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Elevators were invented several centuries ago. How is it possible that in the 21st century, there are still a number of cases of people getting stuck in elevators? I have gotten stuck in an elevator myself before, and have anxiety about entering an elevator ever since.

So I would like to know, what causes elevators to get stuck to the point that it requires outside intervention?

Why can't (or shouldn't) it automatically recalibrate itself?

Is it more of a mechanical issues or electrical issue?

Does an elevator getting stuck indicate a serious issue with the elevator that require maintenance, or is it something that can happen to even newly installed elevators?

Will we ever be able to fully prevent elevators from getting stuck?


Additional Questions:

  • Occasionally, I may hear a loud bang when riding on an elevator. Although luckily the elevator does not get stuck. Why does that happen?
  • In some elevators, a person stepping into the elevator will occasionally cause it to wobble up and down, as if it is trying to realign itself with the floor. This tends to happen more often if the person is heavy in their footsteps. Is there a reason to worry in this situation?
  • Some times, an elevator will start beeping even though it did not exceed capacity. After the door closes, the beeping stops and it proceeds as normal. Why does this happen?
  • In what case (if any) would getting stuck in an elevator be life threatening? (Assuming the person remains perfectly calm and will only attempt to leave the elevator under the guidance of trained personnel)
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closed as too broad by GlenH7 Aug 5 '15 at 18:36

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Engineering. I have placed your question on-hold as too broad in order to allow you to edit your question and narrow the scope. Elevator design does rely upon Engineering expertise, but your overall question is asking about quite a few things. The StackExchange Q&A format works best with focused questions that can be reasonably answered in a few paragraphs. $\endgroup$ – GlenH7 Aug 5 '15 at 18:39
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    $\begingroup$ Elevators, being machines controlled by software and powered by electricity, are prone to all of the same limitations of machines, software and electronics. I.e., they can experience mechanical breakdowns, exhibit buggy behavior, lose power, and so on. Unless you can give a specific, detailed problem, you'll have to use your imagination. $\endgroup$ – Air Aug 5 '15 at 20:55
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    $\begingroup$ What Air said - PLUS elevators are designed to be safe. In situations where the automated systems are presented with inputs (or lack of inputs) that exceed their ability to deal with them they take the "Fail SAFE" approach and "just stop". This is almost always the safest thing to do. I too have been stuck in an elevator (several decades ago) that "just stopped". | I do not want to add to your concerns re elevators which in all honest are not very soundly based (but, you know that :-) ). A building fire is about the only likely serious problem - and stairs can be as bad. That is far less .... $\endgroup$ – Russell McMahon Aug 6 '15 at 2:41
  • $\begingroup$ .... of a hazard than things we face every day without thought for the risks. | We all have occasions where we under or over estimate risks in life. Do what you can to conciously realise that past events are having less than reasonable effects on you, accept that that's what our brains do as a protection mechanism, and in time the fears are liable to fade if recognised as 'just one of the things that happens' after some such events. [[I was hit head on by a car while on a motorbike. It took some years before I was able to behave sensibly on a motorbike thereafter]]. . $\endgroup$ – Russell McMahon Aug 6 '15 at 2:46