A garage door opener, also known as an automatic door opener, is a motorized mechanical device that opens and closes garage gates operated by sensors mounted on the garage wall. Garage gates are typically operated by a spring arrangement using counter-weights to counterbalance the garage gate when it is opened and closed. Garage door openers are designed to operate in a manner similar to the regular doors found in most homes.
The motorized system consists of a trolley attached to a shaft or drum that moves along a track attached to the garage gate. The trolley contains the switch or control for activating the motor, battery, and power supply. Most also come with a handheld radio transmitter, which is utilized to open and shut the door manually from a distance. Some garage door openers are fitted with a manual mode for faster opening times but have a manual mode with a foot-operated lever.
There are two types of mechanism used in a garage door opener: Continuous-case chain drive (CCD) and continuous-case roller chain drive (CCR). A CCD mechanism has fewer teeth than a CCR mechanism, resulting in fewer parts requiring replacement during routine maintenance. The cost of a CCD system is approximately thirty percent less than a CCR mechanism. When determining the type of system to purchase, consider the amount of routine maintenance required and frequency of use to determine the type of system needed. Most systems provide several options such as programmable variable speed control (PVCC), smart control (SCSD), or manual speed control.
Special remotes are available for use with garage door opener systems. These remotes control several functions including: controlling the electric motor; arming and disarming the remote; switching between various modes; locking/unlocking the remote; and, closing/opening the garage door opener. Certain remotes require a direct contact by an adult or child to activate them. These remotes, called “gyro” or “electronic brain train” remotes, may be costly and require knowledge of specific codes used in residential and commercial applications.
Most garage door opener electronic controls have a series of digital code values programmed into them. These digital code values allow the electronic opener to know what action to take whenever a specific digital code combination is received. Each type of electronic garage door opener has a different digital code set distinctively by its manufacturer. These codes are read by remotes, and, depending on the type of system, programmed into the electronic circuit board or chips inside the garage door opener. Digital code switches or Dip Switches are used in conjunction with the electronic door remotes to provide automatic opening and closing as well as manual operation.
Most modern openers have a control keypad located on the top of the garage door opener. On some older openers, this control keypad may be located inside the garage door opener or on a separate switchboard. The switchboard may be located next to the motor inside the garage door opener or in a completely different location.