Automatic garage doors and their connected openers are rarely thought about, until they no longer work and you cannot park or remove your car from your garage. A garage door that will no longer open is extremely frustrating and may signal the need for a brand-new opener. Do not panic though, there are a few simple things that you should look at first before you invest in a brand-new opener. Inspecting the wiring is one of the most important things you should investigate.
Inspect All Wires
Your garage door opener will be wired to several different parts and pieces, and breaks in the wires can cause malfunctions and shorts in the system. Wiring is connected to the main electrical plug that attaches to an outlet on your ceiling or wall. One wire will connect to the remote sensor that reads the electrical signal coming from your remote, and another will connect to the manual opener that sits on your wall. You also will notice two wires attached to two small black boxes that sit on the garage door tracks. The boxes are the photo eyes that detect whether or not an object or person is in the way of the door.
Inspect all wires from the base of the opener to their connections. Look for wires that are pinched, broken, or missing insulation. These wires need to be replaced. To replace a wire, look for the numbers and letters on the sheathing to purchase the right type of wire. You will notice the gauge, the voltage rating, and the safety rating.
Purchase the same color of wiring as well. Colors do indicate the type of wire that is connected to the opener. For example, a white wire is a neutral wire that may not carry electricity and green indicates a ground wire. Other colors indicate live wiring, so you choose a blue, black, yellow, or red wire if you cannot match the color for some reason. Stay away from white and green though, or you may confuse an electrician or future homeowner who wants to complete electrical work on the opener.
Look At Terminals
Wires will sometimes look as though they are in good condition, but the terminals that connect the wires to the opener may not look very good. These terminals are the point where the external circuit or wire is connected to an electrical component. Terminals are fasteners that conduct electricity and allow it to move through the wiring. There are two types of terminals or fasteners that you may see on the back of your garage door opener. These are screw and tab terminals.
Tab or quick-connect terminals are the most common, and they are small slits or openings that fit metal tabs. These tabs are connected to the ends of the wires, and the wires are pushed into the terminals. Unplug your garage door opener and pull the wires out of the terminals so you can inspect the tabs. Tabs can corrode over time and form a layer of rust. If you see rust, then you should replace the tabs. Tabs crimp in place, so cut off the old tab from the wire, strip the end, slip the round end onto the wiring, and use needlenose pliers to crimp the round end down.
If you notice screws on the back of the opener, then inspect these screw terminals for corrosion as well. If you see rust, then unwrap the wires from the screws. Cut off the old wire ends and strip the sheathing a small amount. Purchase some terminal screws from your local home store. Remove the old screws and replace them with the new ones. Do not tighten them all the way. Wrap the stripped ends of the wires around the screws. Plug in the opener and test it when you are done.
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