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Installing a Garage Door Opener

While installing a garage door opener is a relatively straightforward project, the installation process is too detailed-and too manufacturer-specific-to be covered fully in any document. The purpose of this document is to give you an overview of the process, either as preparation for installing your garage door opener or to help you decide whether you can install the opener yourself.

The procedures outlined in this document are based on instructions provided by Stanley Door Systems. Other manufacturers' installation procedures may vary. When installing a garage door opener, always refer to the manufacturer's instructions for detailed, step-by-step procedures and follow them closely.

  

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

  • There are three basic types of garage door openers: 1) chain-driven, 2) belt-driven, and 3) screw-driven. This document covers installation for a chain-drive opener.
  • The most important consideration when installing a garage door opener is safety. Please observe the following precautions:

Before Installation:

  • Make sure your garage door is well-lubricated and operating properly. The weight of a garage door is supported by the door springs, cables, and pulleys-not the opener. If you can't raise and lower the door normally by hand, do not install the opener until the door is repaired.
  • Never alter or remove the door's springs, cables, or pulleys. Doors with torsion springs (a single coil above the door) should only be serviced by qualified service technicians.
  • Remove all ropes or cords attached to the garage door so you won't get tangled in them during installation.
  • Deactivate or remove all existing garage door locks, so they won't accidentally engage and either damage the opener or cause personal injury.
  • Do not wear rings, watches, or loose clothing while installing or servicing a garage door or opener.
  • Reinforce lightweight fiberglass or metal garage doors before installing an opener to prevent damage to the door and insure that the safety reverse system will operate properly.

During Installation:

  • Install the power unit high enough that tall people won't run into it-at least 7' from the floor if possible.
  • Garage door openers have a manual disconnect cord; it should be adjusted to approximately 6' from the floor so any adult can reach it.
  • If you need to install permanent electrical wiring, always disconnect the power at the main breaker box before attempting to wire connections. Always connect the power cord of the garage door opener to a properly grounded outlet to avoid electrical shock.
  • Install the push-button control 5' from the floor so small children cannot reach it and in a location where anyone operating it can easily see the garage door.
  • Always adjust the safety reverse system and the electric eye system properly. Refer to your opener manufacturer's instructions for details.

After Installation:

  • Never let children operate or play with the opener. Keep the radio transmitter in a location inaccessible to children.
  • Never pass under a moving garage door.
  • Operate the door only when it is visible, and free of any obstructions.
  • Check the safety reverse system and the electric eye once a month, and readjust it if necessary. Periodically check the manual operation of the door.
  • If possible, use the manual disconnect only when the door is fully closed. The opener will not carry the weight of the door, and if the springs are weak or broken, disconnecting it could cause the door to fall.
  • Always disconnect electrical power to the opener when servicing the unit or working close to the drive chain or other moving parts.
  • If you see damage to any part of the opener, don't use it until it has been repaired by a qualified service technician. Never operate the door if the safety system is not functioning properly.
  

INSTALLNG THE OPENER

  • Before you install a garage door opener, familiarize yourself with the parts of the assembly. To install a garage door opener, first insert the tube into the power unit. Slide the traveler onto the tube, then mount the idler assembly on the end of the tube. Position the traveler as specified in the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Connect the chain to the traveler, then loop it through the drive sprocket on the power unit (see image above), around through the idler assembly, and back to the other end of the traveler (see image). The traveler must be positioned according to the manufacturer's specifications, and the chain must be tensioned properly.
  • Locate the center point of the garage door, and mount the header bracket at that point, at the specified distance above the door. Connect the idler assembly to the bracket with the power unit sitting on the floor (see first image below). Raise the power unit high enough to clear the door when it is open, and set it on a stepladder or other prop.
  • Raise the door to the full open position, and adjust the height of the power unit with boards or other shims, so it is the specified distance above the door.
  • Mount the power unit to the ceiling with the steel angle and mounting straps provided. If the ceiling joists are parallel to the door (see second image below), nail 2x4s between two joists and fasten the power unit to it. Otherwise, fasten directly to the joists.
  • If the ceiling is finished (typically with gypsum wallboard), fasten a 1x6 through the drywall and into the ceiling joists with lag screws (see third image below).
  
  

CONNECTING THE OPENER

  • Once the power unit is mounted, open and close the garage door manually to make sure the door travels freely (see image above). The top edge should clear the tube by the distance specified by the manufacturer (typically 1"). Be careful not to hit the traveler when you raise the door.
  • Attach the linkage assembly to the traveler (see image - the linkage assembly consists of a straight bar link, an L-shaped link and the door bracket). Pull the disconnect cord to disconnect the door from the opener.
  • Fasten the door bracket so it is centered on the door. The center of the bracket (where the L-link is attached) should be the manufacturer's specified distance from the top of the door, usually 3" to 6" (see first image below). On lightweight steel or fiberglass doors, install reinforcing angles (see second image below) and fasten the door brackets to the angle. Remove the original lock from the door.
  • Mount the push-button control in a convenient location on the garage wall, 5' from the floor and within easy sight of the door. Run the push-button wire up the wall and along the ceiling to the power unit, fastening it with electrical wire staples. Be careful not to staple through the wire. Connect the wire to the power unit.
  • Placement and adjustment of the electric eye system are critical for maximum safety and proper operation. Follow the manufacturer's installation instructions carefully. If you have any questions, refer to your owner's manual for a telephone number or a Web site for additional information.
  • If necessary, install an electrical outlet in the ceiling near the power unit and run electrical power to it. ALWAYS TURN OFF THE POWER AT THE BREAKER BOX BEFORE WORKING WITH AN ELECTRICAL CIRCUIT, and follow all safety procedures relevant to electrical work.
  • The electrical outlet must be properly grounded. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW TO INSTALL AN ELECTRICAL OUTLET, CONTACT A LICENSED ELECTRICIAN.
  • Re-engage the door with the opener. Adjust the safety reverse system according to the manufacturer's instructions, then adjust the open position of the door.
  • For added safety, especially around small children and pets, federal law now requires an electric eye be installed with all garage door openers. This eye will cause the closing action of the door to reverse if someone or something passes between the sensors.
  
TOOL AND MATERIAL CHECKLIST
Garage Door OpenerStepladder
PencilSteel Measuring Tape
Electric DrillDrill Bits
HammerScrewdrivers
Adjustable WrenchPliers
1", 2" Lumber for Shims1x6 Mounting Board if Opener will be mounted to a drywall ceiling
Steel Angle for reinforcing lightweight garage doors 

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Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Information in this document has been furnished by the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA) and associated contributors. Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy and safety. Neither NRHA, any contributor nor the retailer can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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