Because of safety issues, the federal government mandated companies that produce garage door openers to install safety devices in order to prevent accidents. Since the law was introduced in the 1990′s, most garage door system companies have implemented door sensors in order to be in compliance with federal regulations.
Although garage door sensors are nearly ubiquitous, many people still don’t how they work. For the most part, these companies implement photo eyes for use with their door opening mechanisms. The main function of the photo eyes is to ensure that there is not anything blocking the path of the door when it is closing.
In order for the door to continue closing, the photo eyes must “see each other”, which is a loose way of saying that the ray of the infra-red beam that connects the photo eyes to each other remains uninterrupted. If that ray has been interrupted, the garage door will reverse, opening instead of closing.
How Does a Garage Door Sensor Work?
Garage door openers can be opened with a remote control, which activates the motorized trolley. While some buttons on garage door openers are wired to the house, others are remote powered, so that you can open your garage door while still in your car. However, most modern garage door openers combine the two technologies for the sake of convenience, allowing you the ability to use both features.
The system employs an infra-red radio signal, which activates the electric motor once the button is pressed on your remote. In turn the electric motor engages a track-and-pulley system, which then opens or closes your garage door. The infra-red sensors that facilitate your garage door opening system are normally placed on either side of your garage door/doors, and they stand approximately two inches off of the ground. If, for some reason, the sensors are malfunctioning, one of the sensor lights will start to blink.
Check to see if there are any obstructions as this can be the cause of the malfunction. If the garage doorway is clear, you may need to either clean the lens or realign the sensor/sensors. If all of these options fail, contact a professional to look into the problem.