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Powered farm gate

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wooch

New Member
I have a need and an idea for a powered sliding farm gate - I just don't have the knowledge to pull it off (be gentle, I'm a software engineer with minimal electrical knowledge)

Here's the situation. Besides my day job, I also raise longhorns. A particularly belligerent bull decided that an extra ration of feed was his due and, despite my protests and a really stout gate, he got it. What I got was a mangled knee and up to 16 weeks on my derriere.

To make the recovery time easier (by limiting the number of times I have to manually open/close the gate), I need to power a sliding gate at the entrance to my farm. There is no AC power, so battery/solar is a must. What I envisage is a standard bar gate with a self contained drive mechanism that will open and close the gate via a remote.

Imagine a 12vDC reversible motor with a motorcycle-category battery and a solar panel. The motor will drive two pneumatic tires via a chain drive. This much I can put together. What I can't put together is the circuitry to:

1. power on the motor
2. regulate the distance the motor will drive the gate each direction
3. provide a fail-safe so the motor stops on demand
3. power off the motor when the max distance has been reached
4. repeat the process in the opposite direction

I'm sure this is simple stuff for you smart guys, but I'm at a loss. Can someone put together a parts list and a simple diagram I could follow?

I'll be happy to provide a bit of remuneration for the best effort (maybe even some fresh steak from a certain longhorn :D). Takers?

BTW - the gate must travel 13 feet on level concrete and it weighs about 110 lbs sans drive mechanism.
 

Birdman Adam

New Member
This could get a little complicated but heres my suggestion... You would have a few different sections to power the gate.

First would be a small array of solar panels with some batteries that can withstand heat well, along with a circuit to regulate the storage and charging of the batteries. The regulated power from the battery circuit would power a small microcontroller (maybe I shouldn't suggest this to a new person?), that would turn on a relay that powers the motor in the wanted direction for the amount of time needed to open/close the gate when a button was pressed. If you wanted to go even further, you could buy a cheap rc car and use the RC circuits' outputs to replace the button and open/close the gate like a garage door. A lot of things might need explaining and soldering and circuit skills would be required for this. It would get kinda expensive as well. Believe it or not the microcontroller would be programmed with a language that you might know already. I don't know about PICs but with AVR micros, you can program them in C very easily.

A simpler alternative would be to buy a consumer gate operator with built in solar power and take the motor outputs of it and wire them to a DC motor connected to the tires. Hopefully others will comment because I'm not the best with explaining things...:)
 

ke5frf

New Member
My ex-father-in-law, a skilled industrial electrician of 40 years (not residential mind you, but rather high voltage substations, compressors, pumps, PLCs, etc) installed a solar gate about 10 years ago on his rural property. This is a man who shies away from no challenge when it comes to DIY electromechanical projects...well, he installed a commercial gate system and has been very happy with it for a long time.

I suggest the labor and cost of designing and building this yourself will exceed by a long shot what you might expect. Just my suggestion, go with a commercial setup.
 

wooch

New Member
Thanks for the replies. The related thread did bring up some issues I'd not comprehended (e.g. mechanical wear and tear from sudden starts/stops). However, it also sparked some thoughts - especially that RC comment.

Nevertheless, the suggestion to go with the commercial slide control is probably the smartest approach - but I farm for a hobby. How smart could I be?:confused:

I 'll check back for more comments and post any ideas that I find.

Thanks for the quick replies.
 
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