Tuesday, March 13, 2012

An older garage door opener

Our ancestors would marvel at our big conveniences (what would St. Augustin have said if someone had shown him a car?) but they might laugh at our little conveniences.  A garage door opener, for instance.

So what.  They should get with the times or stay where they are.  The reactions of the ancients don't matter much.  But what does matter is when last generation's technology still works but is no longer supported.  That is just waste, and it bugs me.

So in this house that we recently acquired is a first class, smoothly operating, ultra-reliable Canadian-made Steel-Craft garage door opener.  Two, actually, dating back to about 1983, but only one remote control.  And a garage door opener without a remote is actually an anti-convenience, because you have to go around and inside the house to open the door that you could have opened, if it was strictly manual, by standing in front of it.

Steel-Craft uses components from LiftMaster, one of the big two surviving giants in the business. (The other is Genie, which I have no recent experience with).  LiftMaster has been in business for over 100 years, and have had to keep up with the times. A LiftMaster garage door opener from the late 1970s relied on a remote control that had 9 little switches in it.  As long as you set your 9 switches in different positions from anyone else in the neighborhood, your opener would not open anyone else's, and theirs would not open yours.

Then some perpetrator figured out that with a 315Mhz scanner, he could lurk around neighborhoods and either steal codes as people used them, or work through the fairly small number of combinations of switch settings.  And when the owner of a house with an attached garage was away, the perp would open the garage, enter it and get into the house through the most vulnerable entrance.

Modern remotes use a rolling code system that makes it almost impossible to steal codes.  And they don't have any way of activating that quaint 9 switch system.  If you have a pre-1984 garage door remote from LiftMaster, Sears Craftsman, True Value, True Guard, Garage Master, Master Mechanic, Home Hardware (Canada), Steel Craft, Access Master, Do-Its, Anaheim Door, or Garage Door of Indianapolis, chances are that remote was manufactured by a company called Chamberlain and it is near the end of its commercial life.  These are not supported any more and their replacements are getting harder to find. 
My one original remote is a Chamberlain 51LC.  I need another one for the other door.  Know what?  You can search the internet all day for replacement remotes and not find a reference to a 51LC.  Unless, of course, you check in with Halfwise, who is here to tell you that a LiftMaster 361LM will replace a 51LC.  So will a 362LM, and it comes with two buttons and two sets of 9 coding switches, one for each door.  Got 3 doors?  Get a 363LM. 

22 comments:

Kerita Kantz said...

The speed at which new products are being developed these days is a good thing -- especially from the perspective of consumers. The downside to this situation, however, is the products that become outdated following the development of said new products. Anyway, I hope you find a spare remote for your Steel-Craft garage door opener. There's no use replacing your old model if it is still in good working condition, right?

Halfwise said...

Thanks Kerita, and yes, I did find a modern replacement. The 362LM is even better than the original because it has two buttons and I have two doors.

Denise said...

I do hope you'll find a remote for your garage door. Sometimes technology makes things and chores easier but sometimes, it makes them harder and more complicated :)

Halfwise said...

Denise, thank you for your comment. And yes I did find a suitable remote, the 362LM. It is not advertised as being compatible but it is.

check this said...

Hello

Exactly you must not replace the old one but first you should try to search for new remote..

Kind Regards.

Berwyn Garage Doors said...

Dear Try any new one. It will help you better than old one because It would have lots of additional functionalities.

Rolling Gates NYC said...

Our experts guide you when it comes to finding the right security gates to suit your needs, whether they're narrow for door-sized openings, or wider, to completely secure a larger store front. We understand that safety is of the utmost importance, and our rolling gate professionals will design the best solution for your unique space. Please see this site.

Rolling Gates NYC

Caroline Davis said...

I am glad that you already found a compatible remote for your garage because it's really inconvenient for us to do it manually.



garage door repair Woodbridge

Robert said...

Thanks for giving such a nice post on Replacement Garage Doors. In this post, you gave very valuable information for Garage Door.

Becca@End Of Leasing Sydney said...

It depends on the brand. Some brands allow you to buy a replacement remote and simply reprogram the system using the new remote (you should consult your garage door opener manual for specific instructions). Other brands, however, cannot program a new remote, so you will have to buy a whole new garage opener system and reinstall it.

Roll Down Gates Manhattan said...

Know more about the importance of having a reliable garage door opener. Find out the reasons why you need to get rid of the old and purchase a new one.

Roll Down Gates Manhattan

Fred Smith said...

I lost the opener for my garage door in Phoenix once. It was sure a chore to open it manually. We eventually found it, but before we did, I ended up installing a keypad on the outside of the garage door. How you find your garage door opener soon!

Halfwise said...

Thanks Fred. The replacement we found works great and I am glad we got it before supplies ran out. They are not making them any more, I hear.

Ray said...

the 51LC have 8 pins... The 361LM have 9 pins...

Tried many combination... Doesn'T work...

Can you help me?

Ray said...

HEY!!! I found the way to do it!!!

It works perfectly!!!

Thank you!!!

And you're right, I spend hours on the web and in stores... Nobody says that the 361LM is compatible...

I just had to put pin 9 in the middle...

Halfwise said...

Ray, that is very impressive. Good work.

abdul jaman said...

I really enjoy reading your lesson, I will come back for more lessons learn.


Lorton Garage Door Repair
Lorton Garage Door opener
Lorton Garage Doors,Lorton Garage Door Installation
Garage Door Services

abdull nomani said...



Nice post, very helpful for us.I will come back here again & again...:)
Also, to know more about...

woodbridge garage door
woodbridge garage door repair
garage door repair woodbridge
garage door spring repair woodbridge

garage door installation Calgary said...

Awesome info! I was honestly just thinking about something similar to this other day so, it was almost weird when I ran across this. You would be surprised how many people simply have no idea when it comes to this kind of stuff. Anyway, thanks for getting this cool info out there and I am sure I am not only one who appreciates you taking time to post this for masses.

Shelly Slader said...

My husband lost our garage door opener in Calgary where we were for vacation once. We got all the way back home and realized that it was missing. Why he even took it out of our car in the first place is a mystery to me. Anyways, we ended up getting it back after a big hassle. Hopefully everything works out for you!

Michael Elizarof said...

Thanks for great information, it's much helpful for the new professional.
Philadelphia Garage Doors | Garage Doors Services

Rachel Burr said...

It is extremely nice to see the greatest details presented in an easy and understanding manner. Garage Door Repair Fontana