Excelerator II 1500 Screw Drive Review
There are basically five types of garage door opener drives: direct, chain, belt, screw or jackshaft. The most common types are are chain-driven and belt-driven openers, especially in DIY products. Jackshaft openers are essentially reserved for professional installation. Direct-drive units are a special design from Germany and aren’t really seen outside of Sommer’s product range. Screw-drive openers are an interesting addition to this mix. They work by rotating a threaded rod that moves a carriage back and forth.
Screw-drives don’t have many moving parts and therefore, theoretically, require almost no maintenance and will last a very long time. Chain-drives need periodic adjustment as the chain becomes slack, although this is very infrequent. Screw drives are generally quieter than chain openers, but louder than ones that use a belt.
To make a long story short, screw drive pioneer Genie makes and sells screw-drive openers and this is one of the more expensive ones. Let’s see if it’s a viable option.
Genie Decides to Screw It
This unit from Genie feels a little out in left field, to be honest. It looks exactly like other chain- and belt-driven units from the company, which is to say: like someone stuck an upside down outboard motor to your ceiling. However, its entire operating principle is different.
Whether or not you like the looks of the Excelerator II (which I think was also a movie with Chuck Norris in it) is a point of personal taste. I think it looks just OK, bordering on the wrong side of attractive. Really though, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so don’t let me stop you from liking it.
Strong Like Bull
As a 1 HP unit you’re unlikely to have a door this guy won’t lift. For most people with doors up to 550 pounds a 3/4 HP unit is more than enough. I suspect most buyers are not going to push this opener to its operating limits, so in theory this should mean years of trouble-free operation – especially given the vaunted durability of the screw-drive.
Genie seems to think that both the drive and motor won’t ever give you problems, so they’ve slapped a lifetime warranty on both. Well, if you consider fifteen years a lifetime. Parts enjoy a far shorter warranty of three years.
The Genie Safe-T-Beam (courtesy of Wile-E Coyote, I presume) makes sure that wandering children and roadrunners don’t get squished by the door. There’s also a pressure sensor that will reverse the door if it feels too much resistance. At least, that’s one of the things I think the GenieSense (TM) technology does, apart from other diagnostics meant to reduce wear and tear.
Like all but the cheapest products, the Excelerator II has rolling code technology, which Genie refers to as IntelliCode (TM). It prevents radio code piracy by changing the codes every time you click the remote. The remotes also automatically seek a signal within a particular range, making jamming or interference less of a problem.
There’s also HomeLink and Car2U compatibility, but check if your model of vehicle is supported before laying down your cash.
There are a few accessories that come with this model of opener. Two three-button remotes, some IR sensor eyes for the Safe-T-Beam, a wall control, and a keyless entry pad. All in all, this is a pretty complete bundle. The Excelerator supports up to 75W of lighting, but of course bulbs are not included. It also has a c-rail, which encloses the screw and allows for flush installations.
There aren’t any smart internet features advertised in the product description, but there seems to be a Genie network adapter upgrade available that allows “higher technology door operation options”. The actual product description for the adapter (about $20, incidentally) isn’t much help either, but I checked and Genie does have a basic-looking smartphone app. So I assume if you get the network adapter you can control it through your smartphone. Genie’s documentation is not very helpful in this regard and, to be honest, doesn’t fill me with confidence.
The Excelerator II (as the oddly spelled name implies) has one key party trick – it’s fast. While most chain- or belt-drive openers will top out at 7 inches per second, the Excelerator II tops out at 12 inches per second. Combine that with the trademark smoothness of screw-drives and that’s actually quite impressive. You could show this off at your house parties. Well you could, but people who show off garage door openers never get anyone to come to their parties. Honestly though, to me (and clearly to Genie) this is the key selling point of the Excelerator. It’s the factor that will separate it from chain- and belt-drive units that you may also be considering.
Over To Our Panel of Judges
At first, I thought that given how well belt-openers work there was really no reason to consider a screw-drive opener. I still think the superlative Chamberlain WD1000WF (which is nearly $100 cheaper) is more worthy of your money. However, if you are a person who is simultaneously too lazy to do infrequent maintenance and also too impatient to wait another 30 seconds for the garage to open all the way then, wow – have I got the product for you!Share