Can You Convert a Manual Sliding Gate to Automated Later?

Can You Convert a Manual Sliding Gate to Automated Later?

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Many people find the price of gate automation a little high, and they find they need to save or budget for it. But they still need their gate opening closed, so it’s fairly common for customers to consider installing a manual sliding gate at first and then adding gate automation later. Here’s what you need to know.

Yes, You Can Retrofit a Manual Gate to Automate It

The first thing you need to know is that it is possible to retrofit a manual gate and turn it into an automated gate. However, it does depend on the type of gate and how it was installed.

In other words, while it is possible to automate a previously manual gate, it’s not possible for every gate.

What Does It Take to Automate a Manual Gate?

The first thing any gate automation specialist will look at when deciding if they can automate your manually operated gate is the condition of the gate and posts. Usually, only gates that are in good condition can be automated in this way; however, there are other things that may affect the process, including:

  • The gate and gate post type and how they were installed
  • Whether there is enough room for the gate to operate unobstructed – so, for instance, swing gates should not be on a slope
  • The surface under and near the gate – retrofitting a manual gate with gate automation equipment will require wires and cabling to a power supply as well as to connect various parts of the automation system
  • Whether there is a suitable power supply available at the gate – it might be possible to automate remote gates using solar power, but it’s not always reliable
  • What kind of peripherals and access control accessories you want to add

There may also be other things that your gate automation specialist needs to confirm is available on-site, so it’s always a good idea to have them visit your property in person to view and assess the current gate installation and decide accordingly.

Preparing a Gate for Future Automation

Far simpler than trying to automate a gate that was never intended to be automated is to install a gate that is manual to begin with but is already prepared for future gate automation.

This often includes adding an extra section to the bottom rail of a gate if you are using a rack and gear style gate motor or installing a pad or pedestal for a future gate operator. There might also be minor design changes to the gate and gate posts, or your gate installer might install conduit under your gate opening for future electronic component wiring.

If you ever intend to automate a gate that will be manual for now, tell your fence or gate contractor, and ask them to prepare the gate for automation in the future. The cost to do this will usually be low, and it will save you a lot of money when you do decide to add gate automation.

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