In order to comply with FCC (Federal Communications Commission) rules and regulations, Garage Door radios are to have limited power and therefore limited range. They are on the bottom of the food chain in the world of licensed radio controls and the transmitters, or remotes, are not allowed to give interference to any other devices. Every time the FCC decides to change the rules for what radio frequencies allow, the Garage Door Manufacturers are scrambling to solve the problems.
Garage Door Operator receivers can’t respond to more than one signal at a time and are often blocked by devices that emit signals on or near the same frequencies as their remotes. What that means to you is that when you have to get closer and closer to your Garage Door before the remote will work it may not be a problem with your Garage Door Opener but an interference problem.
Before you start looking for RFI (Radio Frequency Interference), always check the battery on the remote. Even if you recently replaced it’s worth a try. Many batteries have been found to come from the store dead, so check it anyway.
One of the big indicators of RFI is if several activation devices are having the same problem at the same time. Remotes, Keypads and Home Link buttons built into the cars all work by transmitting radio signals. If the operator still works by the wall control button but not remotely it is usually a failure of the radio receiver or radio interference.
The next thing to do is to check the antenna that hangs down from the motor head. It is attached to the radio receiver. More than one person has decided to cut off this funny looking loose wire and suddenly has no range on their transmitters. Just hanging straight down is usually the best scenario and not the way people curl them up like little pigtails.
Also, you should check connections on all the wiring to the Garage Door Opener to be sure that they have not corroded over time. You would be amazed at how many corrosive chemicals there are in garages from fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, paints and paint thinners etc.
Radio receivers do go bad but before you spend the money to buy a new circuit board which usually includes the receiver components look to see if there are any obvious sources of RFI.
There are any numbers of things that can interfere with your Garage Door radios. It’s a good thing we can hear only a limited range of audio frequencies (20Hz to 20,000Hz) because if we did hear everything in the radio frequency range we would be going crazy because the list of things that emit radio noise is getting longer and longer every year. These are only a few that commonly interfere with garage door openers:
-Television or Radio transmission towers
-Military Installations and ships cruising up and down the sound and ship canal
-Cell Phone Towers
-Appliances within 10’ – 15’ of the receiver whether they are running or not.
-Plug in transformers like the ones used for security systems, sprinkler controls, and cordless power tool chargers.
-Yard light timers and motion detectors
-Any number of small appliances.
-Air Conditioning or heating system thermostats
-Florescent lighting fixtures
-Halogen lighting fixtures
-Car battery chargers
Once you determine where the RFI is coming from the next challenge is to find the right fix for it. The best solution may come from newer technology from the major manufacturers. These are radio sets that transmit and receive on two or three different frequencies simultaneously.
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