Certain areas in Johannesburg are very prone to break-ins at the entrance gate. Even if you have all the anti-lift brackets and other basic security measures in place, you still find that you can have regular break-in attempts at your gate. There is, however, a gate security upgrade that you can make in order to increase your protection.
One of our clients in Robin Hills, Randburg, tells the following story:
He has two daughters. Granny took the eldest daughter to ballet. The younger daughter, who is 10-year’s old, stayed at home with a nanny. This literally took only 10 minutes. Three robbers broke through the driveway gate and made their way towards the house. At that time, his daughter went to the kitchen to fetch a drink from the fridge. As she came into the kitchen, she saw the three perpetrators. She was incredibly lucky that their backs where turned toward her and they did not see her. She quickly slipped to the side and hid in the nanny’s room. In the meantime, the burglars stole a significant amount of electronic equipment such as televisions, computers etc.
This particular client was very frustrated. He has had break-in attempts every 4 to 6 weeks. His frustration is enough that he wants to put his house on the market and is planning to move to another area. We suggest that he add an alarm system to his gate to warn him if there is any tampering at the gate.
The Gate Security Upgrade Solution
It is not always convenient to have your usual house alarm on, especially if you are at home. Most alarm configurations are not configured in such a way that there are always active zones and extra security measures at your gate.
We suggested adding infrared beams at his gate and connecting them to his alarm. The beams are basically connected to his alarm as a panic. So, if someone stands at the gate, or tries to break open the gate, the security company sees it as a panic button that was pressed.
The whole system is connected wirelessly to his alarm radio. A transmitter at the gate motor that is connected to the beams will activate the alarm when someone breaks the beams or stand in the way of the beams. After all someone should not be standing right next to your gate for any reason. They can stand at the intercom mounted on a goose-neck pole some distance away from the gate.
When the gate motor is activated by his remotes it disables the alarm while he drives in and out of his property. The beams also prevent the gate from closing onto his vehicle. We also activated the fast close functionality to make sure that his gate close immediately when he has passed the beams.
Not long after this gate security upgrade, there was yet another break-in attempt; only, this time the security company was alerted immediately and action could be taken.
If you have been opening and closing your driveway gate manually for years, then just the thought of automated gates is very exciting. However, there are some things that you need to consider before going ahead with automation so that you don’t make costly mistakes.
Practical Considerations for Automated Gates
Consider the slope of your driveway. If possible, avoid installing automated gates on very steep surfaces. The position of the ground will put pressure on the motor and you may have to buy additional equipment.
If you have a sliding gate and will use a motor with a rack and pinion system, the ground must be even so that the rack can be aligned properly.
Take note of drainage. If water collects by the motor, it can damage it. So you must ensure that there is adequate drainage.
Be aware if leaves and debris can collect around the gate track. If so, you will need to clean the area regularly. If there is too much debris, the gate will not move smoothly and it could affect the motor.
Consider how and what the gate will be used for. This enables you to decide on the best way to open and close your gate. It could be via remotes, keypads, GSM via your mobile phone, push buttons, card access etc.
Remember pedestrians and visitors. How will you know that they are there? And how will you let them in if the gate is your only place of access? An intercom or keypad are the usual solutions. Video cameras can also assist. You also need to decide whether the gate will open only partially for pedestrians and fully for vehicles. If you have regular visitors such as gardeners etc. you must think about how you want to grant them access to your property.
Technical Considerations for Automated Gates
Your gate must be in good working order. Before you automate your gate, you need to ensure that your gate is functioning normally when in manual mode. If there are any problems, these will remain when you have automated your gate and may even affect the motor and its operation. If your gate has issues, have it repaired prior to automating it.
Always use a trained technician to install your electric gate opener. If someone installs a motor incorrectly and it breaks, you may lose your guarantee from the manufacturer.
Always install well-known, good quality motor brand such as Centurion. Some motor makes may be cheaper – even a great deal cheaper – but when you have issues, parts and technical support are difficult, if not impossible, to find.
When you automate your gates, you can add a number of accessories. Infra-red beams are the most common automated gate accessory. Once we have installed them, we can set them so that the gate does not close on cars or people. They can also ensure that the gate closes fully after a car or person has gone through. IR beams are a good measure for safety and security.
Unfortunately gate motors can and are often stolen. In order to combat this, we advise installing various security measures various security measures.
Is your gate the week spot of the security at your home? There are at least seven extra security measures that you can take to improve your gate security.
The first week point at your gate could be that someone can lift your gate and gain access to your property. How can you go about preventing this? You will need to add anti-lift brackets. These brackets get welded onto your gate and supporting pillars and prevent movement of the gate.
There should be a bracket at the gate motor side so that the gate can’t be lifted away from the motor and opened. There should also be a bracket where the gate meets the wall so that it can’t be lifted and then someone can slip in through the space between the gate and the wall.
Gate Security and the Gate Rack
If you have an automated sliding gate, the next week point is the rack. With sliding gates the motor basically locks your gate and prevents it from being opened unless you have the remote control to activate the gate motor.
The rack is the long gear that runs at the bottom of the gate. The pinion and the rack is what makes the gate open and closed. If the rack is broken away from the gate and it is not making contact with the pinion it can move open freely and the motor cannot stop it from opening anymore.
Usually a crowbar is used to force the rack away from the gate. This breaks the rack welding spot and gives the perpetrator access your property. The answer is to weld a piece of flat bar along the rack that prevents it from being broken away with a crowbar.
Jumping over the Gate
The third week point to look at in terms of your gate is to ask the question: can someone easily jump over the gate? The best way to prevent this is to install an electric fence that runs across the gate and the wall. The electric fence can be connected to your alarm so that your security company can be notified of somebody trying to break into your property.
Gate Security and Your Intercom
The fourth week point is your intercom system. If you have an old wired intercom would-be robbers will press the intercom button to test if you’re at home. If no one answers the intercom they will proceed to break into your property. New intercom systems use cellphone technology and are wireless. The intercom can phone you directly on your cell phone when someone presses the intercom button. This means you can know when someone is at your gate wherever you are. Naturally you need cellphone reception in that particular area. It is also easy to change the number on the intercom to a family member when you are not available for a period of time.
Detection and Alarm System
The fifth which point to address at your gate is the use of an infra-red beam together with your gate motor. The strategy with IR beams as warning system at your gate is to have them on the outside and they detect if someone is standing at the gate. After all nobody should be standing right at your gate. The IR beams can also be connected to your alarm system. In general, if someone is standing there, it means they want to break in your home.
Modern gate motors such as the centurion D5 have an ambush or break-in alarm functionality that works together with IR beams that are used for controlling the opening and closing of your gate. The beams also prevent the gate from closing on to your vehicle. Other functionality the beams can provide is a fast close or PIRAC mode; this is where the gate closes immediately after the vehicle or person moves through the infra-red beams.
Who is at the Gate?
The sixth point to look at in terms of your gate security is CCTV camera systems. With these you can see who is at your gate. The video stream gets recorded onto a hard drive. Naturally you can have multiple cameras inside and outside your property.
The seventh point is to look at is your remote control technology. Are you using old technology that is 30+ years old and makes use of binary and trinary encoding? It means someone can either copy your remote or have the same settings as you. This will allow them to easily open your gate.
Modern remote technology uses unique identifiers and code hoping technology make your remotes extra secure. These remotes can’t be copied. Some of the better remote control manufacturers also have remotes that work over longer distances. These remotes can also have up to 6 buttons that can open gates, garages, activate your alarm and have a panic button. Most standard remote controls that come with your gate and garage door automation do not have long range remote controls and receivers. You often need to be within about 20 meters of your gate or garage.
As we can see, your gate is a point of concern when it comes to the entry of burglars; however, there are several measures that you can take to increase your gate security and you and your family’s safety.
Gate motor batteries can last for 2 to 3 years, but it does depend on how well you look after them. This articles outlines some important points on gate motor batteries and ways in which you can take care of your gate motor battery so that it has a long life.
The first thing to note is that Centurion D5 Gate motor is battery-operated. This means that without a battery that is sufficiently charged it cannot open your gate even if there is power. It is not a battery backup.
Gate Motor Battery Checks
Check your gate motor battery terminals regularly for corrosive build-up and clean if necessary.
Ensure that the battery terminals are properly connected.
Ensure that the battery voltage is above 10.5V. If it goes below this, you will need to replace the battery.
The gate motor battery voltage needs to remain above 10.5 V. If the voltage drops below 10.5 V you will need to replace the battery. Even if it’s a brand-new battery. The charger of the gate motor typically maintains the battery voltage above 12 V. So, if your gate motor charger is not working properly or there is a long power outage, it could result in your battery depleting and needing to be replaced.
The centurion D5 gate motors can usually open your gate 10 to 20 times during a power outage. If the power outage is more than about 4 to 5 hours, then the best strategy is to put your gate on manual. This will ensure that your battery does not get damaged and depleted.
The new Centurion D5 Evo makes a beeping sound when the main power is off. Please do not ignore this beeping sound, it is an indication that there is a power issue.
Unfortunately the older D5 motors, and Hansa motors do not give you an indication or a beep if the mains power is off.
Gate Motor Battery Charging Options
If you find that you’re replacing batteries regularly then you may need to have an alternative strategy. One option is to put a larger deep cycle battery in a weatherproof box close to your motor.
Another option is to look at a solar charger and battery-backup system. These systems are designed to have your motor running without mains power being available. The solar panel charges the battery during the day and at night your gate works from the battery power. The former solution is cheaper than the latter.