Know your garage door and gate motor battery backup system

Know your garage door and gate motor battery backup system

When it comes to garage and gate automation, there are a variety of options available to you. You may have come across the term battery backup. But what exactly does this mean?

Now we all know we can experience load shedding at any given time without notice in South Africa. And if you have an older model garage door motor, you will need to open you garage door or driveway gate manually. And if you use this as your means of entry and your motor cannot operate , you may be stuck outside your house for any amount of time. 

This is where battery backup comes into the equation. Newer motors are all equipped with battery backup, which means if there is a power outage or load shedding, the motor will still run off the battery for a limited time (general rule is roughly 10 operations of the door or gate motor).

Unfortunately motors with battery backup are not created equal. You have battery backup and battery dependent motors, both of these operate in the same manner if there is no power. The difference comes in with how they operate when there is power.

Battery dependent motors

A motor that is battery dependent, runs off both power and battery simultaneously. What this means is, for the motor to work under normal power conditions it requires a battery. If the battery is faulty or at the end of its lifespan and not holding charge, the motor will NOT operate, even if there is power to the motor.

The following motors are battery dependent:


As the motor requires the battery to operate, the chance of the battery not being in good condition when you need it most will be very low. If the battery fails the motor fails in operating, it is that simple.


The battery will need to be changed to have your motor work optimally, the battery can not be bypassed.

Battery backup motors

A motor that has battery backup, runs off the main power under normal power conditions. The battery is there purely for backup, and only starts drawing power from the battery when there a power supply failure. This motor is able to operate even if the battery is faulty, or without any battery installed, providing there is power. 

The following motors have battery backup:

  • ET nice gate motors (Except the ET drive 300 and drive 500)
  • ET nice garage door motors


Since the motor can work independently from the battery when main power is available, the requirement is not there to keep your battery in tip top shape.


The aforementioned benefit is also the weak link. If the battery's condition does not get checked regularly you might find yourself in a pickle when you require backup power most such as In the event of load shedding

What is the expected lifespan of a battery

Whether your motor is battery backup or dependent, there is no arguing that it is a convenient and necessary feature in South Africa where we experience load shedding. It is important in both cases to ensure your battery is well maintained and in perfect working condition.

On average a battery should have a lifespan of 2 – 3 years. However there are a variety of factors that can influence this timeline. Load shedding does have a negative effect on the lifespan of a battery, especially during bouts of heavy load shedding. The battery charges when connected to power, however when prolonged or frequent outages are experienced, the battery only has short bursts to charge and this could cause it to build up memory and so loose the capacity to effectively hold charge.

Gate and garage door motors that experience heavy use, will also have a shorter lifespan than those used moderately to less frequently. Common possible indicators of a battery in need of replacing includes:

· Sluggish or a slow operating motor

· The garage door or gate opens half way and closes or stops

· The garage door or gate only works intermittently

· No operation at all during power outages


If you are on the fence about what type of battery backup system would work best, there are two types: one that requires power and a battery to run under normal conditions and one that can run independently of the battery under normal conditions. There is no arguing that it is an important feature in South Africa where we experience load shedding, so finding the right system can make all the difference.

The average lifespan of a battery in a gate or garage door motor is approximately 2-3 years but this timeline could be shorter if they have frequent outages which happen during bouts of heavy load shedding as well as when used heavily. On the other hand, motors with battery back up will still run if their batteries are faulty, but will not be able to do its intended job when you have power failure.