The Importance of Photoelectric Sensors

photoelectric sensors

To reduce the number of injuries, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) mandated important safety features on all garage doors manufactured on or after January 1, 1993. The photoelectric sensors are a response to this mandate. They are required on both residential and commercial doors.

The photoelectric sensors are your garage door’s eyes. They are made up of a light source (LED), a receiver (phototransistor), a signal converter, and an amplifier. The phototransistor analyzes incoming light, verifies that it’s from the LED, and appropriately triggers an output.

Photoelectric sensors offer many advantages over other technologies. If a child or animal wanders through the beam between the two sensors – installed on opposite sides of the door, about six inches above the ground – breaking their connection, the garage door will immediately reverse direction thus avoiding a potential entrapment situation.

For safety reasons, if you discover your photoelectric sensors are not working, you should immediately contact a local garage door repair professional to come out and service them. In the interim, unplug the opener from its power source, ensuring the door is rendered non-operational.

Some signs that the sensors are not working include:

  • Lights on one or both sensors start blinking
  • Door starts to come down, then goes back up
  • Garage door can open, but will not close when summoned

If your sensors are not working, this is usually because they cannot “see” each other to make the connection they need to, to give your garage door system the okay to close. You can try troubleshooting the problem using the following techniques:

  1. Gently clean the sensors using a microfiber cloth.
  2. Move any stored items that might be blocking either sensor to another location.
  3. If 1-2 didn’t work, see if one of the sensors appears misaligned. If so, try manually adjusting it. This should require minimal effort. If you need to apply force, leave the sensor alone as it might be break.
  4. If the problem persists, contact a local garage door repair professional.
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