Why Won’t My Gate Open?: Emergency How-To Guide

Nothing is more frustrating than pulling up to your gate and it will not open. You are stranded. You cannot get in and out. Your family, employees, service providers are all at a complete standstill. Below is your quick How-To Guide to walk you through the steps to get your gate open. This is not a cure for repairing your access control system, but only a quick means to get your gate open in an emergency.

Step One – Try your access device again

Your transmitter, remote, keypad, push button, card reader, etc. If using a transmitter or remote, replace the battery like you would on your garage door remote or car’s key fab. Look for any lights on the devices that may be a clue to whether or not the device has power.

Ornamental automated swing gate installed in front of a driveway with keypad access

Step Two – Check for power

Start at the gate operator. Pull open or off the cover and look for the power indicator light on the circuit board. Make sure the “on” switch is on. If there is still no power, identify the circuit breaker panel that includes the dedicated circuit for your gate operator. Even if is appears to be on, cycle it on, off and on.

If there is still no power, check to see if your operator has an overload fuse. Check the fuse and replace if necessary. If there is still no power, you must call an access control technician. If there is no evidence of power at the gate operator, you may also want to call your electrician as the problem may not be at the gate operator and may exist somewhere in-between with the wiring.

Has anyone recently dug, trenched or cut where the power may travel from the gate to the circuit breaker panel? Please go to Step Five to immediately access your gate.

Step Three – Have power but nothing is happening

You have power at the gate operator’s circuit board. Check your circuit board for any obstruction devices that may have been triggered. Are your photoelectric eye(s) aligned? Check to be sure there is a green light on the face of the device.

Do you have a gate safety edge on the front or rear of the gate? Remove the cover and check the indicator light on the device. Replace the batteries. If the indicator light is on but there is no evidence of contact, you may want to disconnect the edge wiring from the transmitter to see if the edge is faulty. Contact your access control technician to assist you. Please go to Step Five to immediately access your gate.

Close up of the hardware on an automated cantilever gate

Step Four – Have power and the motor runs but the gate will not move

You may have a bad gear box, broken belt or chain, worn shaft, etc. You will have to contact your access control technician to assist you. Please go to Step Five to access your gate.

Step Five – When all else fails

If you can no further self-diagnose and repair the gate operator but need to access the gate, you will have to release the gate from the operator. Turn off the power at the gate operator and at the circuit breaker panel. Lock-out the panel so the operator cannot be re-energized without the proper authority. Look for a disconnect lever inside the gate operator. It is typically toward the bottom and the lever may be red in color. Pull the lever. This should disengage the motor from the gate and allow you to manually push open the gate. If there is no lever, you may have to disconnect the chain from the gate. On one end, remove the nuts that hold the chain tensioner and thread the chain through and off the gate operator’s guide and drive sprockets. Reconnect the chain at the end and slightly tension so it does not rub on the ground. You should be able to manually open the gate. If a swing gate, you should be able to disconnect the turret arm from the top of the operator.

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