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
Any clue to fix this would be highly appreciated.
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:
(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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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?
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.
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