Safety Without The Hassle Of Photo Eyes
To put it simply, they are a pain.
“We get at least one call a day, if not more. Some days it’s just all day long,” Debbie Mehr of Mehr’s Garage Doors in St. George, Utah says of photo eye problems.
No one is enamored with photo eyes, despite the improved safety they have brought to garage doors, since fatalities associated with garage door use in the 80s.
Under U.S. federal law (UL 325), garage door openers manufactured for the U.S. since 1993 must include a safety reversing system, such as photoelectric eyes mounted no higher than six inches above the ground, with a light beam spanning the door opening. The opener is required to reverse the door to the open position if the laser beam is broken.
Now new technology has come out, which eliminates the need for photo eyes, while making garage doors even safer. It is technology, which employs a soft touch.
How could something be safer than a photo-eye sensor, non-touch system?
Similar to the technology found in elevators, subway doors and some automobiles, the technology reverses a door on a soft touch, without using light sensors. The technology meets the UL 325 standard.
At least two garage door manufacturers are employing the technology in some of their garage door systems, Wayne Dalton and Martin Garage Doors.
Martin’s U.L. listed system, without photo-eyes, is actually sold as a garage door and opener system. Martin Garage Doors had to pass various tests and add new safety features, ranging from very low force adjustability to probe safety tests on the door.
The Martin system can’t be over adjusted or defeated by simple means, like many other openers with photo eyes can be. A Florida contractor recently installed his photo eyes towards the ceiling to avoid hassle with the safety sensors. His son was killed as a result, because the garage door didn’t reverse.
Since the introduction of photo eyes in the 1980′s, the vulnerability of the safety device to sunlight, cobwebs, bent brackets, dirt or even mice, has shown how flighty the sensors can be. They can be defeated by something as simple as a child straddling the sensors.
Photo eyes have made garage door use safer, but the no photo eye system holds the promise of making them even safer.
Chief Communications Officer for Martin Door Manufacturing and former managing editor of two daily newspapers in New York State. Accessible at www.martindoor.com.