I replaced a 10 year old noisy chain drive garage door opener with a Chamberlain® Whisper Drive garage door opener featuring MyQ™ Technology with Battery Backup and am pleased to write this product review. The Chamberlain® Whisper Drive with was true to the company claims “Quiet, Fast, Smooth”.
Why Choose a Belt Drive Garage Door Opener?
I’ve had several homes with chain drive garage door openers – all were noisy and sent grinding vibrations through the wood framing that was heard all through the house. At a former home in Florida, I replaced a chain drive opener with a Genie screw drive model and it was a nice improvement. The issue with the chain- and screw drive door openers is the T-rail or screw drive must be well lubricated and problems can arise in cold weather when the grease thickens, causing the motor force sensor to think something is blocking the door and the door stays open.
Belt drive garage door openers have a reputation for being the quiet and I settled on the Chamberlain® 3/4 HP Whisper Drive unit for the following reasons:
- Quiet – a bedroom is over the garage and I wanted as little noise as possible.
- Lifetime motor warranty
Lifetime belt warranty
The box states “15 years”, however the Installation Guide warranty page says “10 years” and the Chamberlain web site specifies “Lifetime” warranty. I e-mailed Chamberlain customer support who replied the next day and confirmed the belt has a Lifetime warranty.
- Battery backup – to operate the door in case of a power outage
- Security+ anti-burglary rolling code security technology.
- Motion-Detecting Smart Control Panel – a modern wall switch with an illuminated blue LCD that displays the time, temperature and command menus for programming remotes and an automatic “time to close” feature. The motion sensor turns on the opener lights when you pass by or the door safety sensor beam is broken; my wife really likes this feature. Saves hunting around for the light switch and turns off automatically after a few minutes.
- Time-to-Close – programmable timer to close the door after 1, 5 or 10 minutes. Never worry about leaving the door open all day or night again! This can be overridden by pressing the “Hold” menu button the Smart Control Panel if you’re outside and want to keep the door open.
- 3/4 horsepower – My old unit was 1/2 HP. I didn’t spending a little more for a stronger motor that would less stressed.
- Wireless outdoor keypad – great for opening the door when working in the yard.
- Accepts 100 watt light bulbs – either compact florescent or incandescent for 200 watts total. I like a lot of light in the garage.
- MyQ™ Garage Door Monitor – table top unit that displays the garage door open/closed status, chimes when the door opens or closes and remotely closes the door with the push of a button. Note: LiftMaster® is a Chamberlain company.
Chamberlain® Battery Backup with MyQ Technology Garage Door Opener Packages
The Chamberlain 3/4 HP belt drive garage door opener with battery backup is sold with different MyQ™ accessories in the three different packages:
- Model #: 349544 with the table top MyQ Garage Door Monitor.
- Model #: HD920EV with MyQ Remote Light Switch.
- Model #: WD962KEV with myQ Remote Lamp Control.
All MyQ enabled Chamberlain Whisper Drive door openers include the:
- Smart Control Panel®
- Wireless Keypad
- Two remote controls with visor clips for the cars
- Door safety sensors
Additional MyQ accessories can be purchased separately to expand your system.
How Quiet is the Chamberlain Whisper Drive?
This next video is a demonstration of the 10 year old 1/2 HP chain drive garage door opener that will be replaced with the Chamberlain Whisper Drive. Couple of pointers:
- The door itself makes a lot of noise. A good cleaning and oiling of the hinges and tracks is needed.
- The door stops hard and shakes back and forth at the top of its travel. You’ll see this at the 19 second mark in the video.
- The grinding motor hum and vibrations transmitted through the house framing isn’t very apparent in the audio.
- A slight shimmering in the video is due to the camera auto-focus getting confused by the door movement.
Chamberlain Whisper Drive Demonstration
The operation of the new Chamberlain belt drive model 349544 garage door opener is demonstrated in the next video. Notice the following:
- The door tracks and hinges have been thoroughly cleaned and lubricated, greatly reducing the door noise.
- The Chamberlain belt drive motor makes a higher pitched whirring noise compared to the low grinding noise of the belt drive. The vibration transmitted through the wood framing to the bedroom over the garage is greatly reduced, but not totally gone. The “Whisper Drive” name shouldn’t be taken literally, however it’s a big improvement and the door isn’t heard throughout the house.
- The door stops gently at the top of its travel and doesn’t shake!
Chamberlain Belt Drive Installation Highlights
The Chamberlain installation guide for the 3/4 HP belt drive models with battery backup and MyQ technology is well written with numerous illustrations and available here. Best to read the entire manual and familiarize yourself with all the parts before installing the garage door opener. I’ll show highlights of what I thought were the more interesting parts of the installation.
The kit contents as I unpacked the box:
Give yourself plenty of room to arrange everything on the floor to identify the parts and installation hardware. I used a tape measure to ensure I had the correct length bolt or pin as called for at different steps in the instructions.
Remove the Old Garage Door Opener
The old garage door opener was apparently installed by my old friend, the original homeowner, who as I found time and time again, usually botched or goobered the job. This was no different – the safety reversing sensors are taped together to override their purpose!
The old garage door opener is removed by:
- Unplug the power cord.
- Disconnect all the bell wires.
- Remove the two bolts from the ceiling mounting bracket.
- Support the motor head on top of a step ladder.
I couldn’t just set the motor head on the floor because the T-rail would hit the cross strut on the garage door.
- Disconnect the lift arm from the garage door bracket by removing the clevis pin and retaining ring.
- Disconnect the T-rail from the wall bracket by removing that clevis pin and retaining ring.
The old motor still worked OK, so I donated it to Goodwill.
The rail sections snapped together without any problems. The inner & outer trolley is slipped onto the rail (not shown), then the rail is slipped onto the U-bracket on the motor head. Tip: The U-bracket bolts are already installed on the motor head; remove these to attach the U-bracket. The long bolt in the photo has a square head and installed in the hole indicated by the yellow arrow.
This review is continued in Chamberlain Belt Drive Garage Door Opener Review – Part 2.