Garage door opener

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A residential garage door opener. The motor is in the box on the upper-right. Garage door opener.jpg
A residential garage door opener. The motor is in the box on the upper-right.

A garage door opener is a motorized device that opens and closes garage doors controlled by switches on the garage wall. Most also include a handheld radio remote control carried by the owner, which can be used to open and close the door from a short distance.

Garage door door

A garage door is a large door on a garage that opens either manually or by an electric motor. Garage doors are frequently large enough to accommodate automobiles and other vehicles. Small garage doors may be made in a single panel that tilts up and back across the garage ceiling. Larger doors are usually made in several jointed panels that roll up on tracks across the garage ceiling, or into a roll above the doorway. The operating mechanism is spring-loaded or counterbalanced to offset the weight of the door and reduce human or motor effort required to operate the door. Less commonly, some garage doors slide or swing horizontally. Doors are made of wood, metal, or fiberglass, and may be insulated to prevent heat loss. Warehouses, bus garages and locomotive sheds have larger versions.

Remote control system or device used to control other device remotely (or wirelessly)

In electronics, a remote control is a component of an electronic device used to operate the device from a distance, usually wirelessly. For example, in consumer electronics, a remote control can be used to operate devices such as a television set, DVD player, or other home appliance, from a short distance. A remote control is primarily a convenience feature for the user, and can allow operation of devices that are out of convenient reach for direct operation of controls. In some cases, remote controls allow a person to operate a device that they otherwise would not be able to reach, as when a garage door opener is triggered from outside or when a Digital Light Processing projector that is mounted on a high ceiling is controlled by a person from the floor level.

Contents

The electric opener

The electric overhead garage door opener was invented by C.G. Johnson in 1926 in Hartford City, Indiana. [1] Electric Garage Door openers did not become popular until Era Meter Company of Chicago offered one after World War II where the overhead garage door could be opened via a key pad located on a post at the end of the driveway or a switch inside the garage. [2]

As in an elevator, the electric motor does not provide most of the power to move a heavy garage door. Instead, most of door's weight is offset by the counterbalance springs attached to the door. (Even manually operated garage doors have counterbalances; otherwise they would be too heavy for a person to open or close them.) In a typical design, torsion springs apply torque to a shaft, and that shaft applies a force to the garage door via steel counterbalance cables. The electric opener provides only a small amount of force to control how far the door opens and closes. In most cases, the garage door opener also holds the door closed in place of a lock.

Torsion spring

A torsion spring is a spring that works by torsion or twisting; that is, a flexible elastic object that stores mechanical energy when it is twisted. When it is twisted, it exerts a force in the opposite direction, proportional to the amount (angle) it is twisted. There are various types. For example, clocks use a spiral wound torsion spring sometimes called a "clock spring" or colloquially called a mainspring. Those types of torsion springs are also used for attic stairs, clutches, and other devices that need near constant torque for large angles or even multiple revolutions.

The typical electric garage door opener consists of a power unit that contains the electric motor. The power unit attaches 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 operated. A quick-release mechanism is attached to the trolley to allow the garage door to be disconnected from the opener for 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 receives a signal from the remote control or wall push button to operate the door. [3]

Roller chain

Roller chain or bush roller chain is the type of chain drive most commonly used for transmission of mechanical power on many kinds of domestic, industrial and agricultural machinery, including conveyors, wire- and tube-drawing machines, printing presses, cars, motorcycles, and bicycles. It consists of a series of short cylindrical rollers held together by side links. It is driven by a toothed wheel called a sprocket. It is a simple, reliable, and efficient means of power transmission.

Belt (mechanical) loop of flexible material used to mechanically link rotating shafts

A belt is a loop of flexible material used to link two or more rotating shafts mechanically, most often parallel. Belts may be used as a source of motion, to transmit power efficiently or to track relative movement. Belts are looped over pulleys and may have a twist between the pulleys, and the shafts need not be parallel.

Leadscrew

A leadscrew, also known as a power screw or translation screw, is a screw used as a linkage in a machine, to translate turning motion into linear motion. Because of the large area of sliding contact between their male and female members, screw threads have larger frictional energy losses compared to other linkages. They are not typically used to carry high power, but more for intermittent use in low power actuator and positioner mechanisms. Common applications are linear actuators, machine slides, vises, presses, and jacks.

The entire assembly hangs above the garage door. The power unit hangs from the ceiling and is located towards the rear of the garage. The end of the track on the opposite end of the power unit attaches to a header bracket that is attached to the header wall above the garage door. The power head is usually supported by punched angle iron.

Recently another type of opener, known as the jackshaft opener, has become more popular. This style of opener was used frequently on commercial doors but in recent years has been adapted for residential use. This style of opener consists of a motor that attaches to the side of the torsion rod and moves the door up and down by simply spinning the rod. These openers need a few extra components to function safely for residential use. These include a cable tension monitor, to detect when a cable is broken, and a separate locking mechanism to lock the door when it is fully closed. These have the advantage that they free up ceiling space that an ordinary opener and rail would occupy. These also have the disadvantage that the door must have a torsion rod to attach the motor to.

Types

There are five types of garage door openers:

  1. Chain drive openers have a chain (similar to a bicycle's) that connects the trolley to the motor.
  2. Belt drive openers use a rubber belt in place of a chain.
  3. Screw drive openers have a long screw inside the track. The trolley connects to this screw.
  4. Direct drive openers have the motor installed inside the trolley and use a gear wheel to guide the trolley along a fixed chain.
  5. Jackshaft openers mount on the wall at either end of the torsion bar.

Remote control

The first wireless garage door openers were invented and developed by two US inventors at the same time, one in Illinois and the other in Washington state. They were unknown to each other. [4]

The first garage door opener remote controls were simple and consisted of a simple transmitter (the remote) and receiver which controlled the opener mechanism. The transmitter would transmit on a designated frequency; the receiver would listen for the radio signal, then open or close the garage, depending on the door position. The basic concept of this can be traced back to World War II. This type of system was used to detonate remote bombs. While novel at the time, the technology ran its course when garage door openers became popular. While the garage door remote control transmitter is low power and has limited range, its signal can be received by other, nearby, garage door openers. When two neighbors had garage door openers, then opening one garage door might open the neighbor’s garage door as well.

Transmitter Electronic device that emits radio waves

In electronics and telecommunications, a transmitter or radio transmitter is an electronic device which produces radio waves with an antenna. The transmitter itself generates a radio frequency alternating current, which is applied to the antenna. When excited by this alternating current, the antenna radiates radio waves.

Bomb explosive weapon

A bomb is an explosive weapon that uses the exothermic reaction of an explosive material to provide an extremely sudden and violent release of energy. Detonations inflict damage principally through ground- and atmosphere-transmitted mechanical stress, the impact and penetration of pressure-driven projectiles, pressure damage, and explosion-generated effects. Bombs have been utilized since the 11th century starting in East Asia.

The second stage of the wireless garage door opener system solved the opening-the-neighbor's-garage-door problem. The remote controls on these systems transmitted a digital code, and the receiver in the garage responded only to that code. The codes were typically set by eight to twelve DIP switches on the receiver and transmitter, so they allowed for 28 = 256 to 212 = 4,096 different codes. As long as neighbors used different codes, they would not open each other's garage doors. The intent of these systems was to avoid interference with nearby garage doors; the systems were not designed with security in mind. Intruders were able to defeat the security of these systems and gain entry to the garage and the house. The number of codes was small enough that even an unsophisticated intruder with a compatible remote control transmitter could just start transmitting all possible codes until he found one that opened the door. More sophisticated intruders could acquire a black box master key that automatically transmitted every possible code in a short time. An even more sophisticated method is known as a replay attack. The attacker would use a code grabber, which has a receiver that captures the remote's digital code and can retransmit that digital code at a later time. The attacker with a code grabber would wait nearby for the homeowner to use his remote, capture the code, and then replay the code to open the door when the homeowner was gone. Multicode openers became unpopular in areas where security was important, but due to their ease of programming, such openers are often used to operate such things as the gates in gated apartment complexes.

An intermediate stage of the garage door opener market eliminated the DIP switches and used remotes preprogrammed to one out of roughly 3.5 billion unique codes. The receiver would maintain a security list of remotes to which it would respond; the user could easily add the unique remote's code to the list by pressing a button on the garage door opener while activating the remote control. The large number of codes made the brute force try-all-possible-digital-codes attacks infeasible, but the systems were still vulnerable to code grabbers. For user convenience, these systems were also backward compatible with the older DIP switch remote codes, but adding an old technology remote to the security list made the garage door opener vulnerable to a brute force attack to find the DIP switch code. The larger code space approach was an improvement over the fixed DIP switch codes, but was still vulnerable to the replay attack.

The third stage of garage door opener technology uses a frequency spectrum range between 300-400 MHz and rolling code (code hopping) technology to defeat code grabbers. In addition to transmitting a unique identifier for the remote control, a sequence number and an encrypted message are also sent. Although an intruder could still capture the code used to open a garage door, the sequence number immediately expires, so retransmitting the code later would not open the garage door. The encryption makes it extremely difficult for an intruder to forge a message with the next sequence number that would open the door. Some rolling code systems are more involved than others. Because there is a high probability that someone will push the remote's button while not in range and thus advance the sequence number, the receiver does not insist the sequence number increase by exactly one; it will accept a sequence number that falls within a narrow window or two successive sequence numbers in a much wider window. Rolling code technology is also used on car remote controls 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. The 315 MHz frequency range avoids interference from the Land Mobile Radio System (LMRS) used by the U.S. military.

The following standards are used by units manufactured by Chamberlain (including LiftMaster and Craftsman):

DatesSystemColor of programming button and LED on unitColor of LED on remote*
1984–19938-12 Dip Switch on 300-400 MHzwhite, gray, or yellow button with red LEDred
1993–1997Billion Code on 390 MHzgreen button with green or red LEDgreen
1997–2005Security+ (rolling code) on 390 MHzorange or red button with amber LEDamber or none
2005–presentSecurity+ (rolling code) on 315 MHzpurple button with amber LEDnone
2011–presentSecurity+ 2.0 (rolling code) on 310, 315, and 390 MHzyellow button with amber LED and yellow antenna wiresred or blue

*Does not apply to keyless entry keypads or universal remotes.

Recent Chamberlain garage door openers that have Security+ 2.0 features also use a special serial protocol on wired connections rather than a simple switch closure. [5]

The following standards are used by units manufactured by Overhead Door Corporation and its subsidiary The Genie Company Dagger-14-plain.png:

DatesSystem
1985–1995912 DIP Switch on 360, 380, or 390 MHz [6] [7]
1995–2005Intellicode/CodeDodger (rolling code) on 390 MHz
2005–presentIntellicode/CodeDodger (rolling code) on 315 MHz
2011–presentIntellicode 2/CodeDodger 2 (rolling code) on 315 and 390 MHz

Dagger-14-plain.pngNote: There are no standard color codes for the learn button or LED on units manufactured by Overhead Door or Genie. All accessories made for later versions of Genie Intellicode and Overhead Door CodeDodger are backward compatible with previous generations of Intellicode and CodeDodger.

Cloning garage door opener remotes

A typical photo of both the outer case and inner circuit of a garage door opener remote control. Garage-door-opener-remote-control.png
A typical photo of both the outer case and inner circuit of a garage door opener remote control.

Many garage door opener remote controls use fixed-code encoding which use DIP switches or soldering to do the address pins coding process, and they usually use pt2262/pt2272 or compatible ICs. For these fixed-code garage door opener remotes, one can easily clone the existing remote using a self-learning remote control duplicator (copy remote) which can make a copy of the remote using face-to-face copying.

Additional features

Additional features that have been added over the years have included:

More sophisticated features are also available, such as an integrated carbon monoxide sensor to open the door in case of the garage being flooded with exhaust fumes. Other systems allow door activation over the Internet to allow home owners to open their garage door from their office for deliveries.

Another recent innovation in the garage door opener is a fingerprint-based wireless keypad. This unit attaches to the outside of the garage door on the jamb and allows users to open and close their doors with the press of a finger, rather than creating a personal identification number (PIN). This is especially helpful for families with children who may forget a code and are latchkey kids.

Safety

The garage door is generally the largest moving object in a home. An improperly adjusted garage door opener can exert strong and deadly forces and might not reverse the garage door in an emergency. The manufacturer's instructions provide guidance to the user on the proper adjustment and maintenance of the opener.

Garage door openers manufactured and installed in the United States since 1982 are required to provide a quick-release mechanism on the trolley that allows for the garage door to be disconnected from the garage door opener in the event of entrapment. [8] Garage door openers manufactured since 1982 are also required to reverse the garage door if it strikes a solid object. [9] [10]

In the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 1990 required that automatic residential garage door operators manufactured on or after 1 January 1991 conform to the entrapment protection requirements of the 1988 version of ANSI/UL standard 325. [11] A requirement for redundant entrapment-prevention devices was added in 1993; such a system can use an electric eye, a door edge sensor, or any other device that provides equivalent protection by reversing the travel of the closing door if an object is detected in its path. [12] [13]

Related Research Articles

Locomotive railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train

A locomotive or engine is a rail transport vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. If a locomotive is capable of carrying a payload, it is usually rather referred to as multiple units, motor coaches, railcars or power cars; the use of these self-propelled vehicles is increasingly common for passenger trains, but rare for freight.

Trolleybus electric bus reliant on overhead wires

A trolleybus is an electric bus that draws power from overhead wires using spring-loaded trolley poles. Two wires and poles are required to complete the electrical circuit. This differs from a tram or streetcar, which normally uses the track as the return path, needing only one wire and one pole. They are also distinct from other kinds of electric buses, which usually rely on batteries. Power is most commonly supplied as 600-volt direct current, but there are exceptions.

Radio-controlled model

A radio-controlled model is a model that is steerable with the use of radio control. All types of model vehicles have had RC systems installed in them, including cars, boats, planes, and even helicopters and scale railway locomotives.

Radio control

Radio control is the use of radio signals to remotely control a device. Radio control is used for control of model vehicles from a hand-held radio transmitter. Industrial, military, and scientific research organizations make use of radio-controlled vehicles as well.

DIP switch

A DIP switch is a manual electric switch that is packaged with others in a group in a standard dual in-line package (DIP). The term may refer to each individual switch, or to the unit as a whole. This type of switch is designed to be used on a printed circuit board along with other electronic components and is commonly used to customize the behavior of an electronic device for specific situations.

Multiple-unit train control, sometimes abbreviated to multiple-unit or MU, is a method of simultaneously controlling all the traction equipment in a train from a single location, whether it is a Multiple unit comprising a number of self-powered passenger cars or a set of locomotives.

Synchro

A synchro is, in effect, a transformer whose primary-to-secondary coupling may be varied by physically changing the relative orientation of the two windings. Synchros are often used for measuring the angle of a rotating machine such as an antenna platform. In its general physical construction, it is much like an electric motor. The primary winding of the transformer, fixed to the rotor, is excited by an alternating current, which by electromagnetic induction, causes currents to flow in three Y-connected secondary windings fixed at 120 degrees to each other on the stator. The relative magnitudes of secondary currents are measured and used to determine the angle of the rotor relative to the stator, or the currents can be used to directly drive a receiver synchro that will rotate in unison with the synchro transmitter. In the latter case, the whole device may be called a selsyn.

Security alarm

A security alarm is a system designed to detect intrusion – unauthorized entry – into a building or other area. Security alarms are used in residential, commercial, industrial, and military properties for protection against burglary (theft) or property damage, as well as personal protection against intruders. Security alarms in residential areas show a correlation with decreased theft. Car alarms likewise help protect vehicles and their contents. Prisons also use security systems for control of inmates.

Remote keyless system electronic lock that controls access to a building or vehicle without using a traditional mechanical key

A keyless entry system is an electronic lock that controls access to a building or vehicle without using a traditional mechanical key. The term keyless entry system originally meant a lock controlled by a keypad located at or near the driver's door, which required entering a predetermined numeric code. Such systems now have a hidden touch-activated keypad and are still available on certain Ford and Lincoln models.

Garage (residential) walled, roofed structure for storing a vehicle or vehicles that may be part of or attached to a home ("attached garage"), or a separate outbuilding or shed ("detached garage")

A residential garage is a walled, roofed structure for storing a vehicle or vehicles that may be part of or attached to a home, or a separate outbuilding or shed. Residential garages typically have space for one or two cars, although three-car garages are used. When a garage is attached to a house, the garage typically has an entry door into the house. Garages normally have a wide door which can be raised to permit the entry and exit of a vehicle, and then closed to secure the vehicle. A garage protects a vehicle from precipitation, and, if it is equipped with a locking garage door, it also protects the vehicle(s) from theft and vandalism. Garages are also used for a variety of projects including painting, woodworking and assembling of projects.

A land mobile radio system (LMRS), also called public land mobile radio or private land mobile radio, is a person-to-person voice communication system consisting of two-way radio transceivers which can be mobile, installed in vehicles, or portable (walkie-talkies). Public land mobile radio systems are made for use exclusively by public safety organizations such as police, fire, and ambulance services, and other governmental organizations, and use special frequencies reserved for these services. Private land mobile radio systems are designed for private commercial use, by firms such as taxis or delivery services. Most systems are half-duplex, with multiple radios sharing a single radio channel, so only one radio can transmit at a time. The transceiver is normally in receiving mode so the user can hear other radios on the channel; when a user wants to talk he presses a push to talk button on his microphone, which turns on his transmitter. They use channels in the VHF or UHF bands giving them a limited range, usually 3 to 20 miles depending on terrain, although repeaters installed on tall buildings, hills or mountain peaks can be used to increase the coverage area. Older systems use AM or FM modulation, while some recent systems use digital modulation allowing them to transmit data as well as sound.

Electric multiple unit A multiple unit train consisting of self-propelled carriages, using electricity as the motive power

An electric multiple unit or EMU is a multiple-unit train consisting of self-propelled carriages, using electricity as the motive power. An EMU requires no separate locomotive, as electric traction motors are incorporated within one or a number of the carriages. An EMU is usually formed of two or more semi-permanently coupled carriages, but electrically powered single-unit railcars are also generally classed as EMUs. The great majority of EMUs are passenger trains, but versions also exist for carrying parcels and mail.

A rolling code is used in keyless entry systems to prevent replay attacks, where an eavesdropper records the transmission and replays it at a later time to cause the receiver to 'unlock'. Such systems are typical in garage door openers and keyless car entry systems.

An electric eye is a photodetector used for detecting obstruction of a light beam. An example is the door safety system used on garage door openers that use a light transmitter and receiver at the bottom of the door to prevent closing if there is any obstruction in the way that breaks the light beam. The device does not provide an image; only presence of light is detectable. Visible light may be used, but infrared radiation conceals the operation of the device and typically is used in modern systems. Originally, systems used lamps powered by direct current or the power line alternating current frequency, but modern photodetector systems use an infrared light-emitting diode modulated at a few kilohertz, which allows the detector to reject stray light and improves the range, sensitivity and security of the device.

The HomeLink Wireless Control System is a radio frequency (RF) transmitter integrated into some automobiles that can be programmed to activate devices such as garage door openers, RF-controlled lighting, gates and locks, including those with rolling codes.

RF module

An RF module is a (usually) small electronic device used to transmit and/or receive radio signals between two devices. In an embedded system it is often desirable to communicate with another device wirelessly. This wireless communication may be accomplished through optical communication or through radio frequency (RF) communication. For many applications the medium of choice is RF since it does not require line of sight. RF communications incorporate a transmitter and a receiver. They are of various types and ranges. Some can transmit up to 500 feet. RF modules are widely used in electronic design owing to the difficulty of designing radio circuitry. Good electronic radio design is notoriously complex because of the sensitivity of radio circuits and the accuracy of components and layouts required to achieve operation on a specific frequency. In addition, reliable RF communication circuit requires careful monitoring of the manufacturing process to ensure that the RF performance is not adversely affected. Finally, radio circuits are usually subject to limits on radiated emissions, and require Conformance testing and certification by a standardization organization such as ETSI or the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). For these reasons, design engineers will often design a circuit for an application which requires radio communication and then "drop in" a pre-made radio module rather than attempt a discrete design, saving time and money on development.

Universal receiver is generally a radio receiver that is able to work with different standard transmitters.

References

  1. Robert J Girod (2014). "Garage Door Openers - High-tech Burglary". Advanced Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Operations: Tradecraft Methods, Practices, Tactics, and Techniques. Taylor and Francis. p. 90. ISBN   9781482230741.
  2. "Aids To Modern Living - Garage Doors". Popular Science : 137. December 1946.
  3. "Garage Door Systems, Springs and Openers". Bob Villa. Archived from the original on 24 May 2009.
  4. "Widely Separated Inventors Invent Garage Door Openers By Radio Impulses". Popular Science: 32. February 1931.
  5. "Will my older accessories work with the new line of Security+ 2.0 garage door openers?". chamberlaingroup1.custhelp.com. Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  6. Willmes, Dave. "My Overhead Door Opener Doesn't Work with this Universal Remote". www.overheaddooronline.com. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  7. "FCC ID BSH8YN106546 by Overhead Door Corporation". FCCID.io. Retrieved 20 October 2016.
  8. "Falling Garage Doors — A Crushing Concern". Garage Door Child Safety.
  9. "Non Reversing Garage Door Openers a Hazard" (PDF). U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  10. "Garage Door System Safety Guidelines". Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association International. Archived from the original on 2008-12-23.
  11. Garage Door Operators • CPSC
  12. Non-Reversing Automatic Garage Door Openers Are a Hazard • CPSC
  13. 16CFR1211