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Trouble Shoot Door Opener

Garage Door Opener Trouble Shooting 


  Your Garage door is the largest moving part of your home and often the mainentrance.  When your door or opener are not working it is usually a large inconvenience.  Many basic garage door and opener problems can be identified using a few of the tips listed below.  Once the source of the problem has been found you then can determine if this is a repair that is within your comfort zone or if it is time to call you local professional garage door repair man.  Always use care and keep safety in mind when working on and inspecting your garage door or opener.


Step #1

  The first step is to determine if you have a garage door or opener problem.  One way to do this is with the door in the closed position (Be very careful not to disconnect your door in the open position as this can cause serious injury) put the door into the manual operation mode by pulling the disconnect cord and attempt to manually open your garage door.  A garage door should be able to be lifted with out to much force all the way through its travel and once in its open position it should hold itself open.  A properly balanced door will hold itself open at mid point through its travel.  If the door does not open you need to double check that it is disconnected from the door opener.  You can do this by removing the pin that connects the garage door opener arm to the door and try again.  If the door is unable to open you should begin to do a visual inspection on the door.  Look at you garage door springs and lift cables first.  If you see any sign of breakage you have found your problem.  If you have a Wayne Dalton Door with the Torquemaster spring inside the tube it is a little harder to tell if you have a broken spring.  Typically the door will be hard to open manually and the winding indicator will read zero.  If all seams well with your springs look for obvious problems such as locks engaged, hardware issues like bent track worn or damaged rollers and hinges. Somewhere you will most likely determine the problem that is causing your door not to open.  If the door is operating properly and moves freely you have pretty much ruled out the door as the problem and you can move onto step 2.


Step #2

 Once you feel your door is operating properly and you think your door opener is the problem it is time to determine if it is a mechanical, electrical or safety feature problem.  Typically if a garage door will not close from the open position with the garage door opener and reverses immediately or part way down it is a safety device error. When there is a safety issue typically the light on the opener will flash when activated. You can usually push your wall button down and hold it in through the down travel to get your door closed. Once the door is in the closed position release the button now you can begin to look for the problem.  Look at your photo eye safety sensors to see if they are aligned or damaged. If your photo eye safety beams are not aligned typically the indicator light will be off our blinking on one of the eyes.  If the photo sensors are aligned and the lights are not lit on your photo sensors check for frayed wires, faulty plugs or lose connections.  We have a full line of safety sensors for all makes and models of door openers available.  If the photo safety sensors appear ok it is time to look on the motor unit itself to check the force settings of the opener.  Most openers have an open and close force adjustment to determine the pressure that it will apply when traveling in the open or closed mode.  Sometimes these adjustments are located under the lens cover for the light.  In many cases this adjustment needs to be made to accommodate weather changes and door wear.  Most of these adjustments can be made with a small screw driver or thumb turns. Always consult your manual to see the recommended process to set your force or pressure setting.  If you do not have a manual you can consult the manufacturers website to download or purchase a manual.



  If your garage door opener will not open or close the garage door when holding down the wall button and you can hear the motor operating it is most likely an internal or external drive gear on the door opener that has worn or damaged.  Many garage openers use nylon drive gears that wear in time and need replacing.  The drive gears are either located under the rail assemble or inside the motor unit itself.  You can inspect them by simply removing the motor cover or rail. We carry a number of these drive gear on our site.  In the case you do not see the gear you are looking for please contact us via e-mail and we can locate it for you. We have a very good video tutorial on the parts page that will help you change out your gear if you have a Sears Craftsman, Liftmaster, Chamberlain, Raynor or Master Mechanic door opener.  Wayne Dalton Quantum, Pro Drive, Classic Drive chain and belt drive openers have a gear located on top of the opener and is a 2 piece system.  Wayne Dalton units have a gear that is attached to the powerhead with a screw and cog that is part of the rail system that fits into the gear with 2 or 4 cogs depending on the age of your door opener. The cog also is the drive system that incorporates a chain sprocket or belt pulley depending on the drive system of your opener.  It is recommended that you replace them as a set.  


Step #4

 Another common garage door opener problem is with the travel carriage itself. This is the part of the opener that runs up and down the opener rail and connects the door to the opener and also works as the disconnect device to allow for manual operation.  In many screw drive units the teeth that engage into the screw wear out and fail.  Garage door opener trolley disconnects and the attaching point for the chain/belt can break or become worn.  Most travelers are still available as replacement parts and can be purchased for a reasonable price on our website. The Genie screw drive opener is know for its carriage failure.  It is a very easy part to change out and takes only a few minutes to complete the entire process.  Be sure when replacing a screw drive trolley you lubricate the screw with the correct low temperature white lithium grease. We recommend using the Genie grease. If you fail to lubricate the rail your carriage will wear out prematurely.



Step #5

 If you find your garage door opener totally non responsive make sure you have power to the garage door opener outlet.  To do this simply find a light or power tool you know work and plug it into the outlet to test. If you have power and the garage door opener is not responsive at all most likely you have an internal electrical problem such as circuit board or motor start capacitor.  If you can smell a burnt electrical odor many times the problem lies in the motor start capacitor. It is very rare for the actual electric motor to be the problem but it is possible. Garage door openers are very sensitive to power surges.  If you find your door opener is not working the day of or after a sever storm that had lightning your door opener could have a circuit board that failed.  We suggest that you always install an inexpensive surge protector to protect you valuable garage door openers components.  If you are dealing with a garage door opener ten to 15 years old or older you should consider replacing the unit before making costly repairs. 

Step #6

In the event you are having troubles with the garage door opener light there are a few very easy steps to follow to diagnos a problem.  If the light is not activating when the door opener is triggered by the wall button or transmitter check the lightbulb first.  The next step would be to test for power at the socket itself.  If there is not power at the socket check the wiring connections and condition of the socket. It is possible that the socket is bad.  It is a simple fix and sockets can be readily purchased.  Check for power where the wires from the socket connect to the circuit board if there is power there it is most likely the socket.  If you unplug the opener for 30 seconds and replug it in.  LIsten for a click from the relay.  If you do not hear the click then most likely your problem lies in the motor control circuit board and you will need to replace it as necessary.  When you experience the problem where the light will not go out check to see if the work light switch was activated from the wall console.  Another issue could be a defective wall button or circuit board.

Step #7

Remote control transmitter are like keys to your home and when they are not functioning can be a major inconvenience.  The first thing to check is that you have new and fresh batteries in your transmitter.  Batteries typically last 1-3 years depending on usage.  If you are experiencing range problems it is usually a sign of a battery that is reaching the end of its life. If all your remote control transmitters are not working be sure to check your wall console to make sure the security switch or vacation mode has not been activated.  When the vacation switch is on it locks out all remote controls and keypads.  The only way your door will open or close is from the wall button.  Once you have ruled out the vacation switch is is likely you have a faulty receiver on your circuit board. If you have another transmitters that opens the door and one that does not and you have checked the battery it is mostly in need of replacement.  Remote control transmitters are typically inexpensive and very accessible.  Remember when ou order a new transmitter it is important to follow the instruction to program it to your opener.  They will not work directly out of the box.

Step #8

On occasion we here about a door opener that opens or closes on its own.  The first step is to make sure you do not have a transmitter with a sticking button. Once that has been ruled out check to be sure there are not any shorts in the wire that runs from the door opener to the wall button. If a stale or something is causing a short it can cause your door to open and close spontaneously.  On older model openers that do not incorporate rolling code technology it is possible that someone has your same code in the area.  To remedy this problem simply change your code on your opener and existing transmitters.  

If you have not located the problem or are uncomfortable performing the repairs you should consider calling your local garage door repair company.  Once again always use care and caution when performing garage door and opener maintenance, inspections and repairs.  Be sure to unplug the motor unit whenever servicing a garage door opener.