How Do Electric Gates Work During A Power Cut?

If there’s no electricity, how do electric gates work in a power cut? Obviously, they don’t so what can you do to avoid being trapped inside or outside gates that won’t open or how do you close them without power?

There are two commonly used methods to operate electric gates when the mains electrical supply is cut. It may be that workmen digging up the road have turned off the power to a few houses for a short time or that there is a genuine power cut. Whatever the cause, you need to know that you can get in or out through your powerless gates.

Electric gates don’t work without electricity

The first method involves setting up an alternative power supply that will run your gates a few times when the mains supply is cut off. This is usually a solar powered option where a solar panel charges a battery, and the battery runs the gates a few times before it is discharged. There’s not enough sunlight in the UK to completely run electric gates without enormous solar panels. But in an emergency when the mains supply to your gates is cut off, solar power will run your gates for a few cycles of opening and closing.

The other alternative is recommended for all gate automation systems. It’s called manual release, and it does what it says on the tin. During a power cut, a manual release system will allow you to manually operate your gates.

Manual release to open electric gates in a power cut

Under normal circumstance, electric gate motors hold gates in position and provide significant resistance to moving them manually. In a power cut, safety devices like magnetic locks will disengage so it’s only the resistance of the motors that holds the gates in place. This is what they are designed to do.

If you hit a gate with a vehicle, the motors will largely hold the gate in place so the gates and the motor mounts and arms or gears get damaged. If you try to move gates manually, you’re unlikely to move them much. But even if you are able to apply so much force through leverage from the latch end of the gates, you’re more likely to damage something before the gates move even a tiny bit.

Electric gate operation in a power cut

Manual release systems are mounted between the gate and the motor and allow you to partially disconnect the motor from the gate so that the gate can be moved manually without damaging the motor or its mechanisms. There will still be resistance to moving the gate, but this is a safety feature. A completely freely moving gate is a large, heavy and potentially dangerous thing. Providing some resistance to its free movement keeps things under control and safe.

Manual release system for electric gates

Once a manual release system has been disengaged the gates can be moved by hand. You can carefully and slowly open or close the gates manually. When they are in the new position, the manual release system can be locked, and the gates will be held safely in place by their motors again even without power.

Manual release systems need a key so that they can only be unlocked by the homeowners or a gate automation engineer. It’s a good idea to make anyone who uses the gates is aware of where your keys are kept and how to use the manual release system. It’s also wise to operate the manual release system every few months to ensure it will work freely if you ever need it.

As with all insurance, manual release systems and solar power back-up may never be needed. But if there is a power cut, not having either or both can cause so many problems.

Electric Gate Repair London repairs gates in a power cut