Electric Gate and X10

Installing an electric gate means you don't have to get in and out of your car when you get home or leave.  It also stops unwanted visitors such as cold callers!  But the real bonus is being able to open or close it from your PC or armchair using a mobile device like an IPhone for example.  Most transmitters won't reach far enough, so controlling your electric gate using X10 means you can operate it from anywhere in the world over IP.

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Buying an Electric Gate Kit

First, go buy an electric gate kit that suits your needs.  The picture above is a Hydraulic gate kit costing about £240 delivered.  It's been used frequently over the last 4 years and touch wood still works fine.  If you are using a wooden gate make sure you get good fixings into the wood as the force over time will cause damage to your gate especially with softer woods.  Bolt it rather than screw it if you can.

There are plenty of other options available for all types of gate so search around and don't be afraid to ask the seller for advice.  But plan well.  Take measurements of your gate and post to check the electric gate kit will handle the load.

Installing an Electric Gate Kit

Get an electrician unless you know what you are doing!

You'll obviously need a supply of electricity at your gate, but you'll also need to run wires for the IR beam which when broken stops the gate as a safety feature.  This is essential if you programme your gate to auto close.  Programming is normally done via dip switches or connecting wires.  Plan out where you want everything to go before the electrician gets there.  It will save time and money and make sure you get the job you want.

Think about where you want a button to open the gate or if you want an intercom system.  Either way you will need some kind of button for visitors to press and/or a hidden emergency button.

If you are using an electrician and not a specialised gate installer you'll most probably have to help him hold a few things.  Make sure you test it first to see if the gate swing is right before drilling your gate.  Incorrect placement of the gate opener can stop the gate from opening or closing properly.

If you want to use X10 to control your gate make sure you have a 240v power supply you can wire the module into.

Standard RF Gate Control

Nearly all electric gate kits come with a couple of keyfobs that open the gate.  If you don't install an aerial on your gate receiver the range from these fobs is normally limited.  Without an aerial I struggle to get 100m in the open air and it seems being in the car can cut this to 50m.  It all depends on how far your gate is from your house and what objects are in your way.

Gate Control via X10

I opted for X10 to control my gate because it works over the power line.  My gate is too far away for RF, so the power line was my easiest option.  I have got a run of Cat5 to it just in case, but so far I've not needed it as it's been very reliable so far.  Do note that I use X10 filters and amps on my power line to cover distances over 100m.

Operating the gate via X10 is easy using a Marmitek Universal X10 module which closes contacts for low voltage devices. Wire the X10 module to the mains feed(cut off the plug to save space and wire direct) and then wire the contacts on the Universal X10 module to the correct switching contacts in the gate controller box.  Set your X10 house code and test.

I use Homeseer to control X10 but the choice is yours. I also use HStouch and below is a screenshot of my gate opening screen at dusk in my sonos style app!  It's always very reliable.

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