How to Select an Electric Power Transfer Hinge

Electric hinges or power transfer units offer more security when you need to make sure that doors don’t open unless you know who’s coming through. When door security is that big of a priority, you can protect your employees, inventory, and anything else from theft using power transfer hinges like an electrified steel butt hinge.

Electric power hinges provide an electronic access control mechanism for secure locking of commercial doors. These power transfer hinges provide a concealed, vandal-resistant way to run wires from the door frame to doors equipped with exit devices and electric locks. Including other applications, power transfer units are also used for security doors.

We provide a full guide on electric power transfer hinges, including different types of hinges available and how these are generally installed. 

Note: Before installing an electrified hinge, we encourage you to watch videos and get familiar with the risks. If you’re unfamiliar with this type of installation, it may be best to consult a professional installer.

What is an Electric Power Transfer Hinge?

Electrical power transfer (EPT) or power transfer hinges (PTH) are used to transfer wires from the door frame to the door’s edge. EPT hinges are used when there is electrified hardware that’s door-mounted, it requires power and the ability to send signals to a remote location. These hinges are typically installed in the center hinge position of a door. 

Electrified hinges may also be referred to as “concealed electric hinges,” such as the McKinney concealed circuit electric hinge or McKinney Electrolynx concealed power transfer hinge. These specialty electric hinges conceal wires between the frame through the hinge and attach it to electric hardware in the door to monitor and control. 

Benefits of Electrified Hinges

  • Secures your building and doorways
  • Easily and safely powers locking hardware and access control
  • Uses wires with connectors that leads or snaps together
  • Resistant to tampering as there are no external wires
  • Improves the overall look of the access door

Industrial Applications

Electric power transfer hinges can be used with exit devices or hold-open doors. You can monitor a door’s position, activate alarms, and observe doors when you need them to be “tamper proof”.

Special Considerations of Electrified Hinges

In addition, electric hinges are available in full mortise only, which is a plate hinge that’s designed to have a single or two leaves mortised into the door and door jamb. The hinge is placed flush with the surface of the door and frame when attached, leaving a completely smooth appearance. 

Types of Electric Hinges and Power Transfer Devices

Electric hinges are full mortise, heavyweight, and standard weight style hinges. The primary difference between heavy and standard is heavyweight electric hinges use a thicker gauge metal more suitable for commercial applications.

Some types of electric hinges and power transfer devices include: 

Power Transfer Options

In addition to the hinge, you may also need electric power transfer door loops, PTM (Predictive Technology Model) devices or concealed electric power transfer, or wireless power transfer devices. 

Power transfer door loops may be surface mounted or mortised to transfer monitoring and power signals to the frame and door. 

PTM devices are used to mortise into the frame and door for concealed transfer of monitoring and power signals. 

Depending on the application, there may be different types of locking devices, access control needs, egress devices, power transfer devices, power sully and door controllers, remote controls, annunciators, and door holders. 

What Types of Doors and Applications Use Electric Hinges?

Any door can use an electric hinge, but there are specific applications that require security more than others. A few examples include:

  • Hospitals
  • Research labs
  • Industrial access
  • Banks
  • Military
  • Vaults

From frame to door, power transfer devices can provide considerable security. They transfer power, and monitoring signals to doors with electronic devices and locks. Power transfer devices may include mortise devices, wired door transfer hinges, and mortise power transfer devices.

Choosing the Right Power Transfer Hinge

Before thinking about the right electric power transfer hinge, it’s important to be familiar with your specific application. If you will need a power-over-ethernet (PoE) hinge because your door connects to a computer system, then you’ll need a specific type of hinge. 

Weight and size of the door also matter, as well as if you want to hide or add other security features. If you have a heavy, wide door, most applications like this require a heavyweight electric hinge. Other doors may use standard weight hinges.

Installation Type

For most electric hinges, you need hardware that can pass a constant flow of electric current between the source of power and electrified devices attached to the door. These hinges may have concealed plug connectors that eliminate exposed wiring that can be tampered with.

As we mentioned, the size and weight of the door influences your hinge decision. If you have a heavier door, then you’ll likely want to go with a heavyweight, 3-knuckle or 5-knuckle full mortise bearing hinge.

TIP: The McKinney Quick Connect electric hinge or ElectroLynx hinge offers heavyweight and standard weight hinges with full mortise bearing, swing-clear, or wide-throw installation. 

How Many Devices are You Attaching?

Will your hinge need to fit a lot of wires to support other devices? Some hinges are available with 12 wires. However, your hinge should be compatible with all the different devices that may be attached to the door, such as access control devices, security alarms, lights, or exit door signs.

Choose Fully Concealed

One benefit of McKinney hinges their resilience to tampering, especially if you choose a concealed hinge. Mortise door and frame installation is completely concealed once the door is closed. 

Installed in the center hinge position of a door, power transfer hinges can be threaded with concealed wires between the frame and door. These wires can power and monitor all electric door hardware. 

Compatibility with Your Devices

Your hinges must be compatible with other devices such as electrified mortise locks, electrified cylindrical locks, delayed egress exit devices, electric trim, and electric strikes for door pairs. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure hinge compatibility of power control inputs for electric locks.

Power over Ethernet (PoE Hinges)

Do you need to transmit data or collect data through your doorway? A PoE-enabled hinge allows you to link up your power source with another incoming data source. 

You can typically link this type of hinge with other smart devices and hardware. For example, the McKinney ElectroLynx PoE hinge allows data to be passed from the door jamb to other PoE products.

Other Factors: Finishes

One last thing, there are a variety of finishes to match your door, such as:

  • Silver
  • Bronze
  • Copper
  • Black
  • Chrome
  • and more

How Do You Install Electric Hinges?

Electrical hinges and power transfer units may be installed on all kinds of doors for different applications. In general, you’ll need to know the following information to ensure proper installation: 

  • Door size: Tall, wide doors will need a heavyweight hinge. 
  • Door weight:  Larger doors require a heavyweight, full mortise hinge. 
  • Hinge size: See our guide to pick heavy duty hinge sizes. 
  • How many devices and wires: Some hinges can handle 1 or 2 wires, while others are designed for 10 or more. If needing data, these typically use Power over Data cables, which have 5 or more wires. Conductors may also need to pass through the hinge. 
  • Hinge type: Full mortise, surface, heavyweight bearing, concealed hinge, and specialty PoE hinges  
  • Does it need to process data through a PoE Hinge? 
  • Do you need other power transfer devices such as a PTM?

NOTE: it’s always best to consult a hinge professional for proper sizing and application selection. We can help you find the right electric hinge. Click here to contact us for assistance.  

Standard Installation: Electric Hinge

Most electrical hinge types will fit into a standard 4.5” or 5” hinge, have a modification to pass the wire through and installed in the center hinge position. 

Standard Installation: Power Transfer

Before installing power transfer devices, you first need to decide on a surface or concealed that’s best for your application requirements.

  • Surface power transfers are best used with armored door cords or door loops. These are the most commonly used and can also be fit for existing openings or may be prepared for new construction. Fire-rated openings may require a consultation with a local authority. 
  • Concealed units (EPTs) are typically factory-prepared and approved for common openings.

Electric Locks and Strikes

Are you using an electrical lock or strike? You may need a conduit or a raceway to use with your electric hinge or power transfer. The conduit will run from the hinge to the lock or strike. If you are using an electric panic device, most electric connections are pushed through the hinge side mounting.

Still Need Help Choosing the Right Power Transfer Hinge?

The right electric power transfer hinge depends on the application. If you’re having trouble finding the right electric power transfer hinge, consult a project expert to help you. Click here to contact us.