Here we will discuss how garage sensors work, how to tell if your garage sensors are bad, and how to bypass garage door sensors so you can open and close the garage door manually.
How Do Garage Door Sensors Work?
With the continued surge in suburban popularity and the sheer number of garages attached to homes, the number of unintended deaths of children due to garage doors falling accidentally became unsettling in the early 1990s.
Legislation was put in place requiring garage door sensors to be placed on every garage door in 1993. But how do the sensors work? How does the system know something is blocking the way?
Garage door sensors utilize a photo-eye sensor and a beam of infrared light between the two units. The units are placed near the ground on either side of the garage door. If the beam of light is interrupted while the garage door is closing, the door will stop and rise back up.
Here are how Garage Door Sensors Work:
- The garage door sensors are mounted on the bottom edge of the door frame, about six inches above the ground.
- When the garage door is activated to close, the sensors emit a beam of infrared or laser light.
- If the beam is interrupted by an object, the sensors will signal the garage door opener to stop the door from closing.
- The garage door opener receives the signal and stops the door from closing.
- If the beam is not interrupted, the garage door will continue to close until it reaches the ground.
- If the sensors are not functioning properly, the garage door may not close all the way or may not close at all. In this case, the sensors may need to be adjusted or replaced to ensure that the garage door operates safely.
Do Both Garage Sensors Need to Be Green?
When you inspect your garage door sensors, you’ll notice each has a light. This light will either be red or green.
The light of both sensors should be green if the unit is functioning correctly. This confirms that the beam of infrared light is being produced and read by both sensors.
If one is green and one is red, or both are red, there is something wrong with the system. This could be as simple as a slight angle variance, or the entire system is faulty.
Are Garage Door Sensors Required?
According to the United States legislation put in the books in 1993, every garage door installed on a home in America must have garage door sensors installed for safety.
For your garage to pass inspection, it must have a functioning sensor system.
How Do You Know if Garage Door Sensors are Bad?
Are your sensors not working properly? There are six ways to tell why your sensors are malfunctioning. Check each before you bypass the system to know what you’re dealing with.
1. Check the Sensor Path
Make sure nothing is blocking the beam of light. The beam is sensitive, so this could even be a thick spider web or leaf. Search along the path and wipe off both sensors to ensure nothing is blocking the path.
2. Confirm the Sensor Power is On
Check to find the lights on the two sensors. If they aren’t lit up, you have a power supply issue.
Ensure each sensor is connected to its power supply, and confirm that the lights are back on. The system should normally run now that the power is back in place.
3. Clean the Sensor Lenses
A garage is a dusty and dirty place. Dirt and mud may have gotten caked onto the sensor lens of one or both of the units. Every once in a while, give them a nice wipe to remove any build-up.
4. Dry the Sensors Off
Has it been raining a lot? Did you drive into the garage while it was coming down?
Your sensors might be wet. Make sure you completely dry the units and then test the system again.
5. Make Sure Your Sensors Are Aligned
Check each sensor to see if anyone inadvertently kicked one or hit it with the garbage can. These little taps can knock the sensors out of alignment.
Even if the alignment is slightly out of place, the system can run inefficiently and malfunction.
6. Check Sensors Often for Wear and Tear
Sensors, like any electrical equipment in your home, get old and eventually start showing wear and tear. Check each sensor for signs of age; if they look beat up, it’s time to consider replacing them.
Can You Disconnect the Garage Door Sensors?
So you’ve gone through all the simple solutions, and your garage door still gives you trouble. You absolutely can disconnect the garage door sensors in this case.
However, you must know what you’re doing and follow some safety protocols to avoid accidental injury.
How to Bypass Garage Door Sensors Safely
Ensure you’ve checked all the easy preliminary fixes before beginning your project. If you have determined to replace the sensors, you’ll need to bypass the sensors. Bypassing garage door safety sensors should only be done once you’ve confirmed there are no other options to get them working properly.
Here’s how to bypass garage door sensors safely.
What You’ll Need for the Project
There are a few supplies you’ll need to gather to get the job done right:
- Wooden brace or another object to prop the door if it’s stuck open
- Wire cutters
- A new set of sensors
1. Make Sure the Door is Either All the Way Closed or the Opening is Propped Up From Underneath
If your garage door is stuck closed, you’ll want to make sure the door is firmly closed. If it’s stuck open and you can slide it closed easily, it’s better to do that than leave it open.
If the door is closed or you can slide it down, ensure the system is switched into manual mode. This will prevent the automated features of the system from operating.
If the door stays open and can’t be pushed down, place a few different props underneath the door. Switching the door to the manual can slam shut and damage the door and the frame. Make sure whatever you use is strong enough to bear the garage door’s weight.
2. Locate and Drag Down the Manual Release Cord
Every garage door has an emergency manual release cord attached to the automatic system. After you’ve pulled it, the automatic system can no longer work because it will have been pulled from the track.
3. Remove Your Props and Close the Door Gently
Now that the manual cord has been pulled, the door won’t slam shut. Go ahead and remove your props and slide the door closed carefully. Make sure to watch your toes.
4. Cut Off the Power to the Safety Sensors
Find the power source for the sensors and the garage door system. It may be run with a switch or be plugged into the wall. Either way, turn off the power or unplug the system.
This is an important step for safety because you’ll be playing with wires next. You do not want to get an unexpected shock.
5. Remove the Sensors from the Door Assembly
Now that the power is off, removing the sensors themselves is safe. Undo the wingnut holding the sensors in place and remove them.
6. Cut the Wires Off These Old Sensors
Using your wire cutter, snip the wires that continue to attach the sensor to your garage door. You can cut close to the sensor. Give yourself only about a half-inch from the sensor.
7. Attach the Wires of the New Sensors to Your Garage Door System
Now that you have your hanging wires use your pliers to strip some of the casing back and expose the wires. Connect these wires to the wiring of the new sensors.
Match like colors to like colors; there are usually black and white wires.
8. Slot the Sensors Back Into Their Housings
Once the wiring is connected, all left is slipping the sensors back into the housings and retightening the wingnuts.
9. Turn the Power Back On and Test the System
If you’ve done your job right, all should be well with your garage door system, and all will go smoothly. If anything goes haywire and doesn’t work, it’s a good time to call a repairer.
Make Sure You Protect The Safety of Your Home While Undergoing Garage Door Opener Maintenance
We hope you understand more about bypassing garage door sensors and fixing your issue.
If your sensors are broken, and there will be a lapse between discovering the problem and when you can replace the sensors, you’ll want to add additional security to your property.
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