Note – this is the 3rd installment in this series. To read the first two, click on these links:
I’m really excited about what is happening with Garage Door Openers. It was getting a little old as one manufacturer after another would parade out their newest and improved ideas only to have them shelved in a year or two.
Some of the not so great ideas have been in the area of drive types. Chain driven operators have been around for years. They are pretty noisy but they were fairly reliable until someone decided it would be a good idea to “push” the chain out from a coil.
Have you ever heard someone say “it’s like trying to push a rope”?
Another great idea that didn’t work so well was using a plastic tape instead of pushing a chain.
They didn’t work very well either but they persisted in making them for several years.
We made a ton of money replacing tapes that snapped, delaminated and jammed. While some screw-drive openers were great, others were just awful; as costs and corners were cut they became noisier and more difficult to maintain.
There are a few applications where a screw-drive works well but most of the time; no.
There have been a bunch of attempts to make radios work better. Some have been progressively better and some were only used until it was discovered that they should have waited for technology to catch up before they stampeded off in the wrong direction.
The problem with most of the changes required that old transmitters were not compatible with the new receivers.
The result of all this was instead of just replacing a lost or broken remote, a new receiver had to be installed also. Many of the receivers are built into the logic boards on openers so that became pretty expensive.
We had to keep a lot of inventory and still weren’t able to keep up with what had become obsolete and what would still sync. I sometimes wonder if it is planned obsolescence; a way to ‘encourage’ people to buy new operators instead of maintaining an otherwise useable unit.
We have always hand-picked the Garage Door Operators that we feature based on reliability. When you repair Garage Doors and Operators every day it doesn’t take long to know the strengths and weaknesses of what is being offered.
There are several Operators that are made specifically to meet the demands of builders who just want to say that their houses have Garage Door Operators and don’t really care what kind of problems you will face after the first year of warranty expires.
Most of our customers are homeowners who appreciate some extra value.
The two Garage Door Openers that we currently stock for most residential applications are the Linear model LDCO800 and the Liftmaster model 8550. They are both extremely quiet.
The Linear LDCO800 is a great unit at a great price. It does everything an operator needs to do and it is extremely quiet. It is a power saving miser with built in self diagnostics. It has a quiet DC motor and a quiet Kevlar drive belt that delivers plenty of power.
Because it is made by Linear it has some of the best radio controls on the market using dual frequencies to minimize RFI (radio frequency interference). It can even accommodate a battery backup system but that is extra.
The Liftmaster 8500 has everything the LDCO800 has with lots more. If you want options, this is the Garage Door Opener for you. Let me tell you some of the things it can do.
To begin with it comes with a battery backup system. The rechargeable battery continually recharges and when your power is out (does that ever happen here in Western Washington?) the unit automatically goes into energy saving mode. The Operator speed slows a little and the lights don’t automatically come on to conserve the battery but you do not need to run your Garage Door manually until power is restored.
The 8550 also comes with the belt-drive and DC motor to keep things quiet. It uses the only tri-frequency radio controls in the business to give you great range on your remote. Built into this unit is an auto close feature; TTC (timer to close).
If you want you can set your Garage Door Opener to close after any interval you choose. I have mine set for 15 minutes. If I forget to close the door, after 15 minutes it will give a series of audible beeps and close itself. It can be overridden if you are working outside and want the door to stay open.
It always creped me out when I would go out to the garage in the morning to find out that the Garage Door had been open all night and everything in my garage was open for display. The TTC solved that problem.
The add-on features are what make the LM8550 stand out. The real pizzazz comes from the internet gateway (828LM). This is a little add-on that plugs into your router on your home computer.
It links your Garage Door Opener to your smart phone and can tell you whether or not your Door is open or not, how long it has been open or closed, and you can open or close it from anywhere you have an internet connection. You can even get alerts via email if you forget to close your door.
The internet gateway can also control lights or other devices in your home via your smart phone with the addition of wired in, (823LB) or plug in (825LM) devices.
A wireless open door alert can be mounted anywhere in the house with the ability to open and close the door; some customers like it to let them know if their gate is left open.
The control panel has a photo sensor that will turn on the lights whenever you walk into the garage and lets you customize almost any setting from when the lights go on and off to the time, temperature and language. There is also a pretty sophisticated set of built in diagnostics for trouble shooting.
I use mine to turn lights on and off if I am out of town. I also have alerts set up to let me know if certain lights have been turned on while I am not home.
I feel like technology has finally caught up so the applications are simple, useful and inexpensive. If you are thinking about replacing an old Garage Door Opener, you now have some real great options!
Call us today at 1-800-478-8428 or learn more about Garage Door Openers by Contacting Us Here