Monday, February 15, 2010

How to fix a balky garage-door opener?

By Al Heavens
Question: I have a problem with my automatic garage door and I am hoping you can help me. The garage door is about three years old and I've not had a problem with it until recently.

I am able to open the door using the keypad mounted on the outside, the remote-control automatic garage door openers, and the indoor wall-mounted control. I cannot close the door using the automatic garage-door opener or the keypad. The only way I can close the door is to press and hold down the indoor wall-mounted control. If I release it before the door is completely closed, it stops in mid-descent.

It's creating a big inconvenience, because we have to close the garage door from the inside, then exit the front door when leaving home. I can no longer get in my car, press a button, and go on my merry way.

How can we fix the problem?

Answer: You said your opener was manufactured by Chamberlain in Elmhurst, Ill. The manufacturer's tech staff explains that before the garage door can close properly, the safety reversing sensor must be connected and aligned correctly. An obstruction in the path of the sensor also will prevent the door from closing.

If the safety sensors are not installed, or are misaligned or miswired, or you have shorted a wire at a staple point, the door will not close by the remote control or momentary contact at the wall push button. The door will attempt to close but will reverse, and the lightbulb on the opener will flash 10 times. You can, however, apply constant pressure to the wall push button until the garage door is fully closed.

This sensor is an electronic beam that is sent between two sending and receiving "eyes." These eyes face each other and are located just inside your garage door. They may need to be adjusted so the beam from the sending eye is properly detected by the receiving eye. Once the receiving eye "sees" the beam from the sending eye, a green indicator light will glow on the top of the eye.

Check each sensor for a steady glowing indicator light. If both indicator lights are on, or if one indicator light is flickering, the sensor may be slightly misaligned.

To check for misalignment, obstruct the beam of the sensors so they cannot see each other. When the beam is blocked, the indicator light on one of the two sensors will temporarily go out. This is the receiving sensor. Remove the obstruction and loosen the wingnut on the receiving sensor.

Adjust the receiving sensor until the indicator light is bright and steady, then retighten the wingnut. This usually takes a couple of attempts before it is back in alignment.

If all else fails, contact the tech support staff at Chamberlain at 1-800-528-5880 about garage door opener repair, and the folks there will walk you through the problem.

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