Dan's Garage Door Blog

Cubs Win!

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016 at 7:35 am by Dan Musick

Way to go, Cubs!

2016 World Champions!

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Solutions for Cable Problems on Doors with Jackshaft Operators

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016 at 11:37 am by Dan Musick

There are two types of operators, trolley and drawbar.

On trolley type operators the drawbar arm pushes and pulls the top of the door to open and close it. On jackshaft operators the operator turns the torsion shaft to open and close the door. On this type of operator the cables normally loosen momentarily until the weight of the door pulls on the cables. Sometimes, however, the cables come off the drums when closing the door from the open position.

The best solution to prevent this problem is to pitch the horizontal tracks at least an inch for every foot of track  length. This allows the weight of the door to push down into the opening, thereby keeping the cables on the drums tight as the door closes.

 horizontal-track-pitch

When pitching the tracks is neither possible nor feasible, a second solution is to install pusher springs in the backs of the tracks to push the door down from the open position. This has been a helpful solution for many of the residential Liftmaster Model 8500 Openers that turn the torsion shaft to operate the door.

push-down bumper-springs

A third option is to install a larger drive sprocket on the end of the torsion shaft. This will reduce the turning speed of the torsion shaft rotation possibly eliminating the possibility of the cables coming loose.

A fourth solution is to install cable keepers. These will pull a few inches of loose cable away from each drum.

A fifth solution from the early years in the trade was to install 12″ of screen door spring, hooking one end to the bottom cable loop. We would stretch the top eight or more inches and secure it to the cable. The spring would pull the slack in the cables to prevent them from coming off the drums.

Converting from Two to Four Torsion Springs

Saturday, May 28th, 2016 at 2:38 pm by Dan Musick

When upgrading to longer life torsion springs, it is often better to convert to four smaller springs, especially when the springs are for heavier garage doors.

On a standard two spring system both springs are normally mounted back to back to the spring anchor bracket off-centered above the door.

2-spring-torsion-system

If the springs each weigh over 20 pounds, we recommend adding a bracket just beyond the end of the winding cone to support the weight. (The formula for locating the bracket before winding the spring is spring wire x number of turns plus four inches.)

shaft-support

Since an extra support bracket is needed beyond the end of each spring, we can just as easily use those brackets as spring anchor brackets for additional springs in a four spring setup. All that’s needed are extra 3/8″ X 1″ bolts and nuts.

A inquiry came in from Jordan regarding a 19′ wide X 7′ high door with a coupler in the middle of the shaft and two spring anchor brackets similar to the one in the image below.

shaft-coupler

Because the door is so heavy, we are recommending converting to four smaller springs to increase cycle life and manage the weight of the springs.

4-spring-torsion-system

 

Overhead Door vs. Arrow Tru-Line Hinges

Monday, May 9th, 2016 at 4:14 pm by Dan Musick

Overhead Door Corporation has discontinued production of their own brand of hinges.

The Arrow-Truline hinges are an excellent replacement, but the holes don’t always line up with the existing carriage bolts on the older wooden doors.

OHD-ATL-Hinges

You can see the difference in the image below.

OHD vs ATL Hinges

I have almost always been able to reuse the bottom two bolts and the lower bolt in the top of the hinge. The problem is with the top hole. If the top hole is drilled at the top of the slot, the bolt won’t fit. In the past I’ve either knocked the bolt down to fit in the top slot or I’ve removed the top bolt and re-drilled the hole pitching the bit so I could reuse the outside hole but angle the bolt down on the inside so the bolt fits the lower slot.

On steel doors the self-drilling teks should suffice for accommodating the new holes.

The EZ-Set Bearing Keeps Coming Out

Friday, May 6th, 2016 at 4:29 pm by Dan Musick

We received an email this week from a do-it-yourselfer who had installed a Clopay door with an EZ Set torsion spring set up. On his door he has a single spring with a winder at the left end of the torsion assembly. At the right end of the torsion tube there is a bearing housed in a plastic frame that slides into the end bracket, as pictured here.

clopay-ez-set-assembly2

In the past year the bearing on the right side has come out of the plastic bearing holder a few times. When this happens, the shaft grinds on the bearing frame as the door operates. And, because the cable drum and cable is lower on the right side, this side reaches the floor first when closing, and there is a gap under the left end of the door.

The bearing probably came out because the bearing holder was installed backward. On an improperly installed bearing assembly, the race of the bearing faces the inside. Since there is nothing to hold it, it can come out.

ez-set-bearing-incorrect

The correct way to fix this is to reverse the black plastic bearing housing.

ez-set-bearing-drum-installation

The bearing holder fits into the end bracket with the race of the bearing touching the cable drum.

ez-set-bearing-drum-installation

When installed this way, the bearing cannot come out of the plastic holder.

On many installations the bearing is turned correctly, but the drum is not installed next to the bearing. If there is a gap between the drum and the bearing, the bearing may slip out. We have also found that a gap can cause the right side of the drum to scrape on the frame, causing the cable to come off the drum when the door opens. The cable drum at each end of the torsion shaft must be touching the race of the bearing.

If the only problem is the bearing being installed backward, and if it looks like too big of a project to correct, you can just install a hose clamp next to the race of the bearing. You can also drill and pin the shaft next to the bearing.

Converting from Double Low Headroom Tracks to High Lift

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016 at 9:10 am by Dan Musick

Over the years we have had customers contact us for help converting from double low headroom tracks to high lift, such as when they remove a loft above the door, or when they move a low headroom door from one location to another. Here are two solutions.

Your horizontal tracks are secured to angle and track clips with rivets, as shown below. Sometimes they are connected with track bolts and nuts.

low-headroom-06-double-tracks-rivets

If you are able to remove the rivets or fasteners, we have a simple solution.

For your horizontal tracks you would reuse the lower horizontal track with the complete radius. We would then provide the standard horizontal track angle to connect the horizontal track to the high lift angle.

For the vertical track extensions you would cut the length you need from the top horizontal tracks.

You would also need to replace your top fixtures and probably the bottom fixtures as well.

outside-lift

If you are not able to remove the rivets or track bolts, an alternate solution would be for us to provide new horizontal tracks with the standard horizontal track angle.

standard-horizontal-track-angle

 

Left and Right Hand Springs

Monday, February 22nd, 2016 at 9:59 am by Dan Musick

What is a left hand spring?

In the door business it could mean one of two things.

It could mean the wind of the spring, which would be a left wind spring. A spring wound the opposite direction would be a right wind spring. Doors with two standard torsion springs normally have one left wind and one right wind spring.

Garage Door Torsion Spring Wind

The designation “left hand” could also refer to the location of the spring on the shaft in relation to the center support bracket.

Spring on left side of bracket - Right Wind

Because the phrases “left hand spring ” and “right hand spring” are not specific designations,” it is essential that you clarify the meaning of your terms when ordering just one spring.

If, by “left hand,” you mean the spring is mounted to the left of the center support bracket as in the picture above you would need to order a right wind spring.

If, by “left hand,” you mean the wind of the spring, you need to order a left wind spring which is normally wound to the right of the center support bracket as pictured below.

Spring on right side of bracket - Left Wind

On standard systems the next component beyond the winding cone is the cable drum. Beyond that is the end bearing plate.

standard-torsion-system

On outside lift systems with double horizontal tracks the cable drum is mounted outside the end bearing plate, as pictured below.

outside-lift

Unlike the standard system where the cable comes off the side of the drum facing the jamb, on outside lift, double track systems the cable usually comes off the side of the drum facing the inside of the garage. If you have an outside lift system, and if the cables come off the drums as they do above, you would mount the left wound spring to the left of the center support bracket and the right wound spring to the right of the bracket. You will also wind down on each spring rather than up.

If you have only one torsion spring on a door, and if you happened to have ordered a spring with  the incorrect wind, rather than reordering a new spring with the correct wind, the simple solution is to remove the spring and install it on the other side of the center support bracket. In some cases you may need to relocate the spring anchor bracket to make room for the spring to fit.

Gaps on High Lift Doors with Windows

Monday, February 8th, 2016 at 9:35 am by Dan Musick

On a garage door with standard lift tracks the top of the door rises immediately into the radius at about a 45 degree angle. If the door has windows in the top section, the pitch of the tracks allows the window frame to clear the top PVC stop molding.

On high lift doors, however, the pitch of the upper vertical tracks is closer to 30 degrees. If the door has windows in the top section, the pitch of the tracks causes the window frame to scrape or catch the top PVC stop molding.

On new high lift doors with windows on the top section we normally install the top PVC stop molding with minimum compression so that, as the door rises, the contact between the window frames and stop molding is minimized.

On a high lift conversion the remedy is to adjust the roller carriers of the top fixtures so the window frames clear the trim when opening. When you do this, however, you will likely lose your seal at the top of the door.

gaps-on-high-lift with-windows

The solution for this is to pitch the tracks further into the garage with longer high lift brackets. When filling out the custom high lift inquiry just indicate that you have an outside lock you want to keep and this will provide the added pitch you need.

Another option for sealing the top of the door is to tighten the tops of the vertical stops and install a top weather seal on the door. These normally work only on the doors that are two inches thick.

Depending on door thickness and the distance from the tops of the window frames to the to the top PVC stop, both solutions may be required to get an adequate seal.

How to Install Omron E3JM Photo Eyes on Powermaster Operators

Friday, January 29th, 2016 at 2:12 pm by Dan Musick

Later this year we hope to complete a video on how to install Omron E3JM Photo Eyes on older PowerMaster operators. In the interim this image should help.

Omron-E3JM-wiring-for-powermaster-operators

It simplifies the most difficult part of installing the eyes – determining where to connect the wires.

In 1992 the federal government passed laws requiring all manufactures of residential openers to include eyes with their openers. In order to close the door with radio controls or by momentarily pressing the wall button, the opener must have functioning safety eyes. If the eyes fail, or if they are disconnected, the door can be closed only by pressing and holding down the wall button.

In 2010 similar laws were passed for manufacturers of commercial and industrial operators. These have to be designed in such a way that, in order to close the door with momentary contact or with radio controls, safety eyes must be installed on the operator. If functioning eyes are not installed, the door can be closed only by pressing and holding the close button. For added safety, many establishments prefer to close doors in this manner. If they want to use radio controls, or if they want to press the close button and walk away, however, safety eyes must be wired to the operator.

Operators installed prior to 2010 have caused numerous door accidents and injuries because they were installed without safety eyes. The owners, managers and supervisors of factories, distribution centers, car dealerships, and other facilities are now having their maintenance personnel and contractors install photo eyes to protect their doors, equipment, and most importantly, their people.

In the upcoming video you will see how to connect the wires to the eyes, how to install the eyes, how to run the wires and how to connect the wires to the operator.

High Lift – How High Can I Go?

Monday, January 11th, 2016 at 1:09 pm by Dan Musick

High lift is defined as the dimension from the top of the garage door to the center line of the horizontal tracks. Most residential doors with 12″ radius tracks have 4 3/4″ of high lift, and doors with 15″ radius tracks have 7 1/2″ of high lift.

definition-of-high-lift

When engineering tracks to increase this high lift dimension, we add the existing high lift dimension to the track extension to determine the total high lift. For example, if we add 24″ vertical tracks the total high lift dimension for the door would would be 24″ + 7 1/2″ or 31 1/2.”

Our Garage Door High Lift Inquiry carefully calculates for maximum lift without risking customers having to spend the better part of a day reinstalling their high lift system. Customers still often ask if their door can be raised even higher. My short answer is that usually the tracks can extend another inch or two without any problem, but we can’t guarantee the results.

Here’s why.

Our program designs each high lift assembly with the shaft located four inches from the ceiling.

four-inches-to-shaft

The outer diameter of our standard high lift cable drum is almost 5 3/4 inches. The radius is about 2 7/8,” which leaves about 1 1/8″ clearance between the drums and the ceiling.

high-lift-drum-diameter

On some doors the top of the door rises higher than the drums and the extra inch is needed. Sometimes it is not, if the top of the door is lower than the tops of the drums.

drum-with-level-to door-top

If you don’t have a level you can measure the distance from the ceiling to the tops of both cable drums. Bear in mind that the larger diameter high lift drums require about 3/4″ of additional ceiling room.

ceiling-to-tops-of-drums

Measure also to the top of your door when it is at its highest point of travel. The bottom line is that whatever distance you raise the the tracks and torsion system, the drums and the top of the door as it travels through the tracks must fit under the ceiling.

top-of-door-to-ceiling (2)

There are two options for possibly adding another inch or two of high lift. One is to lower the end bearing plates on the horizontal track angles. You can do this if the drums are higher than the top of the door at its highest point. One thing you have to watch for is that lowering the drums could cause the top of the door to hit the drums as the door rises.

A second solution for lifting the door higher is to raise the rear ends of the horizontal tracks so the top of the door actually meets the ceiling when fully open. A car backed onto a lift and raised to a tight clearance may be able to fit just under the raised door. Note: Pitching up the ends of the horizontal tracks may require shortening the horizontal track angles.

tracks-raised-into-ceiling