What is a back of gate operator?
A back of gate operator is one type of motor used on automated gates, as they need an operator (or motor) to drive the gate leaf open and closed. The operator is effectively located horizontally on the gate leaf, connected to the gate post with a suitable bracket.
How does it work?
When the operator receives a signal from the control system, the motor is activated and a shaft turns, which is connected to the gate leaf via a link arm. This will then open or close the gate leaf as required.
Why fit them?
Back of gate operators are generally easier to install, service and maintain as they are very accessible. They also do not suffer from the drainage concerns involved underground operators, which sit in foundation boxes below ground level.
Generally, unlike underground operators, if the gate breaks down in the closed position, opening the leaf with the manual release is straightforward, as all you have to do is remove the cover, insert the manual release key and unlock the operator. The gate leaf can then be pushed open, assuming there is no maglock in place.
What are the disadvantages?
They can present an aid for climbing over the gate leaf itself, albeit you would be inside the property as the back of gate operator is generally fitted on the secure side of the gate.
Also, it is important that you have your gate regularly serviced as the engineer should check that the manual release is working. It is not unheard of for the manual release to be seized solid and useless.
Why use them?
Frankly, it’s all about the price. They are cheaper and less fiddly to open in an emergency, however, even non gate nerds would agree, a gate looks much nicer with an underground operator fitted, as the back of gate operators do detract for the overall aesthetics of the gate installation.