How to cool down automatic gate opener?
September 4, 2017 1:32 AM   Subscribe

I have a standard sliding gate opener on a drive way. When the temperature hits around 85 or more on a sunny day, the gate opener seem to get over heated and stops working. When the sun goes down, the gate will automatically work again... This seems to happen every spring and summer period. I've put a dozen holes on the plastic cover for venting.. It didn't help. Is there anything I could install to cool the opener? I was thinking some sort of insulation.. or even small computer fan... but I don't know if that is enough.. a small AC unit may do.. but pricing and electric over usage may be problem. Any specific ideas and/or brands would help.. thank you~
posted by curiousleo to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
 
Is it in direct sunlight, and if so can you rig up some shade?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:44 AM on September 4, 2017


I'd suspect something else is wrong with it. Have you contacted the manufacturer and chatted with their tech support people?
posted by jon1270 at 5:24 AM on September 4, 2017


Are you certain that it's the motor which is overheating and responsible for the malfunction? I would suggest you might want to check whether it's the expansion caused by heat to the rails, the rollers which carry the gate along the rails, and/or similar mechanical parts. If for example the rails expand just enough to bend between the points where they're anchored to the ground, so that they no longer provide a perfectly straight, free run. Perhaps you could check this by disengaging the motor and seeing if the gate slides freely by hand.

Also, if that turns out to be the cause, you might want to consider taping back over the ventilaton holes you drilled - they could allow rainwater to reach the elecrical parts once summer's over.
posted by aqsakal at 5:45 AM on September 4, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I was going to suggest that it's heat expansion, and the mechanism is binding up somewhere. Is it possible to disconnect the motor from the gate and slide it by hand? You may be able to feel out the sore spot.

And plug up those holes.
posted by intermod at 6:04 AM on September 4, 2017


I have tried shading the opener. Same problem during hot day.
The next door neighbor has exact same problem as mines during hot days..(different manufacturer)

I don't think it is the expansion problem... When I use the clicker, there are no electrical sounds or any mechanical sounds. I believe the processing unit or electric circuit or motor itself is automatically shouting the power when it is too hot to operate...

I do feel holes were mistake.. I will refill them.
posted by curiousleo at 6:39 AM on September 4, 2017


If it happens when it's hot/sunny can you get a solar powered fan/cooler to save on the electricity issue?
posted by london explorer girl at 7:35 AM on September 4, 2017 [2 favorites]


Lubrication, maybe?
posted by rhizome at 10:19 AM on September 4, 2017


Assuming the "clicker" is something like a garage door opener control, maybe that's where the problem lies? Do you have a spare clicker you could try? If the clicker is usually stored in a hot car, maybe try keeping it cool/elsewhere instead? Change its battery?
posted by jon1270 at 11:33 AM on September 4, 2017


The trains in my city slow down in hot weather because they run on overhead steel rails which expand in the heat.

But on reading your follow-up, if the clicker and motor don't make any sounds it's most likely something with them.
posted by bendy at 12:18 PM on September 4, 2017


Does it fail open as well as closed? If it only fails open, does it do so at specific times of day, and/or does the sun strike any kind of electric eye sensor for safety?

I can't advocate for disabling a safety device without real supervision, but if you can disconnect that (if the gate works without) or sun-shade it so it can cool down and see its own reflected beam only, that might fix it.

I had this experience, I'm pretty sure, with a garage door, which failed open at a specific time in the afternoon over 2 sunny weeks when the sun might've been in the field of view.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:31 PM on September 4, 2017


** Another follow up: I have multiple clickers inside the house... same problems. I never thought about the sun in the beam being an issue... Now that I think about it... the problem does seem to occur during certain season when sun is beaming down.. (which is almost always in California) I will try to see if the field of view is the problem.. THANK YOU for the suggestion.
posted by curiousleo at 9:07 PM on September 4, 2017


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