An automatic garage door sensor
Written by Queen City Garage Doors on June 16, 2022

Top 5 Best Methods On How To Test Garage Door Sensors

Are you one of the garage owners who have just installed a new sensor? Not sure how to check garage door sensors? Or maybe because you are experiencing a malfunctioning garage door sensor. Whatever the reason, you should know how to test garage door sensors and how they work.

For instance, you have just installed a new sensor in your new automatic garage doors are not working, the sending sensor and the receiving one are not aligned, and more. These are potential dangers to you and your pet. You should test your garage door sensor from time to time and fix it when necessary In this article; we will discuss the cause, mechanism, and top 5 handy methods to try if you are having problems with your garage door system.

Why Are Sensors Used In Garage Doors?

The automatic garage doors were one of the most popular choices for car owners in the 90s. They were a part of every house, office, business institution, and others. They were pretty much everywhere. Safety sensors on garage doors prevent accidents caused by modern automatic garage doors.

But the automatic garage doors were responsible for many accidents. It led to serious safety hazards for the people and the animals. There were even some unfortunate fatal events to some people.

After these incidents, the federal law made a rule about making the garage door sensors compulsory for everyone in 1993. The primary function of the sensor lenses is to detect obstruction in the doorway, and it automatically reverses. It also makes the shutter reverse for your physical contacts.

How Does The Garage Door Sensor Work?

 Yellow light on the receiving sensor

The garage door sensors are nothing but clever engineering. Most of these sensors are photoelectric. Two sensors are positioned on the two sides of the doorways. One sensor is capable of emitting an infrared beam toward the other side.

The receiving sensor receives the infrared light signal, and both of the sensor photo eyes lenses create an invisible trip wire. The wire is capable of detecting any obstacle. It immediately reverses the shutter when it sees something is blocking the invisible wirer.

There are light indicators installed on the sensors to exhibit whether the garage door is clear or not. There are three lights to be specific- green, yellow, and red light. The red light indicator lights up when the sensors are not aligned. The sending sensor has a yellow light indicator, and the receiving one has a green light indicator. It is best to install the garage door photo eyes sensors at the lower part of the doorway so that they can be stopped for your feet, your child, pets, and your car tires. This is the primary mechanism of garage door sensors.

How To Test Your Garage Door Sensors

Garage door sensors are manufactured to be used in almost any situation. Every sensor needs calibration to be suitable for different environments and applications. Any sensor needs to be maintained and serviced promptly to get a long-term service.

You need to make sure that your garage door sensors are working correctly. Here we will include some of the techniques you can implement to ensure your garage door sensors are working correctly. Let's get started-

Adjust The Height

Adjust the sensor height

As mentioned earlier, two sensor lenses are working simultaneously in a garage door. One of them sends an infrared light signal to the other and creates an invisible trip wire. The light can't travel when there's an obstacle.

The sensor's infrared light can detect any objects blocking the way and then send a signal to the power supply to stop the motor unit. Also, the sensor sends a reverse signal to make the motor rotate in the opposite direction.

The height and the sensor path must be properly aligned. The automatic garage door sensors will not work if they are not at the optimum size. Let us tell you why. If you set the sensor path somewhere between your waist height, the sensors will not sense your car tires, babies, or pets.

Adjust The Alignment

Make sure that the sensors are aligned properly

You need to install the sensors at the lower part of the garage door opening. The moderate height is about 6inches. Also, the alignment of the two sensors is crucial. It would help make sure that the sensor lenses were perfectly aligned.

Take a look at the LED lights on the sensors. The green light signifies that both sensors are correctly aligned. The red light suggests that the alignment is misplaced. If you see the red light, the sensors are out of alignment, and you need to align them.

Without proper alignment, the sensor path can't be made. So, whenever you install new sensors, ensure that the height is optimum and the alignment is okay. Take extra precautions when aligning both sensors.

Test Objects

Test your garage door sensors with various test objects

Calibrating your sensors is very important. After adjusting the height and adequately aligning the garage door sensors, the next step is to test the sensors with an object. In this testing method, the sensor is supposed to recognize an obstacle when the infrared beam of light can't go to the receiving end.

Pick an object and position that object right below the garage door opener. Then press the button that closes the garage door. If the sensors can detect that object, it will immediately stop closing and return to the opening position.

And if the automatic garage door sensors fail to detect the test object, you will have to return to the previous alignment and height adjustment method. But if you think that you have perfectly aligned the sensors, you can repeat this process once again to see if the sensors are correctly aligned.

Clean The Sensors

The garage door sensor system needs to be wiped clean from time to time to work correctly. The sensors used in the garage doors have lenses that send and receive lights to function. These lenses must be cleaned to work correctly.

Dust and water damage can cause a significant amount of decrease in the efficiency of these sensors. If the lenses are covered with dust, the infrared rays will harden, penetrating the dust and resulting in an error code in the programming of the sensors. Not detecting any obstacles can cause a severe safety hazard, even death.

Check for any dust or water droplets on the lens of the sensor. Try to wipe the dust out with soft cotton cloth if there is any. Do not use any detergents or harsh substances to clean the lenses. For stubborn stains, moisture the fabric with little water and then wipe gently over the lenses.

The lens on the sensors is delicate and can be scratched very easily. Scratching a lens will lead to changing the garage door sensor. Exercise extra precaution while cleaning the sensor lens. You can use a microfiber cloth for garage door sensors work. Do not rinse with water.

Rinsing the whole sensor can lead to damaged wires, circuits, short-circuit, etc. Make sure to turn off the power supply every time you clean your garage door sensors.

Inspect The Wires

Last but not least. The wiring can cause problems in the garage door sensors work. Wiring issues like disconnected wires, mismatching, and poor connection can lead to the malfunctioning of the sensors. It can also cause severe damage to the circuits of the garage door sensor system.

If you have tried the above methods to test your garage door sensor and still have problems, this is the last resort for you before hiring any garage door expert to deal with the situation. Here's what you have to do-

  • Check the wires properly to see if they are connected to the power supply.
  • Connect according to the color codes of the wires. For instance, connect the green wire to the green terminal, the white wire to the white terminal, etc. Mismatching the cables can lead to a short circuit that can fry the whole garage door sensor system.
  • If you can't notice any mismatch of the wires but still experience malfunction, disconnect the sensors and detach the cables from the mountings and replace them.
  • Look for different lights, including red lights, green LED, and yellow lights. Change the sensor if the lights don't show up after replacing the wires.
  • And if the garage door sensor still doesn't function, replace the motherboard.

After changing the wires, realign the sensors until the green light turns on. Finally, test again with objects to see whether changing the wires fixed the garage door sensors or not. If the garage door opener is still not functioning correctly, hire a garage door expert to do the job.

Final Words

In the U.S, almost 65% of the houses have garages. Most of them have automatic garage doors. Automatic garage doors have legally been encouraged to use for the last two decades. But like all electronic appliances, an automatic garage door can malfunction after some time. Also, they need to be calibrated after installation.

One of the most common reasons for the malfunction of the garage doors is the sensor. The garage door sensor is the most common problem for the garage door. The photo-eyes on the automatic garage door sensor need to be aligned properly, they need to be cleaned, and overall they need to be tested from time to time.

If you are reading this, you have read the top 5 methods on how to test a garage door sensor. Follow our instructions carefully. If you try to fix some things like alignment, height, and cleaning yourself, you can relieve yourself from the expense of hiring a professional garage door expert. Conclusion garage door sensors by the previous method we have discussed above.

In case the above steps are not enough, then hire a professional garage expert for the job. We recommend you hire Queens Garage Doors to install, repair, and replace your automatic garage door openers. We guarantee to fix your garage door sensor for the least expense possible. Call us today to get the finest garage service for the most reasonable price.

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