Did you know that the original overhead garage door opener was invented all the way back in 1926? Some kids today probably don’t even think we had electricity back then! G.C Johnson of Indiana first came up with the idea.
Truth be told, garage door openers were not really popular until after World War II. After WWII the Era Meter Company in Chicago offered a simple version that used a keypad either in the garage or just outside of the garage.
Obviously, remote garage door openers were still a little ways off. Remotes were popularized around the year 1960. There’s the general history, but that leaves a more significant question…
How They Work
Garage Door openers are an electrical motor that operates the garage door itself either with a rope or a chain. The garage door glides or rolls along garage door tracks while being pulled up or slowly let down by the garage door opener. However, the garage door opener motor does not do the majority of the work.
The garage door springs do the real heavy lifting. This is usually a torsion spring, it counters the weight of the garage door against gravity. Without this spring, it would be near impossible to open or close the garage door safely. Most garage doors weigh better than a hundred pounds. A motor capable of lifting that would be a lot bigger than most garage door motors are.
Sending The Right (And Wrong) Signals
Garage door openers have had remotes for several decades now. Which is good, because they haven’t always worked flawlessly. Most garage door openers can be operated with your phone these days. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for error. But back in the day, there was a possibility that you could open your neighbor’s garage door with your remote! This, unfortunately, also mean thieves could “hack” your garage door opener and break in that way.
When opener remotes first came out, they used simple radio signals. Some garage door openers would even open at random due to Am or FM radio signals. Needless to say, garage door openers today are not only far more secure but actually, provide a better layer of security. They can act as the sensor for a home security system to detect home invaders.
The Insides Of A Garage Door Motor
The motor itself runs off of a simple electrical supply wired from the home, and some have battery backups in case of a power outage. The electricity is used by the motor to turn gears inside the motor that either loosen the slack of the chain/rope or wind it up. Though all newer garage door openers use a chain or a screwdrive.
The screw-drive garage door openers are a new concept and are much more efficient. They still operate on the same fundamental principle but use less electricity, and they’re quieter. Most openers use a half horsepower motor, but some use a one horsepower motor. There is your intro to garage door openers! If you’re having trouble with your electric garage door opener, then check out some of our articles on them.
Featured image – https://flic.kr/p/8uEZhS