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Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

  1. #1
    Posting Freak
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    Anybody know anything about garage door openers?


    Long shot, but I'm sick of living in misery with my temperamental garage door opener.

    It's been finicky and slightly annoying since we bought the house a year and a half ago, got better for a while, and has been getting progressively worse for the last few months, culminating in me spending 15 minutes tonight trying to close the door.

    This is the pretty standard situation as of the last few months: When I hit close it goes down about 3 inches and then back to the top. Press it again and it goes down to knee height and stops. Press close one or two (or three) more times and it closes all the way. Tonight I pressed it about 750 more times and eventually pulled the cord and closed it manually. After I did that it "closed" normally (meaning the motor moved the carriage thing back to the arm on the door that I disconnected).

    What can I check on the sensors? One has a green light and one has a yellow light. When I interrupt them the green goes out, but yellow stays on. For a while I was convinced they were getting tripped by shadows, but I'm pretty sure that's impossible.

    Could the rails/track be binding? It's greased, but it has a lot of flex in it (it's pretty poorly installed with angle iron, etc.).

    It always opens fine. Has these issues closing regardless of if I'm using the remote, wall switch or key pad.

    Any help is appreciated. I'm thinking about just tripping the wires for the sensors and see if that works. If not I might just use it manually.

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  2. #2
    Lifer ZX-12R's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    Have you looked on the drive unit for force adjustment settings? On older and basic models, there are usually knobs that can be turned by a small screwdriver that adjusts the amount of force the opener will produce before automatically stopping or reversing. If you turn the closing force up, you may have better results. Odds are you have some flavor of a Chamberlain garage door opener and they like to hide their connection points and adjustments under one of the light globes.

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  3. #3
    Lifer Falko's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    i don't think you can bypass the sensors. I've tried that and simply jumping them doesn't work. Almost like they designed it so you can't do that. Watch the sensor when you close the door, they will typically flash a little LED if the beam is broken.
    And like ZX mentioned, there is sometimes an adjustment on the tension trip as well.

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  4. #4
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    I've replaced two openers in the last 4-5 years.. I lost both to lightening strikes / surges. Both I have now are newer Genie models and they are a bit of a pain in the ass.

    First observation is that a good door opener is not cheap. And a cheap door opener is not good. If you have a double door style (heavy) you need an even beefier machine. My doors are singles.

    Next observation is that they are pains in the asses to setup and program. Mine are nearly identical; I went out of my way to buy the same model. But they are different revs and ever so slightly different. Naturally the programming sequences for them is totally different and cryptic in different and unique ways.

    But they are highly adjustable. Top and bottom min/max stops, tension, speed, yadda yadda.. all programmable.. once you figure out how to communicate with the machine through the two dumbass buttons. Then there's programming the remotes; theoretically very flexible and extensible, but tedious. And god help you if you have homelink in your cars, there is a whole nother round of cryptic button fiddling.

    At any rate. Find the manual for your opener. See if the stops can be (re)programmed. Go from there.


    Not sure if I'd recommend Genie or not if you are looking at a replacement. I had one of the new openers (the older of the two) fail due to a software glitch that basically bricked the unit. (Quality software design and testing gents!) They initially refused warranty coverage because of mumble, mumble, mumble. But finally I talked someone into sending me a new main board for it and swapped it myself. Fortunately I'm (half) capable of doing that sort of thing myself.

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  5. #5

    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    Even the slightest pc. of dust or spider Web can trigger the sensors to stop the door from closing. Also if they are missed a lined can cause issues. So check that. Also check the bottom of the door for anything hanging off it. Sun light will trigger the sensors also.

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  6. #6
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    Thanks guys...very curious about the force adjustment now, I'll have to look into that.

    I can't imagine the sensors are getting tripped, because it's not like they would suddenly get tripped at the same spot every time....right?

    I'll dig into the adjustment options and see what I can find. I like to assume it was set up correctly, but like I said, the installation seems questionable at best.

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  7. #7
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    Could be mechanical problems with the door tracks and springs themselves too. Is your junk well lubed? Doors aligned? Or do they bind when operating the door manually too?

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  8. #8
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    Could be mechanical problems with the door tracks and springs themselves too. Is your junk well lubed? Doors aligned? Or do they bind when operating the door manually too?
    Seems well-lubed to me. It's got grease in the tracks and I've sprayed them with stuff a couple times. Just one double door. Opens and closes pretty smoothly manually.

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  9. #9
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    The door sensor is typically IR; one side is an emitter and the other a receiver. The emitter will just have 2 wires, the receiver will have 3 or more. Here's a good way to check and make sure it's functioning properly:

    Take your camera phone and put the lens up to the emitter. Most can capture IR and you'll see a constant purplish beam coming from the sensor "eye" if it's good. You have to be within a couple of inches to see it.
    Turn on the flashlight on your camera phone and place the light directly in front of the receiver. Watch the LED on the back of the sensor as you move the light back and forth, you should see the receiver trigger LED flash on and off as it sees the light.

    If the door doesn't bind manually, you don't have a problem with the door and track. Try releasing the door from the track and placing it in the down position. Then actuate the garage door opener and see if the door trolley moves freely down its track without binding. You may find that the binding is occurring within the motor and trolley mechanism. Most are chain driven, some are belt driven. If you have a problem there, take the cover off of the opener and actuate it and see if there's a problem inside the driven part of your opener chain.

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  10. #10
    Lifer snwbrdr435's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    Not only dust on the sensors but angles. I can't tell you how many times I've dealt with similar issues because the sensors are dirty or have been knocked out of place.

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  11. #11
    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    Quote Originally Posted by snwbrdr435 View Post
    Not only dust on the sensors but angles. I can't tell you how many times I've dealt with similar issues because the sensors are dirty or have been knocked out of place.
    ^^ This guy fucks.

    Sensor alignment can definitely be a problem, and the easiest to solve. If it's getting an intermittent connection, that's a problem. You problem sounds like either the sensors are kicking it out or you're getting a torque limit issue (track/door trolley binding.)

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  12. #12
    Senior Member MHenry600's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    Quote Originally Posted by nhbubba View Post
    Not sure if I'd recommend Genie or not if you are looking at a replacement. I had one of the new openers (the older of the two) fail due to a software glitch that basically bricked the unit. (Quality software design and testing gents!) They initially refused warranty coverage because of mumble, mumble, mumble. But finally I talked someone into sending me a new main board for it and swapped it myself. Fortunately I'm (half) capable of doing that sort of thing myself.
    hmmm... that has me a bit worried. I'm moving into a place next weekend, and planned to get a 3/4hp Genie belt drive unit (for a single 2-car door).

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  13. #13
    Lifer Kurlon's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    Just an FYI re greasing the tracks: The side tracks the door itself rides in are NOT to be greased. If the bogie wheels are dragging, replace those wheels. The pull track may or may not be intended to be greased.

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  14. #14
    Lifer Garandman's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    Quote Originally Posted by MHenry600 View Post
    hmmm... that has me a bit worried. I'm moving into a place next weekend, and planned to get a 3/4hp Genie belt drive unit (for a single 2-car door).
    We replaced the 80's chain drive units with two Liftmaster belt drive units. There's a phone app so I can open and close them remotely, alerts me if they are opened or stay open long, etc. Belt drive doesn't wake up my wife. Don't remember what they cost but glad we got them. Truly a "Buy once, cry once," purchase.

    Garage Door Openers For Homes | LiftMaster

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  15. #15
    Burns retinas nhbubba's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    They also have worm/screw drive units. That's what I bought. They are nice; quiet and reliable. Belts were considerably more expensive IIRC.

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  16. #16
    Senior Member MHenry600's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garandman View Post
    We replaced the 80's chain drive units with two Liftmaster belt drive units. [/url]
    Just took a peek. They're advertising the MyQ thingamajig, which is the same name that chamberlain uses with their units. Im sure that just like everything else, there's a handful of actual brands/factories and they badge engineer most of the units.

    The belt units are right around 200, so inline with most of the others.

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  17. #17
    got milk? drinkingmymilk's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garandman View Post
    We replaced the 80's chain drive units with two Liftmaster belt drive units. There's a phone app so I can open and close them remotely, alerts me if they are opened or stay open long, etc. Belt drive doesn't wake up my wife. Don't remember what they cost but glad we got them. Truly a "Buy once, cry once," purchase.

    Garage Door Openers For Homes | LiftMaster
    I've got one of the belt drive lift masters. Reading Nubba's horror story of programming had me cross eyed. I love mine, works fine and super simple to program. Currently we have 1 original remote, 2 cheapo amazon ones, a key pad on the door and the phone app which is amazing when you're laying in bed and can't remember if the door is closed. We're moving next month, when the units in our new place die I'll be spending the money on lift masters again.

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  18. #18
    Lifer Stromper's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    I have an old unit circa 1985

    My sensor is a micoswitch with the unit on a spring ... too much force and the micro switch is tripped.

    If you have the wind up helical spring they need lubrication 90 wt poured on the spring so it doesn't bind
    sometimes the spring is broken and looks OK

    I have fixed one where I found the cable OFF the pulley just going around the axle

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  19. #19
    Lifer ZX-12R's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    Chamberlain makes Liftmaster and Craftsman door openers. Genie is their own company. I have the Chamberlain HD950WF which is the same as the WD1000WF and the LW9000WF. The "HD" and "LW" models are Home Depot and Lowes part numbers. The only difference between them are subtle details in the light globe design. Liftmaster and Craftsman have equivalent openers with their own label.

    I like mine so far. It's very quiet, has a battery backup, and can be programmed to automatically close at a certain time or send me notification if it's open past a certain time. It's great to be able to shut it if you forgot when you're half way to work.

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  20. #20
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinned View Post
    The door sensor is typically IR; one side is an emitter and the other a receiver. The emitter will just have 2 wires, the receiver will have 3 or more. Here's a good way to check and make sure it's functioning properly:

    Take your camera phone and put the lens up to the emitter. Most can capture IR and you'll see a constant purplish beam coming from the sensor "eye" if it's good. You have to be within a couple of inches to see it.
    Turn on the flashlight on your camera phone and place the light directly in front of the receiver. Watch the LED on the back of the sensor as you move the light back and forth, you should see the receiver trigger LED flash on and off as it sees the light.

    If the door doesn't bind manually, you don't have a problem with the door and track. Try releasing the door from the track and placing it in the down position. Then actuate the garage door opener and see if the door trolley moves freely down its track without binding. You may find that the binding is occurring within the motor and trolley mechanism. Most are chain driven, some are belt driven. If you have a problem there, take the cover off of the opener and actuate it and see if there's a problem inside the driven part of your opener chain.
    Thanks guys! Sounds like I'll start with checking the sensors this week and go from there. I'll hopefully get this sorted this week.

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  21. #21
    Lifer Billy's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    I replaced both garage door openers a couple years back. The prior models I believe were the originals which were 30+ years old. As far as the door going down a bit and then coming back up, def check the sensors. Clean cobb webs, etc around the sensors. Couple weeks ago an oak tree leaf that was stuck in a crevice right in front of the door and was breaking the beam from time to time (depends if the wind was blowing) and sending the door back up. A week ago one of the springs snapped (safety wired). Went to Lowes and bought two new springs and installed them. After installation, the door was only going down a couple of inches and then coming back up. I had to tighten the chain to stop the issue.

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  22. #22
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    What I've typically seen happen is one of the track wheels starts dragging causing one side of the door out of alignment with the other side. As the number of door cycles goes up the alignment gets worse. My clue was seeing the nuts on the track wheel mounting plates were getting loose. It would leave metal dust below each plate similar to lite sanding dust. As someone else said, I just replaced the couple offending track wheels.

    IIRC I could see which wheel was bad as the door would jerk whenever that wheel started to roll through the bend from horizontal to vertical.

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  23. #23
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Anybody know anything about garage door openers?

    Get a few guys and lift it?

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