Troubleshooting garage door opener

After working fine for many years, my garage door opener is having sporadic problems. Replacing it is going to be costly and problematic, so I want to take a shot at repairing it instead. Here are the symptoms:
1) The door will occasionally open or close on its own. 2) The hard-wired wall switch is occasionally unresponsive; pushing the button has no effect. 3) The remote control seems to work consistently; there's been no problem with the remote.
From these symptoms, I suspected the wiring on the wall switch. (I tried the easy and obvious step of changing codes on the remote in case there was neighborhood interference, but this made no difference.) I replaced both the wire and the switch itself, but the symptoms continued. I then disconnected the wire for the switch completely, and operated the door by remote only for several days. Unfortunately, we still had the problem where the door would sporadically raise or lower on its own.
I'm now thinking there's an electrical problem with the switch connections within the motor casing itself. I unbolted the unit from the ceiling, lowered it onto a ladder, and removed the cover for inspection, but I didn't find any obvious problems. Of course, I wouldn't know what to look for. :)
Does it sound like I'm on the right track? How can I isolate what the problem might be? Thanks!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Most switches operate with a metal spring beam that makes contact when you press the button. If the metal ribbon fatigues over time it will rest against the contact intermittenly and may make the garage door open and close. I had this exact problem with my remote. I would suspect the hard wired wall switch.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Agreed, which is why I replaced the switch, then disconnected it for a period of time. Unfortunately, the symptoms continued during/after both of these tests. Hmmmm...
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Perhaps faulty wiring from the hard wired switch to the motor
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
That sounds reasonable to me. Any idea how I can isolate the problem? I'm not much of an electrician.
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote in

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Dave N wrote:

Disconnect the wire at the opener. See if the problem goes away.
Or just replace the wiring from the opener to the switch. It's 12-volt - nothing special.
I bet some critter knawed part way through the wires causing shorts, opens, and drips.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
He said that he changed the wire & the switch in his original post so it sounds like a stuck button on a transmitter. When a trans button is stuck it will sometimes disable the wall button & cause phatom operation.
Does the problem only happen when a certain vehicle w/ a transmitter is at the house. If so that would be the one to check. Disconnect the battery & if the battery is still good re-connect the battery & if the button is stuck the opener will operate without pushing the button. The metal tab under the switches tend to flatten out & if it isn't cracked bend the tab up away from the contact point. If its cracked, replace the transmitter.
Doordoc www.DoorsAndOpeners.com
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Good thought, thanks. Unfortunately, that's not it. We've only got one vehicle and transmitter, and I've changed the battery. Also, the door opens/closes when the car and transmitter are gone. :(
Other ideas?
snipped-for-privacy@prodigy.net wrote in

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Then I would suspect that the relay on the receiver is sticking but make sure that none of the internal wires are being pinched under the motor cover (but since it is a plastic cover i don't think that would be the problem).
Disconnect the receiver from the opener & see if the phatom operation goes away (of course the transmitter won't work). If the problem goes away try cleaning the relay points or if that fails replace the receiver.
Doordoc
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In alt.home.repair on Sun, 31 Jul 2005 14:55:12 -0500 Dave N

You said you replaced the wire from the switch. Now it seems you didn't.

Meirman -- If emailing, please let me know whether or not you are posting the same letter. Change domain to erols.com, if necessary.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Yes, I replaced the wire from the switch to the motor casing. This post (I thought) was referring to the wiring inside the casing, from the terminals to wherever they go. I'm clueless about the electrical internal stuff, but I do believe that's where the problem is.
posted:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In alt.home.repair on 30 Jul 2005 20:02:59 -0700 snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com posted:

He meant the same wire you replaced.
I can't see the internal wire shorting. But it's worth opening something up and looking around. If you unplug this device, I don't think anything inside will still be "hot" (unlike a TV for example, where there is still a big eletrical shock waiting for the unwary.)
Look for something that looks burned. I guess lightening can damage anything in the house. I know somone who lost the refrigerator, 2 fancy phones, and one other thing, I forget.
Meirman -- If emailing, please let me know whether or not you are posting the same letter. Change domain to erols.com, if necessary.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Dave N wrote:

I realize that you changed your code so this is a long shot but just for the heck of it walk around your neighborhood with your remote and see if you can open anyone else's garage door.......you might just find the problem.
Don
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
How old is this garage door opener? What model?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'm not sure how old it is; it was installed when I bought the house 8 years ago, and working fine until now. The house itself is 30 years old. The opener is a Blue Max brand, but I don't know the model.
snipped-for-privacy@mucks.net wrote in

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Shouldn't have any thing to do with the hard wired switch, but are you located near a military base. The military recently took back and started using frequencies that garage door openers use. Sears recently posted a notice that some older openers would start having difficulties because of this. I seem to remember that they came up with a retrofit of some kind that would alleviate the problem. And of course, all new openers now use a different frequency. Tom.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Ditto........find a way to eliminate the remote signal input. Remove and/or short the antenna if appropriate. Use the wired switch until you can reasonably say that a unwanted remote signal is the problem
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In alt.home.repair on Sun, 31 Jul 2005 00:00:20 -0400 snipped-for-privacy@mucks.net posted:

I'm glad you guys had an answer. I was stumped.
If your advice about shorting etc. the antenna doesn't work, but he's certain that's the problem, I'm sure he can open the box and cut out a part or two until the antenna doesn't work.
Then there's probably a universal remote/receiver whose output will connect in parallel with the wall button. I have one from a Zenith TV from 1962 that the OP can have, but they probably make them with transistors now. (There's always X-10, if nothing simpler)
Meirman -- If emailing, please let me know whether or not you are posting the same letter. Change domain to erols.com, if necessary.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I can try removing or shorting the antenna, but it doesn't really fit the symptoms. I did suspect some kind of frequency interference at first, but that wouldn't explain the problems with the hard-wired switch. And, since both problems started simultaneously, I believe they have to be related.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In alt.home.repair on Sun, 31 Jul 2005 14:57:17 -0500 Dave N

Yes, I saw your further description.
Meirman -- If emailing, please let me know whether or not you are posting the same letter. Change domain to erols.com, if necessary.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.