Stanley Garage door stopped working and ligjht starts blinking after some time

I have a ~20 year old Stanley model 3200 Garage Door Opener that stopped working after I opened it using the remote. After that the door would not close if the remote or the wall switch is pressed. The light on the opener unit started blinking after 30 seconds or so. If the open/close button on remote or wall is pressed again the blinking light will stop for another brief period and you will hear a humming sound from the motor as it is trying to operate but does not move anything.
I disconnected latch and closed and opened the door manually, it operates fine.
Any clue to fix this would be highly appreciated.
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Sounds like it might be an open motor start capacitor - the "humming sound" is the motor trying to start but can't.
I have an old Stanley "Lightmaster" opener from the '80's that failed in a similar fashion, and a new start cap brought it back to life.
Finding parts may be a problem - I had two companies bookmarked for parts on my old Stanley opener, but only the one still has parts in stock:
http://www.stanley-garage-door-opener.com/repairparts.htm
(This was the other company: http://www.bearcatco.com/ )
If it is the capacitor, you might be able to get more life out of the old opener. But as others have suggested, maybe it's time for a replacement opener; that's what I'm going to do one of these days with my Stanley.
Hope this helps.
Bob.
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Thanks for the response. How can I findout if the capacitor is open. With a multimeter, can I test the resistance across the terminals to check for continuity (not sure if this is the right way to test a capacitor?)
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An ohm meter will show a low resistance and then climb to an open circuit with a good cap as it charges. A bad cap will only show an open circuit. There are capacitance meters that will indicate how many microfarads the cap is; some high end digital multimeters can check caps. One thing, with the power removed from your garage door opener, short out the cap with a screwdriver first just in case there is any voltage still stored in the cap. Multimeters do not like getting hit with a 110V spike if the cap is good.
Ok, a low tech and very dangerous way to check - with the motor humming on your opener, see if you can give the motor a nudge to get it spinning. Please use something other than a finger or hand to try this out, but if the opener works, then it's a bad cap.
Hope this helps.
Bob.
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Paul wrote:

The capacitor suggestion is a good one, but before checking it, unplug the AC and discharge the capacitor properly -- see www.repairfaq.org. While you're not supposed to do it, you can just short its 2 terminals together with the shaft of a plastic handled screwdriver, but you really should use a 5W, 10,000 ohm resistor first and then the screwdriver. Those oil-filled capacitors can usually be tested thoroughly with an ohm meter -- ohm reading will first be a short and then slowly rise to several megaohms or even infinity. Electrical supplies and hardware stores sell these capacitors.
Wiring connectors should be retightened occasionally because vibration loosens them, and the wiring for the optical safety beam can break right where it enters their cases.
The motor relays may have dirty contacts. There are 3 relays, each housed in a small plastic cube. 1 is to run the motor in the forward direction, another backwards, and the 3rd turns the overhead lamp on and off. If changing the capacitor doesn't eliminate the buzz, you can swap the lamp relay for the motor relays. Substitutes that will work are widely available (even Radio Shack may have them), but mechanical fit may be difficult without the exact same part (and possibly dangerous -- must fasten relay well). Digi-Key, Allied, Newark are some electronics supplies that carry a wide range of relays. The relay contacts can't be fixed for long by cleaning them, even if you somehow manage to remove the plastic cover.
Circuit boards take a beating from condensation and motor vibration, and solder joints can crack. I believe your opener contains only 1 custom electronic component, a microprocessor (about 24 pins). The most common failures on the board, other than the relays and solder joints, are electrolytic capacitors, the voltage regulator, and the transistors that drive the relays and their protective diodes (when one of those diodes fails, the transistor goes as well).
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Thanks for all your suggestions. With your help I was able to figure out the problem. The cap was bad! I tried nudging with a screw driver after disengaging the gear and the motor started spinning. The root cause was different though. The bottom part of the motor housing was cracked (one screw that was holding the bottom housing was loose, that is how I noticed it). Because of that the gear on the motor shaft was resting on the bottom housing instead of the bearings (in fact this might have killed the cap). I tried balancing the motor with a metallic string, it might have worked even with the cracked housing. In the process of trying this out, I caused the limit switch to go beyond its max. So I dropped the plan to fix it. Even otherwise rather patching up the motor housing and finding another starter cap and putting everything back together (which might not last long any ways) I am planning to get a new one.
Any suggestions about new GDO? A couple of colleagues suggested Chamberline, belt type. I might get that one from menards. Still debating whether I should install it myself or get it installed professionally. I do not have more than a couple hours to work on this, so if it will take ~4hrs as some people said, I might as well pay for getting it done.
Thanks again for all help.
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Paul wrote:

About the only choices widely available for DIY are Chamberlain/Liftmaster/Sears and Genie, and it seems to be a toss-up between those manufacturers. Genies have a magnetic clutch that sometimes caused problems (I believe adjustment fixed it), and chain and belt driven Chamberlains have a "T" rail that needs greasing on top, and they have a couple of large plastic drive gears that will eventually crack. Also Chamberlain has made mistakes with its electronic design that resulted in the optical sensor occasionally being ignored, in other words the door could close even when the sensor beam was blocked. Actually I like the Stanleys best, and the main problems with them were the brittle plastic used for the drive housing (I fiberglassed mine), which was replaced with a better material about 10-15 years ago, and grease that would eventually turn hard (that was also changed 10-15 years ago).
Assembly of an opener (done on the ground) can take an hour, but actual attachment to the door and ceiling shouldn't require 4 hours if the garage already had an opener.
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Different problem an 80's chain drive stanley operates opens then closes stays closed for sometime then opens by its self and the light blinks till you close the door. It may stay down and it might go right back up again after hitting the down limit? any ideas?
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You can set it so that is stops a half inch or so before it touches the garage floor. Then if/when it "burps" downward, it won't hit the floor and set-off the reverse saftey switch. Otherwise, it's time for a new opener. Stanley went out of business years ago.
Morvin
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