit and the right box and battery.

    There's this UPG 40790 Marine Smart Box for around $30
    Or MinnKota Trolling Motor Power Center box for around $50

    So, the batteries would have to fit inside those. I think someone said the batteries can't have the terminals in the center or they interfere with closing or something like that.

    Granted, I could get a simpler/cheaper box that has holes on the sides for wires to run up into, but that would risk critters and bugs getting in too.

    Amazon keeps recommending MinnKota 12v 35AH Light Trolling Motor Battery that is about $64.
     
  17. Nov 28, 2017 #17

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    With camper we always used deep discharge but those are pricey and there are new batteries now. So, don't know.
     
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  18. Nov 28, 2017 #18

    zannej

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    I should probably google search and find discussions of what other people use. Some said they used cheap batteries from Walmart. Others said they got marine batteries. Since I'm in a very humid area with a lot of rain, I will need water protection. Might throw in some of those moisture absorber baggies that come inside medicine bottles and stuff inside the box.

    One thing that is slightly throwing me is that the boxes say they fit x sized batteries and I'm having a hard time finding descriptions that give the battery sizes for some of them.
     
  19. Nov 28, 2017 #19

    Chris

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    Any 12 volt battery will work. Their little battery will open your gate for a couple weeks before it needs a charge so it will take little maintenance. I never had a battery box I built a wood platform to keep it off the ground since that is not good for batteries and made a wood cap to cover it. I have installed a few of those and had one at my house for a year. Let me know if you need any other advice
     
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  20. Nov 28, 2017 #20

    Chris

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    No need to keep the battery completely dry. It shouldn't effect it
     
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