You must use springs that are matched to the weight of the door. You cannot compensate for the wrong size spring by adjusting the number of winding turns. If you do not know a proper spring size, then you or your spring supplier must calculate a proper size (see below) based on an accurate weight (within 5 pounds) of the door. So you must then in turn have an accurate weight.
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The best garage door openers can be controlled from a remote location through your phone. If you’ve ever left home and had a moment of panic, not knowing if you left the garage door open, this feature can give you peace of mind. The door opener’s built-in Wi-Fi connects directly with your home Wi-Fi router, which allows you to close your garage door from wherever you are through a MyQ smartphone app. The Chamberlain Group opener has this feature – it’s a 1-horsepower garage door opener with extra lifting power for unusually heavy doors of over 500 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.
These are just my observations as a consumer; I am not on a crusade to change the garage door industry. But I will observe that the Web is the innovation that can finally give intelligent consumers the advantage in these commercial games. Trade restraints work only when all sellers in the market collude in and agree to the scheme. If anyone, anywhere is selling freely, then the Web can help you find them. In the years since I have first published this information, a number of reputable Web-based merchants have appeared to supply the parts you need to repair your garage door as a do-it-yourselfer (and I have linked many of them below).
Extension spring systems should always be restrained by a safety cable that runs through the middle of the spring, tying off to a solid point at the rear and front of the horizontal door track. Extension springs represent a hazard to bystanders when a spring, pulley, or cable breaks under tension. Metal parts from extension spring systems can suddenly be launched.
The winding technique is simply to (un)wind as far as one rod will go, where it is pressed against the top of the door, or nearly so, by the unwinding torsion. You insert the other rod in the next socket, remove the first rod, and continue. At any point you can stop and rest by leaving the active rod pressed against the door, where it will be held by the unwinding force. I would make a quarter-turn increment that way, and let go for a moment to collect my attention for the next increment, almost in a quiet, meditative alertness. While you can go from one quarter-turn and rod-swap to the next continually without letting go, working fast against the steady tension seemed to invite a kind of shakiness in my arms that was a bit unsettling. It isn't that there is much physical exertion, it is more that the tension is unrelenting, like peering over a precipice.
I was careful not to assume that the previous installation correctly oriented the right- and left-hand springs on the correct sides of the center bearing plate. They could have been installed backwards by an incompetent installer, resulting in them having been wound looser (larger diameter coil) instead of tighter (smaller diameter coil) than when in their relaxed state, and if so I would have corrected them on the new installation. The proper orientation of the springs applies their reaction torque from tighter winding such that it turns the drums to lift the door. Verifying this is a rather simple exercise in mechanical visualization, but does require some care to be certain of correctness. If you were to install the springs backwards, and then start to wind them in the wrong direction, then the torsion bar will start winding the drums backwards, and not holding against the vise pliers, which should be obvious to inspection. Winding a spring backwards also tends to screw the spring off the cones; this error cannot proceed too far before the spring slips off the cones.
For Sears Garage Door Installation and Repair Services, making your garage door safe is as important as making it function well. For this reason, all of our repair services and tune-ups feature a 20-point safety check. Our technician will carefully examine your garage door panels, springs, sensors, safety release, hardware, track, and more. This ensures that, not only has our work been done well, but that your garage door poses no danger to your vehicles or family. Due to the intricacy of garage door systems, only garage service professionals should attempt to adjust, repair, or service door equipment.
Whether you’re looking for garage door opener maintenance, garage door opener repair, or a brand new garage door opener, Sears Home Services can help. We’re your best, most-trusted option for fast, quick, and easy local service, repair, and maintenance of your automatic garage door opener. Whether your garage door won’t open or close, your garage door opener chain is broken, your automatic garage door opener won’t work after a power outage, your garage door won’t work when it’s cold, or your automatic garage door opener won’t stop running, we’ll connect you to the best local automatic garage door opener repair service technicians in the business. Technicians that are highly trained, licensed, vetted, nearby, and guaranteed to help fix all of your garage door opener needs. We have thousands of local technicians that are always “near me,” that can help you no matter what your appliance emergency.
Since we're using an 18-inch (1.5 feet) winding lever to wind each spring up to 29 foot-pounds, we must apply a maximum tangential force to the end of the winding lever of about 20 pounds. Later we'll see that the actual weight of this rather dense door is 238 pounds, implying a maximum tangential force on the winding levers of only about 13 pounds!
The "liability" angle: The flip side of "safety issue" is "liability". This is not used to directly sell you something; it is used to demean the cheaper alternative and prod you into buying a more expensive (and profitable) option. For example, you may be pressured into buying a whole new door, when you just need a new spring, by the salesman telling you he can't just replace the spring due to "liability" issues. Since product liability is a big burden on the garage door industry, and so many old doors (and especially automatic openers) are dangerous, this may be a genuine reason to accept a higher price.
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.
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