garagemanship: Electric Gate Problem

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  #1  
Old 04-16-12, 12:36 AM
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garagemanship: Electric Gate Problem

Could someone help with an electric gate issue? It is way down my driveway and uses a solar panel to keep the batteries charged. The manufacturer dropped this item from their inventory shortly after I purchased it from a local farm store. In the two years since installation the main control panel, actuator and in ground sensor have all been replaced (under warranty, thank you). Continued difficulty with "not opening" appears to be caused by living in a continuously cloudy winter climate. The solar panel is 10 watts and there are two 12 volt batteries installed. Reading the solar panel installation sheet tells me I would need 15-20 watts to keep up with the four cars using this gate on a daily basis. So, I want to either add a 10 watt panel in parallel or replace the existing panel with a 20 watt panel. Since the panel is no longer available from the mfr, do I have to be careful to match specifications on the two 10 watt panels? I see there are lots of places on line that sell panels. Is there anything to be careful about when purchasing one of these guys? Could anyone recommend a reliable source? They all seem pretty spendy. Thanks to anyone who answers. Gary
 
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  #2  
Old 04-16-12, 08:32 AM
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Location: Wet side of Washington state.
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i would suggest the 45 watt system from Harbor Freight. You MUST have a charge controller between the panels and the batteries and I would suggest as large a deep cycle battery as you can afford.
 
  #3  
Old 04-18-12, 11:57 PM
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Thank you for rour quick response. I checked the Harbor Freight website and they have 15 and 45 watt panels for a reasonable price. I would like do this cost effectively and also correctly. The manufacturer recommends 5, 10 or 20 watt panels. I presume there is a charge controller inside my control panel at the gate (right?). So, if I stayed 20 watts or less wouldn't the built in charge controller be able to handle the load? Seems like the 10 watt system was doing OK in summer wx (actually get quite a bit of sunny weather in the Northwest in summer time). Thinking I just need to get a little more juice flowing in the rainy winter months. Do you think if I replaced my 10 watt with the 15 watt Harbor Freight model it would keep things charged up. My book says 10 watt system will cycle the gate 8 times and the 20 watt 44 times. Could one expect the 15 watt to cycle approx 25-30 times? I also noticed that one reviewer commented that the Harbor Freight panel was an inefficient or older technology. Could you comment about possible differences in these different mfr's panels. Thank you very much for your reply and for anyone else who could offer additional input to someone who is electrically challenged. Gary
 
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