Depending on the design, you can know in advance how many turns are going to have to be unwound. Lifting a 7-foot door by winding a cable on a 4-inch diameter (about 1 foot circumference) drum requires about 7 turns, plus one extra turn to maintain cable tension at the top-of-travel. Maintaining tension at the top-of-travel is critical; without it the cable will jump off the drum, requiring a serious repair.
In my case, removing and replacing the relaxed springs required that I take down the assembly: torsion shaft, lift drums, and bearings. Doing that requires unbolting the center bearing plate from the wall, removing the drums from the shaft, and finally sliding the shaft back and forth out of the end bearings to remove the whole assembly off the wall. I am fortunate to have a lot of clearance in this garage to make the disassembly simpler. Tighter clearance to walls or ceiling would make disassembly a more difficult manipulation.
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A standard residential door raises 7.5 feet, but since the door goes horizontal this is equivalent to raising the whole door for half that distance, or about 3.75 feet. So if the door weighs, say, 150 lbs, then the energy supplied by the springs is 3.75 * 150, or about 563 foot-pounds. This is like throwing a 50-lb sack of cement up a 11-foot flight of stairs. Or catching a 50-lb sack of cement dropped from 11 feet up.
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The electric overhead garage door opener was invented by C.G. Johnson in 1926 in Hartford City, Indiana. Electric Garage Door openers did not become popular until Era Meter Company of Chicago offered one after World War II where the overhead garage door could be opened via a key pad located on a post at the end of the driveway or a switch inside the garage.
Annual maintenance. Make an annual check of all nuts and bolts on rails and rollers to make sure they’re firmly tightened. Check the condition of all cables to make sure they’re not worn or frayed. Lubricate rollers and springs with a garage-door lubricant (see How to Fix a Noisy Garage Door for maintenance and problem-solving tips). The door should operate smoothly and be properly balanced. Check the balance by disconnecting the opener and lowering the door halfway- the door should hold its position. If it doesn’t, adjust the spring tension or replace the springs.
At this point I weighed the unlifted door to confirm and fine-tune my calculations. This is not strictly necessary, but it makes the adjustments easier to perform, if you happen to have a scale with the requisite capacity. With some helpers, we first lifted the door a few inches and rested it on blocks of wood to provide clearance underneath. Then I slid a 400-pound-capacity freight scale under the center of the door, we lifted again to remove the blocks, and lowered the door gently onto the scale. This door weighed in at 238 pounds, which is very heavy for a single-car door. Since the outside of the door carries the 3/4-inch plywood paneling to match the house, and that plywood weighs about 2 lbs/sq-ft, I estimate the door weight to be about 7 x 10 x 2 = 140 lbs of paneling with the rest 238 - 140 = 98 lbs the interior panels, hardware, and cobwebs. Knowing this total weight will help later in adjusting the torsion on the springs. After weighing, we removed the scale and blocks, leaving the door fully lowered again. Had I not had a high-capacity freight scale, I might have improvised a crude weighing device from levers and smaller weights of known mass, or a lever arm pressing a reduced proportion of the full weight onto a lower-capacity scale. Another factor to remember is that The weight of a wood door can vary with humidity.
The best garage door openers have a lifetime warranty on their motor and belt or chain. While it’s common for motors to come with lifetime warranties, belt and chain and parts warranties are often not that generous. However, it’s not uncommon for parts warranties to extend several years. Often the warranties are limited and subject to specific stipulations that vary and are detailed in the user manuals.
By watching the chalk mark while winding, you can count the number of turns applied, and confirm the number later. My standard-size door (7 foot height) with 4-inch drums has a nominal wind of 7-1/4 or 7-1/2 turns, which leaves 1/4 or 1/2 turn at the top-of-travel to keep the lift cables under tension. After 7 turns on the first spring, I clamped down the set-screws, weighed the door again, and found a lift of about 100 pounds in reduced weight. As expected, this wasn't quite half of the full 238 pounds, nor would it leave any torsion at the top-of-travel, so I added an 8th turn. The door now weighed 122 pounds on one spring, which was ideal. After winding the other spring, the door lifted easily, with only a few pounds apparent weight. This confirmed that the spring choice was properly matched to the door design. I engaged the electric opener trolley, and adjusted the opener forces down to a safer level suitable for the new, improved balance. The door was now ready for return to service.
Smartphone Control: Many newer garage door openers allow you to connect the device to your home's Wi-Fi network, according to RW Garage Doors. You then can open and close the door through a smartphone app. In fact, many of these apps will give you an alert on the smartphone when the garage door is open for a certain period. Some opener models even can connect to your existing Smart Home system, incorporating all your appliances on one system.