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Testing Garage Door Remote Controls

The remote control on my garage door opener no longer works? How can I test it?

Most modern garage door openers have a coding system so that someone else with a remote can't easily get your door open with their remote... or so your garage door doesn't open when the neighbor lets the dog out!   This is accomplished with a series of tiny switches inside the remote control and on the opener. See if positions of these "dip" switches on the receiver and the remote are the same... if not change them to match.

There are some openers that self code... that is, instead of having code switches on the opener, it reads the signal from the remote and remembers the code. This is a little complicated to explain, and different manufacturers have different setup procedures, so dig out the manual and follow the instructions.  Most manufacturers have instructions for their openers at their websites.

Genie Replacement Receiver in service... with a smile!Without specialized electronic testing equipment, there is no way to tell whether the remote or the receiver is defective. You are left with two options. If the opener is a common one... Stanley, Genie, or Craftsman... you should be able to purchase a replacement for the remote control. Be sure to purchase one that is compatible with your unit. Bring the model number and serial number with you when ordering the replacement.  And keep the receipt in case you need to return it!

If the replacement remote does not work, then you will have to purchase either a new receiver circuit board for the model of opener you have, or get a generic remote control/receiver kit (see graphic to left). These kits are wired to your opener at the same terminals as the wall switch. When you press the button on the remote, a relay closes and makes the opener think that you pushed the switch (smart machine, don't you think?). These kits are available at many hardware stores and home stores. The kits are much easier to install and more foolproof a repair than replacing the circuit board... trust me!!

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Jerry Alonzy, the founder of Naturalhandyman.com

Written by Jerry Alonzy

Jerry Alonzy, a.k.a. the Natural Handyman, has been an active handyman for over 30 years with experience in most areas of home repair and renovation.

As a do-it-yourself author and web developer since 1995, he has been featured in USA Today, the Today Show and on radio shows, magazines, newspapers and websites. His material appears widely on the web, but primarily on his website... The Natural Handyman. You can also find him on Google+.