Tech Tips: Installing A Low Energy Door Operator

Dec. 3, 2018
The Norton 6300 meets the special needs of school restroom door

Door operators are a great line for locksmiths because they are frequently requested door accessory which doesn’t necessarily require an electrician’s license or network expertise to install.

You can get on-the-job training by installing door operators, train by studying installation manuals or you can attend certification training. I did all three, even though had been installing door operators for several years prior to attending the class.

Being certified gives you credibility and being in the AAADM ONLINE REGISTRY brought me new customers for both low and high energy projects. The training also teaches you the questions to ask when specifying the system.

Safety: what issues are present with the door which might affect the safety of the installation? Regardless of the type of door operator you are working with, the equipment you are installing will put a door into motion, and you need to anticipate things which might go wrong.

Will the door swing open and block pedestrian traffic? Is there a possibility of a person being entrapped by the door, or injured as the door closes?

You can wallpaper the door and surrounding area with warnings and signage, but if there is an injury, and it can somehow be related to your door operator, you may need an attorney.

Mounting/installation: The door operator is a sizeable and heavy assembly. When it actuates and moves the door, there is torque involved and you need to be sure the operator will remain firmly attached to the wall above the opening. Some walls are not as strong as you think. Also the door operator manufacturer will probably have specific requirements for the position of door operator and the distance between the surface upon which the door operator is mounted and the surface of the door being controlled.

Activation: You will need to run power to the door operator and possibly a wire to connect a knowing act button or other type of actuation device. If there is a mechanical lock on the opening, you must anticipate and provision for it to retract when the door operator is actuated, or clearly stipulate that the latch must remain unlocked during those times when the door operator is available for use. This is a reason why adding a door operator to an access controlled door is sometimes easier that a door that is not already set up with an electrically actuated lock.

When you’re specifying power operators for swinging doors, you have two options: Low energy and Full Power Door Operators. Their opening speed, force, and safety device requirements differ.

Low energy power operator requirements only apply to swing door operators. The activation of all doors described in the ANSI/BHMA A156.19 standard requires a “knowing act” switch activation. Examples of approved “knowing act” devices are push button actuators, keypads, key switches and card readers.

The A156.19 standard also covers “power assist” operation and includes provisions to reduce the chance of injury or entrapment without the use of guiderails, safety devices, etc.

Low energy operators are designed to provide enhanced accessibility, open slowly with minimal force, and they do not require safety devices.

The addition of safety sensors, while not required, can greatly enhance the operation of a low energy opening by preventing the door from contacting an impaired or slow-moving pedestrian. Even if the customer declines, I always feel that in order to provide professional consultation, I at least explain the benefits and offer auxiliary sensors and accessories with my low energy projects.

In comparison, high energy/full power devices (automatic power operators) operate quickly and continuously in all pedestrian environments and require safety devices. High energy power operator requirements deal with higher speed, forces, shorter time delays, and activating sensing devices.

Low energy

  • Cost efficient
  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Smaller in size – less visible
  • Easier to install than high energy door operators
  • Safety devices not required by code
  • Suited for either retrofits or new installations
  • Operates like standard closer when door operator is not triggered or upon power loss
  • Meets fire door requirements – self-closing under loss of power

High Energy

  • Full-Energy High speed – for unencumbered passage
  • Quicker passage – allows able-bodied users to get through faster
  • 100% duty cycle – high frequency
  • Works for sliding, swinging, folding, and revolving door applications
  • Per ANSI/BHMA A156.10, high energy power operators require use of guiderails, safety devices, sensors, etc.
  • These requirements vary significantly based on the opening and traffic type.

Door operators are also available in two different control technologies: Electromechanical vs Electrohydraulic. Electro-hydraulic Automatic Operators utilize a hydraulic door closer and a motor to operator the door. Electromechanical automatic operators are gear-driven.

Norton 6300

Our most recent project was installing a Norton 6300 Low Energy Operator on a restroom in a school for special needs children. The door was 30’ inswinging, and was only deadbolted when a staff person needed to answer the call of nature. The rest of the time students were accompanied by a teacher/therapist, and the door always remained unlocked.

I used an ASSA ABLOY ESH wave security sensor to trigger the door operator for entrance.

Since the #6300 defaults to a standard door closer when not actuated or when there is a power failure, individuals left the restroom by opening the door manually.

I obtained terrific tech support from Norton while specifying the door operator for this moderately unique application. This door operator is non-handed so once you have determined whether you are using a push or pull configuration, you have the operator speced in.

Our door was rather narrow, but the #6300 can adapt to a 30” door.

Our door was rather light construction. The #6300 is electromechanical for the door closer portion of the product and can be adjusted to suit the size/weight of the door. Often door operators use a hydraulic door closer, which are also adjustable.

The Norton 6300 Series Low Energy Operator offers intelligent functions, such as latch boost, latch retraction and obstruction detection to safely secure a variety of moderate to high traffic openings. A unique design with one of the slimmest profiles available allows the 6300 to blend more seamlessly with the frame while fitting challenging applications with minimal header space. A modular design and simple controls also make for easy

The Locksmith Ledger asked Kelli Harper, Product Category Manager - Door Controls at Norton, the following question: Why are some door operators electrohydraulic and others electromechanical?

Both Electrohydraulic and Electromechanical operators offer their own benefits, and Norton’s portfolio includes both types, according to Ms. Harper.

“The 6300 falls into our Electromechanical low energy operator line. The 6300 operator doesn’t use a chain. It’s a direct drive operator rather than using an indirect closing device. This direct drive operator allows us to have closing capabilities such as dynamic latch boost where a closer is limited to spring force in the closer, and it takes up less space on the frame/door and it’s oil-less,” she added.

6300 Features:

  • Push and pull side mounting
  • Non-handed
  • Activated by push button, hands-free and RF devices
  • Door size: min width 36", max width 48", max weight 200 lbs.
  • Power assist
  • Obstruction detection (open and close)
  • Aesthetically pleasing, slim profile
  • Modular design
  • Lock release feature for enhanced security
  • Latch boost
  • Selectable mode switch (off, on, hold open)
  • Adjustable opening force
  • Adjustable closing power
  • Blow open and blow close for smoke ventilation
  • 2 year limited warranty

Power Assist: Senses the door is being opened manually and applies small amount of power to assist user in opening the door with force less than 5 lbs. Door opens only as far as it is moved manually, then closes once released

Push and Go (selectable): As the door is manually opened, the operator “senses” movement and opens door to the full-open position

Obstruction Detection: When Open, door closes if it hits an obstruction while opening. When Closed, door will reverse to open position if it hits an obstruction while closing.

Close (Selectable - Stop on Stall): Door will stop once it hits an obstruction and will rest against the obstruction until removed

Motor Startup Delay: Delays operator opening for locking hardware

Infinite Hold Open: Door will hold open at set position until power is turned off

Latch Boost (Selectable): Additional closing force to overcome conditions that might otherwise prevent the door from latching (ex: weather stripping, stack pressure)

Selector mode switch (3 position):

Off - door functions as a standard door closer

On - door functions as an automatic low energy operator

Hold Open - activates the unit to the hold open position

Moderate to high traffic openings are ideal applications for the 6300 Series Low Energy Operator.

Electrical Data

  • Power input 120 VAC, 3A, 60Hz
  • Current draw 1.5A
  • Power output 24VDC @ 1.3A max draw (less accessories)


  • ANSI/BHMA A156.19 certified
  • UL325/991 certified
  • UL10C listed for positive pressure fire test
  • Complies with requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act (A.D.A)
  • Manufactured in an ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified facility

Whether an interior or exterior door, the 6300 Series is a low energy door control solution that allows facilities to meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements by enabling a door to be operated through the use of push buttons, wave switches or hands-free radio frequency devices.

  • Corridors
  • Hospitals
  • Universities Entrance Doors
  • Schools
  • Theaters
  • Banks
  • Large office buildings
  • Large department stores

More Info:

Securitron WSS Wave Sense Switch

For the knowing act switch I used the Securitron WSS Wave Sense Switch from ASSA ABLOY Electronic Security Hardware. Wave Sense Switch features a motion sensing technology for hands-free, contactless switch activation. Use for request to exit (REX), activation or on/off switching to trigger a variety of access control devices in place of a push plate or push button.

Product Features

  • Active microwave motion sensing using Doppler radar—more reliable than infrared sensors
  • Adjustable sensing zone from 4” to 24” helps screen out incidental traffic
  • Microwave sensing FCC certified for use in general and medical environments
  • Touchless activation for -free operation, reduces transmission of germs
  • Pulse mode to initiate action or toggle mode to provide on/off switch
  • Offered in a single-gang or double-gang model
  • Mounting ring included or install in standard plastic or metal gang box
  • Water resistant—foam gasket included
  • Compatible with Securitron WBB Weather Back Box and WCC Weather Cover-Clear

Specification Data

  • Electromagnetic compatibility according to 2004/108/EC
  • FCC: G9B-MS08
  • IC: 4680A-MS08


  • Single gang faceplate: 4-1/2” x 2-3/4”
  • Double gang faceplate: 4-1/2” x 4-1/2”


  • Self-sensing 12 or 24V DC or AC input (± 10%)
  • Maximum power consumption: less than 1.5W (125 mW at 12 VDC)
  • 1A SPDT contact can be operated in toggle or pulse mode Pulse output: 0.5 seconds

Operating Temperature:

-4 to +131F [-20 to +55C]


WSS-W1: Wave Sense Switch-with white, single gang faceplate

WSS-W2: Wave Sense Switch-with white, double gang faceplate

WBB: Weather Back Box

WCC: Weather Cover-Clear

Weather Option: WCC and WBB available for all Single Gang Push Buttons, Keyswitches and Keypads.

Patent pending and/or patent

More Info: