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boaterbob

join:2005-08-01
Moncks Corner, SC

Garage door opener antenna

Is there a way to increase the reception of the door opener antenna - i.e., increase the distance my car can be from the front driveway and have the antenna pick up the open signal?

I first made the antenna wire straight so the wire was at its longest. Then I coiled the wire around a pencil and tried that. No improvement in either case.

What if I splice another wire to the antenna wire to make it longer - would that improve anything?

The door opener motor is fairly new and the batteries in the remotes are new. Is there anything that would give me extra range so I can 'click' the remote and have the door begin opening long before I pull in the driveway?



mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3



What kind of distance are you trying to achieve? Low-power transmitters such as garage door openers rely heavily on line-of-sight paths, so it is difficult to get around that limitation. Most of the time, a 100-200 feet is the norm. Getting it to open "long before" you pull in the drive isn't likely.

Autos with the built-in "Homelink" type systems have a bit better range, but still it isn't over-far.

Have you considered an Internet-based solution, running thorough home security system software? There are quite a few of those out there that respond to remote commands from anywhere using your cellphone.


boaterbob

join:2005-08-01
Moncks Corner, SC

I'm probably achieving the 125' range now. Everything is pretty much line-of-sight for me, unless maybe a neighbor's car might be parked close to the road in their drive instead of being pulled up close to their garage - then their car would be between my car on the road and the garage door opener.

So if I ran a wire, attached to the existing 8" wire, along the opener rail all the way to the opening of the garage, that wouldn't make much difference?



wishera

join:2000-12-12
Everett, WA
Reviews:
·Comcast

I would say I get about the same with out doors, 125'. Both of our doors have plenty of time to open when i hit the button. Are you trying to enter the garage like its the bat-cave or something?
--
Douglas Adams: "Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."



fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
reply to boaterbob

I use the homelink transmitter in my car and I can open my garage door from the end of my 150' driveway.



Pacrat
Old and Cranky
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-10
Cortland, OH
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to boaterbob

I'm not sure but I believe the length of the antenna for the opener is somewhat dependent on the frequency (wavelength) that the transmitter uses. Just making it longer would probably detract from its performance rather than enhance it. You might try even multiples of its length, though. If it's 8" long now, you might try 16", 24", 32", etc to see if there's any improvement. But if you're getting performance at 125' now, I can't see it getting much better in any case.

The one thing I did to improve mine was move the antenna closer to the garage door opening. That seemed to make a considerable difference for me, but it's still limited to about 100'.
--
"I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.”



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to wishera

said by wishera:

I would say I get about the same with out doors, 125'. Both of our doors have plenty of time to open when i hit the button. Are you trying to enter the garage like its the bat-cave or something?

Same with me. I have the homelink on one vehicle and standard remote for the other. Both give me plenty of time and are fully open when I get to the opening.


mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3
reply to boaterbob

said by boaterbob:

So if I ran a wire, attached to the existing 8" wire, along the opener rail all the way to the opening of the garage, that wouldn't make much difference?

Well, it can't hurt to try, but as Pacrat See Profile mentioned, it may actually reduce performance. Those openers run in the 300-400MHz range, and that is why the antennas are not very long, since the "width" of the frequency is short.

But what the heck, stick a longer wire on it, run it toward the front of the door and see what happens!


stevek1949
We're not in Kansas anymore

join:2002-11-13
Virginia Beach, VA
reply to boaterbob

Here is a thread with a similar question. It appars that a flourscent lamp was causing the distance problem.

»Garage door opener antenna

The antenna at the garage end is a receiving antenna. Adding length to it would probably not degrade the performance, but may increase the signal to the receiver. The transmitter is in the car.



John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:5

1 recommendation

reply to boaterbob

Click for full size
Antennas can be some multiple of the operational frequency. The antenna that is on there now is far longer than the ~16 inches or so "actually" needed (I am skipping all the technical calcs here for brevity sake. And presuming we are talking 'free space', which we aren't ).

So, that said, the next two things that you can do to improve you situation is to add more wire (same gauge is fine), and orient that wire properly.

Antennas operate "better" when they have more of what is called 'aperture'...meaning (simplistically speaking) how much 'space' do they occupy.

The other thing they need is for the radio waves to hit the antenna broadside (parallel), and that generally means that the antenna needs to be perpendicular to the transmitting location, in this case your car. AND it also matters what the orientation of the transmitting antenna is.

See above photo...

Taking all of this into consideration, I would add two pieces of wire each ~16 feet long to the end of the existing wire, making three wires spliced together.

Having done that, extend the existing wire from the receiver towards the direction of where you will be when you press the button. Now extend the two newly added wires perpendicularly and horizontally from the first wire to +/- 8 feet and then extend the last bit of wire down towards the ground.

You don't need to be exact by any means, either in lengths or 'squareness'...just 'get it up in the air' as hams say.

This is about the best you can do with simple materials. Hams will recognize this as a 'curtain antenna', usually on the low bands but still works for this application.

There are other tweaks that can be done, but then the question becomes is it really worth the time and expense? Probably not.
--
»www.archive.org/details/Meatpies_1984



49528867
Premium
join:2010-04-16
Fort Lauderdale, FL
kudos:3
reply to boaterbob

said by boaterbob:

Is there a way to increase the reception of the door opener antenna - i.e., increase the distance my car can be from the front driveway and have the antenna pick up the open signal?

If the antenna is on an "F" connector then you can remove it and connect a remote antenna to increase the range, if not there is not too much you can do with the existing receiver.

The length of the antenna is important to the receiver working properly usually being cut for a quarter wave and making it longer or shorter without considering the frequency it is cut for may actually reduce performance.

FWIW the majority of garage door openers operate on 315-318Mhz of which a quarter wave is about 9".

Wayne
--
It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence. - Charles A. Beard


49528867
Premium
join:2010-04-16
Fort Lauderdale, FL
kudos:3
reply to mattmag

said by mattmag:

Most of the time, a 100-200 feet is the norm. Getting it to open "long before" you pull in the drive isn't likely.

That is a bit incorrect though in the "old" days of “analog” wireless (1970) that might have been true, however nowadays reputable manufacturers of digital 315 Mhz wireless have products that will work reliably out to 500' and often more, extended range 315Mhz wireless products can triple that range and midrange 27 Mhz wireless can go out 5+ miles.

Wayne
--
It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence. - Charles A. Beard


mattmag
Premium,ExMod 2000-03
join:2000-04-09
NW Illinois
kudos:3

I mention 300MHz openers, you say 27MHz, and say I'm talking about the "old days"?

So I imagine rolling codes are old-fashioned, and dip-switches are now the fad?



49528867
Premium
join:2010-04-16
Fort Lauderdale, FL
kudos:3

1 edit

said by mattmag:

I mention 300MHz openers, you say 27MHz, and say I'm talking about the "old days"?

Read my reply again you mentioned 300 Mhz and "Most of the time, a 100-200 feet is the norm." I was referring to 315 Mhz which is the actual frequency the gear works on.

The mention of 27Mhz was for the extreamly long range systems.

None the less the 315Mhz digital systems from reputable manufacturers will do 500+ feet unlike the older analog 303Mhz systems from the 70’s which will only do maybe 150 feet.

Wayne
--
It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence. - Charles A. Beard

jwblake

join:2010-06-23
Fairfax, VA
reply to boaterbob

Why not just get a garage door opener that can open your door faster?


boaterbob

join:2005-08-01
Moncks Corner, SC

Atlas shrugged -
and then asked, if I were to simply use the 8" of existing antenna wire, would it work best if it were 'coiled' and just hung down from the opener motor, or should it be straight and pointing down toward the ground or straight and pointing toward the driveway - or doesn't it make any difference?



49528867
Premium
join:2010-04-16
Fort Lauderdale, FL
kudos:3
reply to boaterbob

said by boaterbob:

Is there a way to increase the reception of the door opener antenna - i.e., increase the distance my car can be from the front driveway and have the antenna pick up the open signal?

This is an example of extending the range of a receiver with an external antenna, in this case the receiver is in a weatherproof box with the antenna extended to upper part the gate.




And yes that is some sloppy work but it works and provides about a city block of range for the gate opener.

Wayne
--
It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence. - Charles A. Beard


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:5
reply to boaterbob

said by boaterbob:

Atlas shrugged -
and then asked, if I were to simply use the 8" of existing antenna wire, would it work best if it were 'coiled' and just hung down from the opener motor, or should it be straight and pointing down toward the ground or straight and pointing toward the driveway - or doesn't it make any difference?

What it should NOT do is present an 'end viewpoint' to the transmitter, from whatever point you normally trigger the door opener. For maximum effectiveness, it needs to be as 'broadside' as you can make it relative to the transmitter, so rotate it accordingly.

Coiling reduces the aperture and introduces inductance to the antenna, making it shorter than its free-space length. Hard to tell exactly how that would change it effectiveness (since there are a number of factors), but I'd be willing to bet it won't help.

You're going to a lot of trouble...
--
»www.archive.org/details/Meatpies_1984



49528867
Premium
join:2010-04-16
Fort Lauderdale, FL
kudos:3
reply to boaterbob

said by boaterbob:

if I were to simply use the 8" of existing antenna wire, would it work best if it were 'coiled' and just hung down from the opener motor, or should it be straight and pointing down toward the ground or straight and pointing toward the driveway - or doesn't it make any difference?

Keep it stright down don't coil it.

Wayne
--
It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence. - Charles A. Beard


49528867
Premium
join:2010-04-16
Fort Lauderdale, FL
kudos:3
reply to jwblake

said by jwblake:

Why not just get a garage door opener that can open your door faster?

Why bother the OP could install an additional receiver with an extended antenna for considerably less than a new opener.

Wayne

--
It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence. - Charles A. Beard

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
reply to boaterbob

Click for full size
downloadExternal antenna.pdf 175,896 bytes
Chamberlain makes an external door opener antenna part number: 41A3504.

Here is the webpage describing the produce:

»www.chamberlain.com/doityourself···lId=2133

I have attached the installation instructions for the Chamberlain External Antenna.


DataDoc
My avatar looks like me, if I was 2D.
Premium
join:2000-05-14
Martinsburg, WV
reply to boaterbob

Why not just slow down and give it a chance to open, Speed Racer?


wth
Premium
join:2002-02-20
Iowa City,IA
Reviews:
·Mediacom
reply to boaterbob

The factory Homelink in our old '02 Ford Explorer didn't have very good range. Sometimes you had to be in the driveway within 15' of the door to get it to open. The old std remote that came with the door had a 100yd range. Traded in the Explorer early last year for a '10 Toyota Venza with builtin Homelink. The Homelink in the Venza works much better, and I still have the same garage door opener.