|Review by bonesbr549||posted 04-09-2014 07:24 PM||3789 views||4 times favorited||5 comments|
First let me start by saying I have been looking for a product like this for a long time. Being a computer geek by trade, had been researching a circuit build with sensor to do this very thing. Looking at everything from car door window actuators as the lift mechanism to pneumatic actuators. Costs no matter the option was just to high to justify. I also looked at echogate, but again too much $$. Then one day doing a google search hoping to find more info for my own build, I came across grngate.
My requirement is simple, I want to have the gate open automatically when the equipment is turned on and activate the DC. When the tool is turned off, the DC will run to clear the line then turn off and close the gate.
I did some research on grngate and a competitor’s product I-vac pro blast gate. After speaking with both groups, I decided on the grngate. The main reason was architecture behind the tool, features, and cost.
Architecture - The first impression looking at the gate is a head scratch for sure. It’s big odd shaped with slots and holes in it. However after speaking with Chuck Heger at grngate, he explained the shape and slots. It’s to help keep dust from clogging it up. If you have the old plastic manual blast gates you know why that’s important. Over time they slowly become blocked and you can’t fully close the old manual suckers and you either clean them out or slowly lose suction to all those lines bleeding a little bit. So that was great. The other feature was a built in safety measure to protect the gate actuator. In the vendor’s video on youtube they place a 2”x4” in the opening and try to close the gate. After 3 try’s the gate shut’s down. To fix it, you need to clear the obstruction and unplug and plug back in the network cable to reset it. I like that feature.
The next feature of the Architecture I like is the mechanism for making the gates work. IT uses off the shelf wiring. It uses standard ethernet cable. The units come with 25’ cables. This supplies power over ethernet so no AC to DC adaptors at every gate location. Another plus was I ended up with my gates close together and rather than have a bunch of cables bundled up at the gates, I replaced the provided 25’ cables with some short one’s I had lying around.
The controller has 4 ports for runs, but you can chain the gates together, so my 6 gates will only use one port on the controller. I will still have a ton of expansion capability.
Now the cool part the sensors. They too use off the shelf RJ-25 cables. The sensor’s clamp to the power cable of the tool and the cable plugs into the associated port on your gate.
It will sense current, and open the gate, and then activate the DC. They are two parts it’s a snap (literally) to put them on. I have a 3 phase planer that runs off a RPC, and it worked like a charm. Only challenge I had which I was told about prior to ordering, was for SawStop users. Since that tool pulls power constantly to operate the computer system, you cannot attach the sensor to the power cable at the outlet like the other tools. It was an easy solution. I just opened the cabinet and put the sensor on the power cable at the motor. This will only draw current when the motor actually turns on.
The sensor comes with a 6’ cable. I was able to place all the other gates under my stairwell with my DC. It was nice that it’s centrally located enough that I could use the 6’ cable close enough to my tools. The SS was different. Since the sensor was in the cabinet, I had to put it at the head of the run. I could get stepped on or tripped over. That was an easy fix. I went to Radio Shack and bought a 25’ telephone cable (RJ-25) and that solved the problem. I was able to move the gate close to the others.
They also offer a manual on/off switch. There will be two applications where I will use those. The chop saw, that is on/off a lot, and my floor sweep/manual line for my router table.
Total cost for my 6 gates and control unit came to a bit over 700 with shipping, but I find that reasonable considering the functionality.
I love the tool and it’s not cheap, but it’s a great value in my opinion. I’ve posted a two video review on youtube. The first goes over the features and why I liked it, and the 2nd (hyperlink in top of vid) is it running.