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What to Do When an Automatic Garage Door Won’t Open

shutterstock_1589767When your automatic garage door won’t open, there’s a high likelihood that the problem is electrical rather than mechanical. Mechanical problems tend to give you some warning signs before the door stops working completely. There are a number of possible reasons for an automatic garage door to suddenly refuse to open. If you should find yourself stuck outside your garage with an impotent remote in your hand, try the following checks before calling in the repair guys.

1: Check Vacation Mode

Someone may have inadvertently switched your automatic door opener into “lock” or “vacation” mode. If so, your door will not open in response to the remote. If the door is not in lock or vacation mode, move on to the next check.

2: Test the Remote Battery

If the battery in your remote control is getting low, the automatic garage door opener unit may not receive a signal from the remote. Go into your garage (via the internal door from your home) and check for a red blinking light on the garage door opener housing. If the light is blinking, press the “open” button on your remote control. If the door opens, move further from the control unit and press the “close” button. If there is no response from the door, you know your battery is getting low and is only sending a weak signal. Replace the battery and your door should open and close just fine from outside.

If the door doesn’t open or close even when you are close to the control unit or the red light is not blinking, replace your remote battery and then test the door again. If the door still won’t respond to the remote control after you have replaced the battery, move on to the next check.

3: Test the Wiring

If you look closely, you will see that there are two fine wires running from the garage door control unit to the internal switch, which is normally located near to your internal garage door. There will be two more wires running from the control unit to each of the electric eyes at either side of your garage door, near the bottom.

You will need to test all the connection points, do this by wiggling one wire at a time while pressing the “open” button on your remote control. In total you will be testing two wires at the wall switch, four wires at the control unit and two wires at each of the electric eyes. If the door opens while you are wiggling any of the wires and pressing the “open” button, you will know that the wire you are wiggling is loose.

Shut off the power to your automatic garage door. Use a screwdriver to tighten the loose wire at its connection terminal and then turn the power back on. You should find your door will now open when you operate the remote control.

If you still can’t get your garage door to respond to your remote control after following all the above checks, it might just be time to call in a local garage door installation/repair service. The technician will be able to identify any more complex problem with your automatic garage door and get it back in working order for you.


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How to Replace the Sprocket on a Chain Drive Garage Door Opener

Garage_Door_OpenerAlthough a chain drive garage door opener can be a little noisy in operation and some feel it’s more demanding of maintenance than belt or screw drive openers, there is really not that much that can go wrong. If you lubricate the chain every now and again, this type of opener will serve you well for many years.

If the Chain Starts to Jump

At some point though, the sprocket which engages with the chain to raise and lower the door may need replacing. If the chain on your door opener begins to skip or jump when the door is being raised, it’s a sign that the teeth on the sprocket have worn. Fortunately, replacing the sprocket, which is located at the top of the motor, is an easy enough DIY task. Here is a simple, step-by–step guide to explain the process.

10 Steps to Changing the Chain Drive Sprocket

1) Pull down on the manual release cord which disengages the drive trolley from the chain arm. Now you can lower the door manually.

2) After lowering the door, use a stepladder to climb up and disconnectthe power supply to your garage door opener. Do this by unplugging the power cable from the ceiling outlet.

3) You will find a snap on cover where the chain engages with the sprocket atop the motor. Use a screwdriver to remove the cover.

4) Now relocate your stepladder to the end of the chain arm nearest to the garage door. You will see a chain pulley on the top of the chain arm. Loosen the bolts on the pulley and slide it just an inch towards the motor.

5) Move your stepladder back to the motor of your garage door opener. Using a ratchet and socket, undo the machine bolts which hold the sprocket in place and remove them. Save the bolts.

6) Use your screwdriver to pry up the sprocket and then remove it from the motor. Take the chain from the sprocket and lay it over the chain arm.

7) Now use your socket and ratchet and the bolts you saved to install the new sprocket. Fit the chain around the sprocket.

8) Return your stepladder to the end of the chain arm. Climb up and slide the pulley towards the end of the chain arm until the chain is tight, then slide it back toward the motor just enough so the chain touches the top of the chain arm. Now you can tighten the bolts that hold the pulley in place.

9) Now reposition your stepladder to access the motor one last time. Fasten the sprocket cover back in place and plug in the power to the garage door opener.

10) Return to the floor and pull the manual release cord to refit the trolley to the chain arm, putting your door opener back into automatic mode.

Now you should find you can raise your door using the opener without the chain jumping. If replacing the sprocket doesn’t cure the problem or you simply prefer not to tackle this task yourself, you can always call on your local garage door installation and repair service to resolve the problem instead.

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