Modern garage doors are pretty advanced. Not only do they have an automatic opening and closing mechanism, but they also feature a sensor that will ensure the highest amount of safety.
Nonetheless, while we were maintaining the door, the thought of are garage door sensors universal came to the back of our mind. We were also curious regarding how these sensors actually work.
To feed our curious minds, we dug into the topic a bit further. We researched the mechanism of these sensors and found out a lot of unique and mind-boggling information about them. And we will go through it all out in this article. So, if you want to feed your curious mind as well, read till the very end!
What Is a Garage Door Sensor?
First and foremost, we would like to ensure that you have proper knowledge of what a garage door sensor is. In a nutshell, it is a sensor designed to prevent any of the accidents that might occur while the door is automatically closing.
Why were these sensors necessary? Well, previously, these doors did cause major injuries to animals and humans. For that reason, these sensors have been a must for the garage doors since 1993. There is a whole law that revolves around these sensors.
How Do Garage Door Sensors Work?
The first models of the sensors were mechanical. With those, the garage door would basically reverse if it came into contact with a physical object. However, those sensors were not that reliable. They did not always provide consistent feedback to the garage door during the closing process.
That is where the photoelectric sensors came in. Unlike the previous sensors, these are not mechanical. Instead, these rely on infrared beams. Usually, these sensors will be placed about six inches above the floor. You will also need to install two of these on each door.
But how do they actually work? Well, these two sensors will create a virtual tripwire. When this virtual tripwire detects any obstruction, it will not let the door close all the way to the floor.
As it can detect the physical objects from a higher up distance, the garage door does not really need to contact the physical things, which will enhance the overall safety. In fact, some of the sensors can make the door stop at the halfway mark. They will also make the door go reverse, which will create more space.
Nonetheless, it is certainly possible to close the door even if the sensor is picking up the signals. One would need to pull the emergency lever for that. By doing so, the person will override any of the signals that the sensors are picking and make the door close to the very bottom.
Are Garage Door Universal?
Now that you know how garage sensors work, let us move to the next segment of the article, shall we? So, are garage door sensors universal? In a general sense, all modern garage sensors rely on the same operational mechanism. Likewise, all of the garage door sensors serve the same purpose.
Considering that, they should be universal, right? Well, the case is not as simple as it seems to be. Some of the garage doors will rely on a specific brand of sensor. The connection cable will be different and proprietary. For those, the universal nature goes out of the table.
However, you will find loads of garage doors that do not rely on a specific connection type. Those are the universal ones. You will be capable of using them with most of the available garage doors.
On that note, as you know by now, the garage doors will mostly use two different sensors. Now, the question of ‘are they interchangeable or not’ arises. Well, these are polarized sensors. That means all you need to do is hook them up with the existing wiring. It does not actually matter which sensor you are using at what side.
Instead of worrying about that, you need to consider whether the wiring is correct or not. If the wiring is not proper, the sensors will turn on, and you will lose the safety feature that these offer.
How Do I Know If My Garage Sensor Is Working Optimally or Not?
It is pretty vital to ensure that the sensors are working optimally. If they are not working correctly, you will put yourself and your car at risk. Carry out these simple steps to scrutinize whether the sensors are working as they should or not:
Step 1: Open the Door Entirely
First of all, you need to open the garage door. You can do it manually or rely on the remote. Make sure that the door is opened all the way and then move to the next steps. If your garage door is not opening or closing, we've an article here to fix that.
Step 2: Place an Object Directly Below the Door
Now that the garage door is open, you would need to find an everyday object. Make sure that the object you are using is not that important because if the sensors are bad, they will get crushed. We would recommend using a regular cardboard box in this case.
Step 3: Initiate the Closing Mechanism
Using your key or the manual lever, close the door. If the sensors are not bad, they will pick up the signal and relay the information to the controller box. In that case, the door will stop at the halfway mark and reverse itself. Some of the sensors might not let the door close at all.
However, if the sensors are bad, the door will close directly on the box. If that happens, you can be sure that the sensors are bad.
Is It Possible to Repair Garage Door Sensors?
If there are any problems with the internals, you might not be able to get a quick fix. You would need to get it fixed or replaced through the manufacturer.
The problems that circulate around the sensors are usually easy to fix. For example, the most common problem is regarding alignment. Generally, the LED indicator of the sensor will light up red when there are alignment issues. All you need to do is fix the mounting system and align them properly. If it is bent, you can fix and straighten that.
The next common issue is dirty lenses. You will notice that there is too much dust build-up on the surface of the lens when this happens. To fix this issue, you will require a clean cloth.
Finally, there are wiring problems. When this happens, the LED indicator will not light up at all. Check the connection and ensure that there are no open ends in between the wiring. If everything is okay, the indicator will light up green.
So, to answer the question of are garage door sensors universal or not, it would be a both yes or no. Most of the garage doors will rely on universal sensors, while some might depend on proprietary sensors. So, if you are planning to purchase a new sensor, do check the connection type and the compatibility beforehand.