Installing garage door opener?

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I am planning to install an electric garage door opener on my garage. It's just a standard single car garage door about 8 feet wide by 8 feet high. I am just wondering if anyone here has done it and if so do you have any pointers? It can't be that hard. I called a local door company and they only charge an hour's labor, $100.00 to install if you have your own opener. Their highest price on their opener with installation was only about $520.00. That is provided I already have an electrical outlet adjacent to the mounting location for the opener. I am very mechanically inclined and have an extensive knowledge of automotive electronics and a very good working knowledge of residential wiring and electrical. I figure I should be able to handle it, but it will of course take me longer to do. Any help and info is very much appreciated.
 
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I assume you have at least six inches between the top of the door when it's opened and any joists that run parallel to the door? The only trouble you'd have is if you needed to notch joists, or run wiring to the opener.
 

Jimmy9190

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Yes if I remember right there is about 8 maybe 9 iches of space between the ceiling and the door when it is up. There is a light fixture in the same area where I think the motor would mount. I was planning to remove it and use the existing wiring from the light switch on the wall, and just replacing the switch with the garage door switch there. I think that will make it easier than running new wire but I can drop new wire down from the attic if need be. I am also putting in some plain florescent shop lights that hang down from the ceiling so I won't miss the old light fixture. Thanks for the help.
 
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over the years I have installed several - but I dont really have any tips. It takes me longer than an hour - although that is likely due to reading the instructions. if I installed a 2nd one of the same brand right away, I could do it faster. I'm suprised that you have not asked about a brand preference... The big two are Genie, and Chamberlain (who makes the Sears units). forget about all the hype on horsepower - you have a small door and they gear them properly anyway. I've installed chain, belt, and screw drive: it really doesn't matter - althought the belt drive is very quiet.
 
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Does the header above the garage door opening extend up far enough to mount the rail? If not you'll need to nail some stout wood up there; it is where the opener exerts the most force when it operates. Working alone, I mount the rail onto the header first with the motor end on the ground. Then I support the motor end up in the air with a rope through an eyelet that I screw into the ceiling joist. That makes it easier for me me to build the motor support out of slotted angle without having to try to hold the thing in the air. You're in Florida too, so you might want to have a fan going because when you mount the rail to the header, the door has to be closed. Stay cool and good luck with your project.
 
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that's a decent choice. one of the best accessories that I added was a remote keypad to get into the garage from outsider (I dont have a 2nd access door)
 

Jimmy9190

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Well I found a pdf file of the manual to install one of the more expensive chain drive Sears openers on craftsman.com. I am at work right now but I'll read up on it at home. Just from glancing over it it doesn't look very hard. The one thing I notice is I can open the door myself with one hand but when it gets down to about the last foot or so I have to push harder and that section of the door butts up against the back sides of the garage door trim. It rubs against the side facing the interior of the garage. I know the door needs to operate smoothly with no binding for the opener to work right. I thought I could either shim the track brackets back from the wall a bit or trim that part of the wood garage door facing off with a rasp or saw. If anyone has any ideas how to get the door to operate more smoothly, I would appreciate the info.
 
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My dad and I install from scratch about 10-15 years ago in our apartment complex garage. The hard part is raising a support structure for a high clearance ceiling to support the motor, and align the angle of the screw to the movement of the door while keeping it up in mid air. I would make sure that I have a tall ladder to hold the motor/axle and something (i.e. a stable chair or another ladder) to stand on. When I install an opener for my inlaws, the additional ladder really helps when we are putting a support structure in place and doing the alignment.
 
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On my garage door, the brackets that hold the rollers are two pieces bolted together. One of the two pieces has elliptical screw holes that allow the bracket to be lengthened or shortened. That enables the installer to move the door closer to or further back from the opening. If you have brackets that are two piece, shorten the four that are on the bottom section of the door. Up north, installers like the door close to the opening to reduce drafts. In Florida, we don't worry about drafts getting in, just snakes, lizards, beetles, palmetto bugs ...
 
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It's fairly easy. Do all your measuring first and setup the brakets on the ceiling to hold the door opener and check everything for fit. Then run your power source. BX-Cable and a steel electrical receptacle is recommended. I would run the wire directly to the fuse panel if it's located in the garage or to a circuit that has light load on it as the door opener can draw up to 15amps depending on the motor size, and door load. L-Brackets with the multiple holes can be purchased from Home Depot and make installation much easier. Here is a great website that has a tutorial with some good pointers. http://www.easy2diy.com/cm/easy/diy_ht_index.asp?page_id=35720629 Good luck!
 

Jimmy9190

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Thanks Stevie. The video helps to explain a lot. It will be a few weeks before I have time to tackle it, but I'm still sure I can get it done. Thanks everyone for the help here.
 
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You're welcome Jimmy. I have installed 2 myself for friends of mine that recently moved into houses and found the website helpful. There was another one that showed actual video of someone installing it but I can't remember the site. If I remember I will post it here...
 
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 Originally Posted By: Jimmy9190
I was planning to remove it and use the existing wiring from the light switch on the wall
The garage door opener switch operates on low voltage. I'm not sure how you'd make the connections in a way that complies with code, since you generally aren't supposed to put low voltage and 120V circuits in the same junction box.
 
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We bought the house we're in now about 12 years ago. Came with a very flimsy, chain-drive garage opener, which died about ten years ago. Replacing all the hardware, except the brackets from the ceiling, I put in this Genie screwdrive opener. About a month ago, a lightning strike fried the opener (can't prove it for sure, but it had been fine, and then doesn't work right after big strike near house...). I bought a whole new unit/kit at Home Depot. My intent was to use just the parts I needed, and leave all others as spares. The first challenge was to keep the rail and screw part in place while I changed out motor units. After some thought, and realizing my ladder was not tall enough (and that I needed it for other parts of the job), I arrived at this solution -- daisy chaining zip ties! Hey, after a quarter-century in FL, I'm finally getting redneck!!! This really isn't that bad of a job. Take your time, follow the instructions, have plenty of zip ties on hand ;\) , and you'll be fine. And here's the new unit, in place and functioning perfectly. The old rail and screw, freshly greased, are working just fine with the new motor unit.
 
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Flanso's instructions are how I did mine. My ladder has a paint tray which I used as an intermediate step for my unit as I was lifting it. Despite following instructions, the header connection had to be a few inches higher than measured by following their instructions. I used a pair of cheezy chamberlain chain drives and they've been great! The only issue is their safety seeing eyes don't hold on very well and get knocked out of visual alignment.
 
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I prefer Lift-Masters or Genie Pros versus the Home Depot spec models - the pro models use a single-piece rail.
 

Jimmy9190

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Thanks for the replies and pictures. I narrowed it down to the Chamberlain 1/2 hp unit from Lowe's. Same price as Sears. Plus there is a Lowe's in my town. I have to drive over to Orlando to get to a Sears. I downloaded and printed a copy of the installation/owner's manual for the opener and it doesn't look hard at all. I think the worst of it will be attaching it to the finished ceiling and adjusting the travel of the door correctly. I also need to doctor the door a little more and see if I can get it moving a little smoother. I am off work a couple extra days next week and hope to install the garage door opener and build a new work bench for the garage too. I appreciate all the help and pics.
 
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