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Automated Gates - Help Urgently needed

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by GeddyMortgage, 29 Sep 2021.

  1. GeddyMortgage

    GeddyMortgage

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    Hi all,



    Having a bad time with our automated gates today.



    We had automated iron gates already but about 3 weeks ago decided to add a bit of privacy and swapped the iron gates for closed board timber ones, but kept the automation as it's been fine for us the past few years we've lived here. (Automation is an old SEA UK hydraulic 230v system that I estimate to be 10years old or so)

    All has been fine till today I noticed one of the gate leaves banging against the stopper in the wind. On closer inspection I can see the coach screws used to screw the bracket to the gates have sheered off!



    I've set them to manual release now and you'll see on the images and pictures (at the bottom of the the post) that when it's opening and closing, the plate is now heavily pivoting from the 2 screws still attached rather than the plate staying parallel to the gate leaf and freely sliding up and down?

    I know it's naturally going to do that now with those 2 screws being the only contact point.... but should the plate be rotating like this that at all?... is that normal? I mean for the heads to be sheered off, the plate must've been trying to pivot like this and putting pressure on the heads of the screws at an angle? I'm at a bit of a loss here and in need of some advice, If I leave them like this undoubtedly the other 2 will sheer off in no time and i'm gonna be left with no security at the property.


    It is worth noting that the wooden block on the back of the gates which has the arm secured to it and the coach screws securing that to the gate.... the installer did that very much as a temporary solution, knowing the arms were old and are quite tired and will need replacing in the near future. He said when the arms do give up in the near future you'll need to have the arms secured to the gate by bolting through and attaching that way....

    So I guess there's 2 questions here , based on the above



    • Is it time for new arms? ( I assume it is)
    • Is the only way to attach the arms to timber gates by bolting through the gate as described above? or is there another secure way that will last for years?

    Images

    243053674_418479023032406_791522980881435140_n.jpg IMG-0522.jpg IMG-0528.jpg

    video link

    https://streamable.com/ouzepe
     
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  3. RandomGrinch

    RandomGrinch

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    Hi,

    I am just a DIY'er so please feel free to ignore! :)

    There is going to be a rotational force with any linear actuator trying to push the gate open, or pull it closed and this force can be considerable. So I believe that motion in the video is normal.

    Considering those forces, the screws holding the bracket to the gate do not appear to be up to the job (they are not coach bolts).

    Before looking at replacing the arms, I would suggest getting some appropriately sized coach screws, something like:

    https://www.screwfix.com/p/easydrive-coach-screws-a2-stainless-steel-10-x-70mm-10-pack/9147T

    (But you do need to check the size of the bracket holes first)

    Ideally, you should use bolts going all the way through, but it doesn't hurt to try these first and will look better on the front of the gate!

    I hope that makes sense :)
     
    Last edited: 29 Sep 2021
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  4. 333rocky333

    333rocky333

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    M10 Coach screws may split that block of wood, the screw holes look near to the edge, they do make an M6 and as above, worth a try.
    Bear in mind the old broken screw threads are now in the way and may cause an issue

    M5 x 150mm coach bolts may be stronger but the heads will show outside, usually they would be drilled before the actuater fitted as you wont get the drill in with it on, you could unscrew the other screws first and do it, if you can get a driver in.
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. RandomGrinch

    RandomGrinch

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    The other problem, the sheared screws -
    If they have remained in the block and can't be removed, it may be simpler to replace the block :(
     
  6. GeddyMortgage

    GeddyMortgage

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    thanks for the input! I was hoping the replies would be along these lines.

    I'm not overly arsed about the block of wood as it was always a temporary measure as mentioned above. What I am bothered about is trying to get it functional again reliably...but trying to avoid unnecessary holes in the gate where possible. They are solid oak and have been told once water gets in it's the start of the end.

    See on this image here, there are the 4 tiny screws connecting plate to block, but 4 larger holes closer toward the centre, which i assume are coach screws connecting block to gate.

    upload_2021-9-29_23-48-29.png



    The installer did say they won't hold forever. So assuming if the weakpoint of the tiny screws is bolstered, it will move the weakpoint to those coach screws between block/gate.

    So ideally i'd just bolt straight the way through, the dilemma is; these automated arms are old and tired and ready to go soon. The newer arms wont have the same dimensions.... so if we bolt through now, we'll need to bolt through again in a different position, when we swap the arms.


    Is there any other way of securely attaching all this? like what if I had a U-shaped bracket over that horizontal back brace, with the plate welded to that, and the U bracket with a bolt running through it vertically through that brace? (teal coloured in the image)

    something like this?

    upload_2021-9-29_23-54-2.png
     
  7. ericmark

    ericmark

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    After the death of Semelia Campbell many automated gates were found to be lacking in the safety features, and electrical firms have refused work on automated gates leaving it to specialist firms as a result.

    Wind resistance on the gates can result in massive forces, one of the advantages of metal gates is often less wind resistance. Often the gates are designed with a maximum torque which if exceeded will cause something to shear or fail as a safety feature, so I personally like most electricians would not want to get involved with automated gates due to the safety aspects.

    Reading the instructions it seems there are adjustments for the anti-crush device and seem to remember one needs to set to a maximum of 400 newtons, it seems likely if the screws are shearing that the settings are not correct.

    I seem to remember DIY fitting is no longer permitted, so I would suggest you write and phone the company who fitted the gates to return and correct the errors, I say write as well as phone as for health and safety aspects it must be in writing, that can be an email or text message, but a phone call on its own is not good enough.

    I note the instructions state "Adjustments must remain within the limits laid down by any current legislation" which to me is not very helpful. The fact sheets to my mind are not very helpful, quoting BS EN 13241-1 does not really help, as I for one don't have a copy.

    However it does seem that gate opener uses force limitation so for the screws to shear there is clearly a fault which requires correcting. And for your safety that should be set by the gate installers not yourself.
     
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  9. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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    Adding the block "very much as a temporary solution, " has altered the geometry of the gate and rod assembly. It looks like the gate and rod are parallel to each other as the gate approaches the closed position. If the gate and rod are parallel then no matter how much force is created along the rod by the drive motor there will be no closing ( or opening ) force applied to the gate. ( Triangle of forces )

    A small angle between gate and rod will create a small closing or opening force on the gate ( brown arrow ). As the angle increases so does the force shown by the brown arrow.

    upload_2021-9-30_6-51-24.png
     
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  10. RandomGrinch

    RandomGrinch

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    Thanks Bernard, I had noted from the image that the geometry would create considerable forces, but I hadn't considered the set-up the installer left was incorrect.
    No wonder those screws sheered!
     
  11. bernardgreen

    bernardgreen

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  12. flameport

    flameport

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    The old motors may not be suitable for the new gates - solid gates require substantially more powerful and robust motors compared to open slat types due to the wind loading.

    Those screws are totally inadequate.
     
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  13. 333rocky333

    333rocky333

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    If you dont want to damage the gate fronts, then remove tha block and drill that, then flush in 4 coachbolts and screw back so the heads are between the gate and the block.
    This will leave 4 threaded studs protruding to nut the bracket on to.
     
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