Specifying Electric Hinges

Electric hinges are preferred over door cords because they are less exposed to vandalism


Electric hinges are used when a locking device is mounted on a moving door and power and signals must be brought off the door to the controller and house wiring. Examples of such locking devices include an electrified lockset or electrically actuated trim, electric latch retraction device or a...


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Electric hinges are used when a locking device is mounted on a moving door and power and signals must be brought off the door to the controller and house wiring. Examples of such locking devices include an electrified lockset or electrically actuated trim, electric latch retraction device or a switching device such as a REX lever or touchbar.

Electric hinges are preferred over door cords because they are less exposed to vandalism, and preferred over power transfers because they are less expensive and easier to install.

The electric hinge is typically used to replace the center hinge, or one of the center hinges on four hinge doors.

Considerations

Here are a few important considerations when specifying electric hinges.

  1. Is the hinge to be used on an exterior door?
  2. Is it a fire rated door?
  3. What architectural finish is required?
  4. What is the flange size (typically 4.5" X 4.5"; but not always)?
  5. What number and diameter of conductors are required?

You should also think through how you will get the wiring from the hinge to the device on the door, and from the hinge through the frame to the other system elements. Either and/or both of these tasks can ruin an otherwise good day.

We developed a fondness for Marray hinges on a project last year, and our love has blossomed since then as we learned of their other products and somewhat independent attitude.

We used their door loops, and appreciated the fast shipping, low price and good looks. Their door cord is not indestructible, but it is equal or better to all the others in the price range, and each one comes with a drill bit and an adhesive template.

But hey kids, we all know hinges are better. Way better.

During the 1990s, we maintained and installed ATM entry systems. Thousands of them. 24/7. The overwhelming majority of them were comprised of a card reader and controller, an electromagnetic lock, a touchbar, REX button, power supply and a DOOR LOOP. Malfunctioning touch bars and vandalized door cords kept us hopping.

Back then, hinges weren't the thing, probably because the department in the bank that specified them (new construction) was not accountable to the department responsible for keeping the ATMs working and safe (Facilities). Back then, New York City passed a law called Local Law #7 and they enforced it; we repaired 'em.

So an electric hinge is concealed and has nothing to draw attention to it, providing a relatively vandal-proof and reliable solution.

If you are doing an exterior door, you cannot use an electric hinge constructed from ferrous material. You cannot force fit an electric hinge, because they are not designed to endure physical stress, just electrical stress.

You need to be sure your hinge is electrically rated for the job you are doing. If you've never used an electrical hinge before, the wires used are relatively tiny. You must order a hinge with the right conductors for your job. For example, one popular exit device which uses electric latch retraction requires an inrush current of 16 Amps. If you do not specify the right hinge, it isn't going to work. The lock won't unlock, or you're going to damage (cook) the hinge.

MARRAY HINGES

Marray addresses these issues on its website, www.marray.com. They face off with the issue and offer a product that will do the job. And they warranty it for three years. If I'm not mistaken, the exit devices in question aren't even warranted for that long.

I have one of their hinges on my bench right now, and it is a pleasure to behold. The attention to detail and quality is terrific. It's UL listed, and their phone number is etched on it, and I will install it with confidence.

The product shown is the Marray H2+4652450; TEF2 + 4; US 26D 4.5" X4.5" 6 conductor hinge. For projects where one pair is used for power, two pairs are used for internal switches, usually a Request to Exit or Latch Monitor switch.

Marray uses special silver coated high conductivity copper stranded wire on these units. Conductors are 1 Pair Heavy duty 20 gauge with wear resistant jacketing for improved life. Two pair is 30 gauge.

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