In the winter, your gate is more likely to have issues opening and closing. Even when it warms up a little, there could still be frost forming on your automatic gate’s photo eyes. You can try to protect your photo eye with a cover, but no matter what cover you have frost will still occasionally form on the reflectors and/or lens.
The concept of a heated photo eye has bounced around in the automatic gate industry for years, as it would save a lot of time and reduce user frustration. A few years ago a gate access control company named LiftMaster actually released a reflective photo eye with a heater inside. It is a monitored photo eye that meets the UL325 safety standards. The 10-40 or 8-28 VAC at 2 amps max heater can be wired into the accessory 24VDC power in LiftMaster operators.
However, this product is not recommended for solar powered units due to the current it draws. The heated photo eye is ideal for AC powered units that struggle with frost on their photo eyes. It is also thermostatically controlled, which saves the heater for the winter months. This invention is groundbreaking in the automatic gate market and will improve gate performance for their users going forward.
The pictures above show two readings that were taken with an infrared thermometer. The reading of LiftMaster’s reflective photo eye shows a temperature of 51.6 degrees Fahrenheit, which will keep frost from forming on the lens.
The second reading is directed at the steel post that the photo eye is mounted on. The temperature reading of the mounting post is 31.8 degrees Fahrenheit, which is below freezing. This is the temperature that an unheated photo eye would usually be. A temperature that low could then cause frost to form on the lens.
To the professionals at American Access Company, it’s no question whether they think their customers who live in cold climates should invest in a heated photo eye or not. If you are tired of getting out of your car to remove frost from your photo eyes so your automatic gate will work correctly, send American Access Company a request today!