Autoclosing devices


Old 12-01-05, 02:31 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 131
Autoclosing devices

I posted this under the Exterior Home Improvement/Garages section but there's not nearly as much traffic over there.

One of my great fears is leaving home and forgetting to close the garage door. (O.K., I actually worry more about my wife doing it.) Checking to get experience/opinions on the following.

In doing some research, I have found that there are at least three manufacturers that make autoclosing devices for garage doors. These are for automatically closing a garage door after a certain time period.

Each uses a different method.

One uses a magnetic switch to determine that the door is either all the way open or all the way closed. This one is battery (9 volt) operated. About $55 plus shipping on eBay. Adjustable 2 minute to 30 minute delay.

One uses an optical sensor that bounces a beam off a reflector you install on the lift arm. Uses a 120 volt adapter for power. About $89 plus shippping. Adjustable 2 minute to 45 minute delay. A higher priced model which requires either a motion detector or pneumatic switch device goes for about $120 plus shipping but can be set to close in as few as 15 seconds.

One looks very much like a remote. It mounts on the garage door and senses whether or not it is in a vertical (door closed) or horizontal (door open) position. Battery (9 volt) operated. About $49 plus shipping.

All have disabling mechanisms but I have a keyless touch pad device, so I'm not too worried about it closing on me when I don't have my house keys in my pocket when I'm working in the yard.

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Old 12-01-05, 03:02 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,537
Personally, I would not get the one with the optical sensor. It's too easy to knock them out of alignment and cause the sensor to malfunction. A magnetic or positional switch is much more reliable in my opinion.

The vertical / horizonal device sounds like the best one to me.
Old 12-01-05, 03:40 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
I would never put any type of auto closing device on a garage door. If it were safe, the garage door manufacturers would build them into the door openers. You don't want the door starting to close when you aren't there watching it.

I understand your problem, but you need address the problem source at the source.
Old 12-02-05, 10:58 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 131
Let's see. All of the home centers have automatic door closers on their large doors but I have never seen an employee stationed there to watch them close. Most people who leave their home never sit and watch it close and stay closed. I try to do this but occasionally don't. People take for granted that it's going to close. Not everybody can grasp the concept that high humidity can increase the door resistance and cause it not to close. A leaf can blow across the safety beam. So I should beg, plead and threaten my wife to always make sure the door closes. Uh-oh, I've done it too. So, how do I "address the problem source at the source"?

There are many things that were developed to address things that we occasionally just didn't remember to do. Bathtub overflow drains, the light that comes on when you are low on gas (for goodness sakes, there is a GAUGE). What about brake lights on cars? There was a time when a hand signal was sufficient (way before my time) but my grandfather still signalled with his hand/arm until the day he died.

Back in the 50's, there weren't garage door openers. The first ones didn't have remote controls. Electronic whizzes built their own remote controls (and I'm sure people said they weren't safe). When the manufacturers first provided remote controls, they weren't reliable (mine would open when a helicopter flew over). So they got more sophisticated with their communication devices. And the manufacturers don't include the autoclose feature on the ones they sell ..... yet. Bob says they don't provide it for safety reasons. I bet the insurance industry forces the issue and the feature becomes standard in the not-to-distant future. Oh sure, the lawyers will get involved and they'll need to have more sophisticated safety devices with motion detectors and more but it's coming. My new unit is the newer "excellerator" model. Opens twice as fast. People want it and are willing to pay for it. And Chamberlain, Genie and the others will see a way to add value to their product (with new features) and charge accordingly for it.

Safety? Several of my neighbors and I have an understanding. If we see one of our neighbor's garage door open and it seems they are not home, we will go close it for them. So we go in their garage, hit the button and jump over the beam while ducking under the moving door. I know, Bob, you'll have a fit over this but I bet you've done it.

Don't you just know that the focus groups at Genie, Chamberlain, Liftmaster and the rest have considered this. I'm sure Bob is probably right and the safety issue is holding them back so far. Chamberlain just came out with a battery backup system for their premium residential opener. But I'd bet Bob's life on the autoclose feature being offered in the next ten years. I think the market will create a demand for the feature. And I think the manufacturers are in a better position to do it more safely than any aftermarket device manufacturer.
Old 12-03-05, 04:14 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1
auto closer

I have recently bought and installed the Auto Closer,thats the optical device. I did it after one of the 3 of us in the family left the garage door open on a Sat nite, and had a 12" miter saw and my wifes purse stolen....aprox 3200.00 loss.The system works fine,it has an audible alarm that sounds for ~1 min BEFORE the door starts to close,and then the door starts to close(moves about 2 ft) and hesitates for another 1 min.,then finally closes.A disable button is mounted next to the regular close to STOP or disable the closing. I also tried the 2 normal safety features built in the regular closer(the light beam & reversal mechanism)and they worked fine...It works for me..

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