Servicing the Total Door: Hinge Replacement

Jan. 1, 2008
When electronic access control is being added to an existing opening, power transfer hinges are an excellent choice. Pemko offers standard and electrically modified continuous hinges for door repair projects as well as upgrade projects.

If you do new install or retrofit access control, then door repairs are nothing new to you. Unfortunately, all too often we will quote an installation without giving appropriate attention to the general condition of the door and opening. There may be several reasons for this.

One typical situation is the salesman is too lazy to survey the site, or does not know how to assess a door's condition.

Another excuse is that the client has a limited amount of budget, and the locksmith wants to focus the effort on the new equipment and his labor, and just hope for the best where the door is concerned.

Finally it was simply an oversight. You are busy. The client is using the door on a daily basis. What's the worst thing that can happen?

Damaged hinges and racked doors are the most typical door problems locksmiths encounter when installing access controls. If you asked one the of guys running service calls for traditional locksmithing, they might add damaged jambs and splintered doors from forced entries to that list.

A damaged hinge isn't usually a damaged hinge. That is to say, the actual damage is to the door or frame where the hinge attaches. These problems are usually ignored by the end-user for as long as they can possibly put up with the problem. By then you might not even be able satisfactorily re-install the old hinge.

Some customers decide they want to upgrade their security and figure that by adding access control to the door, it will cure all the other problems on the door. That, of course, is not the case.

Many access control system upgrades and new installs require wiring onto the door. Electrified door hardware which requires wiring onto the door includes:

Exit devices with latch retraction: applying power to the device retracts the latch for momentary access or extended electrical dogging.

Lever trim which, when power is applied, causes the trim to become ‘active' and allows unlocking of the door.

REX switches, installed in either an exit device or in the trim which provides signaling to the access control system.

Pemko Door Hardware offers standard and electrically modified continuous hinges for door repair projects as well as upgrade projects. Pemko is an ASSA ABLOY Group company.

As many of us would agree, a full line of product is great but it isn't worth much if not backed up by great customer service. Pemko gets high scores both regards.

Recently, I was servicing one of my account's doors, which had hinge supplied by others at some point in the past, but which was in need of servicing. It was full surface mount hinge, and servicing entailed removing a protective aluminum molding which concealed one row of mounting screws. I was unable to positively identify the existing hinge, but cold-called PEMKO for technical support.

In no time I was in correspondence with an expert, and was able to identify the hinge, obtain a part number for the replacement cover, and order some from Clark Security. It was quick and easy.

The more recent adventure involved preparing a quote for a school district that wanted access control. Several of the doors were clearly candidates for continuous hinges, but also for power transfer capabilities to electrify lever trim on exit devices.

Once again Joe Killion, the Pemko product manager for hinges, gave me the direction I required and introduced me to one of Pemko's newest products, the electrically modified hinge.

This product works well with other ASSA ABLOY member companies who manufacture access control products and accessories where a power transfer product is frequently required.

I interviewed him about Pemko's new products. Following are Locksmith Ledger's questions and Killion's answers.

What is your name and job title? What contact info should I include in the article so readers can obtain additional information?

Joe Killion, Hinge Product Manager. The phone number for our customer and technical support line is 800-824-3018.

Full contact information is: Pemko Manufacturing Co., 5535 Distribution Dr., P.O. Box 18966 , Memphis , TN 38141 . Web site:

How many different types of continuous hinge does PEMKO offer?

We offer 22 different continuous geared aluminum hinge designs with standard and heavy duty models both available in 17 of the 22.

What power transfer types are offered?

A Flat Flexible Cable in a 4, 8 and 12 wire assembly, each in standard, accessible, and serviceable/removable models. We also provide power transfer hinges for Von Duprin , DORMA and Electrolynx , with other available via special order.

Typically are continuous hinges are used in retrofit applications to repair doors?

Pemko's various continuous geared aluminum hinges are available in designs which are intended for both new construction and retrofitting applications, depending on the model

For upgrades where electronic access control is being added to an existing opening, does using power transfer hinges make sense?

Yes, absolutely. When electronic access control is being added to an existing opening, power transfer hinges are an excellent choice for many reasons. By using an electric prep hinge, the installer/contractor gains the advantage of a fully integrated and highly secure system. Continuous geared aluminum hinges already offer increased security features by being tamper resistant, by using an electronic prep continuous hinge, the expensive and vital wiring transfers are completely concealed and protected by the hinge itself, ending the possibility of the security system being compromised or defeated from an exterior attack.

If the existing hinge is to be reused, do you have a product which can be added at the top of the door for power transfer?

If the existing hinge is to remain, Pemko offers nothing which can be added to the current system to retrofit and make it compatible with an electronic access system. However, we do provide a hinge which, once the new product is purchased from Pemko and the wires are to be replaced, can be done without taking the door and the hinge down from the opening -- our serviceable/removable CC prep. This hinge is composed of three individual sections, a top and bottom portion, and the 8” middle section which contains the actual CC prep that can be removed independently from the top and bottom and replaced with another 8” prepped portion of hinge with the now required number of connections.

What conductor sizes and number of conductors are available?

Pemko offers 4, 8, and 12 wire conductors.

How does the expected service life of your product compare to other types of power transfer?

Our Flat Cable Conductor (CC4, 8 or 12) hinges are tested to over 1,250,000 cycles, which backs our five-year warranty for the CC prep products. Our PT preps are not cycle tested. Because no bearings or any portion of the meshing gears are compromised by this prep, the operation and durability of the hinge is not greatly affected.

Is the wiring subject to compromise since the hinge is not within the protected area or concealed in the jamb?

The wires are protected and are not subject to compromise in the CC prep. Pemko offers full mortise electrical prepped units. As a matter of fact, the majority of our electronic prep hinges are full mortise. These hinges provide complete protection of the concealed wire transfers when the door is in the closed position. Even in the open position, the wires remain concealed.

What listings do Pemko products carry?

PEMKO products carry a number of listings. Here are what they are and what they mean.

BHMA: Products indicated by this symbol have been voluntarily submitted to rigid third party testing and follow-up audits to confirm that these products fully and continuously meet or exceed the requirements of their respective ANSI/BHMA Standards. These products are listed in the BHMA Directory of Certified Products, published annually and available for purchase from BHMA. They are also posted and frequently updated on the BHMA web site at

These products meet the requirements of ANSI/BHMA A156.21-2006 Standard for Thresholds, ANSI / BHMA A156.22-2005 Standard for Door Gasketing Systems, or ANSI / BHMA A156.26-2000 Standard for Continuous Hinges.

Edge Seals - Fire UL10C - Positive Pressure: Products indicated by this symbol are classified as gasket material for use on listed steel frames and classified hollow metal steel composite type fire doors rated up to and including 3 hours, wood composite type fire doors rated up to and including 1-1/2 hours and wood core fire doors rated 20 minutes . These products have been tested to meet the requirements of UL10B and UL10C, Fire Tests of Door Assemblies, UBC 7-2 Fire Tests of Door Assemblies Part I-1997 and NFPA 252 with the neutral pressure plane at 40”.

These products meet the requirements for Category G - Edge Seals. Specific requirements for these products are attached to the approvals. Contact Pemko for individual product approvals.

Fire UL - 76Y2: Products indicated by this symbol are listed as continuous hinges for use on hollow-metal, metal-clad, composite (steel, wood and plastic overed ), sheet metal and wood core type fire doors as indicated in the individual listings. These products have been tested and meet the requirements of UL 10B - Negative Pressure and UL 10C - Positive Pressure, Fire Tests of Door Assemblies, UBC 7-2 Fire Tests, Part 1-1997 and NFPA 252 with the neutral pressure plane at 40”.