An Open And Shut Case

Oct. 27, 2008
Access Control Issues With Gate Installs

Installing access control on vehicle gates involves a variety of challenges and technical disciplines which you will not encounter working on your typical swinging or sliding doors in buildings.

ENVIRONMENTAL: In just about every geographic location, there will be environmental issues present which will require special provisions to be provided by the dealer to ensure long-term reliability of the equipment. Some equipment, such as cameras and power supplies, may not tolerate temperature extremes. Virtually all electronic equipment is susceptible to humidity (water vapor in the air), moisture (occasional water hitting the gear), or wetness (submersion of the gear in water. Damage to circuit boards, corrosion to enclosures, and even rusting of cover screws are all situations you want to avoid in the interests of reliable system operation and ease of servicing later on.

Insects are another potential problem. Insects seem attracted to enclosures, and are famous for infesting enclosures and creating havoc with motion sensors and camera enclosures. Animals or rodents have been known to invade spaces and cause damage to wiring.
The direct rays of the sun, or lack thereof, can also pose problems. For example, the IR energy in sunlight will discolor lenses, dry out wiring and cable ties. The sun will also raise the temperature within an equipment enclosure, which might result in unpredictable consequences. Sunlight and the lack of sunlight, in terms of lux and glare, require serious considerations when specifying and installing video surveillance outdoors.

PHYSICAL: Closely related to environment, the physical conditions present on a site will always be different, and will always require careful study. We can include non-terra-firma issues such as vandalism, man-made flying objects and stray vehicles into this category.

Some examples: When mixed with rain, simple soil will become mud, and will no longer provide the same degree of support it originally did for that camera pole. Pavement or concrete may not be as thick as you anticipated, or may be reinforced with rebar or rock.

If you are planning to penetrate these materials to install anything or run wires, perhaps consider subcontracting it out and let someone with the machinery and experience give you a quote that you can innocently pass along to the client. Your guessing wrong on these matters could take a big chunk out of your bottom line. Terrain also plays a part in you planning, since you may be considering the use of line-of-sight technologies; attempting to illuminate a defined area, attempting to view a defined area, or attempting to detect motion within a defined area.

Vandalism must also be factored into your design plans.

Wrongdoers can inflict fatal damage to your equipment. You must include measures to defend the system, and also contractually indemnify yourself against having such occurrences be considered as part of your warranty. Similarly, since the topic is vehicle gates, do not overlook unskilled drivers, who can inflict damage on gates and equipment. Think in terms of speed bumps and concrete filled bollards.

Other vehicles will be trying “to get into this controlled access point. Special considerations must be given to the types of vehicles which you have to accommodate; especially if you expect to capture images of the drivers or provide a card reader which will not require the drivers lean out their windows to use. Occasionally you can see this phenomenon at a fast food or bank drive-up. Folks will literally have to open their vehicle door to retrieve their fries. Besides being inconvenient and unsafe for the drivers, improperly designed pedestals will reduce through-put at an access portal; especially problematic at peak traffic times at factories and parking facilities.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT: You probably will have to work with other trades in the course of your vehicle gate project, in addition to your client’s own:
Facilities Department—Go over and finalize the system plans a dozen times (this too will end when they either run out of budget, the concrete hardens, or another larger crisis occurs to distract them).

Security Department—You need to convince this department that the system will keep them as safe as their budget will allow and is easy enough to use.
IT Department—If you are anticipating putting a camera or card reader on the network, or if some element of your system involves a computer, you better touch base.
Human Resources Department—The department with whom you hash out who can get into the site, when they’re permitted to get on site, and which group of executives can come in whenever they darn well please.

The Accounts Payable Department—To get paid for your efforts and possibly Nurse’s Office and The Legal Department—Two other departments you may need to address in certain circumstances.Most system integrators who take on a gate project find there are other subcontractors on the jobsite to deal with. The important considerations are the timeline, the proficiency of the subs, and the liabilities.

For example, if the client hires the subs, you will be forced to schedule your work around the other subcontractors, who will be answering to the client and not you. You will be providing specifications on how you want the site to be prepped, and if these specs aren’t followed, it might cost you in terms of time and labor.
Scheduling can also become an issue when it’s time to commission your system. You unfortunately will need to be the last trade on-site to determine that the system indeed operates properly; all the other subs installed their equipment as per your requirements and conforming to code; and that the end-user has been given adequate training on the use and testing of the entire system.

Since you may not be qualified to evaluate the other elements of the system to the degree necessary, you will need to insist that the appropriate inspectors sign-off in writing for each one.

CONNECTIVITY AND INTERFACING: The technical details, meaning getting the signals form point A to point B, and getting your equipment to talk to everyone else’s)Gates may occur at significant distances from the premises they are serving. Such was the case during a recent project that required vehicle access entry control with credentials, manual gate control via verbal and visual authentication and license plate capture of all vehicles entering onto the property.

The gate location was far from the main building. The client, a defense contractor, was involved in the manufacture and testing of a myriad of RF devices. The client was therefore sensitive to security and reliability issues relating to airborne telemetries.

Additionally, cost was an issue in considering the objectives and alternatives necessary to complete this install. The backbone of the access control system was 1200’ away. The hardware required to establish a system node out in the parking lot was quite expensive. Besides the controller and power supplies, large environmentally sealed enclosures and an area in which to safely and securely mount them would be required.

Ultimately we would need to get data back into the main building anyway where the access control system server resided. We would be required to bring our video into the client’s existing legacy video surveillance system (a polite way of saying their old CCTV system).

It was necessary to accommodate big trucks, mid-sized trucks, passenger vehicles and motorcycles. Some of the individuals would have valid credentials they used in the main building. Some of the vehicles would be deliveries and visitors. The gates would be closed and under guard surveillance 24/7.

Interfacing between the access control systems would involve little more than a signal to initiate the gate operator system’s access sequence. Another signal to maintain the gates in an open condition for extended periods was also required. Two extended range card readers would be used to accommodate the variety of vehicles.
The camera system would include one camera which would be dedicated to license plate recognition and another to provide for visual verification of the drivers when it was necessary for the guard to manually open the gate from the security center. This camera would have P/T/Z capabilities.

A hands-free intercom station would be situated out at the gate location. The intercom was controlled from within the building, by the guard. A motion sensor would be used to alert the guard that a vehicle was approaching, and to trigger the plate capture camera. There was also a possibility that the intercom and video surveillance capabilities would later be expanded to other locations within the facility.

The products used in this install totally met our client’s requirements. They are:

• The ALTRONIX AL600ULXB is a power supply /charger that converts a 115VAC 60 Hz input into a 6 Amp 12 or 24VDC non-power limited output.

• The Cypress DPX 7000 is a Dual Supervised Reader Extender which allows the connection of 2 readers and associated devices (relays, REX, door position sensors) up to 10,000 feet form the controller using only two conductors.

• The EXTREME CCTV REG-L1, featuring DHC-Imaging, delivers advanced performance license plate capture for technical surveillance and represents the third generation of license plate capture solutions from Extreme CCTV. Combining Extreme’s latest proprietary technology, DHC-Imaging integrates advances in optics, infrared illumination and Ambient Rejection technology to produce high contrast license plate images characterized by unmatched clarity.
Using solid-state Metaphase-LEDs, REG-L1 achieves an operational range from 12ft to 75ft, previously unattainable for any LED-based capture system. Combined with Extreme’s Ambient Rejection technology, REG-L1 provides high-contrast license plate capture across the complete spectrum of ambient lighting conditions from total darkness to direct glare from sunlight or high-beams.

Consisting of a 1/2” LXR CCD, the high speed optical engine within DHC-Imaging captures plates from vehicles moving up to 100mph (160kph). REG-L1’s breakthrough speed capability now enables effective license plate capture for highway and other high speed applications.
Additionally, DHC-Imaging has capture capability for not only conventional plates but also Digital License Plates (DLPs). REG-L1 is housed in a weather-sealed unit compliant to NEMA4, proven for successful application in extreme environments.

The high-efficiency Metaphase-LED array eliminates the need for routine bulb changes while consuming an average of only 24 watts, allowing REG-L1 to operate at either 12VDC or 24VAC. REG-L1 integrates seamlessly with industry standard DVRs, IPvideo servers and wireless broad equipment. The DHC-Imaging technology is precision engineered to deliver high-contrast images for in intelligent software platform such as REG-ALERT for Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) applications.

• HID MaxiProx 125 kHz Long Range Proximity Card Reader is a self-contained proximity reader. The two-piece polycarbonate enclosure has an O-ring that weather seals the enclosure pieces together and a cable fitting that seals the cable entry. The water-resistant unit is designed for outdoor use. The enclosure is mountable on a single gang electrical box. A bi-color LED and audible tone provides user feedback.

Configurable open collector data outputs provide the data to the Host. Configurable DIPswitches and jumpers provide choice of data interfaces between Wiegand, Clock and Data, RS-232 and RS-422. The data interface is configured as ordered from the factory, but can be altered in the field.
A tamper switch can alert the Host when the enclosure is opened. Internal DIP switches and jumpers provide for configuration of the outputs, audible tone and LED control options. Installation of the MaxiProx Reader consists of mounting, connecting the cable to the Host and +12VDC or +24VDC power, verifying the DIPswitch and jumper settings, verifying Autotune, and verifying the reading of a transponder.
It features a long read range distance and Autotune allows read range to be maintained within four inches of metal. Wiegand, Clock-and-Data, RS-232, RS-422, and RS-485 output modes are configurable. “Parking hold” feature ensures accurate detection of vehicles in parking lanes.

• The PACH Double Vertical Arms Direct Burial Pedestal Mounting Post Model APMDB2 is a double vertical arms direct burial pedestal mounting post for pedestrian, auto and semi-trucks for card readers, keypads, control panels, etc. It features hollow tube for cable pass thru construction: 12-gauge cold rolled steel construction and triple coated rust proof enamel finish.

• The NVT Model NV-214A-M Video Transceiver is a passive (non-amplified) device that allows the transmission of real-time monochrome or color video over Unshielded Twisted-Pair (UTP) telephone wire. Baseband (composite) signals of any type are supported.
Up-the-coax type signal may be sent over the same wire pair. The NV–214A–M is a transceiver and designed to be used at both camera and receiver end of the system. Used as a transmitter, the NV–214A–M has a mini-coax pigtail lead which allows quick mounting onto fixed cameras and allows in-camera mounting in most dome cameras.

The unparalleled interference rejection and low emissions of the Model NV-214A-M allow video signals to co-exist in the same wire bundle as telephone, datacom, or low-voltage power circuits. This allows the use of a shared or existing cable plant. With built-in transient protection, damaging voltage spike problems are eliminated.

• The NVT Model NV-452R Video Receiver is an active (amplified) device that allows the reception of real-time monochrome or color video on up to one mile (1,6km) using Category 2 or 3 Unshielded Twisted-Pair (UTP) telephone wire, or up to 1.5 miles (2,4km) using Category 5. With the Model NV-452R long run video signals can co-exist in the same wire bundle as telephone, datacom, or low-voltage power circuits. This allows the use of shared or existing cable plant.
Ground-lifting ensures no annoying “hum-bars” when ground potential differences exist. With built-in transient protection, damaging voltage spike problems are eliminated.