When it comes to garage door motors, the saying ‘Local is lekker’ certainly fits the bill. It doesn’t matter what motor you buy, eventually it will need a repair, and when that time comes you want to have purchased a motor with good backup support, and long-term sales of parts and spares. Cheap Chinese imports are constantly on the market, their lower prices may be attractive, but when no spares are available for a simple problem, it means buying a whole new machine. The truth is that all garage door motors have parts made in China, but there are more well-established companies that assemble their motors here in South Africa, and/or have offices in most major cities. So do your homework, or call us to find out more about the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Let’s face it, we’ve all been left stranded in some way or form by our friends at Eskom, and the truth is that load shedding is here to stay, on and off, for the foreseeable future. So what can you do to ensure you don’t get trapped in or out of your garage? The first option, and a necessity with any automated door installation, is to have an emergency release mechanism installed. An emergency release mechanism is mounted into the curtain of the door, with a key hole facing outwards. A steel cable is then run from this mechanism to the motors emergency release leaver. When the power goes out, you’ll need to insert your key into the mechanism, give it a twist, and a pull, and this will in turn pull the steel cable and release the door from the motor. Although emergency release mechanisms are highly effective, they still require you to leave the comfort of your car or home in order to unlock the door, and then you will have to physically lift the door by hand. This can be problematic if the door is very heavy, and if it doesn’t want to stay in the open position, you’ll need someone else to hold the door open while you move your car.
The second option is to have some sort of battery backup system powering your garage door motor. This allows you to stay comfortable and safe in your car or home, but still able to access your garage during power outages. Just like gate motors, your garage door motor will need to automatically switch between 220v and 24v, and have the ability to charge your batteries while 220v is on. Unfortunately not all motors are designed to work off 24v, and all older model motors will fall into this category. Motors like the Digi 2, Gemini, Brano, Alladin, or the Pro Alpha 2000 are all 220v motors, and are therefore not compatible with 24v battery backup. Advanced UPS systems with the use of inverters can be utilized for these motors, but the expense of these systems are far too high to warrant going this direction. So unless you have a battery, charger, auto switch, and inverter setup currently running other devices in your house, then the only other option is to purchase a new model 24v garage door motor.
Modern 24v motors actually have a higher power rating than older 220v motors, they also have built-in battery protectors, auto switch functionality, auto close option, extensive sensitivity settings, and auto charging. Not to mention a one year warranty, and most come with two new remotes. Contact us today to learn more about battery backup in garage door motors, and to find out about our free door service when purchasing a new 24v battery backup motor.
Which motor do I use for which door?
The various types of garage doors work in different ways, so the manner in which they open and close is important to consider when deciding which motor you get, and how it is set up.
Roll Up Doors:
Require either a vertically mounted motor such as the Digi 2, or a shaft mounted motor such as the ET Blue Roll Up Motor. As mentioned above, the Digi 2 cannot accommodate conventional battery backup, but it’s a strong and reliable motor, and can even be used to operate two roll up doors simultaneously. Using a strong wormdrive mechanism much like a cork screw, this tried and tested motor has managed to outlast the competition, and I have even come across a few that are pushing on 20 years in operation.
The shaft mounted motors can only operate one door at time, and are not suited to large double size roll up doors, or very old stiff doors. However when used with new doors or those in good working condition, shaft mounted motors like the ET Blue Roll Up can give many years of battery assisted, silent, and smooth operation. An added bonus is that this motor comes with two very good quality remotes.
Sectional Garage Doors:
Sectional garage doors vary greatly from door to door. However, regardless of the size of the door, or materials used, every door should open smoothly, and without too much effort. Steps should be taken to check the door, and fix any issues before a motor is installed. This will ensure your motor is not put under too much strain, and will prolong it’s life greatly. A variety of motors are available for sectional garage doors, but they all work in exactly the same way, unlike with roll up doors. Selecting the best combination of power, compatibility, features, price, and backup support, is our specialty.
Tip Up Doors:
Tip up doors operate in a manner that is a little awkward for motor installation. The motor shaft needs to be hung at an angle, sloping towards the ground. This allows for the natural action of the door while opening and closing, and ensures a smooth operation. Some of the older tip up doors operate with counter-weight mechanisms, instead of the more modern spring setup. These counter-weight doors cannot be automated, as the door needs to be pulled/pushed at different angles through its operation. It is however, possible to upgrade the door to a spring mechanism, and then automate the door as usual.
Extra Height / Caravan Height Doors:
Different length motor shafts are available for doors that are higher than usual. If you have an extra height door and need some advise on automation, why not give us a call and we’ll come inspect, measure, and provide you with a free quote for your new motor.