Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Gators Swim to the Shark Tank

We took an opportunity to go to a Shark Tank open casting call to try our luck with thousands of other hopefuls. So, we decided to go for it  as our customers had urged us to pursue this lofty endeavor. Very few make the "made for TV auditions" to pitch on camera to potential investors.
However, we actually made it past their first level of elimination and on to the "video round" for judging, but at the end of the day, we didn't get "the call".
Gator Power Gates shares their Shark Tank casting call audition experience in this blog post.
Gator Power Gates at Shark Tank
Yep, that's me at the Chicago Shark Tank casting call front door. 

The Gator Power Gate display isn't so easy to pack on an airplane so I decided to drive from our headquarters in Corpus Christi, TX to Chicago IL where the producers are having an open casting call. 
When you're from Texas and your road trip will take you out of state, you have to plan your last gas stop at Buc-ees. We enjoy their food, clean restrooms and gas prices. 
Crossing the Mississippi river marks my half way point of the drive. 
Got into Chicago Sunday late afternoon and things were very much alive. Downtown Chicago was intimidating with all the extra traffic and tight roads. My plan was to check into my hotel and then go check-out the studio to see how far is was to drive. But I learned quickly to just be glad I got a parking space and stay put.
I decide to look for a place to eat within walking distance and came across Shake Shack. I have to tell ya, that was a GREAT cheese burger. Probably the best I'd had in a long long time. 

Monday morning came very quickly as I planned to go get in line about 6:00 in the morning. When I arrived, there was a huge line that wrapped around the building and then down the street. This reminded me of the old days (early 80's) when waiting in line for Billy Joel concert tickets. When the studio opened up at 9:00am their staff walked around handing out numbered bracelets and in groups of 25 told to come back at a certain time. I was number 109 and asked to come back to the studio at 12:00 noon. 

I was able to pitch the Gator Power Gate in about 4 minutes and then I packed up and drove out of town towards Corpus Christi. How about that for an ROI? Four days of driving, wait in line for 3 hours for a possible appointment. All that for a 1 minute pitch that turned into 4 minutes. Priceless, LOL. I think Kevin O'leary would have told me I was killing money. I simply look at it as the of cost of doing business. 

I was told before my 1 minute pitch that if I made it to the video round I would hear from them within 14 days. Then about 10 days later I got an email and phone call with instructions on preparing our video package for Shark Tank with a time frame of don't call us, we'll call you if you make it. 

We obviously didn't meet the criteria for the show producers but learned that a lot of people are inventing cool things and still pursue the american dream.

One observation that might help future open casting call attendees is that you really don't need to camp out over night at the studio to pitch your product. I got there about 6:00am and there were several people that had camped out all night. I met a lady who was the #1 person in line and she had camped out for 2 days. Her enthusiasm was great though. Anyway, you could still get a bracelet to pitch your product at 11:00, the day of auditions. 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Gator Power Gates Awarded U.S. Trademark

United States Patent and Trademark office has awarded Gator Power Gates a registered trademark for Gator Power Gates, Inc. logo. It was quite a process to navigate through but Ochoa Patents of Corpus Christi, Texas made this process smooth. Susan Ochoa Spiering kept us informed with each step along the way as our Trademark request went through the examiners office. We sure appreciate their professionalism and their services.
Gator Power Gates, Inc. Registered Trademark

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Will The Gator Work On My Gate And Driveway?

The short and quick answers is YES. The Gator fits and automates all types of applications like wrought iron to farm and ranch gates. Size doesn't seem to matter since we're mounting the Gator on the "open end" of the gate.
A properly hung swing gate will bare all the weight on the hinges of the gate. Which also ultimately means that your gate post needs to be able to support your gate. When this is the case, the Gator Power Gate will function with ease.
Gator's no-flat all terrain wheels provide the traction it needs to handle any type of driveway up to 5 and 1/2 inch slope.  A great way to measure your driveway slope is to get a long 2x4 and place a level on top while holding board level.  Measure the slope of your driveway from the highest to lowest point.
In the video we show you how the Gator Power Gate tracks up and down while keeping your gate level and plumb. Our universal mounting plate allows the Gator to float over different topography or slopes in your driveway. 
Gators can be mounted on most any type of swing gate. Learn more about what our customers are saying about the Gator Power Gate.
Gator Power Gates
The largest gate we've installed to this date is a 400+ pound gate that measures 20 feet long and 6 feet tall. To put a prospective to this figure, most 16 foot farm and ranch type gates weight about 60 to 90 pounds. Wrought iron can weigh much more but operate well with good adjustable hinges.

The Gator Power Gate is a great way to automate your swing gate and enjoy the convenience of staying in the car while feeling secure behind a close auto swing gate.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Cedar Picket Gate, Gator Power Gates

In this home improvement project we're building a Cedar Picket gate that will be opened by an automatic gate opener, Gator Power Gates. The absolutely worst type of gate you could use for an automatic gate opener is cedar pickets. Why? Because of wind. Cedar picket gates don't allow the wind to pass through and therefore causing the gate to act like a sail. Wind will cause automatic gate openers to not perform.
Cedar Picket Gator
In our final product the gate needs to swing level and plumb and avoid any sagging. In this application the driveway has a 5 1/2 inch slope. In the gates open position there will be a large gap between the driveway and bottom of the gate. This means the Gator Power Gate will have to travel down a slope and climb back up to open and close the gate.
Slope, Gator Power Gates
We are going to begin this project with a sturdy post. We're using a 10 foot long 4x6 treated beam. We attached to the beam 2 1/2 inch 1/4 inch thick angle iron. The post and angle iron both weigh about 90 lbs. We placed the post 5 feet in the ground and added 480 lbs of concrete (six 80 pound bags) to secure the post. Totally, this post now weighs approximately 570 lbs.  
Gate Post, Gator Power Gates
For some additional reinforcement we added 3 cross bars to secure the new post to a post just adjacent. This adds more strength to the post that will hold up the cedar gate.
Gate Post, Gator Power Gates
We carefully measured and attached the aluminum frame we previously had made by a local welder at Expert Welding. To make it easier to attach the cedar pickets they used 2 inch aluminum tubing.
Cedar picket Gate, Gator Power Gates
This was a great home improvement project and adding the convenience of the Gator Power Gate. Great way to ad value to any home. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

DIY Project, Removing An Old Gate Post

A great way to ad value to a home is a good plumb and level gate. This is a great home improvement project that will certainly give you added value. When replacing that old gate, sometimes you have to go the extra mile and replace the Post as well. Here we show you how to get that old gate post out of the ground.
Old Gate Post, Gator Power Gates, Inc.
This gate post shown above simply isn't strong enough for the new gate that will be installed. So, this old post has to come out. 
Old Gate Post, Gator Power Gates, Inc.
Secure a 4 x 4 piece of wood to the side of the post using large 1/2 inch nuts and bolts. 
Old Gate Post, Gator Power Gates, Inc.
Using a High-Lift jack you can simply jack the post out of it's position in the ground. This is a little more difficult then it sounds. But, with a little elbow grease, it will come out. 
Getting this out of the ground was some extra effort, but worth it. Now we can place a new post in the ground that will hold up our new gate.

Gator Power Gates recommends that your gate should be level and plumb prior to installing their automatic gate system. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Gators, Knowing When To Stop

Anyone who has seen the Gator Power Gate in action knows it is built to move. However, a lot of thought and design also went into getting the Gator to stop! The motion controls built in to the Gator power gate system include safety reverse, manual or remote operation, and magnetic sensor stop-points. Together, these controls allow precise and customizable operation of your power gate.

Safety Reverse: The Gator Power Gate will automatically stop and reverse 2 feet if it encounters obstacles. (Of course, we still recommend you don’t get in the way of a charging Gator!)
Manual and Remote controls: The Gator Power Gate can be controlled using the included remote fob. It also features a manual control panel.
The Gator can learn with other compatible 3 button 433 mhz type controllers.
Magnetic sensors: The Gator Power Gate uses a magnetic sensor to detect its stopping points. Here’s how it works!
Just as a motion sensor detects movement, magnetic sensors can detect changes in magnetic fields. In the Gator Power Gate, a magnetic sensor mounted alongside the unit responds to the presence of two magnetic markers. These markers can be positioned at the desired “open” and “closed” positions for your gate. When the magnetic sensor wand passes above one of these magnetic markers, it signals the Gator to stop moving. This allows you to easily customize the operation of your gate. For those “do it yourselves” out there, we’ve outlined some best practices when installing the magnets.
You will be most impressed with watching the Gator go. However, safety reverse, remote and manual controls, and magnetic sensor stop-points also ensure that the Gator Power Gate knows when to stop!
Jana Badger

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

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Level and Plumb

We begin our Gator Power Gate installations with making adjustments needed to bring your gate to a level and plumb position. Over time gravity seems to always cause gates to sag. Most cases only minor adjustments are needed. Sometimes, a new post will need to be placed in the ground to get the proper plumb (vertical measurement) to hold gate in a level (horizontal measurement) position. 
Level and Plum, Gator Power Gates, Inc.
In the picture above shows an application that required a new post built to last and support a 16 foot pipe/wire mesh gate.The old post couldn't bare the weight and the gate would sag. You can see that the finished product is a post that is plumb and a swing gate that is level. 
In the video we show examples of the adjustments made prior to installing the Gator Power Gate. This is a key "best practice" to optimize Gator performance when opening and closing gates. The weight of a swing gate should be supported by its hinges.
We leveled this wrought iron gate by simply adjusting the bolts on the hinges. Moving the bottom bolts out and the top bolts in slightly until gate is level.

Your gonna love your Gator Power Gate!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Lago In The Morning Talks Gators

Popular news radio host Jim Lago of "Lago In The Morning" (KKTX 1360) has been researching how to automate his wrought iron gate for the past year. His friends didn't recommend the mighty mule because the actuating arm can have to much tension and break. Others recommended counter balance weights to open gate manually.

Listen how Jim Lago is excited about the Gator Power Gate! He's chatting with Dr. Keith Rose telling him that he's got to come over an see the Gator Power Gate!

We're certainly grateful that Jim has found the Gator Power Gate as a solution to automating his gate. He especially enjoys the simplicity of the Gator Power Gate by attaching basically a "box" or robot to the end of your gate. Sharing that we're locally owned and operated here in Corpus Christi.

The Gator Power Gate is ready to automate your swing gate by uniquely attaching to the cantilever side of the gate. The Gator is an all terrain robot that you control to open and close your swing gate. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Wood Gate Post Built To Last

Starting out a job right will always pay off in the long run. At Gator Power Gates we recently installed a new 4x4 wood gate post to hold up a 16 foot wire mesh style farm gate so that it will stay level and plum. In this application the post will have to stand and support a gate on its own.

We always begin with preparation in the shop before we get to the field. We secured a 2 inch, ¼ inch thick angle iron to serve as a back bone to the gate post which provides great reinforcement to the treated 4 x 4 wood post.
Wood Gate Post Preparation, Gator Power Gates
We used an 8 foot gate post with 6 feet of angle iron and securing the iron with ½ inch nuts, bolts and washers. Prior to mounting angle iron; we washed the angle iron in V.M. & P. Naphtha, then 2 coats of gray primer. 
Dave and Patti auging a post hole, Gator Power Gates
We dug a whole about 45 inches (3.75 feet) deep so that we could submerge the gate poll in the ground about halfway.

Before placing the gate post in the ground, you should always place a rock of some sort at the bottom to allow for water drainage. If we didn’t place a rock on the bottom of post the concrete would create a “bowl” effect and hold water in around the post.
Gate Post Best Practices, Gator Power Gates
It’s also important to fill concrete up a little higher than ground level to allow water to drain off the top away from the post preventing water from pooling around the post.
Using a half inch bolt assembly we mounted the gate using horseshoe hinges. The Horseshoe hinges should be mounted on a 45° angle. By doing this your gate will remain level through-out its turn.

To prevent the horseshoe hinge from sliding you should place a ¼ inch bolt through the center.
Wood Gate Post Built To Last, Gator Power Gates
As you can see the gate post is built to last, level and plum and ready for the Gator Power Gate installation.