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Garage door and direct sunlight

Posted: 21 Apr 2010 3:21 PM By: overalls Replies: 18

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  • Garage door and direct sunlight

    I've recently been having issues with my garage door in the morning - it won't close when any amount of sunlight is in the sensor's path.  Does anyone else have this problem??  I literally have to get out of my car with a huge piece of cardboard trying to block the sun each morning so I can drive to work!!!  Do I have a faulty garage door (It's only a year old)?

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  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    So the sun's rays are coming though the window and directly hitting one of the safety sensors mounted near the bottom of the garage door's track?

    If that's the case, do you have blinds or cheap curtains on your garage window(s)? It might not only solve this problem, they would also be good in terms of security.

    Another cheaper option would be to go to a hobby shop and get some very thin styrene plastic (it's white, and comes in sheets that are roughly 4 by 8 inches... if memory serves me, the brand is Evergreen Scale Models... or Plastruct is another brand). Anyway, get some of that plastic and fashion a small shade that could be mounted to the top of the sensor housing. It might only take an inch or two of material sticking beyond the sensor's body to block enough of the light. (Assuming the sensor housing is plastic, you can attach the styrene with CA / superglue.) I'd start with the blinds, though. Or start with an index card and have a friend hold it near the sensor as you push the garage door opener's button.

    If you have blinds and it's ambient light and not direct sunlight, I'd check the manufacturer's website. (Might be a good idea to check that anyway, just to see if they offer any advice up front.)

    Good luck!

    Erik

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    Erik Bergstrom
    Community Manager
    FamilyHandyman.com
    www.Facebook.com/TheFamilyHandyman

  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    Another solution you can try, if you're comfortable in so doing is swapping the sensors with each other.  I believe one side is a transmitter, and one side is a receiver. 

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  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    Yes, others have this problem too; which means that I have heard of it but never seen it personally.

    I have seen three typical solutions:

     

    1. Fashion a shade as already mentioned. Some have used solutions as simple as toilette paper rolls or small cans.
    2. Move the sensor further back into the corners so that they receive less light.
    3. Replace the sensor / light pair.
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  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    Thank you all for the info and suggestions.  Erik B - light is coming directly into garage, not through a window unfortunately.  I will try the tp roll suggestion first and if that works, I'll come up with something more attractive.

     

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  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    @ Overalls.... so what solution worked for you? Did you swap out the sensors and/or fabricate an extended visor to shield the sunlight from blocking the beam?

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  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    I had the same issue with my garage door sensors.  If the sun was bright enough in the evening the door would not close.  This was very frustrating for a couple weeks until I figured out if I held the remote's button to close the door rather than press and release, the door would close.

    I don't know if your opener is similar to mine but you might want to try that if you haven't already.

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  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    Try and move the sensors back away from the door track and away from the door opening. They don't have to be on the door track in order for them to work.

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  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    We have that problem in the spring and in the fall.  We just wait a few minutes for the sun to move.

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  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    Try styrene from http://www.iplasticsupply.com/materials/high-impact-styrene-his-sheet. Works great form my train backgrounds it should work for your project. They have black and white in all different sizes.

     

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  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    Same thing is happening to me with the time change.  When I go to leave in the morning a sunbeam comes in through the open garage door and must face out one of the sensors.  Ideas on how to block this?  Has become very frustrating.  I end up manually shutting the door, locking with a bungee and jumping the fence in my heals.  My husband leaves about 30 minutes earlier and no problem. 

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  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    Had the identical problem, had the repair guy over & he switched the sides for the receiver & sender units.  Worked OK for a week, then we too had the time change, & the problem returned.  I came to this forum & read the advice & ideas.  Decided that the problem was light reflecting off my concrete driveway when the sun is in a certain position (garage door faces west-southwest, concrete drive slopes down from the door to the curb, happens year-round, but mostly in summer & hardly ever when it's overcast).

    So, I made a couple of shades for the sender/receiver units (which are approximately 3" long by 2" high by 1" thick. Using some lightweight leftover aluminum flashing,I cut two 10" x 8" pieces, and then inside-folded them into an "almost-box", by bending each 10" edge in by two 1"-90 degree folds. The resulting shape is a lightweight "C" beam 10" long, one side is 4" , the top and bottom are 1" and the open side is partially screened by a top and bottom fold of 1" each. 

     This shape is then shaded a light absorbing color:Black spray paint would work, but I used some black duct tape (also known as "gaffers' tape") to coat the insides of the shades.

    Finally, I cut a flange in the shade to fit the screws on the mounting bracket, and mounted the shades using this flange.  The system works by securing the direct pathway between the sending/receiving units from ambient reflected light. 

    Total cost of this shade system was about 45 minutes' effort, since I had the leftover aluminum and duct tape on hand. I suppose a person could use a pair of scissors and an empty pop can to do the same thing.

     I note there's a commercial unit available online that does essentially the same thing.  Search using "sunlight in garage door sensor". 

    Best wishes, JR Sloan, Spokane WA

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  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    Tunnel of some sort, several inches long, over the sensor would serve to keep the sun off the sensor or have to shield the sensor just enough to put a shadow over it (and not let the sun hit it directly). I would think a small piece of cardboard taped to the side or top (or both) of the sensor that is getting hit with the sun should do it.

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  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    I just had my garage door installer here because of the same problem. He suggested that the "sending" and "receiving" sensors may be the problem and that he would reverse them. He wanted to charge me but I said that if this was the problem, the sensors were installed incorrectly so that the sun would fall on the wrong sensor and break the beam every time the door tried to go down. I did not have to pay and now am waiting for a sunny day to see if the problem continues. If it does, I know he cannot legally do it, but I am going to move the sensors.

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  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    I got the installer to come out and swap the sensors. Do you think this will work? I need a sunny day to tell if it will work or not or if that was the problem. Right now it is dark and has been raining for days (am building an ark) No, it isn't coming through a window it is when I back out or am ready to re-enter the garage and I open the door and the sun has just come around and is shining on the sensor. As the door comes back down it breaks the sunbeam which affects the sensor and the door keeps bouncing back up.

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  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    You must contact any electrician or maintenance person for your sensor. This can only solve your problem.

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  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    I would also suggest the same – ensure that you block the sun’s rays that would get in direct contact with the safety sensors of your garage door. You either have a screen or some hanging ornament that will block the sun’s rays. However, you also need to think of safety of this hanging ornament – make sure that it does not pose any threat to your car or someone passing by. My brother-in-law had the same problem, because the window screen of one section of the garage was letting the rays of the sun in. What he did was to place some panel or shade to soften the rays and it worked.

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    Christopher - http://www.stoett.com

  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    If the garage door worked for awhile and then doesn't I'd check that the sensors are aligned to point to each other.

    Mine was bumped out of alignment and would close in the evening but not during direct sunlight.

    I noticed the one sensor was somewhat not aligned.  I loosened the fitting ' realigned it and it now works fine.

    I think I bumped it with my garbage can.  Hope this helps.

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  • Re: Garage door and direct sunlight

    Sparky185:

    Another solution you can try, if you're comfortable in so doing is swapping the sensors with each other.  I believe one side is a transmitter, and one side is a receiver. 

    We had a same problem and this helped!

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