A Primer On Adjusting Your Garage Door Sensors


Your automatic garage door opener relies on a set of photoelectric sensors to sense objects and other obstacles that get in the way of the garage door. This prevents the garage door from closing on objects, animals and even people. If the photoelectric sensors are knocked out of alignment, you'll need to readjust the sensors so that they'll detect obstacles correctly. The following provides an in-depth guide to adjusting your garage door opener's photoelectric sensors.

What Happens When the Sensors are Misaligned

A typical garage door opener uses 2 photoelectric sensors placed along the bottom edge of the garage door, with one sensor situated across from the other. One sensor transmits an infrared beam to a receiver sensor, creating an invisible tripwire that's capable of detecting objects that get in the path of the garage door.

Any objects that pass through the infrared beam will break the beam, preventing the receiver from "seeing" the beam. This prevents the garage door from closing until the obstacle is removed and the beam is restored.

The photoelectric sensors can fall out of alignment if they're physically knocked out of place or if improperly tightened fasteners allow the sensors to drift out of place. When this happens, the lack of infrared beam contact can prevent your garage door opener from closing the door. In most cases, the garage door may close partway, only to reverse itself and open back up.

Making Preparations

Prior to adjusting the photoelectric sensors, you'll need to make sure the garage door is completely open and disconnected from the garage door opener. To accomplish this, simply disengage the garage door opener trolley by pulling on the emergency release handle located above the garage door opener track. Afterwards, you can manually lift the door open.

Most photoelectric sensors have a small LED light that indicates whenever the infrared beam from the transmitting sensor makes contact with the receiving sensor. If the LED light on one sensor shines steadily, but the other is either unlit or blinks constantly, then you'll need to check and adjust the sensor until the LED light on both sensors shine steadily.

Before you start adjusting the garage door sensors, make sure the lenses covering the photoelectric sensors aren't smudged or dirty. Dirt, debris and greasy smudges can block the infrared beam, making it difficult for the beam to make contact with the receiver. Wipe the lenses on both receiving and transmitting units with a dampened soft cloth. Use a dry, soft cloth to wipe away any moisture that's left on the lens.

Aligning One Sensor

If only one of the sensors is out of position, then you can use the following steps to move it back where it should be:

  • Carefully loosen the fasteners holding the misaligned sensor's mounting bracket in place.
  • Slowly move the sensor's mounting bracket up and down in small increments. While doing this, keep an eye on the sensor's LED light. If it's blinking rapidly, continue the adjustment until the light shines steadily.
  • Once you see a steady LED light, tighten the fasteners on the mounting bracket while holding the sensor in position.

Afterwards, use a cardboard box or another relatively soft yet solid object to test the photoelectric sensors. Use your remote or wall controls to close the garage door and place the box in the doorway as it closes. If your adjustments were successful, the garage door opener should stop and reverse when the infrared beam is interrupted.

Aligning Both Sensors

If both sensors are out of position, you'll need to reposition the sensors using the following steps:

  • Loosen the fasteners on both sensor mounting brackets. This will allow you to move the sensors along the door track.
  • Position the sensors so that they are no higher than 6 inches off the garage floor. Use a ruler or measuring tape to mark and confirm this height.
  • Afterwards, use a bubble level to confirm that each sensor is properly leveled. At the same time, keep an eye on the LED light. Once both sensors are at level height with one another, the LED lights on both units should be steady.
  • Tighten the fasteners on both sensors and reconnect the garage door to the garage door opener.

Don't forget to use the test mentioned in the previous section after you're done adjusting both photoelectric sensors. For more assistance, contact a company like J & R Garage Door Company Inc.


19 July 2016

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