Garage Door Repair – Electrical Problems
Disclaimer: Working with electricity can be dangerous. This is intended as an informal information resource only. If you are uncomfortable with working with electricity do not attempt these inspections and repairs. And always make sure that the garage door opener is unplugged before accessing it.
Another class of garage door repair issues is ones that are electrical in nature. These problems may or may not be harder to diagnose and fix than mechanical type problems. Often they can indeed be fixed by a homeowner. Being electrical in nature, all of these problems involve either the overhead garage door opener box or the parts that activate them – the wall mounted control box or the remote. Here are some electrical problems you might encounter:
Exposed Wires and Shorts
As with any electrical system, wires and other elements that have current going through them need to be insulated so that short circuits don’t occur. Short circuits are essentially events in which charge and current travel where they are not supposed to in an electrical system. This can happen when wire insulation becomes worn and cracks off, leaving wires exposed. If they touch another metal part, in this case some part in the garage door opener, a short can occur.
If your door is not opening properly there may be shorts in your garage door opener box. You can usually gain access to much of the interior of the box by taking off a few screws. If you suspect shorts may be occurring do this and look for any exposed copper wire. Make sure the box is unplugged from AC power when you do this. If you find exposed wires a little electrical tape over the exposed portion will prevent further contact and shorts. But you may want to permanently replace them as well, which can often be done easily enough by buying the proper gauge wire and disconnecting it.
Wires can also become worn or jostles to the point where they actually snap. Broken wires will most likely render you garage door system completely non functional. This is because the circuit is broken and no electricity can flow through it. Broken wires can be reconnected with wire crimpers, wire nuts, and electrical tape. This often will fix your problem in the short term, but again the better solution is to fully replace the wires or have a technician do this.
It should be noted that problems with wires and short circuits can also apply to wiring running from the wall mount control box to the door opener. So check the wires involved in this connection as well. Problems with the remote are usually harder to diagnose if they are not obvious things like dead batteries, so you may want to contact the dealer concerning more involved problems with the remote.
Motor Start Capacitor
If you smell a burning electrical smell, the problem is often with the motor start capacitor. This can cause the door not to work at all. A capacitor holds charge so that the electric motor in the door can commence. If there is a problem with it, it simply needs to be replaced. Inquire with you dealer as to whether the part can be purchased and how easy it is for a homeowner to replace. If you can buy it and it’s easy to install, do so.
Bad Circuit Board
The entire circuit board in a garage door opener can go bad as well. Sometimes an indicator of this problem may be that your garage door doesn’t open after a severe electrical storm. Circuit boards can get fried by electrical surges.
You most likely will not be able to fix this problem yourself unless you are particularly handy with electricity and electronics. If you suspect you have a bad circuit board your best bet is to call the dealer and ask them the best course of action.
The simple problem of an outlet that the garage door opener is plugged into to not having power will make your garage door nonfunctional as well. Simple as this is, don’t overlook it. Try out the outlet by plugging a light into it and see if has power. If not then you have your problem figured out right there.
As with mechanical problems, there is no literal reason why a repair professional needs to service electrical problems with your garage door system. A large amount of it can be done yourself as long as you are reasonably handy and comfortable with electricity.