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Home Elevator Terminology

We've listed several common terms that would be good to know for anyone that may be interested in the purchase of a residential or LU/LA elevator. Most of the terms listed are basic informational terms about the main components of the elevator, while others are technical terms that may be more helpful for your architect or general contractor

Automatic Gate Operator: An electromechanical device that opens and closes the car gate automatically.

Backup Battery: An emergency power source that will allow you to lower the elevator to the next lower level in the event of a power failure.

Call Button: Pressing the call button in the hallway will call the elevator to your level.

Car (or Cab): The elevator car transports passengers from one floor to another. These come pre-finished or can be left unfinished to accept your design.

C.O.P.: The Car Operating Panel (C.O.P.) is the control panel inside the elevator that houses the floor buttons, the light switch, the alarm button, the emergency stop switch and optional key lock.

Controller: The controller houses the electrical control circuits of the elevator. This is the brain of the elevator system.

Counterweight: A series of weights stacked on top of each other to offset the cab weight. Used to increase efficiency.

Counterweight Drive: This drive system utilizes an overhead machine drive that connects a stack of counterweights to the sling and cab assembly by way of 2 #60 roller chains.

Drive System: The drive system is the power and strength behind lifting the elevator car and its passenger(s)

Dumbwaiter: Is a self contained car that is lowered and raised on a vertical path. Dumbwaiters can carry loads from 50 lbs. to 500 lbs. depending on the model chosen. Load examples may be fireplace wood, grocery bags, laundry and paperwork.

Electromechanical Interlock: Often referred to as EMI, is an electromechanical safety lock that prevents the hoistway door (hall door) from opening if the elevator is not at that landing.

G.A.L.: Mechanical locking device located on the door at each floor level. Uses an arm to positively lock and open the door.

Gate: The gate is a door that attaches to the outer edge of the elevator or dumbwaiter car. It prevents objects inside the car from coming into contact with objects outside of the car during travel. Gate styles include: accordion for elevators and bi-part and roll top gates for dumbwaiters.

Gearless Drive: This drive system utilizes a small gearless, overhead motor that attaches to the sling assembly with a set of wire cables.

Hall Station: The Hall Station refers to the panel located outside the elevator doorway in the hallway that houses the call button.

Hoistway: The hoistway is the enclosed space in which the elevator travels.

Hoistway Doors: The hoistway door allows access to the hoistway and is prevented from opening unless the elevator is stopped and waiting at that particular landing.

Hydraulic (Roped): This drive system utilizes a hydraulic jack and a wire rope to raise and lower the passenger car.

Jack: The Jack utilizes hydraulic power to lift or lower the passenger car.

Landing: A term used to describe each floor on which the elevator will open.

Machine Room: The machine room is a small adjacent room that houses the drive system and electrical controls.

Machine Room-less: Used when located on top of the rail in the hoistway and the Control box is located nearby but does not require a separate room.

Muntz: Muntz is the name given to the bronze tone finish on the hall stations and car operating panel.

Pit: The pit provides clearance for the support components that are below the floor of the elevator car allowing the elevator floor to level with the lowest landing floor.

Rail: The rail is the steel track that guides the elevator when it travels up and down the hoistway. Depending on the model there may be one or two rails.

Service Disconnect: Located near the controller in the machine room, the service disconnect is the main power switch to the elevator.

Sheave: Elevator term for a pulley.

Sling: The sling is an L-shaped steel support that holds the elevator car and is attached to the rail system.

Weight Capacity: Is the total amount of weight that can be added to the elevator. For safety purposes, never exceed the elevator car’s weight capacity.

Winding Drum Elevator: This drive system utilizes wire ropes that wind onto a rotating drum.

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