Electric Garage Doors

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Electric Garage Doors

Electric Garage Doors from The Garage Door Centre

Electric Garage Doors

Electric operated garage doors were for a time considered a luxury, and only suitable for large and heavy garage doors on grand, expensive homes.

However, the 21st century has seen electric garage doors become the norm. Manual doors tend to only be installed when the garage is hardly ever accessed, primarily entered by pedestrians, or where no power is available. With modern door mechanisms, technology advances in motor drives, low power consumption, security features, safety and pure reliability. You would be hard pushed to ignore and to not bother with electric operation when buying a new garage door.

10 standard features of Quality Electric Garage Doors:

Carteck Electric Operated Sectional Garage Doors - Installed by The Garage Door Centre- Reliable operation every time.

- Safety features built-in (varies depending on mechanism) to prevent crushing or entrapment.

- Good security when closed - some operators can be easily forced open so check how they lock the door when buying.

- Two high quality remote handsets with additional ones easily available and preferably with options on size, shape and colour.

- Easy to operate emergency manual release in case of a power failure. Option to be operated from either inside or outside if there is no other access (optional feature).

- Soft start and stop feature to produce quiet operation and to reduce wear and tear on the door and its mechanism (mainly on up and over doors).

- Courtesy light to operate automatically when the motor drive is operated, especially for use in the winter months. Many have variable time limit settings and easy add on additional lighting options.

- Little or no maintenance with dry running components.

- Easy addition of accessories to provide additional control or features - i.e. plug and play ability without complex wiring and set up.

- Smartphone and Tablet compatible to enable home automation integration.

These features should exist on practically any high quality UK or European manufactured garage door motor drive. You should always check the motor is compatible with the door it is operating, especially if you are adding it onto an existing door. For roller shutter doors, the drive is often built into the internal barrel of the roller mechanism so it can be difficult to verify. If you have any concerns over the origins and suitability of a roller garage door and motor drive, you can speak to one of our technical experts. We have seen most roller door models over the years, with many unsuitable as garage doors and not compliant within the UK.

Up and Over Doors

Electric Up and Over Garage Doors

Boom Operators

Up and over garage doors are all electrically operated using what is generally termed a ‘boom’ type electric operator. This system uses a long boom which has an attachment and carriage connected to the top of the door panel to pull and push the door open and closed.

The boom is generally positioned directly in the middle above the door panel, with the motor drive set at the back of the boom or a motor drive which moves along the boom. Generally, a chain or belt system is used. You should expect a dry running system that does not require oil and lubrication, as these attract dust and dirt over time.

There are many different brands of boom type garage door operators. The best and quietist units are always 24V motors that are of German manufacturing, with some good models also available from France and Holland. Generally, a lot of the American motors are 240V and  more basic in their mechanism and components.

There are different power outputs from most manufacturers which gives the opportunity to match the size and weight of the door it is operating. A lot of modern operators can be adjusted in their power delivery to match the various power requirements during the door movement. This helps to fine-tune the safety detection rather than just turning up a motor to full power and not letting the safety mechanism work effectively.

Canopy Up and Over Doors

For ‘canopy’ type up and over doors where there are no horizontal running tracks, it is essential to have a separate conversion system, usually called a ‘bow arm convertor’. This is attached to the back of the door and simulates the pull at the top and push at the bottom required to move a canopy type mechanism. Again, there are several variations of this device and some better than others. Some canopy doors simply will not take the device or any kind of operator as they do not have the strength in their panel construction. So, ensure that you are comfortable with the overall package when buying an electric canopy door.

View Up and Over Doors in The Garage Door Centre Product Catalogue

Sectional Doors

Electric Sectional Garage Doors

Sectional doors also use a ‘boom’ type operator as they require a pull and push at the top to operate up and down. All sectional doors have the same principal so it is simply a matter of making sure you have the right length of boom and the right power. This is because sectional doors can be much larger in their sizes as well as taller too requiring longer travel in the boom.

With some special spring and track arrangements on a sectional door such as a ‘high lift’ mechanism, used in garages with high ceilings, you will need extra equipment to ensure the drive works correctly. It is worth looking at faster operating electric operators on sectional doors as they can take the extra pressures involved and it makes for a better user experience. Some motors have two speed settings to nibble the choice.

View Sectional Garage Doors in The Garage Door Centre Product Catalogue

Roller Doors

Electric Roller Garage Doors

A roller garage door will have several mechanisms to enable electric operation. Some roller doors use an external motor drive which drives and rotates the barrel with a set of gears. This type of motor drive also requires the door to be spring balanced in some form for effective and safe operation.

A most common form of roller door is a door built from individual aluminium slats which roll around a barrel which has the motor drive inside. This is called a ‘tube’ motor and is literally a tube shape fixed inside the barrel of the door. The quality of this type of motor is important as they can overheat and fail if they are incorrectly specified or a low quality. The best tube motors will only have an electric power feed with the control coming from radio transmission picked up by a built in receiver which enable many other controls to be easily added if required. They should also always have a manual override system for emergencies and power failures.

Somfy are a world leader in tube motor manufacturing and you will find their motor drives in many different brands in the UK. The Somfy system will enable the easy addition of Somfy home automation controls and smartphone and tablet control through their superb and free apps.

View Roller Garage Doors in The Garage Door Centre Product Catalogue

Side Hinged Doors

Electric Side Hinged Garage Doors

A lot of companies will not automate side hinged doors, and there are certainly many side hinged doors which cannot be electrically operated. This is because they do not have enough strength in the panels, like lower quality up and over doors.

The simplest system uses a ‘boom’ type electric operator. These have two steel rod adapters pushing and pulling the door panels from the top of the leaves, and are attached to the corners internally. The rods are attached to the carriage of the boom driving them outwards and inwards, opening and closing.

A more enhanced system is either a hydraulic system at the top of each panel, similar to many entrance door systems as used on department stores and other commercial buildings. An alternative is a piston system at high or low level as used on electric gate systems. Lots of power in the drive, and a smother, more powerful operation but still using the same control types and options.

View Side Hinged Garage Doors in The Garage Door Centre Product Catalogue

Round the Corner Doors

Electric Round the Corner Garage Doors

Sliding door systems which go around corners will use one of two options. The first is a ‘boom’ type operator which is fixed against the wall or at high level, pushing and pulling the panels. The other option is a rack and pinion type system, with the motor drive fitted to the actual door itself.
A round the corner system arguably has the very least stress on any motor because of the mechanism and principal with all the weight spread out over the horizontal tracking. There is no weight being lifted up and down ever and whatever the size of door they are easy to push along during operation.

View Round the Corner Garage Doors in The Garage Door Centre Product Catalogue


All of the above systems should have a safety system built in as standard to reverse the door if an obstruction is met and this is done in various ways. When the door is very large, next to a public highway or path, or has potential entrapment points then additional safety should be added usually in the from of an infra red beam or leading edge detector. There are many of these systems available and it goes without saying that a low quality version of any of these systems will inevitably cause you problems quite quickly. Make sure to check the compatibility, and ensure it is a system which has been used successfully for as long as possible by the manufacturer.


All of the systems mentioned will have the basic locking from the motor drive itself. However on larger doors, especially up and over doors, there will be many points of potential weakness by forced entry. In this case, ensure the security mechanism used is sufficient and check if there are any additional mechanical devices available to enhance the locking when closed.

Some doors can use their manual locking via a mechanism attached to the motor drive and some higher quality roller doors will have another mechanical locking device engineered into the door itself.

Additional manual locks are nearly always available if you want to lock the door when going on holiday, etc..

Northamptonshire Showroom

You can see many different motor drives in our UK showroom in Northamptonshire to fully understand what can be achieved. We will guide you to purchase a future-proof product in a fast ever-changing world where home automation and smart control is becoming the normal on newer homes.

Visit The Garage Door Centre Showroom in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire

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