And those who were seen dancing
were thought to be insane
by those who could not hear the music.
· Frederick Nietsche
Front Gate
Home Rentals
Software Engineering
Hazeron
Free Home

Front Gate
Mailbox
Mouse House
Ducks
Bunny Barn
Tree House
Bat House
Swing
Bigfoot

Milling Flour
The Course of Empire

Visitors to our home are greeted by an elegant gate.

The doorbell button signals an app on our iPhones and iPads wherever we are. We can see and talk with the visitor and operate the gate using the app.

The doorbell button snaps a picture when it is pressed. Here is the mail lady the first day she delivered a parcel at the new gate.

She sat in her car in front of the mail box and honked the horn.

We were working in the garden when we heard the honking. It was a hot day, over 90F.

Paula went out to greet her and she showed her the door bell.

The camera on the barn provides an excellent view of the gate. It records everything it sees, day and night.

The camera pans, tilts and zooms. It can zoom in to the mouse house enough to read the larger text on package labels.

The camera at the front door also watches the gate. It records everything it sees, day and night.

The camera pans, tilts and zooms. It doesn't have the zoom power or image resolution of the barn camera because it is a bit older. The gate pillar blocks it from getting a clear view inside the mouse house.

The gate transformed our property. What was once a charming acreage in the country was firmly elevated to that of a country estate.

We have seen no other properties in our area with an entrance gate like ours. It will be interesting to see if any others pop up. We are such trend-setters, you know.

Construction Details

As projects go, I would rate the gate as being quite advanced.

It was like one of those models you put together that says, "Advanced Modelers Only". You look through all the pieces and find a hen-scratch for instructions, in English if you're lucky. A voice in the back of your mind says, "Uh oh."

The gate is fully operational, finally. Everything works: operators, sensors, entry system. It took four months from the day I ordered the gate. A lot of that time was spent waiting for something to happen: delivery of parts, contractors, concrete curing time, etc.

The pillars are not finished. The final step is to cover them with cultured stone. The garages on the house will also be covered with the same cultured stone to tie everything together.

Three little widgets are mounted down the front. The top one is an electrical box for a light. We got lights to match the ones on the garage. A cast iron hook is mounted just below the electrical box, for hanging a wreath at Christmas. A cast iron loop is mounted below the hook, to secure the bottom of a wreath against the wind.

We received the pillar caps from Anatoliy Stone Products. The caps are awesome. They are molded in dark grey concrete, to match the black cap theme of the cedar fence posts (without huge black balls). Each cap arrived on its own pallet. I was glad to have a fork lift adapter for the tractor. The pillar caps are living in the barn for now; they will not go on until the stone is hung.

The cultured stone is supposed to arrive at the end of August. That will be the final step in a series of projects: front fence and gate, north fence and gate, south fence and gate, driveway repour (in front of the garages), sidewalk repour, driveway slag, and stone facade. Bigfoot, the swing, and the bat house sort of fell out of all that as projects of opportunity. This was all triggered by our decision to get two white German Shepherds, who will be arriving in October. Our Welsh Corgi's can hardly wait.

The double sliding gate was ordered from StandardGates.com. They are nice reasonable people to work with. I would certainly call them again if I needed another gate and I would recommend them to others.

Fun fact learned from the Standard Gates people: the little swirls on the spindles are called buckets. It was great that they were willing and able to build in a custom bucket pattern to match the ones on the house porch rails. This added a personal touch; that means a lot to us.

I never put one of these gates together before. The remainder of this page is intended to provide useful information gained from my experience. The written instructions from Standard Gates were mostly useless. They did not describe the gate system they sent but they did provide valuable clues. I was basically on my own.

One of the first things to know is that the width you specify for the gate includes the posts, which are 4" square. To get an 18' opening I had to order an 18' 8" gate.

The gate kit included two 4" square metal posts for each gate section. Each post has a bracket welded to it to hold a long rubber roller at the top.

The closed position stop I made is seen as a horizontal metal strip bolted to the trailing edge of the gate. It is cut from a strip of 1.5" wide stock steel from the hardware store. This prevents the gate from rolling out from between the posts. Then it would have nothing holding it up and it would crash to the ground, heavily.

The installation instructions for the gate mention a closed position stop but none was provided, descibed, or depicted. This is the stop I came up with. It has foam rubber pads where it contacts the posts.

My closed position stop could be improved by removing half the metal strip, so it only stops against one post instead of both. I would remove the half on the operator-side because of the many painful times I bumped into it while working on the gate or the operators.

The posts must be set exactly to the height specified. From memory I think it was 74"; it was the height prescribed by the printed instructions.

When set at the proper height, the top of the arched gate remains between the rubber rollers throughout its movement from fully closed to fully open.

Spacing between the posts is absolutely critical. The posts must be set 10" apart.

I got lucky. The instructions said the V-track was to be set 5" from the post. Based on this, I concluded the posts must be 5" away on each side, for a 10" spacing. This turned out to be the correct distance, though my reasoning was completely wrong.

It turned out that the V-track center line must be 4" from the road-side post. At that spacing the gate stands straight on the V-track and rests against the rubber roller perfectly.

This puts the V-track 6" from the post on the operator side. If it was an inch less, the metal bracket for the chain would not fit between the post and the gate.

This left a 2" gap between the operator-side roller and the gate. Using 1.5" wide stock steel from the hardware store, I made metal tabs to move the roller 2" closer to the gate. I attached them to the existing tabs using two small bolts.

If Standard Gates intends to continue distributing this double post configuration for sliding gates, they should come up with an adjustable metal tab for this purpose. They should also update their instructions before they cost someone a lot of money.

The gate rolls on a V-track. The V-track arrives in several 94" long pieces. Be extremely meticulous when placing the pieces so the ends line up perfectly. Each of our gate sections is 250 lbs; the wheels are solid cast iron. Even small deviations cause a noticable jolt when the gate rolls across them and they create resistance that must be overcome by the operator.

The black diamond shaped thing on the track is the open position stop. This keeps the gate from rolling out from between the rollers in the open position. The stops came with the kit. They are very nice, easy to install, with rubber caps at the ends to soften the blow from the gate.

Once the operators are installed, the stops become moot. While connected to the operators, the gates never actually hit any of the stops, open or closed. This is controlled by finely adjustable open and close limiters in the operators. These should be adjusted so the gate never hits the hard stops or the operator may detect it as an obstruction and reverse the gates.

We had some delays between finishing the gate and getting the operators working. Parts were needed and a big storm took our electricians away from us for a while as they dealt with emergencies in town.

During that time, we operated the gates manually. Whoever was riding shotgun was the designated gate operator. Gate open and closed position stops were absolutely essential to keeping the gates upright; we never dropped them once.

The main operator has the electronic control board. The other operator is a slave to the main one; it contains only a motor and no control board. You can put them on whichever side you want.

The main operator runs off an AC adapter that needs to be plugged into a standard 110v outlet. Alternatively, there is an option to run it from a solar panel. Ours plugs into an outlet inside the south pillar, behind an access panel. The wire runs through a conduit in the concrete.

We placed the main operator on the south side, because that is the side we wanted the entry system camera. It also runs off an AC adapter; it can be run via POE instead. The instructions for the camera said to avoid placing it in direct sunlight. We put our camera on the south pillar facing north for that reason. We put the main operator there so they could share the 110v outlet.

The positions of the metal posts and the operators were all very critical, with little room for error. They had to all be positioned at once, as the concrete was poured. The guys from Ned Porn Construction were fantastic, true craftsmen, artists with concrete.

The operator at the south side of the gate ended up being 1.5" away from the metal post. This is probably ideal. Much more than that and the operator starts to get pretty close to the bracket on the gate's tail.

The cover slid down over the top nicely. The bolts were easy to get into the holes between the operator and the metal post.

The front of this operator ended up 1" closer to the V-track than the metal post. If it was any closer to the V-track, the axle bolts for the gate wheels would rub on the cover as the wheels passed the operator. The cover bolts were easily accessible; they could be tightened using a screwdriver.

The operator at the north side of the gate ended up being 1" away from the metal post. I would call that an absolute minimum.

The cover slid down over the top nicely. The bolts, which are short, were difficult to get into the holes between the operator and the metal post. Any less space and the bolts would not fit between the post and the operator. It would be impossible to put them into the holes.

The front of this operator ended up 3/4" closer to the V-track than the metal post. This left the cover bolts a little farther back between the post and the operator, increasing the difficulty of getting them in. A wrench was needed to get between the post and cover to tighten the bolts.

Here is the bracket on the north side gate tail. You can see that the operator could not move much farther from the post because of the bracket.

The height of the operators places the chain sprocket 7.5" above the concrete. If they were set any lower, the cover would not fit.

The height conveniently worked out for the concrete guys. They built forms for the concrete runway. Then they put two 2x8s on edge across the forms for each operator then straddled them with the operator. That held the operator/sprocket 7.5" above the concrete when it was poured.

The operators push/pull the gate using a chain similar to a bicycle chain, only larger.

The chain is shiny like stainless steel. It is beautiful but it is not immune to rust. I coated my chains heavily with a thick moly grease from the John Deere store.

The gate wheels each have two zerks, one on the wheel and one at the end of the axle. I used the same grease to lubricate the wheels.

The operator comes with metal brackets and big U-bolts to attach the brackets to a pipe, like that found on a chain-link fence. Throw away the U-bolts and buy some bolts at the hardware store. Drill two holes to secure the brackets at the appropriate height for the operators.

The locks hanging from each bracket are pin locks. They prevent the chains from being lifted out of the brackets, which is how you disconnect the operators from the gates. The gates are secure while the operators are connected because the operators have a built in disc brake that holds them in position.

A 2' tail piece is provided for the trailing edge of each gate panel.

These come with absolutely no installation instructions, pictures, or examples. You must decide where to put them and how to attach the chain brackets. Then you must drill the holes to put the pieces together.

This is how I did it, after discarding the big U-bolts. The configuration shown placed the chain right at 7.5" above the concrete.

Some few options can be configured on the control board of the main operator.

The DIP switches are in the factory set positions; there was no reason to change them.

Two buttons LEARN MAST LIMIT and LEARN 2ND LIMIT remain a mystery. They are not mentioned in any documentation that accompanied the operators or that I can find online.

Many online documents and videos describe setting limits for various gate operators. These are almost universally swinging gates, not sliding gates.

Sliding gate open and close limits are adjusted by turning physical knobs inside each operator.

I can find no reason for the main operator to learn limits on a sliding gate. Perhaps it somehow helps the gate operator decide when and how much to accelerate and decelerate.

Sensors should be installed after the operators are functioning. Our electricians tried to hook everything up at once, then chased their tails around in circles when things didn't work right.

Keep it simple. The sensors are optional. Get the operators working first, completely, then attach the optional stuff.

The photoelectric beam sensor is shown. It detects things in the path of the gate, like the sensors on a garage door opener. The electricians did a nice job routing the wire through the post itself. The wire emerges at the base of the post and it goes under the cover there.

There was no guidance on placement of the photocell. I had them place it on the south post facing north, so it would get little direct sunlight into the sensor. My only wish is that they had placed it higher on the post. There are lots of tall pickup trucks around here; I think one could straddle the photocell's beam and go undetected. It would be better if the photocell was high enough to hit vehicles in the sides instead of the tires.

The driveway sensor is not shown. A magnetic motion sensor is buried 50' up the driveway from the gate. When a vehicle drives near it, the gate opens. This is convenient for us but really essential for departing visitors who have no other way to open the gate from the inside.

The cable on the driveway sensor is 50' long. The product is sold with different cable lengths though the option was not presented when the gate was purchased. 50' works quite well for us. If you want/need a longer cable, be sure to ask about it when you order the gate. Just remember if the sensor is too far from the gate, it may start to close again before you get there if driving slowly.

The DoorBird camera entry system was the final thing to install and hook up. It requires an outlet for an AC adapter, a network cable, and a pair of wires to the operator to trigger the gate relay.

The DoorBird is a German product; made of thick stainless steel, it looks sleek and feels heavy duty and well thought, very nice. The DoorBird was a little more expensive than the entry keypad but we really like it; I highly recommend this option. When you buy the gate, it is the Intercom when choosing Automation Kit options. If you get the intercom, you don't need either of the Keypad options.

We used the surface-mount back-box because of the cultured stone. I didn't want the panel to be too deeply buried in a pocket of stone. Good because the electricians did not want to surface mount it; they liked the back-box. The DoorBird front panel should now end up slightly recessed into the rock, which sounds perfect.

The DoorBird has a wide-angle vision camera and motion detector. It alerts via the app when it detects motion within a short distance of the DoorBird. It also takes a picture and saves it to the cloud.

The DoorBird has a doorbell button for visitors. It alerts via the app when someone presses the button. It also takes their picture and saves it to the cloud.

An integrated speaker and microphone let you converse with visitors.

The gate can be opened and closed using the app. It can even be configured to notice when you have entered the area and open the gate automatically for you.

The keypad and doorbell buttons are backlit at night. The keypad enables the gate to be operated using numeric codes, assigned using the app.

RFID tags can be configured using the app. A person with a registered tag can simply wave it in front of the panel for access.

An automatic gate is an elegant and classy upgrade to any estate. It has already changed our life in ways we never imagined. If you plan to install one of these, I hope you find this information helpful.

Fri 27 Aug 2021 06:17:14 PM CDT

Cultured stone was purchased to wrap the pillars. It will also be applied around the garage doors, to tie in with the gate.

The stone has been back ordered for the second time. It is scheduled to arrive in December. The temperature is too cold to hang stone then so the installation will have to wait until spring.

Today I mounted the lights to the pillars, mainly because we won't have stone on until spring. The lights will be appreciated as we get into the dark time of the winter months, when the days are so short.

It happened that I had a package of the light bulbs left from when the driveway lights were installed. They are an LED Edison style bulb, very low K. Too orange. I don't really like them. The same bulbs are installed on the garage.