Garage Door Opener Remotes
Origin, workings, troubles and home
It's not a convenience if your garage door
opener remote doesn't work
Modern day garage door opener remotes
use radio frequencies of between 400 and 500 megahertz, and
utilize a rolling code technology. This means that the code is
changed after every use so that it cannot be recorded and used
again by an intruder to open the garage door.
This is an extremely useful security feature, especially
where the garage is attached to your home, and you're not in
the habit of always locking the door between the garage and
your house. Rolling codes became necessary when garage door
openers become popular, since it was soon obvious that fixed
frequency openers would not only open your garage door, but
also the neighbor's if operated set to the same frequency.
The more remote opening systems that came onto the market,
the more likely this was to happen, and also the easier it was
for intruders to gain access to your garage. Openers were then
developed whereby the owner could set their own code using dip
switches. This allowed 256 different codes, and made it less
likely that you would open your neighbor's garage door along
It did not resolve the security problem, but it wasn't
intended to either. It was still simple for potential intruders
to arm themselves with all 256 possible codes. The new system
is much more secure, with the codes changed at each use.
However, if your remote works using the dip switches, then it's
a good idea to change the setting every now and then so that at
least you are not using the same code all the time. Make sure
that the dip switches on the transmitter and receiver are in
the same positions.
If your opener fails to operate, you can check the remote by
trying the wall switch. If that works then your remote is
likely faulty. If the wall switch fails to open the door then
the problem lies elsewhere. If your remote is faulty, you
should first make sure that the dip switches are set correctly.
Obviously, the batteries would be the next thing to check - it
could be a simple matter of the battery having run low, and
either needs recharged or replaced. Also check the receiver
antenna. Is it in the right place, or has it been damaged in
If everything seems in order there is little that can be
done to repair a remote: you should purchase a new one, quoting
the serial number of the one you have when doing so to make
sure the settings are correct. If the new remote also fails to
work, then the receiver is likely at fault. Either replace the
receiver circuit board or install a generic receiver/remote
kit. This replaces your existing receiver by attaching the
generic wires to those of the wall switch, so that the opener
believes that the wall switch has been activated.
A security feature that you should have is a remote lock-out
system that disengages the receiver when you go on vacation so
that nobody can get access to your garage. A car left in the
driveway can easily be broken into and the remote stolen. Your
thief now has instant access to you garage, and possibly your
entire home. Be sure to use this feature when on vacation, or
remove the remote from the car. This lockout feature can also
be the cause of a remote failing to open the door, so think
about that when trouble shooting.
Most people consider the convenience of remote control to be
worth the risk involved, and the occasional failure -
especially on those rainy days.