Most people probably think that the biggest problem with garage doors is with the actual door itself, or with the pully or track system that is lifting the door. While it is true that there can be issues with this area of the system, it is still not the most common problem. That honor goes to the automatic reverse mechanism. Specifically, it happens because the photo eyes are not aligned properly.
It happens to just about everyone who owns a garage door at some point, and it can cause quite a bit of frustration when you do not know what the problem is. If you come home, open the garage door to get into the garage, but find that it only closes part way before it reverses, then it is probably an issue with the photo eyes. While it might be frustrating, it is quite simple to fix.
Understanding the Photo Eyes
All of the electric garage door openers sold in North American since 1993 have what is called an automatic reverse system. In fact, there are two types. These were put into place because there were a number of garage door accidents, and many of them involved children who were injured when the garage door was lowering.
The first of these is a photo eye system that uses units called photo eye sensors. There are two of these units, which are installed on the tracks on each side of the door. They are about six inches off the ground, and they are connected to the motor of the opener. There is an invisible beam that connects the two units. One of the units works as a transmitter, where the other has a mirror that will reflect the light back to the first unit. If this beam happens to be interrupted by anything, such as a child running beneath the garage door, then the door is going to stop and reverse automatically.
The second type of automatic reverse system that is used today is mechanical. With this system, if the bottom section of the garage door is hit by anything as it is on the way down, it is going to reverse its direction and head back up. One of the simple ways to test whether the mechanical system is working properly is to put a board, such as a 2 x 4 flat on the ground and then close the door. As soon as the door touches this, it should reverse.
Why Are the Photo Eyes Not Working?
The most common reason that the photo eyes are not working properly is not that there is something broken in them. Instead, it tends to happen when the units become misaligned and the beam is broken. If the brackets holding them in place are not secure, they could be misaligned. It is also possible that someone or something bumped them, and that was what caused them to become misaligned.
In addition to the door not closing properly, when you have misaligned photo eyes, you will have some other indicators. For example, if the door is moving in an odd manner, and if the door opener is blinking, or there is a clicking sound it is an indicator. Those who have wall control panels will also see a blinking LED light when the photo eyes are misaligned.
Can You Fix the Problem?
When it comes to many different types of garage door problems, you are not going to want to attempt to tackle them on your own because they are difficult and dangerous. However, when it comes to the photo eyes, you should be able to handle things quite easily. With this problem, all you really need to do is make sure that you are getting the photo eyes lined up properly.
Adjust the photo eyes until the light stops blinking, and you should be good to go. However, you will also want to make sure that you check the brackets and tighten them and wipe any dirt or dust from the lens. While the last step might not be necessary, it is always a good idea to keep the lenses clean.
You can check to make sure that it is working properly simply by closing the door with your remote. If it is working properly, the door is going to open and close without any problems.
Of course, there is always the slim chance that things are not going to work out with the door because the photo eyes alignment was not the problem. In some cases, it might be because there were issues with wires in one of the units. Instead of trying to take care of those issues on your own, you are going to want to have some help from the professionals.
Always Be Safe
Whenever you are in the garage and working on or around the door, even if it is just with the photo eyes, you need to be careful. Always take care when using the door, and do not run under the door to get in or out when it is closing. Be sure you instill this in your children, as well. The garage door deserves respect because it has the potential to be very dangerous.
When You Need Some More Help
If you find that you have still not been able to fix the issue with your door, you are going to want to have some help from the pros. You can contact us easily when you call the toll free number at 1‑800‑696‑1926. We have the experience needed to provide you with information on repairs and getting a new door and opener. We can also send you an email quotation.
Some might even want to check out the options in person at the showroom, or they might want to check out the Design Centre, which is a tool that will help you find the perfect style for your garage. You can also find some great inspiration when you view some of the examples in the image gallery.