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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Maintenance Tips for Garage Door & Openers

garage door maintenance tips

Routine safety checks, along with preventative maintenance measures, can help extend the life your garage door and opener. The International Door Association (IDA) recommends setting aside a few minutes every month to inspect and test your garage door system in its entirety. Your monthly maintenance check list should include performing the following tests and tasks:

Reversal Test: With the door fully open, place a 2×4 (or similar size object) on the floor, centered directly under the door. Operate the door in the down direction. When the door hits the object, it should immediately reverse direction. Never attempt to stop the door using your hands or a object. If the door fails to reverse direction, halt further use, and contact a professional repair technician.

Force Limit Setting Test: With the door fully open, place a 2×4 (or similair object) on the floor, centered directly under the door. Much the same as you would in the reversal test. Operate the door in the down direction. If the door fails to automatically reverse, the force may be excessive, and will require immediate adjustment

Door Balance and Alignment: With the door fully closed, disengage the garage door opener from the door itself, by simply pulling the red manual release rope straight down and then back towards the motor. Once disengaged, lift the door about 3 or 4 feet above the ground with your hands, and let go. If the door stays open, then it’s properly balanced, but if it closes then you’ll need to contact a professional.

Visual Inspections: Regularly inspecting all moving and non-moving components is one of the best ways to prevent malfunction. If you suspect that something is amiss, it’s best to leave it for the professionals to inspect and repair if need be. To maintain the tracks, simply wipe or vacuum any debris, which may prevent the rollers from moving smoothly along them.

Proper Lubrication: The IDA recommends regularly lubricating all of the moving components of your garage door during maintenance. You should, however, refrain from lubricating any plastic components. Using a high-quality silicone lubricant, lightly lubricate the door’s rollers, bearings, hinges, springs, chains (as long as they’re not plastic).

Things to Check Before Calling a Garage Door Repairman

 

garage door repairman

It’s 6am on a Monday morning and, as always, there’s a mountain of work to be done. But first you have to get out of the house. This means dealing with kids that don’t want to get up, let alone go to school, and getting everyone fed when they all want something different to eat.

Already running late for work, you run to your car, which is parked inside the garage and activate the door by pressing the remote on your car’s visor – like you do on any other day. Except, on this day, the door simply doesn’t want to open.

There’s nothing more stressful than dealing with a malfunctioning garage door. Opening and closing at the press of a button, four times per day (on average), can really take its toll on your garage door system. From there it can get old, damaged and faulty.

If your garage door isn’t working properly, there are a few things you can and should do to troubleshoot the problem, prior to calling a garage door repairman. Some simple tweaks may just be the thing to get your door running again – and you on your way to work.

Of course, the best way to avoid encountering costly garage door problems and subsequent repairs, is to perform monthly maintenance tasks, according to the Institute of Door Dealer Education and Accreditation. Many maintenance tasks are do-it-yourself friendly.

When Should I Call a Garage Door Repairman?

Problem #1: The door only partially closes before changing direction

If the door changes direction when you’re attempting to close it, this generally means that something is blocking the door’s safety sensors, or that they’ve become misaligned. The small light on each of the sensors should be lit when nothing is between them.

To try aligning the sensors, maneuver them slightly with your hands, until you notice lit lights. If, after ensuring they’re in proper alignment, they still don’t light up then they made need to be replaced by a professional garage door repairman. A bigger issue may be at play as well.

Problem #2: The door is jammed shut

If the door appears jammed or is favoring one side over the other then this could be the result of broken cables, broken springs, bent tracks or worn pulleys. All of which would require replacement. Replacing these components is a job best left to the professionals.

Problem #3: The door won’t open

Garage doors are one of the heaviest, not to mention bulkiest, moving objects you probably own. And, despite what you may believe, it’s not the garage door opener that does the heavy lifting. It’s the springs on your door. The door cannot open without the strength of these springs.

Because the springs are under an immense amount of tension, which is effectively released when they break, their repair is best left to a professional garage door repairman. Broken garage door spring repair is NOT a DIY yourself project!