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Old remote control repair

Discussion in 'Troubleshooting and Repair' started by noquacks, Dec 15, 2018.

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  1. noquacks


    Jun 26, 2013

    Have an old (1970's) Heathkit garage door opener, Model # GDA-309-1, that does not work anymore. It does not "open" the garage door mechanism. Any way to tell if it is the hand held remote or the box at the motor unit?

    Circuit board in remote shows: Copyright 1973, Linear Corp, All rights reserved
    Pat # 3270284,
    And there is a number off to the side: 1008D3

    If necessary, I can try to get a photo of the board......
    Any feedback appreciated.
  2. Externet


    Aug 24, 2009
    First check battery and contacts being firm and scraped. Look if 9? V gets to its board.
    Then, check the buttons make contact when pressed.
    Try activating next to an AM receiver antenna, perhaps makes some noise.
    Measure power supply at the receiver module.
  3. Bluejets


    Oct 5, 2014
    Didn't see your model anywhere on Google but others have a manual button.
    It seems the remote may have been an added option.
    If so, there must be a set of terminals to which a set of voltage free contacts can connect.

    If that works, then any $10 remote relay from Ebay will do the job.

    Attached Files:

  4. ChosunOne


    Jun 20, 2010
    I used to work with Linear RF receivers & transmitters back in the 70's. The same units that activated garage door openers was state-of-the-art for home security systems back then.

    Look at these two examples of D-67 Linear receivers from eBay and see if they look like what you have. I had to link to two items because most sellers I looked at were stingy about showing pix of the units from all angles. The row of 8 DIP switches is used to set the ESN (electronic serial number).

    Here's one Linear D-22A model transmitter/button for that receiver, with a pic showing the corresponding DIP switches set to match the receiver's.

    These came in several frequencies. See if you can find yours.

    I'm not advocating purchase of these particular eBay items if you want to replace, I'm just referencing them for the pix so you can maybe ID your model for us. Most of them seem kind of pricey to me, considering it's 40-ish year old technology, especially the used stuff (which probably still works, but still...).
    If these are your model, I have some old working units stashed away in a box in my garage that I can let you have for cheap.

    IF that's your model, one of the troubles we had when they got old was the DIP switches sometimes got corrosion/crud in the contact points--they're not hermetically sealed--and exercising them sometimes makes them behave for awhile longer. One tech went so far as to removed the DIPs and solder jumpers across the points where the switches were ON.
    BobK likes this.
  5. noquacks


    Jun 26, 2013
    Wow, so much good info!! So, I went with the advice of checking common sense stuff like battery, and contact with button and Eureka! The push button , which is simply a plastic tab, presses onto a copper wire, which has a springy design to it. The end is twirled into a circular eyelet shape, which presses onto a silvery "spot" on the circuitboard. That silvery spot is worn to the exact shape of the copper eyelet , after years of use. It wore the silvery (metalic) metal off in the exact shape!!

    So, what would you do? resoldering is a chalenge for me, but a quick "cheating" fix could be to simply realign the copper wire just slightly, so it is bent a tad, to say, 12:30 clock position (original position is 12:00 even), That way, it contacts fresh/uncontacted metal, right? Could this work?

  6. noquacks


    Jun 26, 2013
    Wow, great schemic. Howd you find it? Can you find such a remote for me on ebay and post the link? I am not sure how to search for a "remote relay".......
  7. noquacks


    Jun 26, 2013
    Yup, 9V at the terminals, AND when I press it onto the silvery contact at the end of the copper wire/loop, but 9V only if I touch terminals to silvery spot which is NOT worn to the shape of the copper loop. So, we have voltage there, people. I tried the remote using just my fingers to contact and opener does not respond. Guess I need to look at the box at the motor now (?).
  8. noquacks


    Jun 26, 2013
    Do you mean the receiver module at the door opener? There is a box there, with a 6-7" wire hanging down (antenna??) If so, I measured about 7 volts AC at the terminals.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
  9. 73's de Edd

    73's de Edd

    Aug 21, 2015
    Sir noquacks . . . .

    Methinks that you flipped a digit on the units model number., with it being a GDA-3209-1.
    Soooooo . . . . . does this mean that you have a '70ish vintage house that this unit was initially installed in, and is still working fine
    with the manual switch .
    You just now want to get the ORIGINAL ! . . . . .remote working.
    Using this referencing . . . you can see that it is operating on the 27 Mhz citizens band with different tone modulation options
    to permit like units of neighbors from self interfering.
    If . . . MY . . . . unit to fix I would initially check to see if any battery contacts or corrosion effects are present and install a new battery.
    And on this vintage of unit, it might have actually used silver contacts / or flashing on the units PRESS switch . . . and after 50 years,
    it just might have a BLACK . .silver oxide . . .covering them. Mildly burnish to clean them up, for positive contact again.
    (NO that's not 40 grit alum oxide sandpaper, pull-thru strips for burnishing, more like #1000.)

    Then you see if you have, or have access or can seek out access to use a CB radio receiver .
    Transmit with the remote hand unit and seek out the specified frequency and listen for it being received, and remember that those 5-6-7-8-9-Khz
    tone modulation frequencies are quite a bit higher than you usually are hearing . . . .with the highest key on a piano going out at 4.186Khz.
    With no CB receiver being available, you resort to having or getting use of a communications receiver that is capable of covering the 26-27 Mhz AM spectrum.


    Your units encoded alpha-numerics of D3 suggest of a "D" frequency on the list of the LINK posted below . . . and that is marked in with an illegible entry !

    But in looking at these units frequencies and then comparing them tor CB channel frequencies, it shows that:

    26.995 is being halfways between CB channels 3 and 4
    27.045 is being halfways between CB channels 7 and 8
    27.095 is being halfways between CB channels 11 and 12

    * * * 27.??? is illegible, but it HAS to be located between the above and below channels, making it be 13 and 14 ***

    27.145 is being halfways between CB channels 15 and 16
    27.255 is being halfways between CB channels 25 and 26

    So your unit should fall on that D frequency slot above and be putting out a 9Khz audible tone.
    So put that unit up into a kissing distance of a CB receivers antenna and tune to channel 13 and then 14 on a CB receiver and expect it to be able to " bleed" thru closely adjacent frequencies and get right into that receiver, with it being that close.

    Now, if you have NONE of my suggested receiver capabilities being listed above.

    You find your local TRUCKERS TRUCKSTOP . . . . and locate a trucker in or near his rig and and . .say

    HEY ! . . . Good buddy . .got your ears on ?.

    Yep . . . . . I shore do !

    Well . . . . can we make a signal check on Channels 13 and 14 ?

    Then you do your thang . . . as described . . . . usually with the antenna(s) being near one or both of the side mirrors.
    You might also try all of the possible CB frequencies / channels above.

    I looked at the receiver design and see that it is consisting of a full blown superheterodyne receiver to be demodulated and use DC drive to a relay that has its contacts shunting across where your manual switch also goes.
    I would go into detail on a breakdown of that units operation, if it seems that the problem is not being that expected hand unit / transmitter.

    HOWEVER . . . receiver wise . . .
    You just said . . . . . . .
    I measured about 7 volts AC at the terminals.

    Look at page 3 of my reference and you will see that the 2 screw terminal block, is what gets shorted to manually trigger door operation with a shorting across them to activate the opener manually . . . . usually being run with door bell gauge of wire to the indoor pushbutton / lock..
    I would expect a full 24VAC being across it, with almost no loss with conduction thru the relay coil .
    Confirm your voltage again, as it is coming from transformer #1 secondary, so measure across that secondary directly . . . . . if still low confirm your meters AC functionality . . . by measuring the full 120VAC line voltage.

    SCHEMATIC OF HEATHKIT . . . . . GDA-3209 . .Hand Transmitter and Receiver . . . .with frequencies of different xmitters codes. GDA-3209 Deluxe garage door opener.pdf

    73's de Edd . . . . .
    . . . . . . . . . . .

    Fun Activities . . . .
    During rush hour, sit in your parked car and start swinging a hair dryer out the window, towards faster moving /unaffected oncoming cars . . . . then see if their brake lights don't come on IMMEDIATELY , and that they then drastically slow down.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
    Richard9025 likes this.
  10. noquacks


    Jun 26, 2013
    Thanks very much, Deedd! So much good info (as well as what others have offered as well)! First, I double checked that Mod # and it states right on the goofy 1970's style square green box GDA-309-1. Second, you are right- I measured agaimn at the inside of the receiver terminal points, where the 2 low V wired connect, and indeed I got 24V AC! I must have gotten a bad connection measuring outside, on the rusty screw heard.

    I do have a trucker that stops by at work- he should be able to help. So, Channel 13 AND 14, and then listen carefully, with my ear close to my remote, while I depress the button that would open garage door? Then I just am not sure what to hear? A buzz? A static sound? Something else? And this would confirm that the remote is actually good?

    Oh- yes, the manual button to switch open /close door works.

    Also, are you sure the contact point (on remote) where the copper wire springy thing gets pressed down to make the connection to open door, and where it touches the silvery spot, that the wear is oxide?? Are you sure it isnt just worn down to the plastic circuitboard? I do have 4000 grit paper. So, if I rub gently the oxide will become metallic again, making a good contact?

    Thanks for your patience. I am not that familiar with elec terms. But am willing to try to figure it out. I am so glad to try to be able to get this vintage unit functional again!

    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
  11. noquacks


    Jun 26, 2013
    lastly, EEdd, wondering- should that receiver have power going to it? Only thing I see are 2 wires, red/white, the terminals of which when touched are 24V. Shouldnt a receiver have another source of constant power? There are no batteries inside it.

  12. 73's de Edd

    73's de Edd

    Aug 21, 2015
    Sir noquacks . . . . .

    First, I double checked that Mod # and it states right on the goofy 1970's style square green box GDA-309-1.
    It is so long that I can't positively remember, but seems like HEATHKIT offered a higher priced option of selling
    their kits as an already assembled unit, for people who wanted one, but lacked the prowess to build one themselves.
    That could account for the different assigned ID.
    You can definitely see that the design influence was definitely coming from the submitted engineer drawings reference
    to Multi-Elmac, who also dealt in producing early generation model aircraft remote control systems and GDO's, as a later cash cow.

    So, Channel 13 AND 14, and then listen carefully, with my ear close to my remote, while I depress the button that would
    open garage door? Then I just am not sure what to hear? A buzz? A static sound? Something else? And this would confirm
    that the remote is actually good?

    BOY, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy . . . . . NOW, we sure gotta get your procedure right before you see your Cee Bee buddy !

    So, Channel 13 AND 14
    are going to be the first and then the second channels that you will sequentially tune Good Buddy's CB receiver to , after you have set the receiver squelch so that it is NOT engaged and you are then hearing the constant Hi i i i issssssssssssssss of its audio from the speaker . . .OR . . .other stations being picked up., if there is being any activity on that channel. If so, best to wait for a quiet instance.

    then listen carefully, with my ear close to . . . . .
    the CB receivers speaker . . . . . but with the hand unit close as it will reach to the antenna . .
    Now, there ain't nuttin' inside that remote transmit hand unit that would even make a peep . . .it's only noise will be that bar that you press down (working against its compression return spring) bottoming out against the switch contacts located on the extreme bottom.
    If you hear a quite high tone coming from his receiver speaker, at the instant and duration that you have the remotes transmit bar bottomed out, as you try both channels 13 and 14, the remote transmitter is working and that is the instant of glee, att which, you probably will break wind.
    Then the fault sleuthing shifts towards the receiver.

    Shouldn't a receiver have another source of constant power ?

    Your receiver must be designed around using that 24VAC for converting and developing its receiver DC power, since the schematic of that unit is using an internal power transformer that is using 120VAC line power.
    A relative of mines, of which, I serviced her GDO, definitely did that.
    We will have to depend upon your photos, if that is needed, after confirming a working transmitter.

    73's de Edd . . . . .
    . . . . . . . . . .

    I KNOW the speed of light . . . .So, what is the speed of dark?
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2018
    Richard9025 likes this.
  13. ChosunOne


    Jun 20, 2010
    If by "another source of power," you mean a backup battery, then no. I know we often refer to the RF Receiver & Transmitter(s) as "garage door openers", but they're not. The RF system is a wireless switch for the garage door opener, which is a line-power electric motor that opens the door. The only time the RF receiver would need a battery would be when 120VAC line power is out to the receiver's power transformer, in which case line power is also out to the opener, and having a working RF switch during line-power failure would kind of superfluous.
    Unless you have a backup car battery running a 12VDC/120VAC converter backing up your GDO, which somebody in the world probably has.
  14. noquacks


    Jun 26, 2013
    Thanks again, EEdd. Give me a few days to study all this, with a friend who may offer some help. I will show him your posts too, which should be very helpful. Let us play with the system a bit, and I will get back to you soon!!

    Thanks a bunch!!!
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