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What are the differences between an AC garage door opener and a DC garage door opener?

What are the differences between an AC garage door opener and a DC garage door opener?
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To address this question we must first understand what AC and DC mean. AC means alternating

current and DC means direct current. In AC or alternating current the current changes direction.

AC current can travel further distances and the voltage can be bumped up and down.


AC power utilizes transformers to control the amount of power delivered and the direction the power

flows. AC power is a stronger current, but it cannot be stored. In DC power, the power only

flows in one direction. DC power is found in batteries and the voltage is constant and cannot be

changed. DC power does not travel very far without losing its strength and DC power can be



AC Garage Door Motors


AC motors have been used in the garage door industry much longer than DC motors. AC motors

are typically larger, heavier and louder motors requiring more components to control the


amount of electricity delivered to the motor.  AC motors can require costly repairs to keep them

functioning properly. 

craftsman-chain-drive-ac-opener genie-chain-oepner-ac

AC motors, in most cases, are so large and heavy that they do not allow

for the newer components today’s consumers want in their garage door openers. These new

components include battery backups and MyQ technology.


DC Garage Door Motors

DC motors are becoming the standard in garage door motors. DC motors are smaller, lighter

and quieter than AC motors. AC motors use an electronic circuit board to control the amount of

power delivered to the motor. These circuit boards can allow the motor to have a soft open and

close feature.


This function speeds up and slows down the motor at different phases in the

open and close function, allowing the soft open and close. Genie first used a DC motor in a

garage door opener in 1994 while Liftmaster did not use DC motors until 2000. DC motors once

utilized brushes in its motors, but now DC motors utilize brushless designs, making them last

much longer.


In our technology based society, people are wanting more and more options to

make life simpler. Some of these technologies include the MyQ technology which allow the

owner to open and close the garage door from a smart phone or tablet. It can also include

controlling lighting and other household appliances as well as locking and unlocking the house.

This technology requires added space in the garage door opener unit. The smaller and lighter

weight DC motors in garage door openers allows for the adding of these functions. Many

people also want the convenience of having a battery backup system. The battery backup

system allows the owner to open and close the garage door using the opener during periods of

power failure.


These batteries add additional weight and require additional space inside the

garage door opener, DC motors allow the space for batteries while keeping the units small and

light weight.

AC and DC motors in garage door openers perform the same task effectively, but as we have

discussed, AC motors are large and heavy and use more power. In our opinion, DC motors are

the future of garage door openers. DC motors will allow for the adding of future features that

people will be looking for in new garage door openers.


Our society has become obsessed with  technology, and this is only going to get worse.

DC motors will allow for the adding of more features in the future. DC motors are also improving daily

with smaller motors delivering the needed power to open and close the garage door. The technology is

also increasing the life of DC motors with minimal or no maintenance.