Add more modern convenience to your home living, even up to your garage. But don’t you know that it wasn’t too long ago when garage door openers didn’t exist at all. While the cars themselves are a very recent invention in the grand scheme of things, garage door openers are very much a product of the 20th century. Now, you don’t need to get out of your car to open the garage!
What is garage door opener?
A garage door opener is a motorized device that opens and closes garage doors. Most are controlled by switches on the garage wall, as well as by remote controls carried by the owner.
Who invented garage door opener?
As history tells us, horse-drawn carriages were pushed aside as a prime means of personal transportation by the Ford Model-T. This T-Boned, even though not the first practical car, was commercially offered in massive production. However, since no one up to that point had a car, they didn’t own garages as we have today. They inconveniently parked their T cars wherever they were able to find space.
In 1921, it was Mr. C.G. Johnson, of Hartford City, Indiana, who is accredited with the design of an up-and-over sectional overhead door. He noticed the wide open gap in the market, thirteen years after the first Model T rolled off the line.
This invention was not popularized until after the WW II. And in 1926 Mr. Johnson and his Johnson’s Overhead Door Company offered garage door using an electric motor to its product catalog.
Before purchasing a new garage door opener, it is crucial to get familiarized with the mechanics of the openers available in the market. Also, keep in mind that different opener systems will work with certain forms of remote control better than others. There are five types of garage door openers: chain drive, belt drive, screw drive, jackshaft, and direct drive.
- Chain-Drive Opener
Chain-drive openers have a chain, the one that we commonly see in a bicycle, which connects the trolley to the motor. As a result of metal-to-metal contact and vibration, you’re going to find that these systems are loud and clunky. However, they are the least costly type of garage door operating system available.
- Belt-Drive Opener
Rather than a chain, belt-drive openers employ a rubber belt. As a consequence, they are quiet in operation. They are definitely can be a smooth motion alternative to chain-drive.
- Screw-Drive Opener
Screw-drive openers have a long screw inside the track, where the trolley connects to. It means that a trolley rides on a threaded steel rod when a motor goes around the rod. This system can be the noisiest of opening a garage door. It has fewer parts, hence easy to maintain.
- Jackshaft-Drive Opener
Jackshaft openers are typically installed on the side of the door. Or you can mount them n the wall at either end of the torsion bar. They have a 24v DC motor that activates the pulleys and cables, which serve to turn the torsion bar and lift the door. These system are usually applied to large doors and keep the ceiling free for overhead storage. The reason is because they can fit perfectly to garages with high or low ceilings. One of their shortcomings is likely that they are more high-priced than most other forms of openers.
- Direct-Drive Opener
Of all garage door openers, it can be said that direct-drive units are the quietest. In short, they have motor installed inside the trolley and make use a gear wheel to escort the trolley along a fixed chain. In other words, they feature a stationary chain in a sturdy steel rail and have only one moving part situated in the traveling motor carriage. Direct-drive garage doors are similar in cost to belt-drive units and come with lifetime warranties.
Choosing a sufficient garage door opener for your needs can be said a half the battle. You need to be sure that you install it properly and safely. Also, you don’t have to do it alone as the best advice is calling a professional expert or garage door company.
The electric opener
As stated above, it was C.G. Johnson who invented what-so-called overhead garage door opener in 1926. And it was Era Meter Company of Chicago that made it popular after the WW II by offering overhead garage door that could be opened via a key pad placed on a post at the end of the driveway or a switch inside the garage.
This electric motor functions as an elevator, though it does not supply the most of power to move a heavy garage door. Rather, similar to manually operated garage doors, this is carried out by the counterbalance springs attached to the door. In fact, the electric opener offers just a little amount of force to control how far the door opens and closes. Also, the garage door opener mostly keeps the door closed to substitute a lock.
In more details, a typical design, torsion springs apply torque to a shaft, and that shaft applies a force to the garage door via steel counterbalance cables. Typical electric garage door opener comprises a power unit that holds in the electric motor. The power unit is attached to a track. A trolley connected to an arm that attaches to the top of the garage door slides back and forth on the track, thus opening and closing the garage door. The trolley is pulled along the track by a chain, belt, or screw that turns when the motor is run. A quick-release mechanism is attached to the trolley to enable the garage door to be disconnected from the opener for allowing manual operation during a power failure or in case of emergency. Limit switches on the power unit control the distance the garage door opens and closes once the motor gets a signal from the remote control or wall push button to direct the door.
Two US inventors invented the first wireless garage door openers nearly at the same time. One was in Illinois and the other in Washington state, and surprisingly they were unknown to each other. The following are their evolving stages.
- The first garage door opener remote controls were simple and comprised of a simple transmitter (the remote) and receiver which controlled the opener mechanism. The transmitter would transmit on a selected frequency, and the receiver would listen for the radio signal, then open or close the garage, relying on the door position. The problematic weakness was that everyone can open their neighbor’s or other garage doors.
- The second stage of the wireless garage door opener system faced another problem of shared frequency. To solve it, multicode systems were developed. These systems asked a garage door owner to preset a digital code by switching eight to twelve DIP switches on the receiver and transmitter. Still, problem arose related to security. Criminals were able to defeat the basic security of this system by trying different codes on a regular transmitter.
- The third stage of garage door opener market uses a frequency spectrum range between 300-400 MHz and most of the transmitter/receivers depend on hopping or rolling code This approach prevents criminals from recording a code and replaying it to open a garage door. Rolling code is the similar method of security used on the clickers of cars, and with some internet protocols for secure sites.
- The fourth stage of garage door opener systems is similar to third stage, but it is limited to the 315 MHz frequency.