Natural Handyman's Links Library section header
Brick navigational bar for the Natural Handyman website Natural Handyman's Home Page Home repair articles and do it yourself tips Home repair contests at Sweepstakes Central Do it yourself books on a variety of home repair topics The Handyman Letter newsletter Natural Handyman's Question and Answer archives Search our home repair and do it yourself library Select links to home repair and do it yourself products and services Advertising options on the Natural Handyman website Unique tools and toys from Rockler! Find a handyman or contractor for those small home repair jobs

Back to Garage Door Question List

Garage Door Opener Electric Eye Troubleshooting

My opener doesn't work. I noticed that the light on the electric eyes was off. I know this is a safety feature, so I disconnected them, but the opener still will not work. It also does not work when I press the wall switch. What's wrong? Could the problem be in the wiring of the switch, too?

Infrared garage door sensorYou are correct that the electric eyes (graphic left) are a safety feature, mandated by Federal law. But they are also required to be connected to the opener and adjusted properly or the garage door opener will not function. So reconnect them to the opener, and check their alignment. They should be pointing directly at each other. Sometimes this is all the repair that is necessary! Some electric eyes are very sensitive, and even if the light is on, they may need a subtle adjustment.

Most likely, the light was off BECAUSE they were not pointed towards each other, not because they were defective.  Or, with some openers, both have lights but both only light if they are properly oriented!

If they are pointing directly at each other, their lights are is on, and the opener still will not function, then the problem is elsewhere. Disconnect the wires from the wall switch to the opener at the opener. Now try the remote control. If the opener activates, the diagnosis is that there is a short and/or bad connection in either the wall switch or in the wire leading from the switch to the opener. Use a multimeter to test the function of the switch and the continuity of the wires. If the opener still refuses to operate, you most likely have an electronic "bug" within the unit or the electric eyes themselves have malfunctioned. In either event you should contact a service person to troubleshoot the opener's circuits.

Back to Garage Door Question List

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+.