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I'm watching Stargate SG-1 for the first time and after the GDO signal is confirmed, an order is given to "Open the Iris". This means the GDO doesn't open the iris by itself.

So how do the SG teams or their allies know when to go through? Does the GDO receive a confirmation signal that the iris is open?

If that's the case I can't remember anyone explaining that (which doesn't mean that's how it works, of course).

  • At least the reverse is true; there are various instances where the SG team knows the iris is still closed after sending their GDO. – Kvothe May 14 '14 at 21:34
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Yes, the GDO gets a response vis-a-vis status of the iris.

I don't believe this is ever stated or explained in as many words, but on more than one occasion we see SG personnel (usually under fire, naturally, as just about anything else would be too boring) punching in their codes, staring at their GDO transmitters, and then shouting something to the effect of, "They're not opening the iris!" Stargate Wiki confirms this, saying of Iris Deactivation Codes:

IDCs are transmitted using Garage Door Openers, a wrist-mounted transmitter with a keypad to enter the relevant code. The signal is received by a computer which identifies its origin, and an "All Clear" signal is transmitted back once the iris is open; otherwise, the GDO returns a "Do Not Proceed" message.

Common sense says this is a necessity born of the imminent risk of sure death if the iris isn't open when one steps through, and the fact that opening the iris is a manual operation done by whomever is sitting in the SGC control room at the moment -- the SG teams have no way of knowing if the guy on the other end is waiting for them, or if he had to run off to the bathroom!

That being said, on multiple occasions SG personnel at all levels seem to be confused by the functioning of this simple device, sometimes treating it as a "fire-and-forget" (or, perhaps more aptly, "fire-and-pray-they-open-the-iris-before-I-atomize-myself-against-it"! see "Children of the Gods" during the team's eleventh-hour escape from Chulac), other times extending it with never-before-mentioned features (like a "hold" signal seen in "Zero Hour" and then never mentioned again); the above, however, does seem to be its "default" method of operation when the plot doesn't require the added tension.

  • I don't remember any episode that they say that they're not opening the iris, but most likely because i didn't pay attention at the moment... Thanks for the answer! :) – Alexyr May 14 '14 at 21:38
  • @user26279 for example in Zero Hour and (I think) Prophecy. – Kvothe May 14 '14 at 21:42
  • In Zero Hour, the team are forced to wait until they get an audio signal advising them that the gate is now open, not a GDO confirmation; " O'NEILL : Open it. (The iris opens. Jack speaks into the microphone.) You’re clear.". – Valorum May 14 '14 at 21:57
  • And 'prophecy' completely contradicts your answer, showing that the team will hit the iris unless they open it; "SAM : "Sir, if we don't open the iris and it really is Colonel O'Neill, Teal'c and SG-15, then..." - HAMMOND : "...the second they step through that puddle, they'll be killed. I'm aware of that. Open the iris." – Valorum May 14 '14 at 22:01
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    I always thought the sent GDO code should include supplemental information such as "coming in hot", coming in under duress, coming in clear, etc. Similarly the SGC response should include supplemental information such as proceed, "hold" (don't proceed but we're keeping the gate open) given above, etc. The SGC might even send a "fake proceed" which would appear to any but those in one of the SG teams like proceed but really wasn't. – Jim2B Mar 23 '15 at 14:27

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