In our Hurricane Preparation article
we listed a few good steps to take to protect your access control and gate automation equipment prior to a storms arrival. If you followed any of these then some of what I am going to go over here will not apply to your equipment and few good days of drying time to ensure there is no moisture in your equipment will hopefully allow you to plug everything back in, turn it on and go back to normal.
If you did not see that, then for purposes of worst case scenario lets go over a few steps that may help save your automation equipment now. First off, there is no information here on fixing electronic parts that shorted out or were burned as a result of being powered and shorting out from wind driven water or worse, rising water that submerged your equipment. As painful as it is to hear, parts or the entire unit will need to be replaced. HOWEVER, if your power failed before water encroached and has not come back on yet take heed there is hope still!
First, shut off any breakers that power your equipment. You do not want power coming back unexpectedly. Keep the power to your equipment OFF until you are ready and have done as much as your can to mitigate issues that could burn up equipment that is still good.
Second, open up and remove all the covers on your anything that went under water or had moisture driven into it. That includes KEYPADS
, GATE OPENERS, INFRA RED SAFETY BEAMS
...anything and everything that is powered even by batteries. Carefully inspect items even above flood levels for moisture driven by wind, splashing, waves, etc.
TAKE PICTURES OF WIRING before you undo anything for an easy reference where to hook things back up later.
RISING WATERS - If you know your opener, etc went under water then EVERY part, terminal, motor, control board, etc needs to be thoroughly flushed and if necessary use a soft to medium bristle brush to GENTLY remove debris, dirt, etc. I have even seen people put all their electronics in a dishwasher on a gentle cycle with no soap to clean them. I cannot recommend that, but hey at this point any damage to anything is no longer covered by warranty so you have nothing to lose....but I think I could get my electronics clean without such drastic measures. Remember, no matter how your equipment is water damage is not a manufacturers defect and is not covered. Motor windings, dc motors, wiring terminal ends ALL need to be clean and free of contaminants. Fresh, clean water will dry thoroughly but mud, grime, etc will hold moisture later and cause problems down the road even if they fire back up and appear to work fine now....for the exact same reasons flooded cars have issues later even if they run fine and drive now.
You may want to price new parts before going to the extreme of saving some inexpensive parts. It is hard to justify hours of time cleaning a lot of small parts that cumulative may only run a couple of hundred dollars to replace and will have new parts warranties / dependability that come with them. Some of parts I would consider that fall into that category are: remote control radio receivers, loop detectors, exit sensor detectors, some main control boards and even some motors. It is a lot of work to disassemble an ac motor, clean, dry and then reassemble it. Using pressured water down the cooling ports of these will not even come close to cleaning out all the mud and debris that will soak into bearings, windings, brushes and wiring connections.
After you have completely cleaned, inspected, dried and reassembled all the parts you cleaned or replaced there are other places to inspect and make sure they are not also full of water. These included the conduit that supplies power to your equipment. Open conduit can / will fill with water. Switches, fuse holders, convenience out built into your openers power supplies can and should all be cleaned out with fresh water, dried as much as possible with compressed air (if you have access to it) or left open to dry naturally.
Finally, when you are sure you have done all you can (or as far as your are willing to go) to clean, dry and reassemble, have someone turn the power back on when it becomes available WHILE YOU STAND BY THE UNIT to listen and watch for anything out of the norm.
I have lived on the gulf coast all my life and am no stranger to storms and the damages they cause. I hope these tips and tricks to save existing equipment helps. If you need parts or replacement openers (all at wholesale direct pricing to you!) please call and let us help you replace what you have lost with new, fresh, high quality, MADE IN THE USA or USA OWNED companies!