This is the electric opener which operates this door. I'm picturing it here because you pull the rope to disconnect the trolley, run the trolley under power to the fully-open position, and then disconnect power before working on the door. Then you should lock the door down with either the security lock or with Vise-Grips or C-clamps. This avoids the door lifting when you don't expect it as you are applying spring adjustments. It you were to foolishly overwind the spring without the door locked down, you could possibly find the door trying to leap up to the raised position when you aren't prepared. That would likely knock your grip off the winding rods, with potentially disastrous results. I like to work under the safety principle that serious accidents should be physically possible only when you make two or more stupid mistakes at the same time.
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.
A spring design manual, also called a rate book, gives tables that relate the torque constant ("rate") and maximum turns for springs of given wire size, diameter, and length. For example, a typical page in a rate book would show a table for a given wire size and inside diameter, the maximum inch-pounds (MIP) of torque available for a standard lifetime of 10,000 cycles in that size, the weight of the spring per linear inch, and the rates of the spring (as IPPT, inch-pounds per turn) for each of various lengths. From these figures one can calculate the lifting capacity, substitutions, conversions, and cycle life upgrades for a door of given weight and drum geometry. The weight-lifting capacity of a given spring is calculated based on its torque constant (IPPT, or inch-pounds per turn), which is the rotational version of the spring constant that characterizes the spring. The IPPT constant is found from tables giving IPPT for given spring dimensions (wire-size/diameter/length). The same tables may indicate the maximum number of turns for various expected lifetimes in cycles. The torque required to balance a given door can be calculated from the weight of the door times the moment arm of the drums (as we do below under "Calculating the Forces We Will Be Handling"). The ultimate torque of the spring in the fully-wound condition is the number of turns (when fully-wound) times the IPPT constant. Choosing a spring to balance the door then simply requires matching the ultimate torque of the spring to the balancing torque.
Speed of a thrown winding bar:: The springs, being in balance with the door, effectively are able to launch a typical 150 lb door at 10.6 mph speed. An 18-inch long by 1/2-inch diameter steel winding bar happens to weigh about 1 pound. Since momentum is conserved, this 150:1 ratio in weight of the door to the winding bar means the fully-wound springs could potentially throw a winding bar at 10.6 mph * 150 = 1590 mph = 2332 ft/sec, assuming the energy were perfectly coupled and transferred. If the energy transfer were only 1/3 efficient, this would still be the 800 ft/sec speed of a typical pistol bullet. Except it is a foot-and-a-half metal spear, not a bullet.
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Winding "up" starts out easy. It finishes at the proper number of turns, by which time you are pushing against the maximum torque. Count the turns of spring winding from when the springs are slack. To be sure you're winding the right direction, all you have to remember is that proper winding makes the spring smaller in diameter and longer in length as it twists "in". On the standard door (most common), this means you push the winding bars up to wind up the spring, which is an easily remembered rule. This is very apparent and should be verified during the first few easy turns. You can also think about the correct winding direction in mechanical terms, namely which way the reaction of the spring will torque the shaft and drums, which in turn will lift the cable. This should all make perfect sense before you attempt the manipulations.
The one excuse that makes the most sense is, "if we sell springs to a do-it-yourselfer, and he gets hurt installing it, we could get sued." I can sympathize with someone who wants to sell only to the trade and not bother with the risk of a spurious product liability lawsuit from an ignorant member of the public. But the lawn-mower dealers have figured out how to manage that kind of exposure, so this is not an absolute barrier to retailing garage door parts to the public. It doesn't explain why torsion springs at retail are virtually non-existent.
Speed of a thrown winding bar:: The springs, being in balance with the door, effectively are able to launch a typical 150 lb door at 10.6 mph speed. An 18-inch long by 1/2-inch diameter steel winding bar happens to weigh about 1 pound. Since momentum is conserved, this 150:1 ratio in weight of the door to the winding bar means the fully-wound springs could potentially throw a winding bar at 10.6 mph * 150 = 1590 mph = 2332 ft/sec, assuming the energy were perfectly coupled and transferred. If the energy transfer were only 1/3 efficient, this would still be the 800 ft/sec speed of a typical pistol bullet. Except it is a foot-and-a-half metal spear, not a bullet.
As in an elevator, the electric motor does not provide most of the power to move a heavy garage door. Instead, most of door's weight is offset by the counterbalance springs attached to the door. (Even manually operated garage doors have counterbalances; otherwise they would be too heavy for a person to open or close them.) In a typical design, torsion springs apply torque to a shaft, and that shaft applies a force to the garage door via steel counterbalance cables. The electric opener provides only a small amount of force to control how far the door opens and closes. In most cases, the garage door opener also holds the door closed in place of a lock.
This work is risky, but the risk is comparable to doing your own car repairs, or climbing on the roof of your house to clean your gutters. These are dangerous things that many people can do safely, but that safety depends on intelligent understanding and application of proper techniques. Professional door repair technicians, who are fully knowledgable, skilled, and experienced, report that they nevertheless are injured from time to time, despite their best efforts. Coldly evaluate your abilities and motivations, to judge whether you can manage the risks of this work for the benefit of the money and time you might save.
Furthermore, newer doors come with more improved security features, helping to improve the way you protect your home and loved ones. While older doors are easy to break into, whether through breaking the lift mechanism or even using a universal garage door remote, new doors come with many redundant security features, which will go a long way in deterring even the most ingenious burglar.
Given the complexity of a garage door and opener system, there are a variety of different areas something could go wrong. If your garage door shakes or is very loud during operation, the garage door closes all the way only to immediately open back up, the garage door opens slowly or closes too quickly, or the garage door opener and remote aren't working at all, you should seek help from a professional garage door repair specialist.
Garage door repair is a specialized job, which is typically handled by a garage door repair service. Professional garage door repair technicians can test or repair a garage door system and fix cosmetic blemishes on doors. Common requests include help with jammed or inoperable doors, slow or erratic doors, unusual sounds, dents or scrapes on the door, and general system testing. Garage door repair professionals can work on single-car, double-car and RV-size garage doors.
Garage Door Installation – This includes the installation of a new garage door. Includes the door itself, the track, cables, springs, hinges, handles, locks and rollers. It is the complete service and installation of a new door. We inspect all the parts, make adjustments to fit your garage opening, and service all elements during the installation process. Plus, we check to ensure all parts are in proper working order after installed.
The door and tracks at this stage of the repair are in a minimum-energy condition. This is a good opportunity to work on any hinges, bearings, rollers, cables, or tracks that need tightening, repair, lubrication, or replacement. Again, these parts should be available from the spring source, and should be ordered based on a pre-inspection. Home-improvement stores carry some of these parts, but the type and quality may not be the best.
For garage doors with windows, try to match the glass style of your house windows to provide a more consistent look. It’s also recommended that you install insulated windows if your garage is heated or air conditioned. If you opt for an uninsulated garage door, make sure it’s made of thick steel – specifically 24-gauge. Thicker steel will help prevent dents.
Trading wire size for length, diameter, or cycle life: Now we are really going to save you some money, if you just recall your high school algebra class (and I don't mean that cute cheerleader who sat next to you). If you further understand the role of the 4th power of the spring wire size (letter d in the formulas above) in the numerator of the spring rate formula, and how to increase or decrease d to compensate for changes in length, diameter, and cycle life, then you're qualified for elite spring calculations. Matching springs is a matter of equating the 4th power of the proportion in wire size change to the proportion of change in the diameter or length or the product of both diameter and length. However, it is usually best to only increase wire size when substituting a spring, since this does not derate the cycle life. If you observe that the formula for bending stress is proportionate to the inverse 3rd power of the diameter, then physically a proportionate increase in wire size will result in a dramatic increase in cycle life of the 3rd power of that proportion. Trade-off example: Yawn with me while we ponder my original spring once more. Let's say I was in a fit of engineering mania, and wanted to replace my spring having a 0.2253 inch diameter wire (d = 0.2253) with a 0.262 wire version (d = 0.262). How much longer is the spring with equal torque rate, assuming we use the same coil diameter? The proportion of this change is 0.262/0.2253 = 1.163, and the 4th power of that is 1.83. This means the length must increase by a factor of 1.83 (again, not counting dead coils). Recalling that the length in Example 1 was 102 non-dead coils, the heavier wire spring must be about 1.83*102 = 187 coils, which when adding 5 dead coils and multiplying by the wire size to get the overall length, is (187+5)*0.262 = 50 inches, versus 24 inches in the original. So using this heavier wire more than doubles the length (and thus the mass and thus the cost). While the cost about doubles, the stress goes down by the inverse 3rd power of the wire size proportion, or 1/(1.163**3) = 0.64. Sress is favorably, non-linearly related to cycle lifetime (halving the stress more than doubles the lifetime), so this decreased stress should more than double the expected lifetime of the spring. While the up-front cost is more, the true cost of an amortized lifetime is much less. In short, per cycle it is cheaper. Ah, the wonders of engineering calculations! Conclusion: Observe that the stress formula (and thus the cycle lifetime) depends only on wire diameter (d) for equal torques. Thus the only way to improve cycle lifetime is to use heavier wire. For equal torques, heavier wire size, due to the exponents in the formulas, increases cycle lifetime much faster than it increases mass (and thus cost), physically speaking.
Leveling the door: Before commencing the spring winding, to check that you have the door properly leveled on the cables, considering all the factors above that make this a tricky adjustment, apply the winding cone setscrew lightly to lock the (unwound) spring cone temporarily on the torsion shaft, and momentarily lift the door slightly off the floor. Adjust the drum set as needed to level the door, repeating this slight lift test. Loosen the cone setscrew before winding the spring(s).
If your garage door is opening slowly or making a lot of noise, the problem may not be your opener. So before you buy a new one, check for broken or wobbly rollers and brackets. But don’t replace the bottom roller bracket yourself—the cable attached to it is under extreme tension. You’ll need to call a pro. If you’re replacing the rollers, get nylon rollers. They operate quieter than steel rollers and cost only a few bucks more. Next, check the torsion spring (mounted on the header above the door opening) to see if it’s broken. When one breaks, you’ll see a gap in the coils. You’ll need a pro to replace a broken spring.

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