How Controls work for Automatic Gates

Access Controls 

Are devices such as hand held wireless remote controls, intercoms, digital keypads, RFID card or tag reader, fingerprint reader or even mobile phones can be used for authorized people to gain access to a property.

Exit Controls

The same devices used for access control can also be used for exit control but access control doesn't need to be as secure because if someone has got in then they certainly should be allowed out.  A simple press button on a pole is quite often used as an exit control so any visitor can use it to get out but if someone jumps the fence they too can use it to open the gate and drive a vehicle in.  A better exit control system is to use an in ground vehicle detector so any vehicle that drives up to the gate from inside the property will open the gate automatically, this is also called "auto-exit".

Safety or Closing Controls

A gate can be made to close by itself after a time delay (auto-close) but if a car happened to be driving through just as the gate starts to close it could close on the car, which isn't all that safe.  To make this safer Photocells can be fitted that prevent the gate closing on a vehicle.  Photocells can also control the closing of a gate so it will close immediately after a vehicle has driven through providing a higher level of security by only having the gate open for as long as necessary.  

Swing Gates 

Sliding Gates 

Remote Controls  

For a single residence a remote control is normally used to open and close the gate. These are also called a handset, hand held transmitter, clicker, buzzer or keys.

When there are many houses sharing an automatic gate remote controls should open the gate only so if more than one person wants to open the gate you don't get a situation where one will starting to opening the gate and then another stop it and start closing it causing all sorts of confusion.  Having the remote control opening the gate only prevents this from happening and the gate will close by itself automatically after a time delay (auto-close).

Managing large numbers of Users - Standard remote control receiver units can normally work with at least 30 to 200 different remote controls but the problem with this is if you have a lot of users and someone looses their remote control it cannot easily be deactivated so anyone who finds it can use it to get in.  Standard Receivers can only remove all remote controls then all the others must be programmed in again to work.  How ever there are Receiver Units that allow individual remote controls to be removed even if it is lost or stolen, these receivers allow each remote control to have an ID number assigned to it that can be recorded and then if lost or stolen it can be removed using this ID number.   

Garage door remote controls can also be used to open and close a gate if a compatible receiver unit is fitted to the Gate Motor or it can work the other way too if a Gate Remote Control is to operate a Garage Door a compatible receiver unit must be fitted to the garage door

... more on Gate Remote Control Compatibility 

Photocells and Auto-close 

Photocells provide an extra level of safety to an automatic gate by preventing it from closing if there is a vehicle in the path of a gate.  Photocells are highly recommended if a gate is set to close automatically after a time delay (auto-close).  If a gate is shared by more than one residence or is for a commercial property with many users then auto-close and the use of photocells is mandatory.  

... more on Photocells

Digital Keypads

For single residences a Digital Keypad, key code pad or pin pad as they are also known are a handy way for school children, the meter man, tradesman, friends and family to open the gate.  All that is needed is a personal ID number (pin), which is entered into the keypad and the gate will open or close.  If the gate closes by itself after a time delay (auto-close) then a weather proof press button or another digital keypad is required inside the property to let anyone out.

RFID Cards and Fobs

If there are a lot of users for an automatic gate the cost of Remote Controls can be a lot so an economical alternative is to use RFID Cards or Fobs, where an authorized card the size of a credit card or Fob, which is a small disc on a key ring is touched on an RFID reader to open the gate. The advantage being the cards and FOBs are cheap to buy and allows accurate management of who has access, where as with a digital keypad people can tell other people what their pin is making management of who has access is more difficult.

GSM Access Control 

Allows all users with a mobile phone to gain access by calling a pre-set number.  Only mobile phones registered into the system can open the gate allowing management of who has access.  These work much like remote controls but you use a mobile phone instead.  It does require all users to carry a mobile phone with them but also allows accurate management of who comes and goes

In ground vehicle detectors for automatic visitor exit

If you have a long driveway, large rural property and can't see the gate from your house or there is a large number of users sharing a gate you can include an in ground vehicle detector in your driveway for "Auto Exit" so when a visitors vehicle approaches the gate from inside the property it will open the gate automatically, you won't need to worry about them and you don't need to worry about anyone jumping the fence and using the vehicle detector to open the gate as they don't detect pedestrians.

... more on In Ground Vehicle Detectors


Intercoms for automatic gates generally have an Outdoor Station at the gate with a Call Button that when pressed rings an Indoor Station like a door bell except an occupant may answer the call and speak to the visitor to identify them before letting them in by pressing a button on the Indoor Station that will either open an automatic gate or release an electric pedestrian gate lock.  These can have a digital keypad or RFID reader built in so are an all in one access control system.

... more on Intercoms for Gates 

Gates controls with Solar Power 

If a gate is solar powered then each control device added to the gate will draw power from the solar system 24/7.  It may not be much power but may be enough to run the backup battery flat over night so a larger solar panel, backup battery and charge control unit would be needed.  A lot of gate controls are solar friendly, which means the amount of power they use is very small keeping the cost of the solar system down.

... more on Power Options for Automatic Gates