December 29, 2013

And This Is Why I Don't Like Hardware

We have an older house. It's very nice in many ways, or at least the Queen of All She Surveys picked it, so I can only assume it's nice. I like living in it, but I'm not a big, flashy house kind of guy. As long as I have room for my computer and my lovely bride, not necessarily in that order, I'm good.

The one feature of the house that I don't care for is that it is a raised ranch. The main living area is upstairs, like a single level bungalow, with a basement exposed at the front and a built-in garage. The floor to ceiling height of the basement is not as tall as the main level. For most of the basement that's not a huge deal, but for the garage it means that there is not much headroom, and that means that the garage door mechanism is old-fashioned because no one makes slim-line garage hardware any more. Well, maybe they do, but no one builds low headroom garages anymore!

Yesterday, our garage door mechanism started getting stuck. For some non-obvious reason, it was sticking when about three quarters closed and then the safety mechanism was causing it to open back up. Quite annoying. The fact that we were trying leave for a church event just under three hours away did not improve my opinion. I slipped the clutch on the mechanism and opened and shut the door manually as we left and when we returned.

This afternoon I spent quite a long time peering at the mechanism and the roller bars. I even manually put the door up and down several times to see if I could find the reason for the binding and sticking. Nothing obvious was seen. Then I noticed that some stabilizing wires, attached to a large spring, were twisted such that they were rubbing against each other while the door lowered or raised. I have no idea how that happened, so I untwisted the wires and suddenly the door started working correctly! Splendid! Fixed!

To make sure that these twisted wires were the problem, I re-twisted them and started the door closing. I expected everything to stick. Nothing stuck. The door closed perfectly. How does that make sense? I untwisted the wires again and tried the door nearly a dozen times. Everything continued to work perfectly. This makes no sense to me. And is a large part of why I don't like tinkering with hardware. People think software is complicated, and it is, but once you have it working it stays working and if it's broken it stays broken. It never stops working and starts working for no logical reason!

Sigh. Oh well, I'll just take the credit for fixing it and allow my lovely bride to be impressed with my awesome manliness!

Tags: Personal