Garage Door Opener

Last year the radio on my ~40 year old garage door opener quit working. Because the opener used simple dry contacts to trigger the open or close cycle, I was able to buy an aftermarket receiver and remote and wire it to the existing opener. Well, last week the motor in the opener quit working. It also happened just before the worst snowstorm we’ve had in years and the temperature then dropped into the low -20s and even below -30C one night. Not good weather for working in an unheated garage. I picked up the cheapest replacement I could find at Canadian Tire and waited for the weather to improve. Today it finally reached +1C so I decided it was the day to replace the unit.

My daughter’s boyfriend came over to help out. It certainly would have been a much harder job by myself. (I doubt I would have got it done.) Sadly, I didn’t take any pictures of the job.

I read through the installation instructions and got a basic idea of how it was done. The first step, though, was removing the old unit and there were no instructions for that. I figured it was basically the inverse of the install instructions for the new device, and I was right. I removed the wiring from the old opener. Next, we took off the arm which connected the opener to the door. I removed the bolts holding the motor unit to the ceiling and set it on top of a ladder. Then we removed the end of the rail mounted above the door. With that done, it was time to assemble the new device.

The instructions weren’t actually terrible, although it had conflicting diagrams on some points and a page that insisted the importance of tensioning the chain properly, but gave no way to determine whether it was tensioned properly.

In the end, we figured it all out. The gap between the spring and the ceiling is pretty tight, and it took us three tries to get that end of the rail mounted at a good height. We couldn’t mount the rail quite horizontal, so it is angled slightly down to the motor unit.

I didn’t do a proper job of the wiring… just enough to make it work. I’ll clean it up in spring once the weather is warmer. Even at a balmy +1C, I get a bit cold working outside.


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