Hackaday Prize Entry: A Mobile Electric Gate

Electric gates can be an excellent labor-saving device, allowing one to remain in a vehicle while the gate opens and closes by remote activation. However, it can become somewhat of a hassle juggling the various remotes and keyfobs required, so [bredman] devised an alternative solution – controlling an electric gate over the mobile network.

20 years ago, this might have been achieved by wiring a series of relays up to the ringer of a carphone. These days, it’s a little more sophisticated – a GSM/GPRS module is connected to an Arduino Nano. When an incoming call is detected, the gate is opened. After a 3 minute wait, the gate is once again closed.

[bredman] suffered some setbacks during the project, due to the vagaries of working with serial on the Arduino Nano and the reset line on the A6 GSM module. However, overall, the gate was a simple device to interface with, as like many such appliances, it has well-labelled and documented pins for sending the gate open and close signals.

[bredman] was careful to design the system to avoid unwanted operation. The system is designed to always automatically close the gate, so no matter how many times the controller is called, the gate will always end up in a closed state. Special attention was also paid to making sure the controller could gracefully handle losing connection to the mobile network. It’s choices like these that can make a project much more satisfying to use – a gate system that constantly requires attention and rebooting will likely not last long with its users.

Overall, it’s a great project that shows how accessible such projects are – with some carefully chosen modules and mastery of serial communications, it’s a cinch to put together a project to connect almost anything to the Internet or mobile networks these days.  For a different take, check out this garage door opener that logs to Google Drive.

11 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: A Mobile Electric Gate

  1. From the title, I was trying to figure out what a “Mobile Electric Gate” would be used for.
    “Today I need a gate here, tomorrow I want it there, and sometime after that…”

    1. Hehe same here. I thought it was going to be some kind of art project/joke thing.

      It doesn’t seem like a good idea to make a gate that can be wardialed though. Sending a password via SMS would at least keep your gate from opening into the back of your car at night when someone dials a wrong number.

  2. I had a unit like this that used Caller ID to authenticate the call. It would never answer the call but hit end so you would not be changed for the call. It would respond to text messages too. I used it as a remote start for my car. This unit is like the one I used. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/RTU5015-Free-Shipping-DC-12V-GSM-Gate-Opener-Switch-Remote-Access-Control-Roller-Gate-Opener-Android/32813355516.html?spm=2114.40010208.4.87.MwMbLb

  3. These are available commercially and have been for nearly 2 decades. we installed them for many large estates in the late 90’s before internet access and data was extremely common over cellular, now everything uses data authentication so it’s an app that you pull up and press the “open” button.

      1. More like ubiquitous. It is CDMA that is dying out. A 4G or 4G LTE phone is essentially a GSM phone with additional abilities to stream data. GSM has been upgraded but it still is GSM. Marketing likes to throw out terms like 4G or LTE or 4G LTE, but in essence these are just expanded GSM. The core structure in terms of call allocation and distribution (which is what is involved in getting a phone to ring, is the same. Good old GSM. Built to be expanded, built to last.

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