Garage door remotes are interesting!Every time you come home and hit your garage door opener button, you expect it to work. After all, it can’t be that complex a piece of equipment, could it? You might be surprised…garage door opener remotes have been the height of consumer technology since they were invented more 75 years ago.

Birthed In World War II: Wooden garage doors have been around for a long as garages have (since about 1900, at the beginning of the automobile). And when the electric garage door had been around since around 1920, it wasn’t until GI’s returning from World War II used devices similar to those that detonated remote control bombs to apply it to garage doors. Unfortunately, the radio waves they used weren’t unique signals. If you were the only person in the neighborhood with a garage door remote, you were fine. But if your neighbor had one, yours would open at the same time. And thieves suddenly had easy access if they had a simple radio wave remote. At that point something had to be done.

Matched Switches: Garage door openers were changed so that they had switches inside the remote and inside the garage door opener itself. This allowed for 4,096 combinations. This solved the original problem — avoiding opening your neighbor’s garage door — but thieves with a little patience could sit outside your home and try all 4,096 combinations over the course of a couple days.

Rolling Code: Most garage doors openers since the 1980’s have had a rolling code system. Garage door opener remotes and garage door openers started talking to each other, sending each other rolling code messages. That allows for 3.5 billion combinations. The code is only known by the garage door and opener, and after it’s used once it’s not used again and a new number is generated. (Here’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation: you could drive by every house in America 27 times before accidently being able to open a garage door.)

So, garage door openers have a bit more interesting history than you originally thought, don’t they? When you’re in need of garage door opener repair, give Sukup Garage Doors a call and we’ll make sure to get your technology up and running again!