Automatic Garage Door Opener

Residential automatic garage doors and openers are a staple of most suburban residential communities.  It is interesting to think about how some of these inventions have come to be in existence.

In 1921 Mr. C. G. Johnson invented the overhead door.  Then in 1926 he introduced the automated garage door opener and founded the Overhead Door Corporation.

Initially garage door openers were the basic lifting and closing the door from within the garage.  That meant someone had to get out of the vehicle, enter the garage, and activate the opener.  As things progressed, someone figured out how to run a wire to a remote location.  Then they mounted a pole that had a pushbutton or a switch activated with a key.  The driver would open the car’s window and reach out to activate the opener.  This was quite a bit of work installing the wire and the post, plus the driver could still get pretty drenched if it was raining.

Sometime in the 1940s a remote radio control transmitter was added.  The original models were pretty large but as technology advanced and prices lowered, they became the palm sized devices we use today.

Today we can have an exterior-mounted, wireless, digital, keyless entry pad.  The remote controls can also accommodate Wi-Fi.  This means you can monitor your garage door through the internet.  If you are interested, check out MyQ manufactured by Liftmaster.

Besides the traditional pushbuttons, you can now have a wall console that offers a lot of functions like turning on the courtesy light without opening the garage door.  There is also a motion sensor for the courtesy light.  If you want to be very fancy, check out floor level remote programming that includes time and temperature displays.

For the basic door, now, almost a century later there are:

  • Chain drive
  • Belt drive
  • Screw drive
  • Jackshaft

The most popular and common is the drawbar or trolley version.  It has a power unit that contains a motor and the controls.  The power unit is attached to tracks that hold the chain, belt or screw that moves the trolley connected to the top of the door.  The bar that moves the door is called a drawbar.

Another type is a jackshaft for use on systems that use a torsion spring counterbalance.  This is a side-mounted unit that uses a shaft to move the door.  The shaft turns rather than pulls the door up the boom.

Some models include a direct current motor with a battery backup.

Safety has also improved over the years.  Usually, they include a speed sensor that reverses the door if it encounters an obstruction, a photocell that reverses the door if the light beam that crosses the entry near the bottom of the door is broken.  It will also shut down the entire system if the door does not completely close within the prescribed time.

If you are interested in upgrading your existing garage door and opener system, contact a local company like Amigo Doors to install an automatic garage door opener in time before winter.

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