Photecells for gates, garage doors and road barriers /Life Home Integration

Just imagine coming home, pressing the button on the remote control to open your gate but not being able to get through because your dog is comfortably sprawled across the driveway, blocking your way. What would happen to your car if the opening system only had a set time delay? The gate would definitely leave a nasty scrape on the side of your car. Not to mention the risk of there being a child standing in the way rather than your car! These are the kind of situations that help us to see how crucial photocells for automatic gates (both sliding and swing) are and the impact they have on our safety.


Let’s start out with a general definition so we know what we are talking about. A photocell is an electronic device which uses a photoelectric effect; basically, this phenomenon means that electrons are released when light radiation strikes metal under the right circumstances, generating an electric current.

Photocells are used in the manufacture of automatic gates and doors but also serve for alarms and anti-theft devices, or even as a multiplier which is a tool used to amplify the effects of light radiation. There are many different fields of application, but we are not going to stray from our particular sphere of interest and we are going to take a look at photocells for both swing and sliding automatic gates.

As a rule, there are two photocells – a transmitter and a receiver – which are always placed facing each other to ensure that the automated system does not strike people, animals or equipment obstructing its way as it moves. The mechanism is quite simple: the transmitter sends the receiver a beam of infrared light and when this beam is interrupted (when someone or something gets in the way of the photocells), it instructs the control unit to stop the motor (or motors).

These devices are exposed directly to the environment and sometimes they can stop working; the problem can often be solved with simple measures without it becoming necessary to replace the photocells.

Here is a short list of the main checks to be run to make sure everything goes smoothly:

  • Remove the plastic covers from the photocells to make sure that the electronic cards inside are clean and free of cobwebs, insects or anything else that might prevent normal functioning.
  • Make sure that there are no foreign bodies obstructing the photocells’ range of action; if climbers, weeds and flowers grow in front of the photocells, the gate will not work in the same way.
  • If the photocells are wireless (meaning they communicate by transmitting signals through the air, and this usually involves the transmitter), you might need to replace the batteries.
  • Check that transmitter and receiver (the 2 parts of the photocell) are properly aligned and have not been moved out of place.

After having given you these general pointers, let’s have a more detailed look at the Life range. Photocells for automatic gates and selectors used by Life Home Integration particularly separate themselves from other market solutions due to their hardwearing sturdy nature; their superior design stems from the fact that the plastic materials they are made from are studied and manufactured directly on the company’s premises in the province of Treviso.

Life is a firm believer in the importance of 100% Italian quality not only for its motors, but for the entire product range which includes photocells and selectors.

Issues like moisture finding its way into the photocells, breakdowns caused by poor quality plastic or malfunctions brought on by cheap electronics simply do not arise with Life Home Integration products.

Visio and Vire are the names of the Life photocells. Both are synchronised with relays and differ according to their type of application. The Vire model can be set inside the Rex column supports which are available in various sizes and come in a double-height version for the passage of heavy-goods vehicles.

The range of selectors consists of various models: key selectors like DES and DESE, DIXES digital selectors or the innovative WI, a practical wireless solution with a Rolling-code coding system. The WI keyboard selector is the only model on the market that can store as many as 16 different codes to be linked to sixteen different devices. The standard capacity for memorisation is limited to only 4 codes. So, even the WI selector demonstrates how Life puts practicality and quality on the top of its list of priorities and bases itself on these values for its entire product range.