ou may be forgiven to think that a gate motor replacement will turn out to be a disruptive project; it need not be if you approach and plan this right.
Gate motors can give you many years of good service, but in the end they will all have to be replaced at some point.
This page is aimed to guide you through the process and will likely help you to make the right decisions.
Aspects to Consider
The following are some aspects you’d likely have to consider once it become obvious that you need a new gate motor.
Gate Motor Base Plate
All popular gate motor manufacturers have a few different models available in their range to cater for a variety of gate sizes and applications.
They would typically standardise on their gate motor mounting plate (base plate). There is unfortunately no standard base plate that can be used universally between the different manufacturers. Therefore, if you for example plan to change from a Centurion to a Gemini gate motor, the base plate will also have to be changed.
This type of gate motor replacement will require a welding machine as well as someone with the know-how of how to use it.
The internal positioning of various components is not standard amongst the different gate motor manufacturers; a gate motor replacement to a different brand also means that you may have to extend the electrical cable. Care should be taken to ensure that the cable join is not under the ground or exposed to water. In fact, electrical cable should not be exposed outside the motor at all as it can be lethal to humans and animals.
Safety and Legal Requirements
Many motors that were installed in the past were done by technicians not qualified as electricians. A legality that was often (conveniently) overlooked was the installation of a cut-out switch at the motor. Make sure that it is done with this gate motor replacement if it is not in place yet.
Rack and Pinion
The rack is the teeth-like structure welded onto the gate. The pinion is the external gate motor gear that drives the rack.
There should ideally be a one millimetre gap between the rack and pinion. If too close, it means the full weight of the gate rests on the gear which could result in future gearbox damage. If the gap is too big, it will result in the gear slipping in places; the motor will turn, but the gate won’t move.
The rack must be removed and re-fitted if the desired gap cannot be achieved by adjusting the gate motor height settings. The chances of having to do this are virtually eliminated if the same brand motor is used for the replacement. This however, is not a guarantee that it may not be necessary.
Gate Wheels and Gate Guides
Gate motors opens and closes our gates day in and day out. We seldom keep track of the fact that the wheels and guides wear out over time. It may not be a prerequisite to have these changed with a gate motor replacement, but it is highly recommended you do this as well now. It will certainly save you frustration somewhere down the line.
Gate Safety-stops and Anti-lift Brackets
Take advantage of the fact that there will likely be a grinder and welding machine at hand during all this. Steel is subject to rust and eventual failure. A falling gate can have serious consequences. Check and make sure that all safety stops are in place and securely welded to their bases.
A new gate motor holds a lot of monetary value and it s not uncommon to find them disappearing overnight soon after installation. Invest in a steel cage and good quality lock to protect it against theft.
The features differ between the different motors. As a matter of fact, the features between a 10 year old motor and its younger brother are also markedly different. Make sure before the time that your new motor has the feature that you want.
It is clear from the above that the right choice of replacement gate motor will reduce the work (and labour costs).
Welding, grinding and other activities associated with moving the rack will leave the paint damaged. Your gate guy may not include a re-paint of the gate in his quote. It may be cheaper for you to find a less technically qualified individual to paint the gate after the gate motor replacement. Why not make painting the gate a family effort?
Most new motors are supplied with a built-in receiver and two remotes. These new remotes may not be compatible with your old ones. This may not be a problem if you don’t need more than two, but it could add quite a bit to the bottom line if you need, say, five. It would normally be possible to transplant the receiver from the old motor onto the new. If this is done you’ll have no need for additional remotes.
Multi-buttoned remotes are often used to operate garage doors and switch the alarm system on or off. Opting for new remotes may force you to also change the receivers on your garage motor and alarm system.
Take some time out and determine what the result will be when staying with your old remotes compared with what needs to be changed should you want to incorporate new remotes into your security system.
Do It Yourself?
Although the physical complexities of changing a gate motor can be drastically minimised by choosing the right motor, there is still the matter of setting the limits and programming that has to be dealt with.
I would suggest that neither of these tasks be undertaken by someone that is not technically inclined.
What to do Next.
If you're thinking of gate motor replacement, do not hesitate to contact us should you need more information. Alternatively, use the form below if you have any questions or need some clarity. We'll get back to you with an answer.
Follow these links if you need more information.
This link will take to to a page discussing your gate motor options:
Gate Motor Replacement - Motor Options
These pages will direct you to some brand-specific motors:
Hansa Gate Motors
ET Gate Motors
This link provides general information about gate automation: