When your 3-year-old rides her bike in and out of the garage, making turns and twists under the overhead door and cheering for her achievements, you cheer along but cannot keep your eyes on her at all times. But you are calm. You have the garage door opener eyes to do that for you. That’s the whole meaning of the opener eyes or photo eyes or safety sensors or photoelectric eyes. As you most likely guessed – or already know, what you get is safety. Protection. Peace of mind. One thing though – you need to make sure you get that.
A thing or two to know about the garage door opener eyes
The photo eyes are parts of the safety system of modern electric garage door openers. They work in conjunction with the reverse mechanism to ensure the higher possible protection.
Now, these photoelectric eyes resemble small boxes or old-style cameras, come in pairs, and are installed each on every side of the garage door. In fact, their position is more or less predefined. You don’t just place them anywhere, but specifically approx. 6 inches over the floor. There’s a reason for that.
You see, the photo eyes work with each other. When the overhead garage door is activated and so is the opener, one eye sends a beam to the other saying ‘watch out’. If the beam is broken/interrupted by the child on the bike, by the cat running, by the toy left under the door, by your foot in the door’s way, the photo eyes see it. The garage door stops and returns back up and so, accidents and property damage are both avoided. That’s the whole point of installing the photo eyes at such a low position, to see even the cat.
Why should you care about the photo eyes now?
Yes, residential garage doors run with openers that have the required safety features nowadays. And so, you are likely familiar with the photo eyes or how they work – most importantly, with their huge importance. Why should you bother reading about them? Because your garage door is too heavy not to care. Because the photo eyes are there to become your eyes when you pass through with the car or your children play in the garage, but problems happen too.
The whole intention is to make your safety the core of this content. To point out – once more, the huge significance of the safety sensors and give you a few tips on how to keep them in good shape at all times, so that you will continue to have peace of mind when you are in the garage.
What can go wrong with the opener photo eyes?
The safety sensors are attached on the two sides of the garage door and their wiring goes all the way around and connects with the opener unit up on the ceiling. It takes one disconnected wire to incapacitate the photo eyes. And that’s not all there is to it. Which are the most common problems with the safety sensors?
• The photo eyes get misaligned when their fasteners loosen up or they are pushed accidentally – mainly due to their low position.
• If there’s lots of sunshine and the sunrays fall exactly on the photo eyes, they might be fooled and stop the garage door movement.
• The lens of the photo eyes get dirty. That’s unavoidable. But dirt will most likely interrupt the beam.
• Wiring is not causing trouble only when it’s disconnected but also when it’s worn or connected in the wrong way.
On all such occasions, the photo eyes will either not work or will malfunction. Neither is good for your safety. To have the opener eyes continue to be your eyes and protectors, you need to check them often, clean them regularly, and make sure they are installed and serviced by a trained garage door repair technician.