Remote driveway gate monitoring solutions

Ira

Active Member
The last deep dive thread on this topic I found on here was from 2013. What new or improved products/technology have been introduced since then to solve the issues related to monitoring and controlling a remote gate? My specific scenario is a 12' wide driveway gate that is about 1500' from the home. Even though I strongly favor wired vs wireless solutions, there aren't any conduits or underground cables from the house to the gate, and I would rather not install any. Overhead utility lines run across the property about 100' from the house, so they are about 1400' from the gate.
 
Ground is flat. There are quite a few trees between the house and the gate, but the plan is to keep all trees trimmed to 8' above ground. The property is mowed regularly (so no tall weeds or underbrush). Given all of that, I don't know if point-to-point wireless between the house and the gate will work. Two-thirds of the distance is pretty clear (trees mostly 50' apart or more). The third closest to the gate has more trees, but still not so dense as to make it difficult to mow.
 
I imagine the gate opener and everything else at the gate (intercom, video, etc.) will be powered by a combination solar/battery setup. I'm in SE Texas, so there's plenty of sun year around. I could probably get 10 hours or more of sun per day, especially during warm months. Temperatures rarely drop below freezing. Cellular (4G) reception is good at the gate so it's an option. I would like to have the typical monitoring capabilities... gate control at the gate via access code and/or fob, voice/intercom, video from a couple of angles, remote control via cell phone. I've never had a driveway gate, so I don't know what other functions might be useful. Ultimately, I would like to integrate it with an Elk M1G and/or CQC.
 
So... what's new, improved, and/or consumer priced?
 
Thanks,
Ira
 

pete_c

Guru
Been tinkering here with LoRa 1 Watt RS-232 / RS-455 transceivers.    They work for a couple of miles.  They are priced under a $100 for the pair.
 
These are listed on Ebay and are from China.
 
I have a pair of these that I am using for RFID from the garage to the basement and they have been working fine now for over a year.
 
Maybe that would work for you?
 

Ira

Active Member
Since I still haven't made any decisions related to this post, I'm going to bring it up again...

My preference is to somehow get access to my LAN at the gate location, without running any wires between the two locations. I attached a satellite image of the property showing where the house and gate locations. Google says it is about 1350' between the two points.

I'm not at all familiar with outdoor access points, point-to-point setups, etc., but I wondering if this Engenius bridge pair will do what I want to do. Am I correct in thinking...

1. One located at the house mounted on an outside wall with its LAN cable plugged into one of my LAN switches.
2. The other located on a pole near the gate.
3. Both bridges will be place about 10' off the ground.
4. Since I don't have electricity at the gate, power must be provided by solar panel/battery/etc.
5. The LAN cable from the gate bridge gets plugged into a nearby LAN switch.
6. Anything needing network access (security cam, etc.) gets plugged into LAN switch.

I'm still planning on using the Elk M1 at the house. I'm also leaning towards a Hubitat for a HA controller now. May still use CQC to fill in the gaps if necessary.

Am I missing anything? A pair of the bridges is less than $200. Seems really cheap. Ubiquiti hardware looks to be at least twice as expensive. Is it worth it for added reliability?
 

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RAL

Senior Member
It looks like there are many trees in the way of your line of sight. That may affect the range, possibly a lot. I take the 5 mile range claim with a grain of salt.

How big a solar panel are you planning on installing? I assume it will power the gate as well?
 
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Ira

Active Member
I have my doubts about the 5 mile range, too, but I'm hoping 1/4 mile is doable. The trees aren't as bad as it looks. I think I can get pretty close to a clear line of site with some cleanup work. Not many tree branches are below 10', and a lot of the tree trunks are 12" diameter or less at 10'.

One of the bridges says it uses 15 watts. A consumer grade bullet video cam uses about 15 watts, too. Looks like an 8-port harsh duty unmanaged switch only uses about 5 watts. So one bridge, two cameras, and a switch might use up to 50 watts. It all has to run 24x7. A 200ah 12V battery by itself would power all of it for maybe 48 hours (although I don't know at what point the battery has too little left to do its thing). I don't have any idea how large a solar panel(s) needs to be to keep the battery fully charged at all times so that it could handle nights and cloudy days. And maybe there needs to be twice as much battery power for bigger safety factor, e.g., be able to run four days without any sun. It looks like it is the continuous power requirement that makes this difficult/expensive.

Most of the gate openers in the area look like they are using 10 or 20 watt panels. My gate will be a single swing, probably 12' long, aluminum, which is probably pretty average (or less) for around here. I will probably use a different solar/battery power source for it.

Any driveway lights will probably have their own battery/solar power.
 

Ira

Active Member
If I locate the gate Wifi bridge about 75' away from the gate, I can get a good line-of-site to the edge of the house (as shown by the yellow line between connecting the two red dots), i.e., from the red dot on the right side of the photo, I can see the house where the red dot on the left side of the photo is. Maybe a few low hanging branches that need to be trimmed, but it's actually a lot better than I expected, especially at this time of the year. That area also has good southern sun exposure.

The yellow line across the driveway is the gate location.

Any suggestions on solar panel size, battery size, etc., to give a good chance for 24/7 operation?
 

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kurtmccaslin

Active Member
I am interested in what you come up with as I have a very similar situation.

For comparison, I use an Everstart size 24DC battery ($80) with a 10 watt solar panel on my electric gate. It is rated at 101 AH and opens the gate an average of 10 times per day. I ran out of power only once when it was cloudy and cold for a week. I replace the battery about once every 3 years. If you need 50 watts for 4 days, you would need 4 of these batteries. It could get expensive and you need a small shed to house them. Perhaps you could only turn on the cameras when someone is at the gate?
 

Ira

Active Member
Disclaimer: I don't know much about batteries.

Seems to me that the gate opener battery should be a lead acid battery, maybe even a deep cycle AGM battery. I doubt the gate will open/close more than 10 times a day, but even then, the battery usage will be sporadic.

Since the electronics (Wifi bridge, cams, router) will need to run 24/7, I'm thinking a lithium battery would be better, but a lot more expensive. Looks like a 200ah lithium battery can cost $700-$1500. The good ones are supposed to have a stable voltage until almost completely discharged.

An outdoor rated enclosure that could hold a couple of 200ah lithium batteries could easily cost $1000.

The costs associated with this just keep going up.
 

kurtmccaslin

Active Member
My opener battery is a deep cycle lead acid battery (therefore the DC designation). I decided to go cheap and replace it every 3 years. lifecycle costs are still lower than AGM batteries
 

Ira

Active Member
I think that's fine, and probably what I will do, for the opener battery. I think the other electronic gear will work better with a lithium battery since that stuff needs a stable voltage 24/7.
 

kurtmccaslin

Active Member
One other thought. I just checked my Axis IP cameras and they are running 2-3.5 watts each. I am sure that there is additional heat loss from the POE injector or from the POE switch.
 
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