Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Powering The Gator Power Gate

It doesn’t seem like too much to ask: Open the gate. Shut the gate. Repeat. The job of a power gate opener should be pretty simple, right? However, if you have struggled with the unreliable performance of a power gate opener, you already know it is not as simple as it seems. At Gator Power Gates, we took a new look at an old problem and found two ways to bring more power and dependability to the seemingly simple job of opening and closing your gate. First, our patented free-edge opening design reduces the overall workload required to power the gate. Second, our solar-powered battery system is custom designed to provide dependable and low-maintenance power to the Gator Power Gate. Let’s take a closer look at how these two innovations keep the Gator Power Gate going strong.

Leading-edge design: The Gator works smarter, not harder 

Most power gate systems on the market push or pull the weight of the gate from the hinged edge. Simple physics of force and motion tells us that this is actually the least efficient way to accomplish the task. In rough physics terms, work (W) is the energy required to move an object. Power (P) is the rate at which energy must be expended in order to accomplish the work. The greatest work (and therefore power) is required at moment zero, or the initial moment the gate is moved from rest into motion. The work it takes to set a gate into motion depends on several variables, such as the weight of the gate and the alignment and ease of motion in the hinges. Another key factor that determines the amount of work and power required is the point at which the force is applied to the gate. To illustrate this principle, see if you can answer this question from a high school physics text:

“If forces F1, F2, F3, and F4 are equal, which will open the heavy gate more easily?”

Leveraging Gates, Gator Power Gates

If you answered “F1,” you nailed it! As you move the point of applied force away from the hinged edge of the door or gate, the work needed to move it decreases. This relationship is due to the change in torque as you change position relative to the pivot point. Let’s look at this principle as it relates to the job at hand: opening and closing your gate.
Leveraging Gates, Gator Power Gates
The red arrow indicates the hinged edge of this gate. This is the point at which the greatest work is required to set the gate in motion. At the center of the gate, marked by the yellow arrow, less force is needed. The green arrow marks the leading edge, or free edge of the gate. Here, the gate can be moved with the minimum work—and therefore power—required. 

Of course, we don’t even need to brush up on our high school physics to know all this. We intuitively know the easiest way to open a door or gate. It’s why we don’t put door knobs right next to the hinges! Gator Power Gate’s patented leading-edge design puts this simple fact into practice. Some of the same principles apply in sliding gate applications, where the Gator Power Gate also excels. Rather than initiating movement from the point where most work is required, the Gator opens gates just like you and I do: where it is easiest. 

Solar battery system: Purpose-designed for ease and dependability 

Solar Power or AC, Gator Power GatesJust because the Gator works smart doesn’t mean it’s lazy! The Gator Power Gate’s rugged wheels and field-tested motor are built to perform. Powering this workhorse is a 12-volt, 20 amp gel cell deep cycle battery that is maintained by a trickle-charge 10 watt solar panel. The elements of this power system have been selected for their dependability and ease of use. Gel-cell batteries are well-suited to the power gate application, as they are designed for long-term energy delivery over a
number of discharge cycles. As an added bonus, gel-cell technology has been shown to out-perform liquid-cell batteries in hot environments…a feature many of us in Gator country can appreciate!

Using solar power to maintain the battery allows for easier installation. Most users will never have to dig a trench to run new electrical conduits. The Gator’s 10 watt, 12 volt solar panel has a manufacturing rating of VOC (voltage open circuit) 21.96 and ISC (current short circuit) .67 amps. Generally, the solar panel provides plenty of power for regular residential daily use. However, in applications where sun exposure is very limited, or where heavier use is expected, we also offer an AC charger as an alternative or supplement to solar. In either case, your battery will be maintained by a trickle-charge controller that regulates the re-charging required from the solar panel and/or AC outlet. We all want a power gate opener to do a simple job, but we need it to do that job effectively and to keep on doing it day after day for years to come. With its dependable power supply and intuitive free-edge design, the Gator Power Gate is a smart, effective, and reliable solution for your home, farm, or ranch.
Jana Badger
Solar Power or AC, Gator Power Gates

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