If your garage door is equipped with an automatic opener, then you may eventually run into a situation where your garage door fails to close properly. If and when this happens, knowing how to get to the root of the problem could potentially save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on parts and service fees:
Check Other Garage Door Problems First
Before diagnosing the photo eye, make sure the physical garage door isn't malfunctioning. It's not uncommon for an obstruction within the tracks or a problem with the garage door motor itself to mimic issues with the opener's photo eye.
After ruling out other issues that could affect your garage door, it's time to look at the photoelectric sensors or photo eyes. The photo eyes consist of a transmitter and receiver eye positioned along the bottom edges of the garage door. The transmitter sends out an invisible beam that's caught by the receiver.
If something gets between the beam while the door is closing, the door will automatically raise back up. Each sensor also features an LED light that shines solid once the beam is in direct contact with the receiver.
First, make sure there's nothing getting in the way of the beam. Even the smallest obstructions can break the photoelectric beam between the sensors and prevent the garage door from fully closing shut. Next, make sure the photo eye's lenses are free of dirt and debris. If not, you can carefully clean these up with a slightly damp soft cloth.
It's not uncommon for the photo eyes to shift out of alignment, causing the beam from the transmitter to "miss" the receiver. The LED light on the sensor will usually flicker, indicating a poor or nonexistent beam connection. To fix this problem, loosen the retaining wing nut on the photo eye and carefully re-position the sensor until the LED light becomes solid.
Give Your Sensor a Little Shade
Exposure to direct sunlight can pose unexpected problems for your photo eye. For instance, it could "blind" the eye and break the photoelectric beam, preventing the door from properly closing.
Although you can't give your photo eye a pair of sunglasses, you can do the next best thing by giving it a shield of sorts. You can improvise one from an empty toilet paper core - simply slip the core over the photo eye assembly. Don't forget to trim the core so its length won't get knocked off during entry or exit.
To learn more, contact a company like Door Systems Inc. with any questions or concerns you have.