How to get better Remote Control Range with Automatic Gates

Antenna positioning

If your gate motor is behind a metal fence including: chain mesh, vertical tubing, metal slats, metal sheeting, concrete wall with steel reinforcing or other types of wall with metal framing then this can reduce the range considerably because the radio waves from your remote control won't go through metal all that well.

The solution is to add an antenna that is above the metal so has a clear line of sight to where the remote control is likely to be. Just adding a piece of wire won't work because it acts as the antenna for its entire length, which upsets the tuning ro the way it all works. The wire between the receiver and the antenna must be co-axial cable that is a cable with screening that connects to the common ground terminal of the receiver so this part of the cable doesn't work as an antenna.

Getting the Frequency Correct. 

The frequency is like the channel that a remote control works on and the antenna used must work with the frequency used by the remote controls.  The smaller key ring sized remote controls of today have a frequency of either 433.92Mhz or somewhere between 300Mhz and 315Mhz, where as the larger cigarette package sized remote controls are normally 27Mhz.  Its best to use an antenna designed for these frequencies.

Choosing an Antenna 

There are two common varieties of antenna suitable for automatic gates including: 

antenna type

The Whip: is basically a stiff or flexible rod of a certain length depending on the frequency.  These work better with a variety of different frequencies or in technical language has a wider band width but don't work as well for any specific frequency.  Whips for 433.92Mhz should be around 160 or 320mm long where as for 300Mhz to 315Mhz there should be 220mm or 440mm and for 27Mhz 600mm or 1.2m long.

The Tuned Antenna: works better on a selected frequency than a whip but you must have the correct frequency. In technical terms a tuned antenna has a narrower band width.  You can recognize a tuned antenna because it will have a visible spiral shape or cylindrical block part way up.

Inteference 

If your gate motor isn't behind any metal and/or has an antenna fitted and you still only get a few metres range from your remote control this is most likely because the receiver in the gate motor is picking up interference from some other wireless device preventing it from receiving your remote control properly unless very close.  This can happen with simpler receivers that pick up a wide range of frequencies including frequencies that can interfere with it.  In technical terms these are called wide band regenerative receivers and are only used because they are cheap and use less power so are common with solar powered gate motors.  

If you get a receiver that is described as Superheterodyne with at least 110db sensitivity these work well with one specific frequency over a much longer distance and reject interference so will work where the others won't.  In our experience these receivers work the best.  

Another option is too get a new receiver and remote controls of a different frequency than the one suffering from interference.  You can get Multi-frequency remote controls too that work on three different frequencies so if one suffers from interference at least one of the three will work.