Elevator buttons

So in the elevators in our office, there are the typical buttons that you normally see in most elevators. I’m curious if anyone knows the differences between ones that are used to either close or open the doors. I normally see two different buttons for opening and two different buttons for closing.

< > <|> - for opening the doors

> < >|< - for closing the doors

What’s the difference for the buttons with the line down the center vs the buttons with no line?

Many elevators will have multiple sets of doors (one on the front, one on the back, for example). The vertical line indicates the button is for the front door.

Some buttons are the same size, even between brands, so if certain buttons need to be replaced there’s no guaranty the the repair service is going to match buttons other then; ‘Does it fit in the board?’ and ‘Is it marked correctly?’

Learned by watching many elevator "hacking’ videos on the YouTubes.

CMC fnord!

They are usually the same. The same panel will be used in elevators that have front and rear doors and the one with the line will close the rear doors in that case. That is if the buttons do anything at all.

Ah! That makes sense, as a two of the elevators do stop on a mezzanine level that opens to the back side of the elevator.

Using a line to indicate the front is pretty ambiguous. How is anyone supposed to know that?

See! It only took a few posts to find somone who thinks a line means the opposite.

I dug up a cite (mostly to make sure I didn’t have it backwards):

This image is from the actual ICC spec:

ICC charges money for the spec, but that excerpt is from the Minnesota Accessibility Code which is available online here:

So yeah, vertical line = front.

But you definitely have a point. Many people have complained that the symbol is not intuitive, and that very few people even know what the vertical line is supposed to mean.

There is also this. You are standing in an elevator, facing the side wall. There is a door to your left and a door to your right. There is an identical control panel next to each door. Which door is the “front” and which door is the “rear”?

This isn’t even a made-up example. Our local hospital has an elevator like this. The first floor is the main floor, and the “front” entrance to the hospital is on this floor. The main patient entrance though is on the lower level in the rear of the hospital (there’s no parking out front). Is the “front” of the elevator the side that faces the first floor main entrance or the patient main entrance?

It’s a stupid standard.

Why would you need separate buttons for the door at the front and back of an elevator? It’s not like it can move with one door closed. Why not just have the same button open and close both doors? If it’s a security issue then presumably there would be a key that would enable/disable the door on the secure side.

The only scenario I can imagine where it’s useful is if you’re trying to escape zombies.

I’m going off memory for an elevator I’ve been on often with front and back doors. It could easily be the other way round, or not following the standard. The vast majority of elevators don’t have rear doors so it’s not something I’d make a note of.

Sometimes (usually I think) both doors don’t open on every floor. I’m sure it could be programmed to know when to open only one door but as I pointed out before those buttons for either door may be programmed to do nothing at all.

You’re surely not suggesting that the two buttons are there so that passengers can determine which side to open when there’s only an exit on one side - and that if they choose wrong the doors will open to a blank elevator shaft wall?

No, obviously the lift programming knows which side(s) has an exit available, and will only open the doors when there’s an exit.

So why won’t one button do?

I think the only person that needs to know would be a firefighter with the manual override key.

First, the only cases I know of where both doors can open on the same floor also have the option to lock one door or the other. This would be for safety purposes in a freight elevator to keep anyone from entering while loading or to enter an already heavily loaded elevator. Another use is in hospitals where the patients, alive and deceased, need to be transported between floors that have rear doors to restricted areas. But in both those cases you don’t want the other door opening, or the elevator stopping at any floors you didn’t select.

So if there are any elevators that have both front and rear doors to regularly accessible areas I don’t know why one button wouldn’t do. Of course there would still be two buttons for the reason stated above, they just want to use the same control panel for different elevators. So you’d end up with two unnecessary pointless buttons, or two buttons that don’t do anything anyway.

Sure, but I already mentioned the case when you need security. Two buttons alone cannot control security - you need a key to limit what happens. And if there is a key to limit what happens, you don’t need two buttons.

Do you know of any elevators that open have front and rear doors opening to accessible areas? I can’t think of one offhand but I’m sure there must be one somewhere.

How would that address the question of why you need two buttons?

That’s the only case where you need only one button for two doors.

And let me ask again, how would that address the question of why you ever need two buttons?

And again, for security purposes when there are two doors. And then the same panels are used whether you need the buttons or not. And again, no buttons are needed to open and close any number of doors because the buttons can be programmed to do nothing at all, and often are. What part of this are you missing?

I’ve read your posts and responded to them. If you’d care to do the same rather than ignoring the points I made, that might help the conversation make progress. For example, when you ignored this point (for a second time):

You quoted this in your post #15, but replied with a non sequitur.

There may well be a situation that is best addressed with two buttons, but you haven’t stated it. The only situation that really makes sense is two exits where by default you don’t want one to open, but there is no security concern. So you don’t want key control because that would require giving a key to everyone taking the non-default exit. Maybe this is common in hotels?