Garage Door Upgrade Ideas with Linear Actuators

A linear actuator, sometimes called a linear motor, push-rod motor or electric cylinder is an electro-mechanical device which changes rotational movement to linear movement. In short, an actuator simply moves load either vertically or horizontally.

The use of actuators is becoming more popular in the modern setting and performs such functions as opening/closing, lifting/descending, pushing/pulling and so on. You’ll be amazed to know just how many of these mechanisms you encounter in your day-to-day life. Furthermore, industries such as marine, automotive, robotics among others are in constant use of this mechanism.

Linear Actuators in Garage Projects

It’s no secret that owning a garage has its own advantages, like improved security for your automobile and more than likely reducing your car insurance premium. Although there are many linear garage door openers manufacturers, the principle of their functioning is the same.

They use a static dual-phase motor to control the opening and closing function of the garage door. Since most garage door openers are durable, there’s no need to constantly replace them.

Here’s a list of your modern garage door opener that can use actuators;

  • The chain drive which is the most popular and widely used garage door opener. As the name suggests, it uses a chain connected to a motor which can produce lifting and descending motion. Although loud, it’s the cheapest.
  • The screw drive uses a metal bar through a motor that lifts the door upwards. It’s fairly noisy and quite slow.
  • The belt drives commonly found on posh openers. It uses rubber belts for its operation making it the quietest garage door opener. However, it’s quite costly.
  • Direct driver openers use a gear wheel to run a trolley which contains a motor on firmly fastened chain.
  • Jackshaft openers are attached on either side of a wall on a winding bar.

For any door that closes, you usually need a lock and your garage door is no exception. Although each lock is unique, their primary function remains security. The slide lock, though most popularly used, is not ideal for use with an automatic garage door opener.

Also, linear actuators may be used to boost the operating mechanism of the garage door lock. Once installed, the automated garage lock works silently and efficiently compared to a conventional garage door system.

The garage door lock can be integrated with various control boxes or smart systems to regulate its functioning, is resistant to harsh weather and easy to set up with basically no tech skills required.

Garage Door Openers with Linear Actuators

The linear actuator motor is used to lift open and close, large slide-through, as well as overhead garage doors. The weight and size of your garage door will determine what type of actuator you’ll use.

How a Garage Door Opener Works

Your garage is an important area in your home and you depend on its day-to-day function to meet your needs. With the working mechanism developed in the 1930s, technology today modifies the old apparatus.

You should note that there are two types of systems to open a garage door. While they might sound different, their mode of operation is to balance the weight of your garage door.

  • The extension spring system which as the name suggests uses a spring attached to the cable to the door’s bottom corner. When the door is closed, the springs extends and when opened, the force stored in the stretched springs lifts the door.
  • The torsion spring system uses torsion springs attached horizontally overhead. When the door is released, cables connected to the base of the door move the springs, producing energy. The reverse happens when the door is opened as the springs release energy

An actuator is connected to a power source which absorbs the total force of the door while closed. It also slows the door, stopping it from crashing.

Drive guides control and protect chain, screw or belt drives while the door closes or opens. It joins an operator to a trolley, which then connects to the garage’s door.

Limit switches safeguard the doors in either closed or open mode.

Light is not common in many garage door opener setting but they act to signal when the door is in operation

The wall controller regulates the movement of your garage door and is connected to your house’s power grid.

Height adjustment is determined by the operator. It springs to life during the door’s motion or to re-adjust the opening and closing sequence. Also, the force created while the door is in motion can be adjusted to stop if it’s grasped.

The inverter and batter allow for use of smaller motors as DC current is used in many garage door openers. An inverter converts the input AC to DC, which is also used to charge the battery which functions in the event of power failure.

Note: it’s always important to know that the actuator needs absolute care while installing. If you’re not tech savvy it’s advisable to consult a professional so as not to incur unforeseen costs.


The Role of Linear Actuators in Garage Door Openers

Electric linear actuators advantages and capabilities make it the most commonly used form of linear regulated systems. Since it’s not the only system in use, why is a garage door opener with linear actuator a preferred choice by garage owners?

  • Its resistance to load(in this case a garage door) for consistent, constant and repeated linear movement – opening and closing of the garage door
  • Its flexible movement can to used with other systems to synchronize the door position and location
  • Perfect and precise speed control

Garage Door Locks

A good garage door enhances the security of your home. With many garages used as both storage and working sites, a large number of assets are stored there. Distinct features for your locks will deter intruders from gaining access to your garage. The common types used to lock a garage door are;

  • Side door bolt which is installed inside on the garage door which contains a lock bolt and receiving slot attached to the door track. The bolt slides into the slot to lock the door.
  • Deadbolt lock contains either a single or double cylinder which rotates to door shut using a key and knob.
  • Electric garage door lock uses a key-pad which contains numerals which are installed on the outside of the garage and can be used in conjunction with a remote controlled garage door.
  • T-handle lock which is mainly used on metallic garage doors. It does use the normal key but a cylindrical-shaped key that’s hard to falsify.

How a Garage Door Lock Works

An automatic garage door lock requires an electric motor which is mounted either above the side or above the garage depending on the type of door. Its main purpose is to drive the door locking system to open or close. The opening and closing function of the lock is made possible by a keeper which retracts, extends and vice-versa.

An electric circuit makes it possible for the lock to be controlled manually or remotely. The electric motor is activated to drive the keeper arm to unlock and lock. A switch with a lockout function is used to shut the circuit’s mechanism while the door is in the lock position.

In case there’s usage of a remote control garage door lock, a remote controlled switch must be activated for a controlled period of time to either lock or unlock the door.

The Role of Linear Actuators in Garage Door Locks

It’s no doubt that linear actuators play an important role in the door locking systems for garages. They are ideal in that they can control a wide variety of locks with whichever door system. They keep the door shut depending on predefined intervals and can be controlled manually proving complete protection.

Since security is of the uttermost propriety, having an actuator will eliminate the use of manual effort in your doors operation.


If you are considering upgrading your garage door, you must be prepared both financially and physically. You should also research and know which types of door lock and openers suit your garage door.

Also based on your doors mechanism, you are able to know whether or not your door is compatible with different locks and openers.

You may also want to consider additional features like a backup unit which is usually a battery when upgrading your garage door. It’s important as you can control your garage door in case of a power outage.

And lastly, the actuator which is the heart of your garage door’s operation should be determined to meet your garage door’s operating needs and compatibility with control systems and a central control board. If you’re unsure on which actuator to use, our specialists at Actuator Zone will gladly assess your motion needs and determine an actuator that suits your requirement. If you have additional needs that the actuator doesn’t meet, you have an option to make a custom unit based on your requirements.

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