View Full Version : extending the range of my garage door opener


aar0s
07-11-2012, 12:10 AM
Put up a Chamberlain whisper drive opener in the garage and the range is crap, Im almost on the apron when the door starts to open. Is there any way to increase the range on it? Longer antenna or something?

LutzTD
07-11-2012, 12:18 AM
Put up a Chamberlain whisper drive opener in the garage and the range is crap, Im almost on the apron when the door starts to open. Is there any way to increase the range on it? Longer antenna or something?

dont know about your model so generically I will comment. My openers have an antenna wire that hang down outside of the opener unit. If it has one on yours maybe it is still inside and not extended out or its against some metal inside. What does your manual say about range? did you call their tech service line?

Outlawmws
07-11-2012, 12:41 AM
If you know the frequency of the receiver, you should be able to run a length of 50 Ohm coax to say the peak of the garage in front, and run a wire from the end of that for either 1/4, 1/2 or one full wavelength of the freq. and that should give you about as good as it is going to get.

aar0s
07-11-2012, 12:44 AM
Not yet I haven't, just thought that id throw it out here and check back before work in the morning and give them a call when I got home. You guys probably have better ideas then the tech on the phone anyway.

I did notice a purple wire that was coiled up next to the light, I ran it up and out of the light compartment and it stuck out about an inch. I didn't know if I spliced another wire into that and ran it outside if it would increase the range any, if thats even the antennae for the remote?

sselander
07-11-2012, 12:56 AM
Liftmaster makes a kit
http://www.amazon.com/Liftmaster-41A3504-Residential-Antenna-Extension/dp/B004K2YH4E/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Chamberlain and LiftMaster are owned by the same company

wb2vsj
07-11-2012, 07:02 AM
For the heck of it, just try splicing on a 2 or 3 foot piece of wire on the that antenna pigtail and see if that doe the trick. (It's free :) ) If not, go to Phase II and try Outlawmws and sselander's ideas.

I found that just by repositioning my receiver antenna I got rid of the dead spot I had in the drive way. That dead spot was literally 25 feet away - annoyed the hell out of me. Had to either back up or go forward a bit more to get the dang door to respond.

Chamberlain Whisper Drive? Hmmmm I think that's the unit I put in a few years ago.

LutzTD
07-11-2012, 07:49 AM
Not yet I haven't, just thought that id throw it out here and check back before work in the morning and give them a call when I got home. You guys probably have better ideas then the tech on the phone anyway.

I did notice a purple wire that was coiled up next to the light, I ran it up and out of the light compartment and it stuck out about an inch. I didn't know if I spliced another wire into that and ran it outside if it would increase the range any, if thats even the antennae for the remote?

can you route it so it comes out more? mine just hangs down under the door opener about 6 inches

premierplayer
07-11-2012, 08:21 AM
try a fresh battery in the transmitter

Richard D
07-11-2012, 08:38 AM
If you know the frequency of the receiver, you should be able to run a length of 50 Ohm coax to say the peak of the garage in front, and run a wire from the end of that for either 1/4, 1/2 or one full wavelength of the freq. and that should give you about as good ass it is going to get.

Can you explain this to a dummy(me) who considers electricity to be "magic"? I have a homebuilt(not by me)electric remote-controlled gate controlled by a Craftsman door opener "brain". I was thinking of attaching a wire from the antennae to the carport.

upndown
07-11-2012, 08:45 AM
+1 on the battery! A new battery doesn't always mean a good battery.. check the battery under load. I've never had a whole lotta luck extending the antenna! they are designed to be a certain length..But worth a try. Where did you buy the opener? Good luck:beer:

wcberry
07-11-2012, 09:00 AM
If you know the frequency of the receiver, you should be able to run a length of 50 Ohm coax to say the peak of the garage in front, and run a wire from the end of that for either 1/4, 1/2 or one full wavelength of the freq. and that should give you about as good ass it is going to get.


Wouldn't a higher gain antenna be required to negate the loss of signal in 20-30' of coax unless some really low loss coax were used? Using 30' of the most common RG-58 would loss somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 db of signal wouldn't it (assuming the standard 390MHz frequency for openers)?

AndyL
07-11-2012, 10:50 AM
that style board - you cant easily add an external antenna - I've tried splicing on a port to run a extension for a remote antenna - lasted about a week before the ic popped...

the wire should run out the bottom of the light cover and hang, if your nearish to a military installation or power substation, you could have range issues... it happens... if you desperately need range beyond the norm - you could add the internet gateway and smartphone app...

mayday0017
07-11-2012, 10:57 AM
Also are you using the remote the unit came with or one built into your car/truck? My BMW range SUCKS I have to get right in front of the door and it will open so I end up sitting and waiting.... The remote for my unit however I can open it from a good 150ft away.

StevePgh
07-11-2012, 11:13 AM
I just installed a pair of Chamberlain WD962KEV (http://www.chamberlain.com/ccv2/pages/productmodeldetail.aspx?modelId=7689). This has MyQ (900Mhz wireless connection to accessories) and the new Security+ 2.0 remotes (310, 315, and/or 390 MHz). In this unit, there are TWO antenna wires as they operate on significantly different frequencies, so make sure you drop both wires out of the housing. According to the manufacturer, the Security+ 2.0 is said to have superior range compared to the 1.0 version (any model released prior to late 2011).

I had the old chain drive Security+ 1.0 on Craftsman branded Chamberlains, and even with a brand new battery in the remote it barely worked standing in front of the doors. Now I can open it from a good 50 yards away.

The approach given by Sselander or outlawms is the way to go if your antenna(s) are already fully extended.

Outlawmws
07-11-2012, 11:20 AM
For the heck of it, just try splicing on a 2 or 3 foot piece of wire on the that antenna pigtail and see if that doe the trick. (It's free :) ) If not, go to Phase II and try Outlawmws and sselander's ideas.

I found that just by repositioning my receiver antenna I got rid of the dead spot I had in the drive way. That dead spot was literally 25 feet away - annoyed the hell out of me. Had to either back up or go forward a bit more to get the dang door to respond.

Chamberlain Whisper Drive? Hmmmm I think that's the unit I put in a few years ago.

+1 on the battery! A new battery doesn't always mean a good battery.. check the battery under load. I've never had a whole lotta luck extending the antenna! they are designed to be a certain length..But worth a try. Where did you buy the opener? Good luck:beer:

Changing the length of an antenna wire is usually detrimental. They are designed to be a particular length to match the frequency in use. Having said that, the antenna's on GD openers are about as cheap an approach to antenna design as it gets...

Steevo
07-11-2012, 11:23 AM
OMG! You actually have to "sit and wait" for the door to open?
That's positively barbaric!
;)

We've become such a spoiled society.
As a kid, my parents would make me get out of the car and open the garage door for them. The old wooden, swing-up type of door. It was all I could do to lift it, and then shove it up hard enough that it would go all the way open and not come crashing down. Nowadays we're upset if we can't make it open from two houses down the street as we approach, so that we can glide in and shut it before having to interact with any of our neighbors.

Outlawmws
07-11-2012, 11:24 AM
Wouldn't a higher gain antenna be required to negate the loss of signal in 20-30' of coax unless some really low loss coax were used? Using 30' of the most common RG-58 would loss somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 db of signal wouldn't it (assuming the standard 390MHz frequency for openers)?

It should not be that much length (Maybe 10 ft?) and considering all the crap in the way from inside the garage to the street, (metal garage doors, foil backed insulation etc...) Getting to an unobstructed line of sight has to be an improvement. (Note the post for an antenna extension probably the same reason it's offered)

Outlawmws
07-11-2012, 11:26 AM
Can you explain this to a dummy(me) who considers electricity to be "magic"? I have a homebuilt(not by me)electric remote-controlled gate controlled by a Craftsman door opener "brain". I was thinking of attaching a wire from the antennae to the carport.

Not sure what you are talking about here... an antenna wire, or a control switch wire? :dunno: What are you trying to accomplish?

Outlawmws
07-11-2012, 11:27 AM
OMG! You actually have to "sit and wait" for the door to open?
That's positively barbaric!
;)

We've become such a spoiled society.
As a kid, my parents would make me get out of the car and open the garage door for them. The old wooden, swing-up type of door. It was all I could do to lift it, and then shove it up hard enough that it would go all the way open and not come crashing down. Nowadays we're upset if we can't make it open from two houses down the street as we approach, so that we can glide in and shut it before having to interact with any of our neighbors.

Seriously, I grew up doing that too! I use my opener to open and close the door for human access, the last car inside my garage was a race car... :lol_hitti

Richard D
07-11-2012, 12:07 PM
Not sure what you are talking about here... an antenna wire, or a control switch wire? :dunno: What are you trying to accomplish?

antenna wire

Zick
07-11-2012, 01:37 PM
I know others have said that extending the antenna wire is a bad idea but it actually worked for my neighbor.
His wife was complaining about the poor distance as well so we took a length of wire and connected it to the existing antenna and then ran the wire to the track frame.
Now she's able to open the door from the end of the driveway which is ~100ft away, before it would only reach about ~20ft.

Your results may vary :lol_hitti

Outlawmws
07-11-2012, 01:38 PM
antenna wire
So where is the carport in relation to the gate, and more importantly, the control receiver? Are you looking to get the antenna higher? or what?


Without any information, I'd guess getting the antenna on top of the gate post would suffice for just getting a better range, particularly if the carport is very far from the gate/street.

The basic's are; you need a matched impedance coax (usually 50 ohm but things like TV's use 75 ohm coax, or 300 ohm twin lead), to shield the center conductor and minimize signal losses. The outer shield (Braid) gets grounded next to where the antenna wire connects inside the box. The center conductor gets connected in place of the antenna wire.

At the antenna end, the antenna is simply a straight (usually vertical) wire the appropriate length for the frequency used, and can be certain fractions of that frequencies wave length, but the "ideal" length is 1 full wave length. This is of course a simplified description, but that was what you asked for.
If you want to get fancy, the coax can get several coils wound (at a particular diameter) just before the antenna as a balun, to help balance the thing.

As was mentioned, it is all about db gain and losses with any antenna system, but height and line of sight has a lot to do with it also.

If you can get the frequency of the system, I can give you appropriate antenna lengths.

Outlawmws
07-11-2012, 01:40 PM
I know others have said that extending the antenna wire is a bad idea but it actually worked for my neighbor.
His wife was complaining about the poor distance as well so we took a length of wire and connected it to the existing antenna and then ran the wire to the track frame.
Now she's able to open the door from the end of the driveway which is ~100ft away, before it would only reach about ~20ft.

Your results may vary :lol_hitti

And with a properly sized antenna and better line of sight she might get 2X that range, maybe more...

AZ Pete
07-11-2012, 01:44 PM
Also are you using the remote the unit came with or one built into your car/truck? My BMW range SUCKS I have to get right in front of the door and it will open so I end up sitting and waiting.... The remote for my unit however I can open it from a good 150ft away.

That's odd, my Toyota will open the door about 300 feet from the house, the factory Genie remote will not open the door until about 70 feet from the door.

KyleQ
07-11-2012, 01:54 PM
I extended my wire and wrapped it around the stet metal hanging the opener, nearly doubled the effective range... Genie opener.

Richard D
07-11-2012, 02:04 PM
I'll do some checking tonight. Thanks.

Richard D
07-11-2012, 02:05 PM
I the stet metal hanging the opener

Is this a typo? If not, what is "stet"?

koditten
07-11-2012, 02:55 PM
We always held the opener against the side of the car. The whole, metal body of the car became the transmitter. Kinda pain, but always worked.

KO