Automatic garage door openers are a popular convenience feature that many homeowners couldn't live without. To prevent the door from closing whenever there's someone or something in the way, most automatic openers rely on a pair of photoelectric sensors that detect obstacles in a door's path. It's easy for these small sensors to get knocked out of alignment due to an accidental impact.
If your garage door refuses to close or it closes halfway and opens back up, then you may need to readjust the photo eye sensors.
Preparation and Safety Tips
Before you get started on adjusting your garage door's photo eye sensors, make sure the garage door is in the fully open position. You'll need the garage door open in order to make adjustments to the photo eye sensors.
You'll also need to make sure the garage door itself is disconnected from the garage door opener. On most models, you'll simply need to pull down on the emergency release handle to disengage the trolley. This lets you freely raise and lower the garage door without engaging the opener.
Making Simple Adjustments
Before making any adjustments, make sure the photo eye sensors' lenses aren't smudged or caked in dirt. The photo eye sensors require a clear, direct line of sight in order to work properly. If there's dirt, dust or grime on the lens, the infrared beam won't be able to make contact with the lens. Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe the lenses free of dirt, and then use a dry, clean cloth to wipe up any excess moisture.
Once the lenses are clean, you can see if the photo eye sensors work properly. There's usually an LED light that comes on whenever the infrared beam from one sensor makes contact with another. The light should come on shortly after cleaning the lens. If it doesn't, then you'll have to make small physical adjustments to the sensors.
Start by loosening the screws and bolts holding the photo eye sensor's pivot bracket in place. Next, carefully move the bracket up and down or in and out in small increments while, at the same time, looking for the sensor's LED light to come on. Once you see a steady LED light, tighten the pivot bracket.
Making Major Adjustments
If the photo eye sensors can't be aligned by making small adjustments, then you'll need to take things a step further. You'll need a ruler, a level and a piece of string that's a few inches longer than the width of the garage door.
First, loosen the mounting brackets on both sensors so that you can slide them up and down as needed. According to the Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association (DASMA), photo eye sensors should be no higher than six inches off the garage floor. Use your ruler to mark the correct height for the photo eye sensors.
After setting the photo eye sensors at the correct height, tie one end of your string to one sensor, making sure that it runs across the center of the sensor. Run the string across the garage door to the other sensor and tie it off. Place your level underneath the string and adjust one or both sensors until they're completely level with one another.
Once you've confirmed that both photo eye sensors are level and at their proper height, tighten the mounting brackets. Place your level underneath the string one more time to make sure the sensors stayed level as they were being tightened. If everything checks out okay, untie the string from both sensors and reconnect the trolley with the garage door opener.
Finally, test the garage door by placing an object (such as a cardboard box) in the doorway as the garage door closes. The garage door should stop and reverse once the infrared beam is broken. Test the garage door again by closing it fully, this time without any obstacles in the way. The garage door should close properly.
For more information or for more extensive repairs, contact a professional garage door business like Overhead Door Of Akron.