To reduce the risk of serious injury, most modern garage door openers incorporate an auto-reverse feature that immediately reverses the door if there's an obstruction in the door's path. As with any other garage door component, this safety feature requires frequent testing and occasional adjustment. The following shows how to test and adjust the auto-reverse feature on garage door openers.
Testing and Adjusting Openers with Photoelectric Sensors
Many of today's garage door openers use photoelectric sensors to detect obstacles. These systems rely on a set of sensors that are installed on each side of the garage door. One sensor produces an infrared beam that the other receives. This creates an invisible link between the sensors. When an obstacle is placed in the path of the garage door, the beam breaks and triggers the safety reverse feature on the opener.
To test this feature, use the wall-mounted button or the controls on your wireless garage door remote to close the door. As the garage door closes, break the infrared beam connection by placing an object in the path of the garage door. Keep in mind that the object should be at least 6 inches in height to trigger the system. Once the beam is broken, the garage door should immediately reverse direction. If it doesn't, you'll need to adjust and check the sensors:
- Start by checking the LED light found on each sensor. Both should be lit as long as the infrared beam remains connected. If one or both LEDs are out, go to the next step.
- Make sure the lenses on each sensor aren't dirty. Months or even years of unnoticed dirt and grime can block the beam from making a connection. Use a damp microfiber cloth to pick up dirt and grime and dry the sensors with a clean, dry microfiber cloth.
- If the LED lights are still out, carefully line up each sensor by hand until both LED lights appear. It's not out of the ordinary for the photo eyes to be knocked out of alignment accidentally.
- Check the power supply for the garage door opener. The opener should be plugged into a nearby electrical outlet or directly wired to your home's electrical grid. Check the wiring for any signs of damage.
If all else fails, you may need to replace the photoelectric sensors with a new pair of sensors. Also, make sure there's no direct sunlight shining on either sensor. You may need to install a sun shield to keep the sensors from being confused by the sunlight.
Testing and Adjusting Openers with Mechanical Reversal Systems
Although the majority of garage door openers come equipped with photoelectric sensors, there are plenty that still rely on purely mechanical controls to prevent objects and people from being crushed as the garage door closes. With this system, the garage door opener detects how much force is needed to close the door. When properly adjusted, all it takes is a small amount of resistance from an object or person trapped underneath the door for it to immediately reverse course.
If you have a garage door opener with a mechanical reversing mechanism, place a 2x4 block of wood in the doorway and use the opener to close the garage door. The door should immediately stop and reverse direction once it comes into contact with the 2x4. If it doesn't stop, then you'll need to adjust the reverse control until the opener is sensitive enough to detect obstructions upon contact. Too much sensitivity can cause the door to reverse if the rollers or tracks create too much drag, while too little sensitivity can prevent the reversal system from functioning at all.
If you need help adjusting your garage door opener's auto-reverse, contact a company like A AAA Allstate Door Company.