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Finding a short-circuit in a remote control garage door opener

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by DAO, May 22, 2007.

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  1. DAO

    DAO Guest

    I have a bug. A cockroach got in my garage door opener and got
    fried. Unfortunately now my garage door only goes up. The switch
    that makes it go down isn't working. So I asked if it could be
    repaired and was told no- they don't have replacement parts cos it's
    too old. It'll cost $700 to buy a new one.

    It's probably a $5 component on the logic board that needs replacing.
    Can anyone tell me how do I go about finding out what needs replacing?
    I've inherited a digital multi-meter but don't know how to use it -
    yet. I presume I'll need to get my hands on a circuit diagram for the
    door opener too?

    Any help would be much appreciated...
  2. no_one

    no_one Guest

    Home Depot has entire garage door opener systems for less than $200; you
    might want to consider it.
  3. krw

    krw Guest

    $700 for a garage door opener? You can buy the whole damned door for
    that! More like $150 for a good opener. Put it in yourself.
    They're easy to install, even easier to replace and existing. All
    the hard work is done. You can likely replace the transmitter and
    receiver for $50.
    Don't bother. A opener that old won't have replacement parts. The
    FCC changed their frequency allocation so old parts have been
    withdrawn from the market.
  4. Jim Thompson

    Jim Thompson Guest

    DO NOT BUY a Genie Screw Drive.

    I have Liftmaster belt drive openers... love 'em, and they're very

    Only problem I have is that the house has steel lath for the stucco,
    and steel garage doors, so the range is not what I'd like... got to
    figure out some way to extend the antennas into the attic ;-)

    ...Jim Thompson
  5. krw

    krw Guest

    I never liked the idea of a screw drive opener. I bought plain-jane
    chain openers. The garages I put them in are on the end of the house
    so the noise isn't objectionable. They're simple and cheap.
    Mine is all OSB and wood. Works great. ;-)
  6. colin

    colin Guest

    you could try replacing any chips wich are connected to the area where the
    bug got fried, also probably more to the point bug goo is probably
    conductive, make sure you well and truly remove all trace of it. isoprop
    alchol / water soap scrub with distilled water rinse + thoroughly dry.

    Colin =^.^=

  7. Do it the way they do passive cell phone repeaters. A pair of yagi
    antennas cut for the right frequency and some coax.

    Service to my country? Been there, Done that, and I've got my DD214 to
    prove it.
    Member of DAV #85.

    Michael A. Terrell
    Central Florida
  8. Robert Baer

    Robert Baer Guest

    Most switches are modifications of leaf microswitches which cost only
    a few dollars; the modifications (large clunky cast iron boxes) at lotza
    bux to the cost of the assembly, so see if a little ingenuity and a
    cheap microswitch will do the trick.

    First find the bug, clean the area out; soap and water does wonders,
    with isopropyl wash afterwards.
    Use Q-tips or equivalent for scrubbing small areas.
    Wait at least an hour to get it dry before testing...
  9. mpm

    mpm Guest

    If you can post a link to a picture of the circuit board, maybe we can

    Suggestion: Clean the circuit board (rubbing or denatured alcohol
    will probably suffice, but not a cleanser or water). Then check to
    see if anything is obviously "broken". Like a cracked component,
    lifted traces, or ??? A good visual inspection is often better than
    the most expensive multimeter a good percentage of the time!!

    You did not say how old the door opener was, so ignore comments about
    parts availability. It is equally likely the store just didn't want
    to bother. (It's easier to sell new.)

    Also, don't jump to the conclusion that the cockroach is the culprit.
    It is possible the cockroach was BBQ'ed long before the door quit

    On mine (note: $2300 garage door & opener because of local building
    codes and hurricane coastline! --again ignore the wild assumptions
    and assertions of others), there is a light beam sensor that shines
    across the bottom of the door opening. Presumably, this is to avoid
    crushing kids, small animals, (slow drivers?).... I wouldn't expect
    an "old" system to have this, but if yours does, you might check it
    for alignment. If misaligned, it would cause the exact symptom that
    you describe.

    The radio receiver likely uses the same hardware for "up", "down" and
    "lock/disable" commands. Thus, I doubt it's the receiver. Do you
    have a pushbutton switch attached as well? Does this work in both

    Check for a "reset" switch and try that. (If you haven't already).
    Lastly, if you do end up digging in the hardware, write down all the
    numbers on the chips (and transistors if you can read them). Then
    Google search the part numbers. The symptom you describe would lead
    me to believe a "driver" could be bad. An older until would probably
    use a discrete part for this, but maybe not. If your search results
    give a description containing "dual"-package widget, then again, I
    would overlook that for now and continue your search - but there's no
    guarantee that ONLY 1/2 of a dual pack whatever isn't actually the
    problem. Just somewhat unlikely.(?) Mostly, you'd be looking for a
    part that would function as a current driver, or isolator. Not seeing
    it in-person, that's the best advice I can give.

    Good luck.
  10. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Now that you mention it, I once fixed one by _cleaning_ the light-beam
    sensor - this was 10 or 20 years ago, so any decent opener should have
    them these days.

  11. rebel

    rebel Guest

    Derek, you are in Oz? What make/model/series is it?

    To be blunt, if you are challenged by a DMM then your fault-finding prospects
    aren't flash, but we *may* be able to talk you through it.
  12. Jasen

    Jasen Guest

    buy a bare receiver module from the makers (or switch brands and get
    new transmitters too) and wire it to the external button circuit, locate
    it somewhere suitable (like the attic if there's not much metal in the roof).


  13. You do love overkill, don't you?

    Service to my country? Been there, Done that, and I've got my DD214 to
    prove it.
    Member of DAV #85.

    Michael A. Terrell
    Central Florida
  14. Guest

    If it is the infrared receiver, can't he temporarily "override this
    interrupter to prove it ?
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