How to Install Gate Motors


Installing a gate motor is the first step to installing an automatic gate door. There are many kinds of automatic gates. Depending on the opening, they can be swinging or sliding. Depending of the way of detecting the signal for the opening, they can have an optical sensor or a pressure plate. They can also open with a remote control, like a garage door. No matter what kind of a gate opening assembly you choose, it's necessary to install the motor first. The motor comes in a kit and the basic installation process is the same for all types of opening systems

Things You'll Need

  • Clamps
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Plastic plug cover
  • Mount the operator motor to the gate with clamps to check a suitable location. The operator is the part from the gate motor installation kit in charge of physically opening and closing the gate. Choose a location near the bottom of the gate and screw the operator on the gate with screws from the installation kit and a Phillips or flat-head screwdriver. The operator has pre-drilled screw holes.

  • Set the limits of opening and closing your gate. Close the gate and push the button on the gate motor to set the closed position. Open the gate all the way to set its open position, again by pushing a button.

  • Connect the wiring from the operator motor with the wires from the electric terminal.

  • Plug in the gate motor's transformer in at the nearest power source. The transformer doesn't have to be near the motor, but it has to be weatherproof. Cover it with a plastic plug cover.

  • Connect the transformer to the gate motor by running the wires through a shallow track in the soil or even above the ground.

  • Set up the initiator for the gate opening. This part depends on whether you will have a pressure plate, infrared signal or a remote control. Set the pressure plate 10 to 15 feet from the gate. The pressure plate must be installed according to specific instructions in the installation kit, because it depends on the model. If you have an optical detection device, mount it about 10 feet from the gate, on a recommended height. Make sure to secure the device in place and protect it from atmospheric conditions. If you have a remote control, program it following the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Turn the power on to test your gate opening motor.

Tips & Warnings

  • Lately, there have been a lot of solar-powered motors for the gate opening systems, so consider this eco-friendly option as well. Consider installing a pedestal or a foundation pressure plate, depending on your driveway.
  • Be careful when dealing with electricity while working on installing your gate motor.

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  • Photo Credit a gate image by Yuriy Rozanov from
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