Chamberlain WD832KEV Garage Door Opener Review

posted in: Chamberlain, MyQ, Reviews | 0

71gz-BK5X1L._SX522_The Good: Very quiet operation.  With the MyQ internet gateway, this opener can be controlled from anywhere you have an internet connection.  Can also be paired with MyQ light modules.  App can be enabled to alert you when door is opening, closing, or open for a certain amount of time.  Wall mounted control panels have 180 degree motion detectors to automatically turn on lights.  Can be set to automatically close after 1, 5 or 10 minutes if no motion is detected.  Chamberlain support is top notch.  Works with Nest…for some reason.

The Bad: The WD832KEV requires the MyQ internet gateway for many of the smart features.  It is included with the WD832KEVG for an extra $40.  MyQ does not currently work with any other devices or standards, making it very hard to include in centralized home automation.  Included pulleys are made of plastic and can break.  Can turn your neighbor’s older model openers into slaves if they are in close proximity.

Overall: These are feature rich garage door openers with a reasonable price point.  Although the motors themselves make noise in the garage, they are barely audible in the house, even in rooms above the garage.  The MyQ features make sure you will never forget to close the garage doors, and the motion detectors ensure that you never have to fumble for the lights in a dark garage again.

The garage isn’t the first place most people think about when they start automating their homes.  In my case, my garage had no openers when I moved in and winter was coming, so installing a pair of these Chamberlain WD832KEV 1/2 HP openers was at the top of our list.

The first thing that drew me to these openers over others was that they are so feature rich.  The motion detectors on the wall units are such a simple thing, and we no longer even think about them, we just expect them to work.  When I walk into the garage from the house, the overhead lights come on the instant I start to open the door.  This is huge, since the garage is the most likely place I would be carrying an armful of stuff and have trouble fumbling with the lights.

It took me a couple weeks before deciding to enable the automatic close feature.  This is because in the first week my wife forgot to close the garage and I made fun of her so much that when I did the same thing the second week, I couldn’t bare to hear it from her.  From that point on we have used the automatic close and it has probably saved us from leaving the doors open more times than we know.  You can set the doors to close automatically after 1, 5 or 10 minutes of inactivity, which means neither the wall mounted motion sensors nor the tripwire sensor detect motion.  You can also manually override this by pushing a “Hold” button, which will hold the door open until you manually close it.  When the door does close automatically, it makes a very loud beeping sound similar to a dump truck backing up.

Despite the automatic close feature, sometimes you still manage to forget to close the garage.  Whether you’ve just settled in to bed or you happen to be boarding a plane when you realize it, you will be proud of yourself for getting MyQ enabled doors.  Kind of.  I fell victim to marketing and not paying close enough attention to the fine print when I bought my WD832KEV’s because they are MyQ enabled and not MyQ equipped.  My doors required the separate MyQ internet gateway in order to communicate with my home network.  I assume there were complaints about this because Chamberlain now sells the WD832KEVG, which includes the gateway.  If you plan to use MyQ with these openers, you only need one internet gateway for all of your openers.

On its own, MyQ is decent, but not great.  For one, it is walled off from virtually anything that is not MyQ.  There is some functionality through the SmartThings hub, and people have reported that they can even get their Amazon Echo to operate the doors by saying “Alexa, turn on the garage door.”  However, they do have to use the “turn on” command to both open and close the door.  MyQ also works with Nest.  You can control your Nest thermostat from within the MyQ app, which you will never do, and the integration is supposed to give your Nest a better idea of whether you are home or not.  To date, I have never noticed any improvement.  There are also MyQ enabled light controllers, but they don’t really work with any other home automation platforms at this time, and I can’t recommend building your smart home around your garage door’s automation standard.  MyQ also has limited integrations with Wink and Xfinity Home.  I can’t speak for Xfinity, but the integration with Wink is basically just porting the MyQ app through the Wink app.

The MyQ app is not well laid out.  You can create multiple places, in case you want to manage multiple MyQ devices in multiple homes (hello Mr Fancypants!), and then add devices to each place.  Each device gets a huge full screen animated icon that is a massive waste of screen real estate.  To change devices, you swipe right or left to the next giant icon.  When you have a device on screen, you can tap the picture of the device, such as your garage door, to interact with it.  If it is a door, it will open or close the door, a light will turn on or off, and your Nest will switch from home to away or vice versa.  You can also set alert rules for certain devices, letting you know via email or push notification that a door has been opened or closed.  The rules will let you specify whether you want notifications immediately, after a certain period of time, only during specific hours, only on specific days, or a combination of these things.  If you ever close your garage doors with the app, the openers will sound the same incredibly loud alarm as the automatic close feature.  This wont go over well with the neighbors at 2 AM.

Speaking of the neighbors, these and other newer openers have a neat little feature that Chamberlain doesn’t like to publicize.  In the event they are installed in close proximity to other garage door openers built before the late 90’s (I believe the cutoff was 1997), they will take over the older openers as slaves and never let them go.  My garage is about 60 feet from my neighbor’s garage and one day, shortly after my openers had been installed, he came to my house and asked me to open my garage.  I pressed the button on my opener and watched with a mix of amusement and embarrassment as both my door and his door opened at the same time.  He said it had been going on for weeks.  I immediately called Chamberlain support and explained the situation.  They told me that it was a known issue, and that there was literally no way my neighbors would ever regain control of their doors again!  The good news for all parties is that Chamberlain is happy to take care of the problem.  They gave me a number for my neighbor to call, and about two weeks later he was at my door with a free dinner to thank me for his new garage door openers.  This is good to know if you live where garages are in close proximity and it is likely that neighbors have older openers still in use.

Finally, as for the openers themselves…they open and close garage doors!  This 1/2 HP model functions perfectly with my single bay steel garage doors.  Heavier doors or double bay doors may require a more powerful motor.  The WD in the model number stands for “Whisper Drive” and they aren’t kidding.  My openers are right below my home office and I can never hear them open or close.  Yes, when you are in the garage the motors make a fair amount of noise, but you won’t hear them where it matters.  My one complaint about the parts is that the included pulleys for the belt are made of plastic and I had a defective one crack and eventually explode.  Even the repair guy couldn’t understand why they don’t spend the extra dollar for metal pulleys.  I have also had to perform a part replacement when the travel mechanism (the part that tells the door how far to open or close) malfunctioned on one of my units.  Chamberlain shipped the part for free and replacement was as simple as removing the housing, snapping the old part out and snapping the new part in.

Despite a few minor inconveniences for me, and one major inconvenience for my neighbor, I have been satisfied with these openers.  MyQ is severely lacking and Chamberlain needs to tear down the walls to make it work with other platforms.  If I was buying openers today I would consider cheaper alternatives paired with Garageio specifically because Garageio works with IFTTT and Amazon Echo.