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BANGKOK 22 March 2019 03:48
gdhm

Does anybody know an Electric Gate Resaler and Fitter in Khon Kaen City area?

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We have quite a heavy gate I estimated (as best I can up to 750Kgs) Originally we had a Focus Model 548 purchased and installed by Sahachai Aluminium Aloy, Khon Kaen.

The motor and Gate worked for 7 years before becoming faulty and the printed circuit board burning out. We were advised to buy a new motor rather than spend around ฿3,000 on a new circuit board and installing it in an 7 year old motor (which we were told would only probably last up to another 3 years).

 

I accepted the advice and they fitted a New Focus 428 (Sep 2015) which they told us was suitable and that the Focus 548 we had before was not available.

It worked until Aug 2018 and since then has been a nightmare. First we were told the motor was not really powerful enough, so we should set it to fast mode. as fast mode can deal with 1000 Kg. That worked for a few weeks but the much heavier bashing when it closed caused it to jam (my guess is that teeth on gate and cogs misaligned and jammed on occasions due the the heavier bashing when closing). They replaced the circuit board (an A808) for free with an old one they felt may work better A707) I have no idea what the difference is, but only seconds ago over my wife's mobile the fitter reconfirmed they are 100% compatible and do the same. My "pea brain" reasons why different model numbers then? SILLY ME I should accept what I am told I suppose)

 

Now the fitter has set the motor back to slow mode (max 800kg) and it worked for a day.  Now once or twice a week it jams (ALWAYS when it closes (we do not know until next day when it will not open).

Now we re being told issue is motor is not powerful enough as it is 3 years old. I am TOTALLY unconvinced, because when it jams every time I turn the hexagonal key to separate the rack and pinion (gate teeth and toothed cog) and reset it, the Gate works again easily without issue (until it next jams). If it really was a gate weight issue it should not be able to work OK IMHO, after I have unjammed it each time. There is something clearly wrong. For a start when gate is closed and I try to lock it, it beeps 4 times (an indication gate is not closed (BUT IT IS). It should beep once on locking twice when unlocking.  NOW the gate sometimes when we go to open it will not open (coz its jammed again, BUT its motor keeps cycling on and off as if it trying to open but cannot. Fitter from company says I need to understand that my gate is too heavy, BUT AGAIN I tell him IF GATE TOO HEAVY then why when I unjam the gate by separating the Rack and Pinion with the key and I resetting  doe it then work OK for a while.

 

I am convinced I am being told the wrong reason because they cannot fix the issue or do not understand what the exact issue is.

I have been told many people they installed this Focus model are having issues (interesting and not quite adding up to the reason being MY gate is suddenly too heavy - are everybody else' gates too heavy too? Hmmm..). It has been suggested I buy their new different brand a Somfy Elixo 800 (rated 800kg). Once again interesting, as that is only rated the same 800 kg as the Focus 428). I was told it is much better and reliable and nobody who they have sold and fitted this Italian motor (its French) are having any issues. Of course I would not expect them to YET, as my Focus 428 worked OK for 3½ years.

 

I am now less comfortable to accept advice being given (fitter has just promised my wife in a mobile text AND conversation motor is not strong enough). I checked out the Somfy. I find it worrying that the French mother country and all its European country branches and many of its agents branches around the World do not advertise this Model (or any gate motors in some cases).  Thailand does , and 2 others in SE Asia do. I am VERY concerned it is an obsolete model.  if its so good why is it not being offered on its Home country or many branches around the World.

 

Fitter has just promised (as I type this post) the Somfy they sell and fit will work OK he guarantees it (even though I pointed out via my wife, the motor is only rated 800 Kg exactly the same as my Focus 428 in Slow mode, and I can find no mention in Somfy Web literature of it offering or coping with a fast mode up to 1000 Kg (which our Focus 428 is able to do). I did ask why the fast 1000 Kg mode cannot cope with weight of gate -did not get a real answer I think fitter is reasoning Gate too heavy in Slow mode and bashes too much in Fast mode (convenient answers IMO)

 

My trust in what I am being told is close to zero. I have no idea the reason for the jamming, but I am personally convinced that jamming on random occasions is what is happening and the so far not dealt with/found reason for this IS THE GENUINE CAUSE OF THE ISSUE).  Consequently does anybody know or can recommend another suppler and fitter that services Khon Kaen city. I do not want to deal with a company like PAT because they seem to have no Branches up here and I need a supplier and fitter who can come out quickly if there are issues (no good paying for fitters to come up from Bangkok) 

 

Many thanks all for reading and for any advice or info you may be able to offer.

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Does the gate bang against the stop when closing or does it stop with , say, 3mm gap.

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1 hour ago, VocalNeal said:

Does the gate bang against the stop when closing or does it stop with , say, 3mm gap.

Hi VocalNeal thanks for your interest

 

In fast mode it bashes against the upright, which Is why I tried felt pads to soften the blow. I felt and wondered when in fast mode whether the bash caused the gate teeth to come out of the pinions socket and the pinions teeth jammed with the gates teeth.

 

In slow mode the gate slows a lot for final ½ metre and either softly touches the upright or leaves a tiny gap.  Today, however, after unjamming the gate it whilst testing opening and closing several times form different opening distances (slow mode) on one occasion when only opened a metre (approx.) when it closed the slow closing did not kick in and it bashed into the upright (as it does when in fast mode). Interestingly, that did cause it to jam again. However, there is no consistency, because during my testing it also jammed on one occasion when closing very slowly.  I have no idea why it can work sometimes 10- 20 times OK maybe for several days and then not.

 

I started to wonder if Mains Voltage changes or, ambient temperatures causing the various parts to expand or contract could be involved.

As far as voltage is concerned I know when I did my tests this morning after it jammed Mains Voltage was 226V (I have an APC UPS and it has an app called Powershoot which shows current voltage. As I type its 220V and gate is working OK at this moment.  I do know voltages during early evening when people get home from work and Aircons go on can drop Mains voltages on occasions to 206V in worst case scenarios (however gate still opens and closes without issue - unless it jams). Additionally, when the motor was working during its first 3½ years it dealt with all Voltage variations without issue. My calculated estimate of Gate weight of 750 kg approx. was conservative I believe).

 

Fitter is also suggesting wheels are past their best or that gate wheel track wear may be part of issue.  Seems to me he is speculating anything he can think of (or trying to fob me off) rather than really knowing the probable issue. He is planning to find an English speaker at his firm to explain to me. I understand already all he saying (form what my wife tells me) but with his current reasoning I'm not buying the logic at all. 

I feel this issue is going to end only one way, the way I too often get in Thailand with aftersales outside guarantee period) minimal or no interest after a few attempts to resolve. - He seems to be trying to steer my wife down the buy the new Somfy to resolve (but not convincing me to trust that will be much better other than maybe for a year or so and then I'll be back in the same boat).

 

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Most important mechanical check for sliding gates is the rack and pinion backlash clearance which must be within tolerance over the full travel. If the gate suddenly meets a tight spot the gear will jam in the rack if clearance is too close. This often happens at closed point where gate overshoots a limit and hits a mechanical stop. Poorly aligned rack joints are a common cause of tight spots.

 

A gate can be stopped at various points along the travel to check if some backlash exists between rack and pinion. This should be done with the gate manually unlocked.

 

Next comes the gate wheels and support roller (if fitted). These should run free and smooth over full travel.


Some gates use limits and a pulse encoder to memorise points at which motor should change speed. Gates that overshoot slow speed points are often suffering from severe tight spots or the position encoder is miscounting.

 

rack.JPG.9fd2cfe66b44f24db7ed8d9eb06d6827.JPG

Edited by Fruit Trader
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8 hours ago, Fruit Trader said:

Most important mechanical check for sliding gates is the rack and pinion backlash clearance which must be within tolerance over the full travel. If the gate suddenly meets a tight spot the gear will jam in the rack if clearance is too close. This often happens at closed point where gate overshoots a limit and hits a mechanical stop. Poorly aligned rack joints are a common cause of tight spots.

 

A gate can be stopped at various points along the travel to check if some backlash exists between rack and pinion. This should be done with the gate manually unlocked.

 

Next comes the gate wheels and support roller (if fitted). These should run free and smooth over full travel.


Some gates use limits and a pulse encoder to memorise points at which motor should change speed. Gates that overshoot slow speed points are often suffering from severe tight spots or the position encoder is miscounting.

 

rack.JPG.9fd2cfe66b44f24db7ed8d9eb06d6827.JPG

Thanks for all this info Fruit Trader and the effort you have spent going into it.  I have noticed the fitter always adjusts the rack each time he has attempted to solve issue.

 

Checking clearance between rack and pinion in all honesty I do not see how it can be done I say this because I cannot see a way to get a decent view. because there is a 2½ meter solid concrete wall blocking any view of the pinion whilst the gate moves.

 

In the past we have had poorly aligned rack joints which gave an audible clunk sound as joint(s) travelled over pinion BUT now they are aligned much better and the clunks non existent or tiny.

 

I have just gone out and taken flash photos of areas you ask about. Maybe you can see something relevant. Gate is in fully open position and all photos taken at same time so any photos that seem to show more pinion teeth either side of gate rack is entirely due to camera position when taking shot.

 

1188266961_GateMotor4.jpg.fa3d5e54343a831bcd39d0c34f864747.jpg

 

13018173_GateMotor5.jpg.3f951943f914b08ab1c80b1b1d1e704b.jpg

 

404949340_GateMotor1.jpg.39bbb53be9a36f035503fa58babd0cf1.jpg

1570488947_GateMotor2.jpg.bbf3a56e17f5c777078906c8b6fd4a75.jpg

 

606381159_GateMotor3.jpg.9cad1e4ae250d22f472ba57ce2f24aad.jpg

1734736616_GateMotor6.jpg.791bdbb6a2cd4506a40aee6231dad87c.jpg

983542013_OutsideFrontGateAreaofOurHouse.jpg.11858b6fb9fd718e76d82b252cb586da.jpg

 

=======================

 

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I understand the difficulty viewing the backlash gap as drive motors are often close to a wall or column.

 

The alternative is to grab or poke the pinion wheel while at the same time moving the rack to feel for that essential backlash along full travel. 

 

There is a close spot in the center of our gate where you can only feel a little bit of backlash in the pinion wheel. It exists because the gate has sagged slightly over time.

 

Also be sure wheels are not touching the cement finish. This sometimes starts when a flat wears on top of the track.

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An observation only, but shouldn't there be some form of lubrication on the rack? It all looks very dry.

 

Does the motor / controller use limit switches or a position encoder?

 

With the motor clutch disengaged (manual opening mode) how easily does the gate slide, any tight spots, wheels all going round?

 

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29 minutes ago, Crossy said:

An observation only, but shouldn't there be some form of lubrication on the rack? It all looks very dry.

 

Does the motor / controller use limit switches or a position encoder?

 

With the motor clutch disengaged (manual opening mode) how easily does the gate slide, any tight spots, wheels all going round?

 

I picked up most of my info from DEA Gate Automation training videos when going through the drama of making our busy yard gate more reliable.

 

Some manufacturers say apply light lube others say never because it attracts dirt and grit along the exposed rack. I mentioned encoder miscount in earlier post but no feedback as yet.

 

During installation lots of attention should be paid to the accuracy and stability of gate running tracks. Unfortunately many Thai constructors don't recognise the importance. Tracks that are not straight on the horizontal will require increased rack and pinion gap to avoid tight spots. Going past the manufacturers recommended tolerance can introduce other problems.

 

PS

Motors with position encoders should also have limit switches for fail safe and as a method to reference home when resetting the count.

Edited by Fruit Trader
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24 minutes ago, Fruit Trader said:

Motors with position encoders should also have limit switches for fail safe and as a method to reference home when resetting the count.

 

Our DEA "LOOK" actuators (swing gates) have encoders but no limit switches. The controller (DEA Net230N) uses the motor current to sense the end stops. I've not really looked into how it works with limits and encoders as we don't have both.

 

EDIT And thanks for reminding me to go and lube the hinges, done now 🙂

 

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13 minutes ago, Crossy said:

 

Our DEA "LOOK" actuators (swing gates) have encoders but no limit switches. The controller (DEA Net230N) uses the motor current to sense the end stops. I've not really looked into how it works with limits and encoders as we don't have both.

 

EDIT And thanks for reminding me to go and lube the hinges, done now 🙂

 

Enclosed swing gate actuators are load stable over the operating range which would make current sensing much easier than on a sliding gate. Most sliding gates have current sensing at some level along with some logic to shutdown or attempt to free up the screaming dog. 

 

I am guessing that your DEA control board has option to install limit switches and use them for final stop if preferred.

 

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5 minutes ago, Fruit Trader said:

I am guessing that your DEA control board has option to install limit switches and use them for final stop if preferred.

 

It certainly seems to, lurking down in "advanced programming".

 

Anyway, we've gone off-topic. Let's return to our OP's issues.

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Hi guys thanks for input. Sorry for not responding sooner.

We had another supplier/installer to have a look (he was the original fitter of our 1st motor who left company 9 years ago and started his own company. He sells and fits Rogers Motors and IF we decide to buy a new motor he suggested the ฿28,500 all in Rogers that can cope with 1200 Kg.  (that would cater for drops in voltage IMO). My main concern was that the Warranty is only 1 year. 

With regard to the Motor we currently have he recommended trying to continue using it as he felt it should have decent life still in it. but said we should make sure that when we open gate to ensure it opens at least half way ideally fully (even though often we are using Motorbikes most of the time only). He suggested if we only open a metre (approx.) that may not be sufficient for the Gate motor when closing to recognize end is close and to slow gate thus causing it to bash into upright.  You may recall from my OP that I mentioned that I noticed it did not slow on one occasion during my test when I had only opened it a little.  We will try opening to a minimum of ½ way and see it that resolves (not optimistic but worth checking out). Of course although it would take longer if we open fully then gate would stop slowly on both Closing AND opening. I agree this would be best to completely avoid any bashing when stopping (as it does slightly if stopped midway as it is stopped abruptly and not moving as slowly as it does at end on run.)

 

Your questions:

1) Sorry I do not understand limiters and position encoders etc. I have no idea how the motor knows when gate is approaching fully open or closed to start slowing it down.  As the gate slows for the last ½- 1 metre suggests to me the circuit board must know when nearing end of gate closure.

All I know is that the is a metal item each end of gate rack and I assumed (rightly or wrongly that it is supposed to trigger an off switch when in reaches the pinion so we can "lock the gate". Clearly that is positioned incorrectly if that's its function because I cannot lock the gate when closed currently. Although the motor knows gate is closed and switches off, it does not think gate is actually fully closed as it beeps 4 times when I use my remote to lock it (should be 1 beep) 4 beeps means open).

 

2) I am not sure if wheels come in contact with cement either side of track. I have JUST had a look and I think they do not and are about 2 mm above concrete, I cannot see any sign of scraping, nor is there any unusual sound as gate moves along track.  We are plagued with leaves and currently fine tree spores that are coming off the trees.   that important. We had high quality wheels fitted originally and they are now over 10 years old. Usage a day average equivalent of 5-6 opening/closing a day.  The guy who had a look today suggested they are worn and we should consider new ones. because if worn the gate will drop slightly and rest harder or tighter on the pinion.

 

I suspect regretfully, this is heading towards me having to bite the bullet and buy a new motor but I will not from original supplier and fitter, Or manually opening and closing the gate and use padlock.

 

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Be sure to check all mechanical areas before buying a new motor. Its certainly possible the existing motor is struggling with the weight and does not have enough steam left to jump over any minor problems.

 

Maybe a new set of running wheels and check to see if your track is flat along its length.

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6 minutes ago, Fruit Trader said:

Be sure to check all mechanical areas before buying a new motor. Its certainly possible the existing motor is struggling with the weight and does not have enough steam left to jump over any minor problems.

 

Maybe a new set of running wheels and check to see if your track is flat along its length.

 

Yup, and do try the gate in manual mode, you may find a tight spot.

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11 hours ago, Crossy said:

 

Yup, and do try the gate in manual mode, you may find a tight spot.

Yup I have tried that and there is no obvious tight spot.

Problem is definitely on final stage of closing as gate throughout these jamming issue over last 6 weeks plus has never jammed except after fully closing (which we only find out next time we try to open).

With this apparently tiny part of the rack and pinion to check cannot understand why fitter is unable to properly identify and resolve.

C'est la vie

Edited by gdhm

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