Belt Drive Garage Door Openers
Advantages and disadvantages
compared to over other types of garage door
opener drive mechanisms
Many people prefer a belt drive garage
door opener to the screw or chain driven type due to its
smooth, silent of operation. Belt drives are well suited for
garages with a room above it, especially a bedroom, where
silence is golden.
The function of a garage door opener is not exactly the
obvious - to open the door. Instead, it operates a trolley
mechanism that runs across a rail along the ceiling of the
garage. The trolley is attached to an arm that is in turn
attached to the top of the door. This arm pulls the door open
and closed as the trolley runs backward and forward. The door
is generally attached to a counterweight and a spring, so that
the force required to open it is reduced to a minimum.
A belt driven trolley is in the form of a steel reinforced
belt, usually made of rubber, which moves the trolley. Any
cables or pips running along the ceiling will have to be
relocated if they happen to be in the way of installing the
rail. For this reason some people prefer what's known as a
jackshaft system. This type directly operates door roll-up
shaft without needing any ceiling attachments.
The alternatives to the belt drive are the chain and screw
drive door openers which tend to be noisier than the belt
driven type. But belt drive garage openers have their own
weaknesses. First, the more cheaply made belts can wear quite
Plastic belts in particular are cheap, but not very durable,
and you pretty much get what you pay for. The most durable
belts are the steel-reinforced rubber belts and then the fiber
reinforced belts which are better than plastic, cheaper then
Also, heavier doors can tax a belt driven opener equipped
with cheap plastic belts. A chain drive is best for heavy door
applications, while belts are ideal for aluminum and light
weight steel panel doors common in most residential areas.
If you're mechanically inclined, you can usually install
your own garage door opener. There is some mechanical and
aptitude required, so don't try it if not completely
comfortable with this scale project.
If this is a new installation, bear in mind that you will
need an available electrical socket to plug the power into. And
keep in mind while shopping for your belt driven garage door
opener, that security features vary - better systems use
advanced controller code swapping algorithms to ensure that a
burglar with $5 worth of circuits can't sniff and snoop your
remote opener code.
A belt drive garage door opener is ideal for anyone looking
for a secure and silent way of opening and closing the garage
door automatically. It may not have the power of a chain driven
system, but it offers a smooth silent operation that you might
be thankful for if you are getting home a bit later at night
than you want anyone to know!