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Install an Automatic Swing Gate Opener

Install a Gate Opener

DIY Swing Gate Openers are battery operated, low voltage systems that are safe and affordable. No electrician or welding is required, and most installations can be completed easily in two to three hours. Each system includes an installation overview DVD and a detailed Instruction Manual.

Buying a Swing Gate Opener

In order to purchase the appropriate gate opener model for your application, you must be able to answer these questions:

  1. Is it a single or dual gate installation?
  2. How much does the gate leaf (or leaves if it's a dual gate) weigh?
  3. How long is each gate leaf?
  4. Will the gate open into the property (pull to open) or away from the property (push to open)?
  5. Do you plan to charge the gate opener battery using the included transformer or an optional solar panel charging kit?

Determine Charging (Power) Options for the Gate Opener

The automatic gate opener is a low-voltage battery operated system. A battery is required for powering the opener (check your model to see if the battery is included or if you must purchase a 12 volt automotive/marine type battery).

The battery charge is maintained either by the transformer (included with gate opener systems) or an optional solar panel. If your gate is more than 1000' from an AC power source, you must use a solar panel charging kit(s) to maintain the battery's charge. Your gate opener Instruction Manual will provide specifications determining the number of solar panels your application will require (varies by the opener model, location, gate opener accessories, and number of daily gate cycles).

IMPORTANT: Before You Begin the Installation

View the Installation DVD and read the Instruction Manual in its entirety before beginning the installation. Because automatic gate openers produce high levels of force, it is important to review the Safety Instructions included with your gate opener before installation to avoid potential hazards caused by improperly installed/maintained gate opener systems.

Verify that the gate opener you purchased is suited for your gate's type/size/weight, frequency of use, and the proper class rating.

The gate opener is intended for vehicular gates only. A separate entrance/gate must be installed for pedestrian use.

Prepare the Gate for Installation of the Opener

Every gate opener is only as good as its gate. In order to ensure many years of reliable automatic opening and closing, the gate must be:

  • Plumb, level, and swing freely on its hinges.
  • The gate must move throughout its arc without binding or dragging on the ground
  • Wheels must not be attached to the gate.
  • Gates over 250 lbs. should have ball bearing hinges with grease fittings.
  • Gate post must be secured in the ground with concrete.

In addition, keep these gate tips in mind for your installation:

  • Repair or replace all worn or damaged hardware.
  • Gate posts larger than 8" diameter will require longer bolts (2" longer than post thickness). Gate posts smaller than 6" in diameter should be made of metal (not wood). Gate posts smaller than 4" in diameter will require large metal washers or steel plates for reinforcement.
  • The addition of a horizontal or vertical cross member is recommended to provide a stable area for mounting the gate bracket. Tube or panel gates may need reinforcement.
  • If installing a dual gate opener, the driveway will need to be trenched/cut in order to lay PVC conduit for the second opener's power cable.

Install the Gate Opener

Gate diagram

Step 1

Determine the Position of the Gate Opener

The gate opener should be installed on the inside of the property/fence line. Do not install the opener on the outside of the gate where the public has access to it.

The gate opener should be positioned near the center line of the gate to minimize twisting and flexing of the gate when the opener is activated, and to avoid back splash from rain.

Step 2

Install the Post Bracket Assembly

The post bracket assembly sets the clearance between the gate opener and the gate in the open and closed positions. Assemble the post bracket assembly and attach it to the rear mount of the gate opener. Attach the gate bracket to the front mount of the opener. With the gate in the open position and the opener arm fully retracted, adjust the post bracket assembly and gate bracket until the opener is level. While holding the opener level, use C-clamps to temporarily keep the post bracket assembly and gate bracket in their respective positions on the gate post and gate.

Once you have verified the clearance/front mount distance in the open and closed position, install the post bracket assembly to the gate post and the gate bracket to the gate.

Step 3

Mount the Opener Arm

Attach the opener arm to the post bracket assembly and gate bracket. Verify that the opener arm is level and adjust the post bracket assembly if necessary.

Step 4

Install Closed Position Stop Plates

The Closed Position Stop Plate helps to stabilize the gate in the closed position. Detach the opener from the gate and move the gate to the closed position. Fasten the closed position stop plate (horizontally) to the end of the gate frame at the center line of the gate and slide the closed position stop plate toward the gate post until they touch. Once you have moved the closed position stop plate into the correct position, tighten its hardware completely.

Return the gate to its open position and reconnect the opener arm to the gate bracket.

Step 5

Mount the Control Box (if applicable)

Mount the control box at least 3 feet above the ground to protect it from rain splash, snow, etc. and at least 3 feet from an AC power source to prevent electrical interference. Note: Not every gate opener model has a control box.

Step 6

Connect Battery Wires to Control Board

With the control box cover removed, run the battery harness wires through the control box strain relief slot, leaving enough wire to reach the battery wire plugs from the control board. Attach the black and red wires to their appropriate terminals.

Step 7

Connect Gate Opener Power Cable

Insert the power cable through the strain relief slots of the control box. Attach the power cable wires to the appropriate terminal blocks marked by color.

Step 8

Connect the Transformer

You must connect a transformer (included with the gate opener) or a solar panel to the opener's control board in order to maintain a charge to the battery. Do NOT connect BOTH a transformer and solar panel to the control board at the same time; it will damage the control board.

Measure the distance from the AC outlet to the control box and cut the wire to the appropriate length. Lay the low voltage wire in a trench from the electrical outlet to the control box and bury the wire. Wire coming out of the ground (to control box) should be run through PVC conduit to protect it from weed eaters, animals, etc. Pull wire through the PVC conduit to control box and attach it to the power terminals located on the control board.

At the AC outlet, attach low voltage wire to the transformer terminals. Plug the transformer into the AC outlet (use of a surge protector is strongly recommended). Use a weatherproof cover/housing if the transformer is plugged into an outdoor outlet.

Step 9

Connect the Battery

Either wire up the battery that is included with the gate opener, or for select models, place a 12 Volt automotive/marine type battery in a weatherproof case within 6 feet of where the control box is mounted. Attach the battery harness wires to the terminals of the battery (black to negative, red to positive).

Step 10

Set the Closed Position Limit

Use the entry transmitter (included with the gate opener) to program the control board's closed position limit. Details for programming the closed position limit are included in your gate opener model's Instruction Manual.

Step 11

Adjust the Stall Force Setting

The stall force potentiometer on the control board controls the obstruction sensitivity (the amount of force the opener will apply to an obstruction before it automatically stops and reverses direction). Use a screwdriver to adjust the potentiometer from the minimum factory setting just to the point where the gate travels smoothly and without obstructing/stalling from its weight or normal wind conditions.

Step 12

Set Auto-Close Timing

The auto-close timer determines how long the gate will remain open before it automatically closes. You can adjust the auto close timer on the control board to automatically close the gate from 3 to 120 seconds, or to off.

Step 13

Adjust Transmitter Code/Settings

For security, "personalize" your transmitter's settings by changing them from the"factory code." It Remove the transmitter cover and adjust the transmitter's dip switches into a combination of switch positions. Once you have adjusted the dip switches, you will program these into the control board according to your opener model's Instruction Manual.

Step 14

Install Warning Signs

Install the Warning Signs (included with the gate opener kit) on both sides of each gate.

Project Information

  • Skill Level: Advanced

*Time and Cost are estimated.