Original Author: Greg Matias, Engineering; The Genie Company
Do you know about the safety features of adding smart phone devices to your garage door opener to upgrade to a smart garage door opener? Adding a smart device to an existing garage door opener has safety requirements for unattended operation. Aladdin Connect by Genie meets the unattended operation UL requirement.
What does this mean? What is “unattended operation”?
When a smartphone is used to open or close a garage door, this means “unattended operation.” It is considered “unattended operation” because when you are using your phone to operate the garage door, you most likely will not be in the immediate vicinity of the moving garage door.
When you are operating the garage door in the immediate vicinity, you have the ability to observe the area around the garage door and determine if it is safe to close the door. Unattended operation via mobile phones allows you to operate the garage door from almost anywhere that has a cellular or internet connection. If you are pressing the button on the phone while you are at the office or across the continent, you most likely, not be able to observe the garage door or determine if it’s safe to open or close the garage door.
Meeting the unattended operation requirements is not just a good idea or a best practice; it is a mandatory part of the industry Standard UL 325 and is also established as part of the U.S. Federal law according to the U.S. Consumer Product Commission (CSPC) code 16 CFR Part 1211. Not all third party devices or apps are certified, so it important to check with the manufacturer to confirm before installation. The Genie Aladdin Connect smart garage door opener meets the UL325 law, so adding the smartphone kit to upgrade to a smart garage will meet this standard and federal law.
Unattended operation is only permitted for vertically moving sectional garage doors (most common type) and horizontally sliding doors. It is NOT permitted for one-piece overhead garage doors, and/or swing type garage doors.
Before you can close the garage door from an unattended location, an audible alert in the garage must sound for at least five seconds. There are requirements for the sound level and frequency. These requirements are defined in UL 325, so it is critical to be sure that the control adheres to these specifications and is properly certified. This is why our Aladdin Connect smart garage door opener kit beeps and flashes prior to moving the garage door. Fully compliant with UL325, you can trust Genie Aladdin Connect to sound the alarm, when moving your garage door.
In addition to an alarm, a visual alert must flash for at least five seconds before you can close the door unattended. There are also specific requirements for the visibility (lumens, flash rate, etc.) that must be followed when using unattended operation for door control.
If the door garage does not fully close after two attempts from the unattended signal (i.e. from a smartphone) due to an obstruction or safety reverse device such as a photo eye, edge sensor, or inherent reversal system, the garage door opener system must lock out or ignore additional attempts to close from the unattended system.
This safety feature is designed to prevent someone from a remote location from repeatedly starting the door in the downward direction when it is unsafe to do so. The ability to close the door via smartphone can be reset when someone in the area of the door uses a “local” control to move the door. With Aladdin Connect smart phone garage door controller, if you receive the error “UL Lockout” on the screen, this is the 2-Strike lockout feature that has kicked in.
When unattended operation is available with a garage door opener, a special label or placard should be provided to warn of unexpected garage door movement. This needs to be located near the opener local controls and should be visible from the area around the garage door. This is a critical safety feature and should not be overlooked when installing the garage door opener or an external kit such as the Aladdin Connect smart garage door opener.
Many new garage door openers have unattended operation features integrated directly inside the garage door openers motor head that hangs from the ceiling. These garage door openers connect to the local Wi-Fi and have all the warning features built in. These products include special warnings to indicate that they can be remotely operated and that the door may move unexpectedly when unattended operation is used. Genie Garage Door Openers with Aladdin Connect built-in will utilize flashing light bulbs to alert the visual signal, and fully meet all of the UL325 “unattended operation” requirements.
External control devices
External devices, that connect to the local Wi-Fi and interface with the garage door opener, are available and can be added to an existing system to provide an unattended operation option. These devices have the greatest potential for risk of misuse because they may not have all the necessary safety features, may not be labeled and listed, and may not be able to be connected to any operator in any condition, but not Aladdin Connect. The Aladdin Connect external smartphone kit meets all of these standards and provides all of the necessary required safety features.
It is extremely important to be sure that any external device used for unattended operation is labeled and listed to UL 325 standards and includes the proper warnings and alert systems. Additionally, these devices should not be installed on older operators that do not have photo-eye (safety beam) entrapment protection devices, when choosing your external kit, you can rest easy knowing, the simple choice to meet these safety features would be Aladdin Connect smart garage door opener.
Integration with security systems and home automation
With the advent of the smart home and automation integrated security systems, it has become easier to monitor and control access to the home remotely. Connecting the garage door to these systems may be convenient, but without the proper warnings and alerts, this could create a dangerous situation. Be sure to check with the manufacturer of these controls and make sure they are labeled and listed to UL 325 before connecting an operator to these systems.
For More information about the safe use of garage door openers go to the DASMA website safety page at https://www.dasma.com/dasma-pages/DASMA-safety-tips.asp , and the UL Unattended Operation Safety page at https://www.ul.com/news/convenience-and-safety-working-together-unattended-operation-residential-garage-door-operators .
Aladdin Connect is a a fully compliant UL325 certified device to upgrade your dumb garage door opener to a smart garage door opener, you can rest easy knowing that Genie The Brand You Trust keeps safety in mind.