QUESTION: It was one of those days: the rain was coming down like it was the end of the world and I had a boot full of groceries. Then it happened, “click” my driveway (gate) motor went dead.

Fortunately, after much grumbling (in wet clothes), I managed to switch the gate over to manual mode, and a short while later I attempted to diagnose the problem. Now, it must be said that my motor-fixing skills are… well, non existent, but it didn’t take long to figure out the problem…


I’m no entomologist, but from what I can tell, here’s what happened: At some point the ants moved in and turned the gate motor into a private motel, then the spiders followed shortly after (presumably to feed on the ants), and in response to that, the geckos took up residence to feed on the spiders. The whole thing reminded me of the nursery rhyme: There was an old lady who swallowed a fly…

Anyway, what “bugs” me most is that the motor was relatively new, and the supplier said they couldn’t honour the warranty because of the “infestation”. I suppose I can’t moan too much about that, but what can be done to prevent this from happening to the next motor?

Stephen Macintosh

ANSWER: Sadly, there aren’t any long-term (permanent) solutions, but that’s not to say all is lost.

Ants, and other insects, often seek warmth (and a dry environment) in outdoor electric motors; this includes gate motors, pool pumps and well-point pumps. Unfortunately, once the ants get in, they attract other insects and lizards, which can then lead to spider webs, nests, cocoons and gecko droppings.

It’s a matter of time before one of these elements causes a short on the circuit board. For this reason, it’s important to inspect your gate motor (or outdoor pump) every few months, and to either spray the unit with an insecticide, or to leave poison around its edges.

Of course, these are just short-term solutions, and the application will have to be repeated every so often. You can also place a few mothballs inside the motor’s housing, this will help deter insects and lizards for a longer period.

As a final protective measure, you can seal the motor’s circuit board by applying a liberal dose of Q30.

Protective film over circuit board

Q30 is a liquid spray, that, once dry, forms a super protective film that safeguards against extreme moisture, rust, and/or the chance of a short circuit. Best of all, the film can be peeled off when you no longer want it, or if electrical works needs to be carried out.

Q30 LR Final (3 of 6)

However, bear in mind that you can also solder straight through the Q30 film and just re-apply the formula to the affected area when you’re done. Q30 is completely non-flammable in its cured state.

The solution is ideal for metal surfaces, hinges, light fittings, and electrical circuit boards. It can also withstand salt spray, and is insulated up to 1000 volts.

We hope this helps!

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