Overhead Door® openers and garage doors are built with longevity in-mind. By performing a few routine tasks, you can help ensure your garage door system stays safe and stands the test of time. One important part of garage door system routine maintenance is to make sure the photo-eyes have not gone out of alignment. The photo-eyes are the infrared sensors which monitor whether the space at the bottom of your garage door is clear. When these sensors are not lined up properly they will keep your door from closing. Make sure to occasionally check your photo-eyes’ alignment to ensure they are correctly detecting obstructions to keep your garage door safe and operating properly.
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A torsion spring counterbalance system consists of one or two tightly wound up springs on a steel shaft with cable drums at both ends. The entire apparatus mounts on the header wall above the garage door and has three supports: a center bearing plate with a steel or nylon bearing and two end bearing plates at both ends. The springs themselves consist of the steel wire with a stationary cone at one end and a winding cone at the other end. The stationary cone is attached to the center bearing plate. The winding cone consists of holes every 90 degrees for winding the springs and two set screws to secure the springs to the shaft. Steel counterbalance cables run from the roller brackets at the bottom corners of the door to a notch in the cable drums. When the door is raised, the springs unwind and the stored tension lifts the door by turning the shaft, thus turning the cable drums, wrapping the cables around the grooves on the cable drums. When the door is lowered, the cables unwrap from the drums and the springs are rewound to full tension.
The standard winding tools are simply a pair of 18-inch lengths of mild steel rod, 1/2-inch diameter. Winding cones can have different socket sizes (such as 5/8 inch instead of 1/2 inch), so it is important to measure the socket and select a matching rod diameter. Also beware that poor-quality cones may have a sloppy fit to the winding bars, and a loose fit presents a severe hazard of slipping at the worst moment; anything more than about an inch or two of play at the handle end is too loose for safety. I bought a 3-foot length of zinc-plated 1/2-inch diameter steel rod from Home Depot for about $3, which conveniently cuts into two halves of just the right length (the store might even cut it for you if you ask). A steel supplier selling at commodity prices might charge about 50 cents or so for such a piece that weighs about 2 lbs. Drill rod would work if used in the annealed condition in which it is originally sold, but the added expense provides no benefit and the brittleness (if it had been hardened and not annealed) would worry me a bit. Rebar, threaded rod, screwdrivers, etc., are absolutely foolish as they will not fit the socket snugly. Aluminum rod is definitely too weak, and will bend under the torque that must be applied. Longer rods would make for more leverage but unwieldly swing; shorter rods make for uncontrollable swing. As we'll calculate below, the 18-inch standard tool length is an appropriate compromise. Note that you do not need 18 inches of ceiling clearance above the torsion shaft to use an 18-inch rod, since you need not swing the rods above horizontal when winding.
If return on investment is a priority and you don’t live in the West, your best strategy may be to buy a low- to moderately-priced door that significantly improves the look of your home. Consider adding an automatic garage door opener at the same time. The beauty of a new door and the convenience of an automatic opener are sure to be a winning combination.
Once the springs are torqued, the setscrews tightened, and the locking pliers and winding rods removed, do not play with turning the torsion bar using the winding rods. Doing so even momentarily can relieve the tension on the lift cables, which then easily slip off the drums. Replacing the cables on the drums can be difficult without repeating the entire spring unwinding-winding procedure again, and the cables can be damaged if tension is applied while they are off the drums.
When ordering springs, be aware that a number of different sizes of springs will make proper replacements, not just the specific size being replaced. The wire size, winding diameter, and length can be traded off to make springs of varied geometry but equivalent torque characteristics. This will also affect the expected lifetime (in cycles) for the spring(s). Since the critical specification for a replacement is the weight it is designed to bear, not the sizes per se, there are likely several stock sizes that replace a given old spring. The spring distributor's inventory may happen to offer only a different size with an equivalent weight-bearing specification. One has to judge whether to trust the advice of the seller in such situations. The seller should have the data to know what substitutions are proper.
Roller doors ("Sheet Doors"-USA) are usually constructed of corrugated steel. They evolved from cover window and door coverings. Other materials can be used (e.g.; transparent corrugated fibreglass) where strong impact resistance is not required. Corrugations give the door strength against impacts. A typical single car garage roller door has a preloaded spring inside the rolling mechanism. The spring reduces the effort required to open the door. Larger roller doors in commercial premises are not sprung (except USA) and use a manual pulley and chain system or a geared motor to raise and lower (roll up and roll down) the door. Roller doors cannot be effectively insulated.
Our knowledgeable, dependable and friendly team of professionals can work closely with you to select, design and install a quality garage door that best serves your daily needs, enhances the architecture of your home and fits your budget. The extensively trained and experienced technicians at Kitsap Garage Door can help you with any of your garage door service needs, large or small, and are ready to repair any garage door make or model.
To estimate the maximum physical force required to wind these springs, consider that they are balancing the weight of the door with a torque applied to a lift drum on each end of the torsion shaft. The lift drums have a 2-inch radius, which is the standard residential size, and corresponds conveniently to about a 1-foot circumference. If we pessimistically assume the 10-by-7-foot door has a weight of 350 pounds, this implies a torque of 350 pounds on a 2-inch radius, that is, 700 inch-pounds, or 58 foot-pounds. Each of the two springs should be exerting slightly less than half of the balancing torque, or 29 foot-pounds. Compare this to, say, the bolts in an automobile, which are typically torqued to values of about 50 foot-pounds, or tire lug nuts, which may be torqued to well over 100 foot-pounds.
The torsion shaft with lift drums on the ends is above the door. The standard residential door shaft is a 1-inch outside diameter hollow steel tube. The inside diameters of the bearings, drums, and winding cones are sized to loosely fit that 1-inch diameter shaft. At the center is a bearing plate, on either side of which are the torsion springs, or in some cases just one larger spring. The spring pictured on the left in the photo is broken about 1/4 of the way in from its left end. The black shaft with dangling rope and door bracket is the track for the electric opener.
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.
Capable of lifting a seven-foot garage door up to 500 pounds in weight, the SilentMax 750 comes with a number of convenience features for automatic and remote use. The included wireless keypad and dual remote controls will insure that you are the only one that has access to the door. Compatible with a number of in-car remote systems like HomeLink, you can also keep the remotes at home if you are worried about losing the “keys.”
If you have paired springs, you can take a shortcut here instead of using locking pliers. Simply apply a slight torsion to the bar by clamping one of the springs with an easy half-turn or so applied. This will hold the lift cables in slight tension while you wind the other spring. If you have a single spring design, you can't use this trick, and have to use the locking pliers.
Call Girard's Garage Door Service, and one of our technicians will walk you through all the options to find the perfect garage door for your taste and budget. We work with the top manufacturers across the country to ensure the utmost safety and security for your family. We’re a volume dealer, so we’re able to beat the prices that most local companies charge. We offer excellent service at an affordable price. Check out our garage door options here.