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T-hangar's bi-fold door: Convert to a motorized opening door?



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 17th 04, 08:52 PM
Peter R.
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Default T-hangar's bi-fold door: Convert to a motorized opening door?

Here's a silly question: Is there any way to convert a t-hangar's
manually opening bi-fold door to a motorized one?

I just rented a t-hangar that uses a circular chain hanging off a large
pulley near the top of the hangar to control the door. The chain must
be pulled thirty to forty times to fully open or close the bi-fold door.

Perhaps some type of conversion to an automatic garage door opener?

Has anyone ever done anything like this?

--
Peter





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  #2  
Old August 18th 04, 05:28 AM
Newps
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Peter R. wrote:

Here's a silly question: Is there any way to convert a t-hangar's
manually opening bi-fold door to a motorized one?

I just rented a t-hangar that uses a circular chain hanging off a large
pulley near the top of the hangar to control the door. The chain must
be pulled thirty to forty times to fully open or close the bi-fold door.

Perhaps some type of conversion to an automatic garage door opener?

Has anyone ever done anything like this?


Or ditch the stupid crappy bi fold completely and get a hydroswing to
really go first class.

  #3  
Old August 18th 04, 06:51 PM
Jay Honeck
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Here's a silly question: Is there any way to convert a t-hangar's
manually opening bi-fold door to a motorized one?


If you figure this one out, please let us all know. Our hangar is over 40
years old, and it would sure be nice to just push a button to open the door.

Of course, you'd put my kids out of business. (We pay them 25 cents for
each opening...)
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"


  #4  
Old August 19th 04, 04:06 AM
G.R. Patterson III
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"Peter R." wrote:

Perhaps some type of conversion to an automatic garage door opener?


Garage door openers drive a sprocket that operates a circular chain. Some of the
older units had a block on the chain that tripped a switch when the door was raised.
This block could be adjusted to fine-tune the system. My Genie units do not have
this. I assume (but do not know) that they simply pull the chain for a fixed distance
(most doors are 7' tall).

So. Measure the distance you have to pull your chain to open the hangar door. Work
out the ratio between that and 7'. Rig a reduction gear out of two appropriately
sized pulleys and a belt and drive that from a chain driven by a garage door opener.
You can probably use your existing chain pulley as one pulley in the reduction gear
and mount the whole thing high on the wall.

George Patterson
If you want to know God's opinion of money, just look at the people
he gives it to.
  #5  
Old August 19th 04, 05:03 AM
Doordoc
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Peter R. wrote in message ...
Here's a silly question: Is there any way to convert a t-hangar's
manually opening bi-fold door to a motorized one?

I just rented a t-hangar that uses a circular chain hanging off a large
pulley near the top of the hangar to control the door. The chain must
be pulled thirty to forty times to fully open or close the bi-fold door.

Perhaps some type of conversion to an automatic garage door opener?

Has anyone ever done anything like this?


This site will give you an idea of how some mfg's do it
http://bifold.com/safety/electrical.cfm

Doordoc
www.DoorsAndOpeners.com

Have seen many doors like this in our area but I personally have never
installed or worked on this type of door.
  #6  
Old August 19th 04, 05:03 AM
Doordoc
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Peter R. wrote in message ...
Here's a silly question: Is there any way to convert a t-hangar's
manually opening bi-fold door to a motorized one?

I just rented a t-hangar that uses a circular chain hanging off a large
pulley near the top of the hangar to control the door. The chain must
be pulled thirty to forty times to fully open or close the bi-fold door.

Perhaps some type of conversion to an automatic garage door opener?

Has anyone ever done anything like this?


This site will give you an idea of how some mfg's do it
http://bifold.com/safety/electrical.cfm

Doordoc
www.DoorsAndOpeners.com

Have seen many doors like this in our area but I personally have never
installed or worked on this type of door.
  #7  
Old August 19th 04, 06:12 PM
Peter R.
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G.R. Patterson III wrote:

Garage door openers drive a sprocket that operates a circular chain. Some of the
older units had a block on the chain that tripped a switch when the door was raised.
This block could be adjusted to fine-tune the system. My Genie units do not have
this. I assume (but do not know) that they simply pull the chain for a fixed distance
(most doors are 7' tall).

So. Measure the distance you have to pull your chain to open the hangar door. Work
out the ratio between that and 7'. Rig a reduction gear out of two appropriately
sized pulleys and a belt and drive that from a chain driven by a garage door opener.
You can probably use your existing chain pulley as one pulley in the reduction gear
and mount the whole thing high on the wall.


Thanks, George. I might just try this project.

--
Peter





  #8  
Old August 19th 04, 06:15 PM
Peter R.
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Jay Honeck wrote:

Of course, you'd put my kids out of business. (We pay them 25 cents for
each opening...)


25 cents? Wow, that cheap labor.

--
Peter





  #9  
Old August 19th 04, 11:33 PM
Peter Duniho
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"G.R. Patterson III" wrote in message
...
Garage door openers drive a sprocket that operates a circular chain.
Some of the older units had a block on the chain that tripped a
switch when the door was raised. This block could be adjusted to
fine-tune the system. My Genie units do not have this. I assume
(but do not know) that they simply pull the chain for a fixed
distance (most doors are 7' tall).


They have essentially the same system, except that the block has been
replaced by an analog inside the opener. A worm drive moves a block back
and forth, that triggers switches at either end of the range of movement.
One end tells the opener when it's done opening, the other tells it when
it's done closing.

As with the older units, the end result is that the opener simply pulls the
chain for a fixed distance. In the case of the older units, the distance is
set by the block, in the newer units this is adjustable (within a small
range) by a setting that affects the exact position of the ends of the
internal mechanism.

So. Measure the distance you have to pull your chain to open the
hangar door. Work out the ratio between that and 7'. Rig a reduction
gear out of two appropriately sized pulleys and a belt and drive
that from a chain driven by a garage door opener.


Some problems I see with that:

* You will want to ensure that the mechanism inside the opener is up to
the task. The garage door opener I've had open has a nylon worm drive to
turn the main sprocket for the chain. It wears out even under normal garage
use, with a counter-spring to help reduce the forces involved. Even if the
hangar door is counter-weighted somehow, there may be more friction with the
larger door. It may be a lot to ask of little plastic pieces.

* The opener has a motor speed sensor that tells it when the thing is
getting bogged down too much. Because its main purpose is to avoid someone
getting crushed by the door, it's very sensitive. The sensitivity can be
adjusted somewhat, but probably not enough to account for a significant
difference in force required.

* To make matters worse, in combination with the above issues, a
reduction gear that increases the effective travel of the opener is
necessarily going to increase the force that the opener is required to
provide.

* Finally, using a belt and pulley system for the reduction gear may
result in the belt slipping. If it slips only at the very beginning of the
door movement, and it slips exactly the same amount when opening as when
closing, this might be okay. But otherwise, it will throw the system out of
adjustment.

I would say that with a large enough (i.e. expensive enough) garage door
opener, the above issues may not be a problem. But then you may start
finding that you'd have been better off just designing a custom-made opener
mechanism from scratch. Electric motors aren't that expensive, and the rest
is just a sprocket, switches and wiring, and possibly a new chain (depending
on what kind of "chain" is currently used with the manual opening system).

Pete


  #10  
Old August 20th 04, 01:32 AM
Doordoc
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Peter R. wrote in message ...
G.R. Patterson III wrote:

Garage door openers drive a sprocket that operates a circular chain. Some of the
older units had a block on the chain that tripped a switch when the door was raised.
This block could be adjusted to fine-tune the system. My Genie units do not have
this. I assume (but do not know) that they simply pull the chain for a fixed distance
(most doors are 7' tall).

So. Measure the distance you have to pull your chain to open the hangar door. Work
out the ratio between that and 7'. Rig a reduction gear out of two appropriately
sized pulleys and a belt and drive that from a chain driven by a garage door opener.
You can probably use your existing chain pulley as one pulley in the reduction gear
and mount the whole thing high on the wall.


Thanks, George. I might just try this project.


Actually many residential garage doors will open up a 10' high door
when they have the right length rail & chain. So if your door is 10'
tall you do not need to change the reduction at all, but if your door
is taller then 10' you would have to change the reduction. However if
you change the reduction very much (depends on door height) you are
also going to increase the speed that the door opens which may result
in an unsafe operating condition & is also going to put more wear &
tear on the door. Residential garage door openers are not designed for
this type of use & for your own safety is not something I would
personally recommend doing.

Doordoc
 




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