Learning to program your garage door opener can be one of those life admin jobs that we never get round to as we think we don’t ever have the time. However, it is one of those things that once we learn to do it, and we have programmed our garage door opener, we will be grateful for as it will help us save time every day that we go in and out of our garages in our cars.
So, Why Use A Garage Door Opener?
Well, quite simply, garage door openers save us time. The idea behind them is very simple – they open our garage doors without us having to lift the heavy door itself every day.
Some door openers are simply wall operated devices. Most, these days, and the subject of the rest of this article, are remote control operated to save us even more time. They stop us from even having to leave our cars to get out just by pressing a button. So instead of getting out of our vehicle, we can use the remote that lives in our car. All we need to do, when it is programmed, is press the button and watch the garage door slide up. Then, when we have parked, we can press the button again to close it.
More often than not, we can program them further to close automatically for us as well after a certain amount of time, so that we never have to worry that we have not locked the garage.
Steps To Program A Garage Door Opener
Learning how to program a garage door opener is imperative as if you have to change the remote, if it gets stolen for whatever reason, or if it simply breaks or is lost, you will need to program a new one to do the same job. It is easy once you know how – just follow our steps below.
To learn properly how to program a garage door opener, it is first a good idea to learn how they work in the first place. This will help any novice programmers understand the process fully and wholly which will result in a programmed remote more quickly. Plus, should anything go wrong, you are better placed to fix it.
How Does the Garage Door Remote Work?
Garage door remotes work on a code basis. It is these codes that switch a remote on and off depending on what you want your remote to do. In older technology, this code could be physically found within the remote. However, in new technology, remotes tend to use something called rolling code. This means that the code changes every time the remote button is used. It works by a radio frequency sending signals to the other part of the opener device in the garage as to whether the user wants the door open or closed.
It sounds quite technical, but most garage doors run on the following frequencies: 300 MHz, 310 MHz, 315 MHz, 318 MHz, or 390 MHz. You will need to know what frequency your remote works on to program it. This information can usually be found on either the garage door remote itself or the motor. After that, follow the following steps on how to program a garage door opener.
Step 1: Choose a Remote
This sounds obvious, but you really do need to choose a remote from a manufacturer that you respect the reputation of. Additionally, the remote must be the same make as the actual garage door opener. If you are a little lost as to where to look, and don’t even have a garage door opener yet, look at the following manufacturers who are reliable: Liftmaster, Chamberlain, Linear, Sommer, Allstar, Stanley and Genie.
Step 2: Locate the Learn Button
Next, you need to find where the learn button is on your system. This can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but it is necessary to find it as it is through this button that you will be able to clear the memory of your system so that it no longer responds to a former remote.
If you can’t find it, you may have to remove the light cover on the opener itself. All systems have a learn button, it is just sometimes more difficult to find them on some than others.
Step 3: Program the Remote
This is obviously the most key part to the whole process.
Firstly, hold down the learn button up until you see a light blinking on the opening. This means that the opener is listening. To program a new remote into the system, hold the learn button until the indicator light blinks on the opener. While the indicator light is blinking, press the button on your remote. This should kick in your remote as one that your system responds to.
At this juncture it is a good idea to see if your programming has worked by testing the remote by pressing the button to see if your garage opens or shuts.
Step 4: Erasing Old Remotes
Usually, a door opener can only ever withhold the use of four to five remotes on its system. If you use up all this quota, you may have to erase all the remotes from the system, should one get lost and you need to implement a new one into usage.
To do so, you can usually do this across all systems, regardless of manufacturer by simply pressing down the learn button again until the indicator light ceases to blink. To reprogram the rest of your remotes, you will then need to follow steps 1 through 3 above.
What Makes A Great Garage Door Opener?
So now you know what a garage door opener does and how to program it to work alongside the remote, how do you know what garage door opening system to buy? The following features are key for systems to have for them to be a credible garage door opener. Many manufacturers will offer additional features too, but these should be included as standard.
- Opener Design
The opener needs to be able to lift incredibly heavy doors so it needs to be designed around a powerful enough motor that can cope. Often this means having at least a ½ horsepower motor which seems to be able to manage the standard garage doors found in our homes today. For older doors, which tend to be heavier than newer aluminium ones, an opener will need to have a more powerful motor that can even lift wooden doors that can weigh a great deal more than their newer aluminium designs.
Additionally, openers need to be able to be used with the rest of our modern day automation systems, so the ones that also include an automatic closing option is great as well as openers that include back up power supplies so that you are always able to open your garage even in a power outage.
A very nice to have that will be imperative to some, is for the opener to be designed so that it runs quietly. If this is necessary for you, look at openers that use either a chain or belt system.
- Safety & Security
Without doubt, the primary function of a garage door is to make sure that all the belongings inside the room are safe and secure. Without it, garages are almost meaningless. This has resulted in garage doors being incredibly heavy. A garage door opener needs to be able to cope with the weight of a door so that users can always be assured that they will not be hurt by a door falling on their head or similar.
Additionally, openers need to have inbuilt stopping systems. This means that they can detect if there is something blocking the path of the door closing properly. The best openers will therefore include a motion sensor to stop any harm coming to those passing under a garage door at any time. For example, it should be able to automatically reverse if it detects that an object is blocking the door. Also, you want a door with motion sensors that detect if a child or animal is moving in or out as it closes.
The hardware behind a garage door opener is obviously an important part of the whole system so it is essential that it it is first rate. The key requirements for the hardware of a garage door opening system is to have a lighting system so that when the door is eventually closed in your garage you can still see what you are doing. In addition to this, some systems are now offering keyless entry pads should you forget our remote. Furthermore, the newest technology these days are starting to use features on Smart Phones so that you can always connect to your garage door opener from wherever you are.
The most reputable manufacturers will back their goods so that they will provide a warranty as standard. In fact, the very best garage door opening systems will come with a lifetime warranty attached to their motors as well as the belt or chain depending on how the system works. Whilst many manufacturers will provide the lifetime warranty on the motor, not all will offer a warranty on the belt or chain, so companies that offer these alongside the motor warranty are good to keep an eye out for.
- Help & Support
Whilst not part of the garage door opening system per se, a manufacturer should have excellent customer service as a matter of course. This is because, even the best of the best, sometimes break down or suffer from malfunctions. Having first class help and support at a customer’s fingertips so that any issues are solved quickly and easily is key. This is particularly helpful if you are installing the system yourself and have any queries. Lastly, having some fantastic online manuals and resources are also a great aid when dealing with technology that may be unknown to some.
What Are The Best Garage Door Openers?
The following garage door openers are three of the best garage door openers on the market.
- Chamberlain Premium
This garage door opener is arguably the most reliable door opening system out there. On top of that it is highly effective and efficient, owing to its powerful motor that comes with a back up battery pack as standard. Plus, the timer that comes along with it means that it can close automatically should you forget to close the garage yourself.
- Chamberlain PD76EV
This model from Chamberlain is cheaper than the the Premium model but it still manages to pack a punch in terms of features. In fact, this model can still lift the same weight as the premium as well as having some fantastic automation systems included. Where it does not compare is the fact that it does not have the automatic timer to close the door nor the backup battery pack.
- Sommer Direct Drive
Sommer Direct is one of the few door openers that comes with a warranty attached to the lift system as well as the motor. It means you can rest assured that if you purchase this package, you will always have a working door opener should you need it.
Garage Door Openers: The Bottom Line
With the amount of garage door openers on the market, it can be overwhelming knowing which one to purchase, not least how to to program it it to work. By following the above steps as well as knowing the key points to look out for when buying the system itself, installing a garage door opener should no longer be a difficult or onerous task.