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Dumbwaiter Types

Manual Dumbwaiters vs. Powered Dumbwaiters

Manual dumbwaiters—A system of pulleys, counterweights, gears and brakes makes the dumbwaiter easy to use. The automatic braking system will prevent the dumbwaiter from accidentally dropping. In most cases, there are hand ropes on either side of the car. Pulling the rope of one side will raise the car, pulling the rope on the other side will lower the car. There are no interlocks, so access doors can open when the car isn’t there and should be manually locked to ensure that children and pets can’t gain access to the hoist-way.

Powered dumbwaiters—Powered dumbwaiters are raised and lowered with a touch of a button. The motor for the dumbwaiter is typically found below or above the car to drive it up and down the shaft.  There are other models in which the motor is housed in a separate machine room (more typical in commercial dumbwaiters). Depending on the model and sometimes the weight capacity of the dumbwaiter, the speed can vary from about 20 fpm (feet per minute) to about 50 fpm. All dumbwaiters should come with car gate(s) for the opening(s) in the car and interlocks for the landing doors. Interlocks prevent the doors from opening when the car isn’t at a particular landing.