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Frequently Asked Questions - Consumer

What is the difference between the "SOLAR" and the "AC" Apollo gate operator?

Only the means by which the battery is charged. Our "solar" operator comes with a solar panel and bracket, while the "AC" operator comes with a fully automatic battery charger.

How many times can I open my SOLAR gate operator per day?

With average sunlight (8 hours), the 5 Watt solar panel will put 20 to 25 cycles of power per day back into the battery. Keep in mind that as options are added to a system you may have to increase the solar wattage.

How may times can I open my AC gate operator per day?

The AC charger charges the battery whenever it needs it 24 hours per day. With this in mind you can use your AC charged system up to 200 cycles per day.

If there is not any sunlight, how many times will my gate operator work?

This will depend upon the battery used in the system. With a 105 amp hour deep cycle battery (group 24) a basic system will operate several hundred cycles with no sunlight. Optional equipment installed on the system could lower this number.

How much voltage should a solar panel produce?

The standard 5 Watt solar panel with our unit should produce between 13 and 20 volts, at a current output of 225 to 375mA. These ranges are affected by the amount of sunlight and the orientation of the panel. Remember that even if a solar panel is producing voltage, it must also be producing adequate milli-amps of current in order to charge the battery.

At what point should I be concerned about over-charging my battery?

In solar applications of 20 Watts and higher, a charging regulator should always be used. This not only protects the battery from over-charging, it also keeps the battery from discharging at night since our regulator contains a built in blocking diode. AC charged systems will not over-charge since the battery charger shuts off when the battery becomes fully charged.

How often should I check the water level of my battery (water type only)?

The water in the battery should be checked every 60 to 90 days.

How long will the battery last in my system?

Battery life varies depending on the brand of battery, charging methods, and the style of battery being used. Normal life expectancy of a marine deep cycle battery is from 2 to 4 years. (sometimes longer) Deep cycle batteries last longer than car starting batteries usually. Check the water level frequently to extend the life of any battery. A group 24 preferred.

When do I need a blocking diode for my solar panel?

The panel that comes with standard Apollo gate operators is an "amorphous" panel and will not discharge at night so it does not need a blocking diode. The 10 Watt and larger panels are "crystal silicone" panels and require a blocking diode or charging regulator that contains a blocking diode.

How far from the control box can I mount my solar panel?

The solar panel may be mounted up to 100' from the control box. When this is done, use adequate gauge wire for the distance run. If any splices are made, make them above ground in weather proof boxes. Always run the wires in conduit to protect them.

How do I determine the amount of solar wattage needed for my gate operator?

First determine the number of cycles per day the operator will be expected to run on a daily basis. This figure should include anybody that may use the gate. Then determine the wattage needed with the following formula:

Cycles per Day = Solar Wattage Needed
2

Next, determine all of the options that will be installed in the system and find their standby current draw. Add all of these figures together to find your "total current draw" of all the options and use the following formula to determine the solar wattage needed:

(Total Current Draw) X 24 hours = Solar Wattage Needed
300

Add the two totals found from both of the above equations to determine the total of the amount of solar wattage that will be needed to operate the system. Remember that if this total is 20 watts or more, you should also include a charging regulator.

How many degrees of travel can I get from my Apollo swing gate operator?

If the operator is installed according to the instructions in the manual, you will be able to swing the gate up to 105 degrees. More degrees of travel can be attained with some special installation techniques. Your dealer should have the tech. sheet on this application.

How large of a gate can I swing with an Apollo 1500?

The spec sheet for our Apollo 1500 shows that it will handle gates up to 16' and 600 lbs. This is a very conservative rating. Our 1500 has been installed on much larger and heavier gates with excellent results. The most important things to remember are that the gate should be free swinging and be hung plumb and level. Also solid gates will always pose a larger problem for any operator since they will catch a large amount of wind and be more difficult to swing.  16 foot gates are common practice, but for larger swing gates we recommend the Model 400 Upgrade Kit. For up to 20 foot lengths.

How large of a gate can I operate with the Apollo 7000 or 7100 slide operator?

The Apollo 7000 or 7100 will handle slide gates up to 20' and 600 lbs. Again, this is a conservative rating. The Apollo 7000 has been installed on much longer and heavier gates with superb results. The installation of the gate is the key here. It should roll level on good rollers and not bind. Keep in mind that the 7000 comes with 25' of chain, so for gates longer than 21 or 22 feet you will need additional #40 chain and an extra connecting link.

What options should I consider buying for my Apollo gate operator?

Of course everyone that uses the gate on a regular basis will want their own transmitter since this is the easiest method of activating the gate. But your guests will also need access to your property. Digital keypad or telephone systems with a keypad are both very popular choices for entry to the gate. Exiting also needs to be considered. Again a keypad may be used, but the most popular choice for exiting is the #217 Free Exit Probe Detector. This option allows vehicles to exit the gate automatically, with no direct action needed. Emergency fire access and photo beams for safety are highly recommended. These are most popular options. Your dealer/installer can tell you about many others that are also available.

Frequently Asked Questions - Dealer / Installer

What is the normal pivot point for an Apollo 1500?

Normally it is 13" out from the gate and 6" back behind the hinges. This measurement is taken from the center rotation point of the hinges of the gate. It is easiest to use a framing square to measure this point. The pivot arm should be cut and saddled to fit the hinge post so that the 1/2" hole will end up at this point. Remember to weld the pivot arm on 1/2" below the center of the member of the gate that you will be attaching the gate bracket to.

What does the remote control Apollo 1500 gate operator system include (example only)? Accessories optional for additional purchase.

The kit includes a control box with the standard 635 board and multi-code 300 mHz receiver, one remote transmitter, gate bracket, bolt kit, hardware kit, pivot arm, caution sign, 416E actuator, instruction booklet, and either a single 5 watt solar panel and bracket or a fully automatic battery charger depending on if the operator is ordered Solar or AC.

What needs to be added to install the system?

The only other thing required is a deep cycle 12 volt battery.

What equipment do I need to install the operator?

A welder, cutting torch, basic hand tools, and a level will be needed to install the basic unit. Bolt on #446 makes installation with no welding required.

Who can install the Apollo gate operator?

A good handy man, electrician, or welder is a good choice even though almost all Apollo operators are installed by the do-it-yourself home owners.

How should I check the voltage in the battery of an Apollo unit?

First, disconnect any charging devices from the battery (solar panel(s) or AC battery charger). Then with your digital meter properly set to DC voltage, place the black lead of the meter to the battery and the red lead to the positive of the battery. This will measure the resting voltage of the battery. Now activate the gate operator to read the true voltage of the battery. If the battery falls below 12 volts with the operator running, the battery is low and should be re-charged or replaced. You should always check the battery under a load to get an accurate reading of the state of the battery. A battery hydrometer is also a good way of testing a battery, though I find the meter a bit easier to use and the exact condition can be determined.

How do I check the output of the solar panel?

(1) Checking DC Volts - Disconnect the solar panel from the battery. Then, with your meter set to DC voltage, put the red wire of the solar panel to the red lead of your meter, and the black wire of the solar panel to the black lead of your meter. This will give the voltage the panel is producing

(2) Checking Milli-amps - Next, set your meter to DCmA or DC Amps and reconnect the leads as previously described. This will show you the current output of the panel. Be careful not to exceed the current capacity of your meter, especially in the DCmA setting.

Please contact us here at Auto Gate Tech on automatic and remote control gate operating devices using electric or solar applications for slide, swing or barrier gate designs. We also carry a a variety of other gate operators in the highest quality at an affordable price range. These include Apollo, Nice/Apollo, Door King, Chamberlain, Mega Arm, Liftmaster, Powermaster, Viking, EMX products, American Access products and Linear.

 


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