C.G. Johnson is considered the father of the first automated garage door in history. This occurred sometime ago in 1926 following his first invention, the overhead garage door in 1921. Early models offered only opening and closing a door. There are various systems that incorporate chains, belts, screw and jackshaft. Most utilized a drawbar or trolley being the most popular for residential garage doors. A power unit houses the motor and control circuits.
The power unit attaches to a track or boom and moves a shuttle or trolley back and forth via chain (looks like a bicycle roller chain) and opens and closes with the trolley attached to a drawbar on one end and to the door on the other. Jackshaft door are attached to the torsion spring and as they turn the roll up cables that are attached to the door.
First Garage Door Opener Remote
The first doors opened and closed doors but there were no safety features in these doors. A switch was in the garage and could only be operated from inside the garage. Eventually an outside switch was incorporated, but this was less secure. The introduction of a remote using radio frequencies made the automatic operation of the door very convenient. This occurred in the mid-nineteen forties, probably shortly after World War II. These remotes were bigger because there where no large-scale usage of transistors or solid-state electronics, everything still used tubes. Remotes were fairly large and expensive.
Garage Door Opener Remote Frequency & Technology
Now days we have wireless digital key pads, Wi-Fi offers remote monitoring of your door. You use your cell phone as remote, as well as dedicated remotes. You can open your door from across town via the internet. Most opener incorporate a courtesy light. Some can be electronically programmed to shut down and then turn on a clock to cover security during vacations and such. They even have motion sensors for the courtesy light and temperature and time displays. Another feature is DC or direct current motors that can operated via backup battery. This offers control even if the utility power is down. Safety features were non-existent in the early models. The would run their travel limit either way. Today we enjoy safety features incorporated into the door opener. A speed sensor keys on obstructions and reverses to the full open state. No trapping of children or others by the door. Photo cells set low and the sides sense obstructions and will not operate.
What Happens when a Garage Door Spring Breaks
Now about those springs. Why do they fail? Well:
• The spring supports the door and counterbalances the weight of the door. The springs are wound-up the tightest when the door is closed, which most doors are closed most of the time. This stresses the spring and some tension is on the door even open.
• The cycle life reflects the time a spring will last before failure. They are subject to wear and tear. They are listed by cycle, one cycle includes opening and closing the door. The average is 10,000 cycles. At 4 cycles per day your door springs should last about 7 years.
• Torsion spring life can be extended by light lubricating the springs. There is friction between coils, and cycling a door causes wear, lubing your springs can extend their life span. Extended use springs add more cycles to their operation.
• Some springs may not break but lose tension through the stretching of the spring’s coils. Watch the spacing between coils when the door is closed, this remains remarkably consistent. Stretched coils the spacing becomes inconsistent and the springs should be replaced.
• Garage door springs are under extreme tension and can be extremely dangerous if mishandled. Service, adjustment or replacement should be handled by a qualified professional.