Pedestrian Gates

Motorised vs Solenoid Locking Tripod Turnstiles

Why are we addressing this simple Topic?

The general perception is Motorised Turnstiles are far better products compared to their less fortunate predecessors- the Solenoid Locking Turnstiles.

What is the difference:

A Motorised Tripod Turnstile as the name suggests is driven by a motor. The arms upon being engaged for movement by a pedestrian after card authentication rotate and reach their end position offering the pedestrian access.

However, in a Non-Motorised Tripod Turnstile with Solenoid Locking the Arms move along with the pedestrian’s movement when he engages after card authentication. The arms rotate 120° providing access to the pedestrian. The arms rest there and the solenoids lock the arms in that position till there is another pedestrian who seeks access.

There is actually no perceived benefit of the Motor Drive over the Manual Movement of the Tripod Arm. It is simply a perception that a Motorised Drive is superior to Manual Movement.

Drop-Arm & Auto-Reset

For the sake of Emergency & Safety both the Motorised & the Solenoid locking turnstiles offer Drop-Down Arm feature in case of an emergency signal from the access controller. Having said that it must be mentioned that only in a Motorised Tripod Turnstile an auto-resent (Drop-Down Arm engagement to be deployed automatically on resumption of normalcy/power) function is possible. The motor drives the arms and after a few rotations the arm automatically is deployed by blocking the passage.

Auto-Reset Convenient but not Safe

This feature is considered a boon and a very important aspect for the choice of motorised turnstile over solenoid locking.

While this on the face of it sounds so perfect, it is not without its downside. It is important for organisation’s and facility/security teams to understand that this feature is extremely dangerous for it has no safety built-in during its re-deployment phase.

If a person were to pass through or enter this turnstile during this phase there is a possibility of accidental fall. We simply cannot rule out the possibility of such an event to ever occur. When we are so particular of so many fail safe methods that we so carefully choose to deploy in our facilities, would one like to ignore this feature… we are not so sure. Why would we even want to have a feature that could turn to be a nightmare for safety & security professionals.


If the argument presented, is that, the systems sounds an alert through the entire process or re-deployment- not always are we alert to such mild warnings, when we are especially engaged in matters pertaining to safety and rescue operation facilitation.

If the argument is that such incidents are far fetched and that one must be aware and alert and demonstrate patience to such warnings- then we simply haven’t understood the human mind.

Show- you actually care for the safety of people

However, if we were to choose a turnstile without Auto-reset, then we simply demonstrate that we care for the safety of one and all. If this approach is taken-then why would one ever want to increase their capex by investing in motorised turnstiles. Simply become smart and invest in Solenoid Mechanism with Drop-Arm feature that may be re-deployed by a security/safety professional at site. This is a sure way of ensuring absolute fool-proof safety of your personnel. However, if you still feel that you wish to go in for a Motorised Tripod Turnstile-we encourage you to not choose the Auto-Reset feature.

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