Installing the Norton ADAEZ Low-Energy Door Operator

March 4, 2019
This job is easily a one man project, since it comes in a carton you can carry under your arm, and the mounting is designed to be accomplished by a single locksmith

This installation was performed at a small school for children with learning disabilities in the men’s restroom which they use for the children. The children are chaperoned when they need to use the bathroom, and toilet training is one of the courses they teach at this school. The special needs school leases the facility which was formerly used as a school, so there are classrooms, and other details of the building appropriate for a school and for children.

Basically each child has a therapist who works with the child for the duration of the school day.

It’s an old building and funds are limited, but the students require more supervision and a safer environment than a similar group of kids would without “issues.”

Here is a useful checklist for preparing and performing door operator installations. This is a generalized list, and again each item may not apply to every installation.

If it is a bid, then read the bid spec carefully. Look for errors omissions which might prevent the door operator from operating properly or may eventually become your problem and responsibility. Don’t assume anything, or take anything for granted.

Verify location of the door and actuators. This sounds silly, but once a technician was sent out to install a door operator in new construction, he couldn’t locate a representative for the contractor, and installed the door operator on the wrong door.

Also the location of the handicap buttons is subjective and it is best to allow the client to articulate their prerogative. If their prerogative is contrary to what makes sense, explain it to them.

  1. Verify proper wiring has been specified or that the correct wire was installed. (Be sure you install the correct wire.)
  2. Was the header prepped? (Correctly? Be sure you prep the door/header correctly)
  3. Clearly define were the line voltage will break out of the bulkhead, the circuit it will be under, and the location of the circuit breaker controlling it. If line voltage is required, you may need the services of a licensed electrician. Be sure you stipulate with your customer who is responsible for hiring, directing and paying the electrician.
  4. It is most desirable to have a dedicated breaker, and put a lockout on the circuit which you have control over until the system passes its final test and is turned over to the client.
  5. Is there access control? This part is always my favorite. Since many installations are performed in facilities where EAC is already installed, interfacing is required specialized knowledge which most carpenters and electricians do not possess.
  6. Low energy operators require knowing act actuators. These days handicap buttons frequently are battery operated and therefore do not require wiring.
  7. Where the project involves vestibules, determine if sequencing is required or if electric locks will be interfaced.
  8. Inspect the area around the subject door to determine if other ADA violations might be present, or other upgrades may be warranted.
  9. Verify that the vestibule is dimensioned to meet ADA wheelchair maneuverability requirements. Putting in door operators does not waive these requirements. If the vestibule was too small and non-compliant before you installed the door operators, it still will be afterwards, and having an inspector fail the job will take the fun out of your victory lap.

Door swings may need to be altered, or walls may need to be relocated in order to satisfy maneuverability requirements. These were other narrowly avoided catastrophes for me where a bank’s lobby was too small, and another time a county agency asked for a price, but again, the building was old and wheelchair maneuverability requirements could not be met without redesigning the vestibule.

Although door operators are not required in the building codes, they are considered desirable enhancements, and many of my installs were triggered by complaints to the ADA from individuals who felt that a building had limited accessibility and contacted the ADA or the building management.

You can view ADA requirements at

Mounting the Norton ADA-EZ

Since this was a very small bathroom with a narrow door, I was not comfortable installing the Norton 613 I had originally planned to use. The Norton 613 is very streamlined, but it has a full-width housing. I thought it would be just too big, and it wouldn’t look right, even though it could be mounted on the narrow door and otherwise would work great.

So instead I opted for the Norton ADAEZ operator which has a very unique and distinctive form factor. Most people never saw a door operator like this, and although it is physically smaller than a traditional door operator, its ease of deployment and extra technology makes it a good deal for both the end-user and the installer.

FORM FACTOR: The ADAEZ controller mounts right on the door, not above it as do traditional form factor door operators. An arm attaches to the stationary door frame above the door. The ADAEZ is non-handed, and also can be mounted on either the push side or the pull side with all necessary hardware included for metal and wood doors. Even those blue masonry screws were included in the hardware kit.

First thing was to remove the ancient pot belly door closer. It was still in working order.

Templates for all the installation variations were included as were all the various components and fasteners. This door operator is not handed, and has bracketry for either push or pull operation. If you have parts left over after you finish the install, it doesn’t mean you forgot to install something.

My initial concern was the zero reveal requirement where the surface of the door and the mounting surface of the door shoe had to be even. On this door, the frame had clamshell molding which besides having a curved profile, also was made of flimsy pine and was something like ½ thick. I cut away enough to expose the actual door frame which was also pine. When I carefully aligned the template, the centerline for the door shoe occurred where I had a concern that the screws could not be in enough solid wood to hold. I got a small piece of plywood and sistered it up against the top jamb and fastened it with four Spax screws and Locktite POWERGRAB ULTIMATE construction adhesive. This doubled the width of the area where the shoe mounted and I was comfortable it would hold permanently.

So even though this was essentially a hollow cardboard door, the area near the top had wood in it and screws grabbed. The ADAEZ uses a mounting saddle which you screw on the door, then mount the operator itself to the saddle. There are guide pins on the saddle, since you put the operator onto the pins, it is held in position and you can put all the screws in using two hands.

I’m not saying that installing a conventional door operator is always a two-man job, but I am suggesting that installing the ADAEZ is easily a one man project, since it comes in a carton you can carry under your arm, and the mounting is designed to be accomplished by a single mechanic.


Oh that’s right, you may not need to do any. The ADAEZ is regenerative. The device has an integral battery, and whenever the door is opened, the device charges the battery. If the duty cycle for the application does not meet Norton’s recommended rules of 80 manual door cycles per day, and is used 25 percent or less automatically, then the optional transformer is recommended.

The knowing act devices supplied are wireless, so for those installations,

It’s “Look Ma, No Wires.”

For this installation I used the transformer option for operator power but still used the narrow wireless handicap buttons for both entry and egress. They were pre-programmed for the operator as an additional convenience and installation time saver

It is a plug-in transformer and it is supplied with a very long wire to connect the transformer to the operator. One end is a round connector similar to what is used for external computer hard drives and monitors. The other end slips into a removable terminal block which inserts into operator body. It was very easy to handle #22 zip cord, and they supply a long piece. This is startling for those of us who are accustomed to large transformers and heavy gauge wire. A green LED on the bottom of the door operator indicates AC is properly connected and being supplied to the unit.

The ADAEZ will continue to operate if there is a power failure, a nice feature especially since it is provided at no additional cost. A traditional AC powered door operator stops working during power failures.


This device is not hydraulic, it uses a spring. The device comes pre-adjusted, but if for some reason you wish to increase or decrease the tension, an adjustment point is provided which is readily accessible and only requires a hex wrench to perform.

Set up and programming went pretty well. The #5800 has integral safety sensors, and the operator arm must be properly adjusted and the door must swing freely in order for the door operator to self-learn and program.

One of the AAADM stickers provided with the operator recommends a daily safety check be performed by the owner. It’s a good idea to tell the client how important it is for them to ensure the safe operation of the door operator.

Norton’s ADAEZ Series

As one of the world’s only regenerative power door operators, Norton’s ADAEZ Series is certified by GreenCircle to reduce energy consumption by as much as 100 percent versus other comparable operators. Available in wireless and plug-in versions and able to fit in the tightest of spaces, the 5800 ADAEZ is simple to install and use.

Features and Benefits

  • Simple Installation
  • Mounts on door
  • No voltage / low voltage power to opening
  • Includes stainless steel, weatherized RF push buttons
  • Patented Auto-Tune ensures safety & compliance
  • Flexible
  • Non-handed
  • Push and pull side mounting
  • Adjustable open/closing force
  • Controls doors up to 48” wide & 250 lbs
  • Functions like ordinary door closer when used manually
  • Dependable Grade 1 - heavy-duty, commercial design
  • Protection from high-wind & abusive environments
  • Built-in battery backup allows use during power failure
  • Brushless DC motor/gearbox tested 10+ million cycles
  • Power Close ensures consistent door latching
  • Regenerative drive or continuous duty operation
  • 95° max. door opening
  • Push and pull side mounting
  • Push-and-Go (ADA1015P Kit must be connected)
  • Power Close (ADA1015P Kit must be connected)
  • Radio Frequency stainless steel push buttons
  • Integral RF receiver
  • Shock absorbing arm
  • 693T (black) and 689 (aluminum) covers
  • 24 VDC input port
  • ADA1015P hardware kit
  • Built-in ON/OFF Switch
  • Auxiliary activation input port
  • Maximum door width - 48"
  • Maximum door weight - 250 lbs
  • Patented Auto-Tune feature ensures safety and compliance with A156.19 code

More Info: Three-dimensional installation instructions are also available on the ASSA ABLOY BILT app.

About the Author

Tim O'Leary

Tim O'Leary is a security consultant, trainer and technician who has also been writing articles on all areas of locksmithing & physical security for many years.