Deep Breath

Tonight we divulge the story of the Genie(R)
Excellerator(TM) garage door opener, it opens twice as fast as
the normal chain drive garage door opener, but took me three times as
long to install. The problems started with the prewiring of the garage
and extended into a two day hot battling against safety sensors.

The garage was prewired for both openers. I hate having external
wiring so this should make installation faster and more
attractive. The typical garage door opener only needs two wires at
each of three locations: each side of the door opening, and at the
console switch.

CAT-3 networking cable was used for wiring. CAT-3 cable has six
conductors (three twisted pairs) so we have extra conductors for
future technology. My garage has two doors, making six runs of CAT-3
cable. Each run of three cables terminates at an opener drive
unit. Unfortunately, none of the cable runs are labeled. My first
obstacle was determining which run of cable to use. Fortunately, a
multi-meter made order of the chaos in about 15 minutes.

I wasn’t so lucky with the optical sensors. Genie(R) includes an
optical sensor which detects when objects, like children or bicycles,
are blocking the path of the door and prevents the door from
automatically closing on the obstacles. To operate, and infrared beam
is pulsed from a sending unit to the receiver. Since the average door
opening is 8 feet wide, seemingly small differences in alignment can
make the sensors inoperable. The alignment procedure can be
frustrating. Without infrared goggles, you can’t tell where the beam
is aligned..

A friend in Ft. Worth once installed the sensors on top of the drive
motor so they would be only inches apart. This saved him from the
frustrating task of aligning the sensors in the hot garage, but also
rendered them useless. Simply by-passing the sensors isn’t
an option as the drive unit will not function without the sensor
signal.

Knowing the sensitivity to alignment, I took my time and measured
twice to ensure that my sensors would line up. I was quite surprised
to find that my sensors did not function. I suspected the wiring, or
alignment, and went off in search of the problem. After nearly six or
more hours of continuity checks on the wiring, rereading the
instructions, remeasuring the sensors, I called it quits.

On Sunday, I attacked the problem again. The wiring checked out so
there must be a problem with alignment. I took the sensors off,
measured and drilled again, but I still had the same problem, signal
interference, which suggested that the alignment wasn’t spot on.

Quite fortunately I stumbled upon an solution, instead of measuring
from the floor, I would measure from the ceiling. Holding the tape
measure to the ceiling wasn’t a workable solution, so I turned to the
time-honored technique of the plumb bob. There was a 1/2 inch
difference. Measuring the distance out from the wall, another 5/16
inch error. With knowledge of the errors, I was able to shim and align
the sensors. Next time I’ll measure all axes.