A solar gate opener installation is a pretty straightforward process and requires no expertise. However, you may end up ruining things or have to pay an electrician to get your solar gate openers installed without a bit of guidance here and there.
To make sure nothing goes south, we’ve compiled this guide that provides all you’ll ever need to install your automatic solar gate openers. To make it easier, we compiled the entire process into seven short and easy steps.
Tools Required to Install Solar Gate Openers
To correctly install your automatic solar gate opener, you’ll need to have the following tools handy:
- The solar panel(s)
- A tape measure
- Wire strippers
- PVC piping
- A level
- Open-ended wrenches
- Protective gears (such as electricity-insulating gloves)
- And, in some cases, a mounting plate or other mounting hardware.
Some of these come with the solar gate opener. So, unbox the automatic gate opener and be sure you’re good to go.
How to Install a Solar Gate Opener In Seven Easy Steps
From now on, we’re assuming you already have your gate installed. So we’ll be focusing solely on how to install your automatic gate opener. And while some automatic gate openers run on AC electricity from your home, our focus is on automatic solar gate openers powered by energy from the sun.
Step 1 — Connect and Test the Controller Box
Before you invest time and energy into installing the system, you want to be sure it’s functional. Plus, before installing, it is the best time to understand its features and how they operate. During this test and throughout the installation of the system, prioritize safety.
Connecting the Solar Panels to the Automatic Gate Opener
The next thing to do is to connect the gate opener to the solar panels. There should be a little energy to test a thing or two and learn if it can open and close your gate. If not, you may have to let the panels get a few hours of sunlight. Once you’re sure everything is functioning correctly, it’s time to get started.
Step 2 — Measure Carefully
Getting the proper measurement is key to getting your installation done right. You don’t want to screw stuff to the wrong places.
The gate opener arm goes on the same side as the hinges of your gate, so measure and mark the perfect spot to fix it. Also, if your gates need mounting plates, horizontal bars, or brackets to accommodate the automatic gate opener, then make room for them during your measurement.
Step 3 — Install the Gate Opener Arm
Alright, let’s get to some real work. These things work in one of two ways, that is: “pull to close” and “push to close.” Usually, you can fix most automatic gate openers either way, but if you have two gate opener arms, it’s best to connect them to work in the same direction.
Fix the clamp or mounting plate firmly to the gate post. Ensure it’s somewhere around the center of the gate, then attach the gate opener arm to it.
For optimal function, the rear part of the gate opener arm should be properly attached to the mounting plate, while the mouth of the gate opener arm should firmly grip the gate. This way, it effortlessly swings it open and closes once you press the remote.
To get this task done, you may need a screwdriver, a drill, or a wrench — this depends on your gate, fence, and material.
Step 4 — Fix the Control Box
The control box is the power channel from the panels and battery box to the automatic gate opener, and it’s used to regulate the features of your solar gate opener.
For this step, firmly screw the control box to the gate post. Just by the side to ensure the controller can access it from either side of the gate. Be careful not to break this box, as this may mean you’ll have to part with some more dollars to get a new one.
After this is done, it’s time to connect the solar panel and battery box to the controller box.
Step 5 — Install the Solar Panels
These panels power the entire automatic gate system, so they’re important. You’ll need to install the solar panel close to your gate opener. The farther the solar panel is from the gate opener, the more energy you stand to lose.
If possible, install them right on your gate’s post. Just make sure it’s firm and receives direct sunlight so it can absorb enough solar power. If this is not achievable on your gate post, you may need to buy an external post to install your gate opener. You can get this from any hardware store. You may use PVC piping to cover any loose wires that connect your panels to the accompanying battery and keep your driveway neat.
It’s important to note that even cloudy days can provide enough solar energy to power your gate opener. Plus, energy stored on sunny days can power your solar gate on cloudy days. Just make sure it receives direct sun, and you won’t have to worry too much about the weather.
Step 6 — Connect Your Gate Opener
In this step, you connect your solar panels and battery box to your gate controller to power the gate opener arm.
The first thing to do here is to turn off your controller box completely. Leave nothing to chance because just a little electrical voltage may be enough to cause injuries. To further protect yourself, use safety gear like insulating gloves during this step. Now, connect the panel’s wires to the controller box. Red wires are for positive terminals, while the black cables are for negative terminals.
As earlier advised, the panels should be close to the controller box. But if, for any reason, it’s so far and out of the wire’s range, you may use an extension cord to connect the solar panel to the automatic gate.
Step 7 — Final Touches, Testing, and Adjustment
Now you’re done with setting up the hardware — well, almost.
Look around your controller box, set the open and close speed and timing. Note that if it is set too fast, it may damage your gate and fence. You may also browse through your controller box for some cool features.
After this is fixed, it’s time to test your automatic gate opener in real-time. Make sure the gate opener works as desired. If you think it’s too fast or too slow, you may readjust it in the controller box and test it again. Once finished, you can cover the controller box, and that’s all. Now, you can use a remote to open your gate automatically!
How Much Does It Cost to Install An Automatic Solar Gate Opener?
In case you’re wondering if doing the work is worth it or considering hiring someone to get your automatic gate opener installed, here’s what you should expect:
A light-duty solar gate opener for single gates can cost anywhere between $250 to $500 and around $700 for dual opening gates. The installation cost (paid to the contractor) ranges from $600 to $1500, depending on the project’s magnitude. The size of the gate is the primary determinant.
You can invest 2-3 hours to get it done, or you can spend up to $1500 for your solar gate opener installation, your choice. Either way, harnessing solar power to automate your gate sounds pretty cool.
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