Retrofitting the DORMA ED800 Low-Energy Door Operator Onto Existing Swinging Doors

July 1, 2007
ED800s are designed for easy, one-person installation. The basic unit is non-handed and the control unit is non-mount specific. You can change from a pull side to a push side mount simply by flipping a toggle switch and installing the appropriate arm.

Door operators fall into two categories: Power-Operated Pedestrian Doors and Low-Energy Power Operated Doors. Power-Operated Pedestrian Doors may be swinging, folded or sliding, and are used for high traffic applications. Low-Energy Power Operated Doors are either swinging or folded, and they are used for lower traffic doors.

Each of these systems must comply with a different ANSI Standard, 156.10 for power operated, and 156.19 for low power units. Low-energy power operated door operators designed to comply with ANSI156-19 have integral safety features which makes installing and equipping these systems a far simpler process than for a power-operated door. While the majority of power-operated systems are new installs, providing low energy power operated door operators as a retrofit onto existing swinging doors is a popular upgrade and suitable for a wide variety of applications.

DORMA's ED800 low energy operator combines a powered door closer with microprocessor control to render an ADA-compliant device that either assists with the opening of a for the physically challenged or opens a door automatically.

The ED800 can be field adjusted into one of two modes: low energy or power assist. In low energy mode, the activated unit cycles the door open according to four user adjustments -- delay time, opening angle, opening time/force and door width. In the power assist mode, the ED 800 supplies powered assistance to manual operation, adjustable between 1/2lbf. and 5 lbf.

The ED800 may be activated with a wall switch, motion sensor, access control keypad, card reader or wireless transmitters to actuate opening the door.

When turned on, The standard push-and-go feature automatically activates the operator when a person begins to open the door manually. When not being activated for door opening, the ED800 acts like a conventional door closer.

To simplify set up, an on-board microprocessor completes a learning cycle upon the first application of power. During normal operation, the ED 800 electronically senses the door environment and adjusts opening and closing forces accordingly.

As an added safety measure, the ED 800 stops operation and enters a balanced state when it encounters an obstacle in the opening or closing cycle. An assist function is automatically engaged to make it easier to push the door out of the way.

Although not required by ANSI 156.19, external safety sensors may be used with the ED800 to prevent the operator from triggering or re-closing if the path of the door is obstructed.

The ED800 can also be integrated with electrically actuated locking devices such as electric strikes, electromagnetic locks and electrically retracted panic exit door hardware.

The ED 800 is supplied with an integral delayed actuation and door lock output which coordinates an input signal so that the electrical locking device is released prior to the triggering of the ED 800 opening sequence.

ED 800 is a solution for many applications where existing swinging doors would benefit from the safety and convenience of automatic opening. The ED 800 has integral overload protection in case the unit is asked to operate in inappropriate conditions, such as on an improperly adjusted door, a door subjected to high wind for extended periods, or an obstructed door.

The ED 800 is almost self-healing, in that its internal microprocessor not only monitors resistance to opening or closing which might be caused by a pedestrian obstructing the opening, but it also re-analyses the situation; recalibrates itself, and restores itself to proper operating mode.

Installation options allow the ED 800 to be installed on either the push or pull side of the door. It may be connected to line voltage either with a line cord, or permanently hard-wired. The ED 800 may be ordered with a custom full length housing for installation on pairs of doors; and the system may be further modified so that local power and hold-open controls usually supplied on the end cap of the operator can be remotely situated to prevent unauthorized access to these controls.

A completed installation of a pair of DORMA ED 800s with full length cover on library doors is shown on page 30. The installation looks terrific and provides total functionality for the convenience, safety and security of the library which stores priceless documents and archived resources.

Note the Von Duprin surface-mount vertical rod exit devices, which are equipped with EL (electric latch retraction). Also note the HID proximity reader and LARKO wireless Handicapped Button. The ED 800s are coordinated with the ELs and also integrated with the card reader.

An unlock timer built into the LENEL access control system dogs down the exit devices during the day.

The handicapped button may be used to actuate the ED 800s.

A wireless remote release button is used by the librarians from the reference desk to open the doors for library users who may be carrying delicate books and reference materials into and out of the reading room.

After hours, the exit devices automatically relock, and access requires a valid proximity card.

Locksmith Ledger recent interviewed the USA arm of the world-wide DORMA group. Following are the Ledger's questions and answers from the DORMA spokespersons.

What is the range of products offered by DORMA?

DORMA Architectural Hardware (DAH) is just one part of DORMA globally. DAH offers one the largest selections of ANSI standards-based mechanical locks, key systems, exit devices, electronic access control, surface and concealed door closers and other hardware products.

Within North America , other DORMA businesses offer moveable wall systems, revolving doors, fully automatic doors, (including a full service & installation), glass partition and single-door system hardware

What is the history of the ED-800?

In the early 90s the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) heightened awareness that doors can present barriers to individuals with physical challenges or limitations. While standard door closers were capable of providing light opening forces, while adjusted for a light opening force, they might not provide enough power to reliably close and latch a door. In 1994, the ED800 was introduced to provide constant, reliable closing control while providing the electronic power to occasionally open a door where needed.

What is the intended market for the ED800?

The ED800 is designed for commercial hardware openings that typically require manual opening and occasionally require powered opening.

What are the standard product features?

All ED800s are designed for easy, one-person installation. The basic unit is non-handed and the control unit is non-mount specific. You can change from a pull side to a push side mount simply by flipping a toggle switch and installing the appropriate arm.

Most basic operator modes are provided standard such as Push & Go on/off, Strike Delay on/off, adjustable delay time, hold open option, adjustable opening speed/force and adjustable maximum opening angle.

It is simple to integrate touch pads, electric strikes, key pads and other access control components with the ED800 operator. It can function as a standalone device or be integrated as a component of the building fire alarm or other building management systems.

How is the ED800 superior to other products of this type?

The ED800 is an extremely ‘intelligent' operator. It is the only operator that does what is called a “learn cycle,” literally learning the latch position and reading initial opening forces for the door on which it is installed. It monitors these factors during its service life so it can adjust later if those conditions change over the life of the opening.

It is one of the only, if not the only, operator that gives installers the option of a Low Energy or Power Assist unit, right out of the box.

The ED800 comes standard with a keyed back plate to aid installers by resting the keyed slots in the back plate on pre-installed screws in the header.

The ED800 aids installers by providing LED diagnostics that show status of the unit in virtually every state of operation. If the installer made an error during set up, it would show up in the diagnostic light codes.

What details must the installer know when ordering an ED-800?

Really, only two basic things are absolutely needed to be able to order an ED800. It's so versatile that it fits quite an array of application requirements right out of the box.

On what side of the door (push or pull side) is the ED800 going to be installed and what color would I like are the two most basic questions.

Obviously, conditions at an opening might lead to optional equipment such as a multitude of triggering devices, special mounting brackets or other specialized electronics for specialized equipment control.

Choose the standard hard-wired version or an optional plug in power cord. Turn the unit into a show piece by ordering the unit in an eye pleasing architectural plated finish or an attractive full length cover.

Basic information regarding the application prior to purchasing a Low Energy operator should always be reviewed. A few examples are:

*Door size and weight

*Type of building

*Location in the building

*How must it operate

*Ceiling or other conditions that might prohibit typical installation

Can the ED-800 be readily interfaced with external control and safety equipment?

External controls such as push buttons, wireless controls or other signaling devices like keypads or card readers are easily connected to the plug in connector of the ED800.

Safety devices such as floor mats, rails, presence sensors and other safety devices that would normally be needed with “high energy” fully automatic operators would not be needed with the ED800 since it is a “Low Energy” automatic operator. Low Energy operators can never generate more than 15lb opening force. Low Energy operators must meet the ANSI A1256.19 standards for Power Assist and Low Energy Power Operated Doors.

What if the installer has a problem in the field?

Technical support is available from 8 a.m to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, (Eastern time).

Complete details, including more than 30 system functional descriptions, point-to-point wiring diagrams and wiring riser diagrams are available on our web site,

The most frequent questions center on integration with other electronic locking and control devices or simply the “How do I do this feature or function?” type questions. Numerous other questions address electronic device configuration.