Your garage door opener is what controls the automated opening and closing of your garage door. Just like any other electronic component in your home, you may find yourself unable to use the opener to operate your garage door. This article discusses two problems you may encounter and what to do when that happens.
1. Opener smoking, humming or clicking
A smoking opener motor most often occurs when the starting capacitor blows. A capacitor is like a mini-battery that stores energy to start the opener motor when you operate your remote. Sometimes, there may be no smoke, but instead you hear clocking or humming in the motor, which means the capacitor has insufficient energy to get the motor started.
Capacitors fail because of age or if you try to run the opener too many times within a short period. The latter is more likely to cause failure if it's also hot outside. Residential openers have a set number of open-close cycles they should run within a certain time, and exceeding this could result in capacitor and eventual motor failure. Keep the garage door opener remote away from the reach of children, who are often likely to press the buttons continuously as part of a game.
To fix the problem, you can start by replacing the capacitor, which isn't expensive and can be done DIY if you're handy. Otherwise, call a certified professional. If replacement doesn't work, contact a professional to examine your circuit board, as it may need replacement. If the smoke or clicking/humming is accompanied by erratic flashing of the opener light, this is most likely a circuit board fault.
You may wonder whether the smoke could mean your opener is on fire. Most often, the smoke is about pressure and heat release from the blown capacitor. This smoke should go away within a few minutes. However, your opener can catch fire if you have debris or a bird's nest on the opener/cover. The debris can heat up from the incandescent bulb and ignite, causing fire, so be sure to keep your opener clean. You can replace your incandescent opener bulb with LED light bulbs which don't get hot when lit to reduce the fire hazard.
2. Opener beeping
Observe the timings between beeps. Regular beeps in intervals of 0.5-1 minute are most often caused by backup battery failure. The backup battery steps in to operate your opener in case of a blackout, and it should be replaced every 3 years depending on the manufacturer's instructions (find in your manual). It's important to have backup batteries, especially if you live in an area with inconsistent power supply.
Fortunately, you can easily replace the battery without professional help. Simply purchase a replacement according to your opener type and follow instructions for internal or external batteries. Check your manual to find out where your battery sits, or look online according to your opener type if your manual isn't accessible. This tutorial explains how to change a Chamberlain opener battery.
When plugging in the battery, be sure that the red wire is connected to the red terminal and the black wire to the black terminal. The battery should be changed when the opener is unplugged.