My garage door opener is possessed. Help!
February 21, 2007 11:14 AM   Subscribe

My garage door opener has been acting funny, but it's very intermittent, which of course drives me nuts. Every once in a while, about 1-2 seconds after the garage door closes, it'll open back up. Sometimes, if I just close it again, it'll stay closed. But lately, it'll take 5-6 tries until it'll stay shut. The garage door opener is a Genie Pro Stealth, and I've already tried adjusting the limiters and such on the opener, and it actually worked perfectly for about 6-7 months, but lately it started acting up again. I tried adjusting the limiters again, and of course it worked for 2 days, then started reversing again. Does anybody have any idea what might be causing this and how I can fix it?
posted by edjusted to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Does your door have those electric eyes at ankle level at the opening? Check their alignment (or disable them).
posted by Uncle Jimmy at 11:30 AM on February 21, 2007

I just had this happen to my garage door. Tightening all of the bolts attaching it to the house helped. But only a little. The fix was moving the switch at the end of the track. (The sled that moves up and down the track triggers a switch at the end of its run.) I moved the switch forward about a centimeter and the issue was resolved.
posted by probablysteve at 11:39 AM on February 21, 2007

Best answer: Agree with Uncle Jimmy on checking the electric eye, but in case it isn't the problem: are you using the automatic limit adjust feature?

You could try manually dialing the limit a little more than the auto-adjust feature sets, if your model gives you access to manual settings.

The other thought would be to put a thin board, like a 1/8-1/4 sheet of plywood under the door and re-do the automatic limit adjust -- giving it the idea that the ground is slightly higher than reality after you remove it.
posted by SpookyFish at 11:39 AM on February 21, 2007

Does your garage face south? I have a similar problem, but it only happens during the winter months when the sun is low in the south. During mid-day hours it overpowers the infrared sensors at the bottom and causes the door to reverse partway down. It's been difficult to prevent because even shielding them from direct sunlight doesn't always work. In direct light with no clouds there's enough scatter to make the shield useless.
posted by porlockian at 11:39 AM on February 21, 2007

Seconding Uncle Jimmy - I had this same problem and it was the electric eye bracket that had flexed slightly out of alignment. Depending on temperature, wind, and other conditions it would go in and out of alignment. I only had to bend it a little bit to fix it.
posted by rfs at 11:44 AM on February 21, 2007

I've had this problem in very cold weather, and figured it had something to do with the metal rails being cold enough to shift slightly, throwing off the door closing process.
posted by edgeways at 11:50 AM on February 21, 2007

I will fourth the electric eye suggestion. One time my garage door's weatherstripping picked up a clod of spiderwebs and oak tree debris, then the breeze blew this clod in front of the electric eye path. This prevented the door from closing. Taking a broom to the underside of the door fixed it.
posted by rolypolyman at 11:52 AM on February 21, 2007

On second thought, what I'm reading from the OP suggests that the door closed ALL the way... seems that discounts the electric eye. If it closed ALL the way and then opened, then I'll throw in the towel on this.
posted by rolypolyman at 11:54 AM on February 21, 2007

Gotta move the sled (loosen bolt and tighten) slightly towards motor. Door is hitting ground. You want it to just touch ground.
posted by artdrectr at 12:39 PM on February 21, 2007

Maybe the limit switch on the down side is going out? Or there is an intermittent open/short in the wire to the limit switch?

In the times when the door goes back up does the motor shut off when the door reaches the ground or does it keep grinding away for a little bit and then go back up?
posted by banshee at 2:12 PM on February 21, 2007

Best answer: The door is going down too far, and then backdriving the drive screw. Adjust the lower limit so it just barely hits the ground. (In old openers, you had to tighten the chain.)
posted by notsnot at 3:53 PM on February 21, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks all. I don't think it's the eye, because it *is* closing all the way, but I'll check again and make sure it's not dirty. I thought it did have something to do with the limit switch, and tried playing with that a few times in the past. The weird thing is it worked perfectly fine for the last 6 months or so.

The door is closing all the way, and it doesn't seem like it's still grinding away after that. It *seems* like it's closing properly. I guess I'll play with the limit switch some more. I'll try tightening all the screws too.

One thing about the "cold" reference that edgeway seems to happen more often in the morning when I leave for work than at night when I come home. But then again, I haven't really been paying attention except for the past 2 days when it's *really* gotten tempermental in the morning. (I live in Southern CA, btw, so it's not quite *that* cold).
posted by edjusted at 4:08 PM on February 21, 2007

Our garage door does this, and after months of insanity trying to figure out why — checking the "eyes", replacing batteries in the clicker, we finally discovered the culprit.

The motor to the door hangs from the ceiling in the garage, and the outlet it is plugged into is in the ceiling. This means the cord hangs straight down from the outlet. That outlet is a little worn such that the electrical cord does not have a very snug fit, and sometimes it's only barely plugged in there, due to gravity. Every once in a while we have to get out the ladder and push the plug back into the outlet, and then things work like normal again.
posted by Brittanie at 5:20 PM on February 21, 2007

Some units monitor current to determine if there's a blockage while the door is closing.

Actually, a lot of them do.

Your door may have a sticky operation at the very end of travel, or as some have suggested, a misadjusted limit switch that isn't activated until after the door is closed, resulting in what the unit THINKS is a blockage.

To test if your unit has this.... stay out of the way of the electric eyes (if you have them) and while the door is closing, impede it with your hands. If it's a current sensing type, it should either stop or reverse.

If it is, then disconnect the opener from your door and close it manually. If it takes a lot of extra effort to do the last few inches, my theory is worth considering.

Your solution will either be to adjust the limit switch as folks above suggest, or have the actual door serviced to close properly manually.
posted by FauxScot at 6:18 PM on February 21, 2007

Response by poster: ...Better late than never? I think notsnot has the answer. I ran some more tests and paid really close attention to it and it seemed like it was still going down for a half second after it touched the ground. I adjusted the limiter so it touched down more lightly and 5 months later, it hasn't reopened once. Thanks gang!
posted by edjusted at 1:40 PM on July 30, 2007

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