Photocell gate faults: what to do? | Life Home Integration

We have already discussed photocells in a previous article and how important they are in completing the security of an automation system.

Unfortunately, we still hear stories in the news about incidents related to wear, lack of maintenance or incorrect installation of gates and automation. Life Home Integration is committed to promoting correct information in order to combat news we don’t want to hear and shouldn’t have to hear.

It is perhaps because of these unfortunate true stories that we came to understand the basic importance of photocells for automatic gates (whether sliding or swinging), when we realised how they directly impact on the issue of safety.

What photocells are and how they work

A photocell is an electronic device with various fields of application: it can be used for completing the installation of motors for automatic gates and doors, as well as for alarms and anti-theft devices.

In our case, they are used because they can detect obstacles between the doors or in front of a moving door (depending on whether it is a sliding or swinging gate) and then send the signal to the control unit and thus secure the system.

Photocell faults: a guide to correct troubleshooting

Now we come to the main subject of this article:

  • How to recognise a fault in the photocell of your electric gate.
  • How to intervene properly and what to do if the photocell of your automatic gate does not work.

These devices are often installed outside, directly exposed to the elements. This is one reason why sometimes it can happen that they stop working.

In order to find out whether or not the fault lies with the pair of photocells, the first check to carry out is to simply just wave your hand in front of the photocell and to listen; if you hear a click the photocell is working; otherwise it is faulty.

Often, however, the fault can be remedied by little measures without the need to actually replace equipment.

Below is a brief list of the main things to do if the photocell of your automatic gate doesn’t work:

  • Remove the plastic covers of the photocells to check that the electronic cards

inside are clean and there are no cobwebs, insects or anything else that may prevent proper operation.


  • Make sure there are no foreign bodies obstructing the photocells’ range of action: any

climbing plants, weeds or flowers growing in front of the photocells can compromise the gate operation.


  • If the photocells are wireless (i.e. if there is at least one component that communicates by transmitting signals through the air, usually the transmitter), you might need to replace the batteries.


  • Check that the transmitter and receiver (the 2 parts of the photocell) are properly aligned and have not been moved out of place.


Having performed these checks, you can verify directly from the control unit whether or not the problem has been solved.

Now look at the terminal, where the inputs for connection with the photocells are (check the correct number on the motor instruction manual, because the numbers vary depending on the model). During correct operation you will see the corresponding LED light up. If it is not lit, then the photocell is not connected correctly or is faulty.

The Digital Life control unit of Life Home Integration was created with the aim to massively simplify programming by means of a carefully designed system of LED lights that communicate the correct connection of the different outputs. This is why it is important that the installer does nothing more than make the connections in accordance with the information in the manual, without intervening in any other way on the card.


In some cases, however, it can also happen that, even when there is the “click” that indicates the correct operation of the photocells, the cells do not work correctly, and the LED on the control unit is therefore not lit. In this case it is always better to request the help of a technician.


Features and benefits of Life Home Integration photocells


Now we get to the details of the Life range.

The photocells for automatic gates offered by Life Home Integration differ from other market solutions particularly because of their resistance over time and their robustness, guaranteed above all by the fact that the plastics used in their construction have been designed and manufactured directly at the company’s headquarters in the province of Treviso.

The 100% Made in Italy quality of Life Home Integration applies not only to motors, but the entire product range, including photocells.

Issues such as moisture infiltration in the photocells or malfunctions due to

poor quality plastics or low-value electronics are easily overcome with

products by Life Home Integration.


Another overarching aspect of the whole Life range is its absolute simplicity of installation – an essential factor prioritised as early as the design stage of all our products because it embodies one of the company’s key values: the desire to simplify your life when you choose to rely on Life Home Integration.