garage door security


Garage Door Opener Remotes

Origin, workings, troubles and home security

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 with yours.

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 any way?

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.