To give you a better understanding of a garage door opener, we have prepared a complete list of opener components and accessories.
A Full Garage Door Parts Guide
The Two Leading Garage Door Openers In The North American Market
Before we dive into the various parts, let us start with the leading opener types out in today’s market.
The most common opener the real OG- A trolly garage door opener, is the one you see growing up in your parent’s house, and most likely the one in your garage right now.
The 2nd most common option, the contender A side-mounted Jackshaft opener – widely used for commercial garage doors, in recent years we have seen an influx with these in residential garage doors applications as well.
Garage door opener parts
Motor Head – The motor head is the brain and the heart of the opener system. It houses the motor, gears, motherboard, travel module etc.
If you have a trolley opener, it is located overhead in the center of the garage. If your garage door is paired with a side-mounted jackshaft, it should be on the top side mounted to the torsion tube, and a jackshaft opener can fit on either the left or the right side.
Main Gear – you can find the main gear inside the motorhead, this essential part is made out of nylon for safety reasons, and the worm gear is made from a hard plastic material.
Travel limits/Travel module – A digital electronic board is located inside the motorhead in a newer opener. In the older garage door openers, it is mechanical, and even older units will have their travel limits on the rail as switches
Sprocket – is located on top of the motorhead, and the chain or belt sprocket is connected to the main gear shaft.
Opener rail – an opener rail is a long metal bar that connects to the motorhead and goes all the way to the header. You will either have a chain or a belt drive; if you have an older opener, you might find a screw drive model. The rail comes in a few different sizes, the most common would be 7 ft and 8 ft. The professional rails come in one piece; the store-bought openers for DIY come as an assembly rail and are not as sturdy as the one-piece one.
*Keep in mind that store-bought openers will always come with a 7ft rail. If you have a bigger door you would require an extension piece.*
Garage door opener traveller – The traveller is located on the opener rail, and it is an essential component in your garage door system. When the motor spins the main gear, the traveller travels from one end to the other, thus lifting the garage door and lowering it.
Drawbar / J-ARM – The drawbar is the connecting link between the garage door opener and the garage door. The drawbar consists of two metal bars; one straight and one in a J shape. The two bars are connected in the center and can be adjusted according to the opener installation guidelines.
Wall control panel/pushbutton – A wall-mounted control panel that allows you to open and close the garage door, lock it, monitor the status and many other features such as a timer to close. Most of the wall control panels are hardwired to the opener, but some brands have a wireless option.
Garage door opener safety devices
Safety sensors/photo eyes – The safety sensors are located at most 6″ off the floor on both sides and mounted on the side tracks. A safety device transmits a laser beam from the transmitting sensor to the receiving sensor. If a person or car passes when the garage door closes and blocks the laser beam, the garage door opener will reverse and open.
Auto reversal system – This is a safety feature built in every opener; this system works as follows: when the garage door is closing down, and it hits an object, the garage door should reverse back up
Emergency release lever – There is an emergency garage door lever or option on every garage door opener. In case of an entrapment or power outage, you can still open the garage door manually. You can find the emergency release lever connected to the garage door opener traveller as a red cord with a red plastic handle. Pulling the red cord will disengage the garage door from the opener, making the manual option possible.
Garage door opener accessories
Opener bracket – The bracket that holds the drawbar/Jarm, and it is better to get an opener bracket that spreads out throughout the whole height of the section for best support.
Garage door remote/clicker – The garage door remote or clicker is a handheld transmitter that runs on batteries and allows you to open/close the garage door from a distance with a push of a button. Most remotes for newer openers work on rolling code tech or mega code.
Internet gate – An internet gate is an optional accessory for older garage door openers; it is hardwired to the opener and allows the user or homeowner to download an app and control the garage door with their smartphone. It works from anywhere as long as an active internet connection provides unprecedented convenience and remote control from any location.
Laser pointer/parking guide – The laser pointer is an accessory that should make your life much easier, especially when parking in a tight garage. The laser pointer is aimed into a fixed position, providing you with a stopping point for your vehicle.
Wireless keypad/ wireless entry – Similar to a remote, a wireless entry keypad works on the same tech as a remote. The difference is it works with a 4-digit PIN.
Garage door opener receiver – A garage door opener receiver is hardwired to the opener or the wall control panel, gives the ability to program additional remotes, it is ideal with old or commercial openers that are obsolete or no longer in production.
Garage door opener lock – An automatic lock mounted on the side track automatically locks when the door is closed. This lock feature is optional on selected garage door models.
Backup battery – A 12-Volt lithium-ion battery that is placed inside the motorhead or outside the opener in older garage door operators can hold a charge for about 20 cycles before draining.
Garage door opener camera – As of now, the only option available is the LiftMaster 85503. This opener is from the elite series. The camera provides the opportunity to see what is going on in the garage; the owner can see who enters the garage. This great security feature includes activity notifications and is a worthwhile investment.
Garage door opener connectivity
Genie Aladin Connect – the Genie/Overhead smartphone control application
MyQ Connect – LiftMaster/Chamberlain smartphone control application
Spott Connect– Linear smartphone control application
Homelink – The HomeLink system is a bridge from your built-in control in your vehicle to the opener, and most of modern cars will have this built-in feature in the rearview mirror, providing a remote control for three doors. The HomeLink is a much safer option compared to leaving a remote in the car in case of a break-in occurs.