Understanding Direct-Drive Garage Door Openers

As a homeowner, you often face big decisions such as when to replace a poorly-functioning appliance such as a garage door opener. If you decide to replace your current garage door opener, you can choose a standard belt-drive or chain-drive model. Or you can choose a direct-drive model.

A direct-drive model is a whole different style of garage door opener. Find out if it might be the right option for your opener replacement.

Operation of a Direct-Drive Garage Door Opener

  • Most garage door openers use a chain or a belt that’s attached to the door. The opener pulls or releases the chain or belt depending on what action you want from the garage door.
  • A direct-drive opener operates under a different concept. It features only one moving part — the motor, which is where the term direct drive comes from. You start with a stationary chain that’s embedded in an overhead rail. The small motor unit is attached to the garage door by way of a J-arm. The motor moves along the spring-tensioned chain to lift or lower the door.
  • You can choose between two different motors for a direct-drive opener. One runs at 500 newtons, which is equivalent to .75 horse power. The other runs at 800 newtons, which is equivalent to 1 HP. The 500-newton model should be sufficient for most garage doors. The 800-newton model would only be needed for an exceptionally large or heavy door.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Direct-Drive Opener

  • Direct-drive openers don’t have any major disadvantages. They mostly relate to preference. For one, they’re priced similarly to high-end chain-drive or belt-drive openers. However, you have to order an external keypad or motion-activated lighting separately if you want those features. And they don’t come with a battery backup.
  • Concerning advantages, the main one is noise level. Because the direct-drive opener doesn’t feature moving chains or belt, it’s extraordinarily quiet. In fact, it’s considered the quietest of all the garage door opener styles.
  • Another main advantage comes in its strength. As noted above, the base model is sufficient for lifting all but the heaviest of doors. And, if your door is properly counter-balanced, weight or size shouldn’t be an issue. Direct-drive garage door openers generally come with a lifetime warranty.

Features of a Direct-Drive Opener

  • Though a direct-drive opener doesn’t come with some of the accessories of a belt-drive or chain-drive, they do usually come with remotes, a wall control panel, and infrared light sensors. The sensors are for both automatic reverse and safety. Though, of course, the exact accessories might vary according to your package.
  • As noted, those above accessories are all that’s included in most basic packages. However, you can purchase packages that include a smart garage door controller. A benefit of smart controllers is you can operate the opener from your smartphone, including remotely.
  • Likewise, if you want an external keypad, you can purchase one separately from a company that produces the direct-drive openers. Companies will often offer an upgraded package with an opener as well.

Installation and Maintenance of a Direct-Drive Opener

  • Since direct-drive openers don’t feature as many moving parts as other models, they’re a lot easier to install. In fact, expert do-it-yourselfers often manage the task on their own. Installation involves putting up the rail and chain and attaching the motor to both that system and the door. If you call in the professionals, they can get the installation done quickly and efficiently, which likely saves you money.
  • As a homeowner, you’re probably concerned with maintenance as well. Direct-drive openers don’t require as much cleaning or overall maintenance as other styles. Realistically, you just let it operate on its own. Consider a direct-drive garage door if you want the quietest operation and least amount of maintenance.

Contact Eudy Door Co. for any repair or replacement of your current garage door opener.