Safety and security simplified

September 2012 Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection, Products

We live in an era where our every whim is catered for at the press of a button, thanks to the myriad automated systems that have been designed with the sole purpose of making our lives easier. We are in the midst of an automation revolution, one that has seen a new world of convenience opened up for us.

Our entrance gates and garage doors happily come to life and grant us access when we invoke the appropriate frequencies; in this way, at least, we have mastered the craft of commanding the airwaves.

However, by its very definition an automated system consists of moving parts and as such it calls attention to the omnipresent issue of safety. While automatic gates and doors are beneficial, it must be remembered that any mechanical system carries with it risks against which users must be safeguarded.

Yet, research into the matter has shown that a disconcertingly large percentage of installers do not specify infrared gate safety beams – devices that can be considered the very apotheosis of gate safety – when fitting gate motors, and the majority of homeowners do not insist upon them. Why is this?

It all comes down to wiring, it seems. Most homeowners do not fancy having their beautiful cobblestone driveways defaced for the sake of installing infrared beams and the cost of the labour involved is usually of such a nature that they’d rather take their chances with the gate. It is a sad state of affairs, and one that until recently offered precious little by way of resolution.

Centurion Systems designed Photon infrared beams with a fully wireless transmitter. Photon beams make superior, cost-effective gate safety possible without the need for digging and tunnelling and routing cables. The transmitter is powered via two AA alkaline batteries offering a minimum of two years functional life.

The receiver provides an onboard relay which can be connected to an automated system such as a gate motor or garage door operator, and will cause the device to halt operation or reverse direction (depending on the configuration) should the infrared beam be interrupted.

In addition, a new feature known as Installer Mode facilitates easy alignment of the beams by emitting a continuous 4 kHz tone when optimum alignment is obtained, saving the installer time. It is worth noting that alignment is a remarkably hassle-free process to begin with, since Photon casts a wide 1-square-metre beam at a distance of 10 m.

Even the Photon’s physical design has been optimised for quick and easy installation, with a hole being provided approximately in the centre of the circuit board that is concentric with a hole at the back of the plastic enclosure; this allows the installer to simply mark and drill the fixing hole without having to remove the circuit board.

Finally, Photon beams can be used for basic perimeter security and are compatible with the intruder-detection alarm feature-set found on certain Centurion operators. This feature-set – consisting of the break-in and ambush alarms – can be configured to activate an onboard buzzer (which can in turn be relayed to a third-party alarm system) whenever the beams are interrupted, or remain interrupted for a predefined period of time.

For more information contact Centurion Systems, +27 (0)11 699 2467,,


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