From the category archives:

Gate Opener

A remote gate opener is an enormous convenience. Installing a remote control gate opener, or having one professionally installed, saves you the hassle of getting out of the car each time you need to enter or exit the driveway. This is easy to appreciate in areas with frequent bouts of rain, wind and snow.

Remote gate openers refer to the mechanical systems activated by remote controllers; they shouldn’t be confused with the remote control itself. Another potential point of confusion is the difference between a gate opener and a gate operator. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. Strictly speaking, gate operators are commercial systems designed to open and close heavy-duty gates. Gate openers are residential systems design to control light-duty gates. Manufacturers and vendors are being more careful to label their products as “commercial” or “residential” to simplify things.

A worm driven operator, also known as a screw driven operator, is typically an enclosed assembly with a jackscrew-operated piston that turns a ram arm. Screw driven operators can work with either sliding gates or swing gates. This is a simple design that doesn’t require pumps, chains or valves.

A swing arm operator is an enclosure that’s installed beside a swing gate. The arm extends from the enclosure to the middle of the gate using a hydraulic piston. This type of swing gate opener quite versatile, as many models can hand wood, tubular steel, or wrought iron gates. You can purchase a swing arm electric gate opener for a light duty single-swing gate for about half the cost of a unit for a heavy duty dual-swing gate. Swing arm operators are a great choice if you’re up to handling a do-it-yourself installation, as many models are available as kits in the $400-800 range.

An underground loop opener can be used for swing gates or sliding gates. Since the mechanics are buried out of sight, underground gate openers are the most popular option for residential entrances, not to mention the most aesthetic. A base that, a ground level looks like a plate, is placed at either end of the gate. This pair of bases actually covers underground box holes that contain the mechanics that power the gate operation. Underground openers are an ideal choice for dual-gate systems where the gate is close enough to the electrical mains to draw AC power; using solar panels or DC modules is possible, but they defeat the purpose of hiding the system’s components.

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