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suggestions for garage door?

Discussion in 'Photovoltaics' started by danny burstein, Oct 27, 2009.

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  1. I've got a neighbor, kind of.., who has a car garage with an
    overhead door. No electric lines to it, so the door has to
    be lifted manually.

    Even with decent springs and counterweighting it's a big pain.

    Running electricity to it would be a big pain and expense, so I
    was thinking of a solar solution.

    I've measured my own garage which does have an electric opener.
    There's a steady background draw of 3 watts for the controls
    and the safety "electric eye" at the door bottom. When the motor
    is running it pulls about 600 watts for the 10 second cycle.

    So I figure... if we take a reasonable worst case scenario
    it'll get run through 5 cycles/day.

    Power usage:
    a: 3 watts times 24 hours => 0.072 kw-hr/day
    b: 600 watts times (10*2*5) = 60 kw-sec /day
    -> => 0.041 kw-hr/day

    total: 0.11 kw-hr/day (110 watt-hr)

    So far so good. If my math is right... then a 35 watt panel,
    which back of envelope would get me 140 watt-hr/day (based
    on getting the equiv. of 4 hours of direct sunlight), so I'd
    have a bit to spare for inefficiencies and to keep the battery
    charged on cloudy days or if the door gets used more.

    (And if I can kill off the standby draw, even better).

    The big problem is that overhead motor pulls that 600 watts,
    with probably two or three times that at start up. Which
    means using a big inverter...

    But given the cost of running an electric line, this still
    looks like a decent alternative.

    Before I pull my hair out on this, has anyone had experience
    and could offer a suggestion or two?

    The biggest question, I guess, would be finding a DC motor
    that would be usable in a garage lift assembly... The big
    advantage is it would eliminate the need for the inverter.

  2. Ecnerwal

    Ecnerwal Guest

    ....Then it's not set up right. Get a competent tech to set it up (or
    replace it with something that has proper running gear.) I have a 10x10
    foot 2 inch thick insulated door (a hefty item), and it's trivial to
    pull up and down manually - which I've been doing for 5-1/2 years
    without even needing adjustments since the initial setup.
  3. AES

    AES Guest

    I knew a semi-crazy handyman once who had cobbled together a garage door
    counterweighted by a coupled of big rectangular buckets or water tanks
    hung on a cable and pulley setup. When door was down and latched,
    buckets were up, and a water pipe and valve arrangement filled 'em with
    water. Release latch, buckets came down, door went up. When door
    reached the up and latched position, buckets came to rest on a pad with
    a upright bar that pushed open a spring-loaded valve in the bottom of
    the bucket.; water went to a nearby flower bed.

    Now all you need is enough power to automate this (and drive a small
    pump, if you haven't got ordinary residential water pressure).
  4. That's *exactly* perfect for my needs. Thanks.
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