Written by Hannah Wahlig and published on https://homeguides.sfgate.com/.
The value that comes with a garage door opener is something that helps offer homeowners unsung assets like convenience, while also helping avoid the stress and strain of opening these doors manually. However, those aspects can be negated when garage door safety beam issues exist, primarily due to the frustration that comes with watching a door suddenly reverse course for seemingly no reason.
Troubleshooting Safety Sensors for Garage Doors
Safety sensors are critical components of most automatic garage doors. The sensors detect obstructions in the path of a closing garage door and prevent the door from closing when the path isn’t clear, reducing the risk of injury to people and pets, and preventing accidental damage to things like cars and bikes. A garage door that refuses to close even when the path is clear, or a door that starts and stops randomly, may indicate a malfunction with the safety sensor.
Two types of accidental obstructions can cause the safety sensor to prevent a garage door from closing. The first is an obstruction in the path of the door and therefore in the path of the sensor. Trashcans, bicycles, strollers and toys are common, but even smaller items like branches or leaves can trip the sensor. The second type of obstruction might be on the sensor itself. Dust, insects or dirt on the sensor lens will activate the sensor and prevent normal operation. Removing such obstructions generally restores the door to proper functioning.
Improper positioning of safety sensors can cause poor functioning. The two positioning factors are sensor alignment and sensor placement height. Safety sensors include two mounted sections, one on each side of the garage door opening; the sensors use two photo eye lenses that transmit an infrared beam between them. If the sensors are not properly aligned, the photo eye lens will interpret it as in interrupted beam, indicating an obstruction. Use a laser level, or a string hung between the two sensors, to make sure they have not accidentally been knocked out of alignment. Sensors must be placed between 4 and 6 inches off the floor to meet safety standards; if they’re too low, ground-level obstructions might cause interference.
The safety sensors may have wire connection problems at the sensor port or at the opener’s motor head. Ensure that the wires are properly connected and not loose at both connection sites. Most sensors use LED lights on the sensor ports to indicate proper electrical functioning; some sensors display solid red or green lights on each sensor, while others have flashing or solid lights to indicate improper wiring. Check your manufacturer instructions to see how the lights should display. If the wiring appears correct, but the sensors are still not functioning, there may be an electrical problem at your circuit board.
Photo-Eye Sensor Damage
Occasionally the photo-eye lens of the sensor port becomes damaged. Lenses can be damaged by impact such as an accidental bump from a car or garbage can. Lenses are also particularly susceptible to moisture; if you have experienced high levels of heavy rain or a recent flood, it’s likely that your sensor was damaged by moisture and needs to be replaced.
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