Sun in your “Eyes”. Garage door sensors.

By
Home Inspector with NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Sun in your “Eyes”. Garage door sensors.

East Wenatchee Home Inspections







Garage door photo eyes or sensors (Safe-T-Beam) are an important safety device and they need to work properly. The requirement for these safety devices was to reduce the number of deaths to children who become entrapped under garage doors with automatic openers. So in 1993 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) required that all garage doors to be equipped with an external entrapment protection device. These devices are typically an "electric eye/photo eye" which sees an object obstructing the door without actual contact with the object but it could be a door edge sensor.



Door edge sensor



So now you have this “Photo Eye”  and then something goes wrong and the door will not go down. These safety reversing sensors (photo eyes) must be properly aligned and connected before the garage door opener will move in the down direction.  Typically issues with the safety sensor is either poor alignment or wiring issues such as a poor connection, incorrectly connected wires, or a short in the wire such as from a staple.




On several home inspections I have found photo eyes in some strange places.

 

 

No issues here...right?



But what if those other condition are not the problem?  There could be another culprit in the mist… “The Sun”. Direct sunlight creates interference with the sensors and may keep them from working properly. The “Receiving Sensor” should mounted on the side of the garage door opening that receives the least amount of direct sunlight.








Here was one way a homeowner dealt with issues with the sun, he moved the sensor on the rail to the end of the track. Yeah that won’t meet the requirements.

 




So if the problem seems to occur only during the daytime, check to make sure the receiving eye is not in direct sunlight.  If this is the case, remount or adjust sensor back toward the side of the garage to see if that will correct the issue.





From Genie-

 

Direct sunlight creates interference with Safe-T-Beam.

Receiver (Green LED). STB modules can be positioned further away from the door opening if necessary to avoid sunlight but no further to the wall to maintain alignment with the Transmitter (Red LED) module.

 

Sunshield from Liftmaster

 

If you are still having problems you may look to buy or create a sunshield. Some of the manufacturers actually have them for their devices. You can easily create own with some common household items.

 

Here is a link to create your own sunshield.

http://www.wikihow.com/Shut-a-Garage-Door-when-the-Sun-Is-Shining-on-the-Electronic-Eyes



So if you find the sensor light is being blinded by the light a few corrective measures should correct this condition. Never remove these devices from the the area where they should be installed.



“The learning and knowledge that we have, is, at the most,

but little compared with that of which we are ignorant.”

Plato

 

 

 

 




NCW Home Inspections, LLC  is a Licensed Washington State Home Inspection service located in Wenatchee Washington serving Chelan County, Douglas County, Kittitas County, Okanogan County and Grant County Washington and the cities of Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Cashmere, Oroville, Cle Elum, East Wenatchee, Quincy and many more…  

 

Your Wenatchee and Chelan Professional Real Estate, Home and Structural Pest Inspection Service

 

Instructor- Fundamentals of Home Inspection-  Bellingham Technical College



www.ncwhomeinspections.com                                                   509-670-9572



You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on my website Blog.





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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. John DL Arendsen 11/20/2016 03:20 AM
Topic:
Home Buying
Location:
Washington
Groups:
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Puget Sound - WA Real Estate
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Tags:
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safetbeam
garage door photo eye

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Rainmaker
581,750
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

I have seen this quite a few times. Most are corrected with a simple sun "hood" to protect the sensor from the suns rays.

Oct 21, 2015 02:19 AM #1
Rainmaker
1,864,688
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I have to admit, I've never seen a sensor on the end of the track!

And I have never heard of a child being killed by a garage door.

Oct 21, 2015 08:22 PM #2
Rainmaker
499,719
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Fred, The "Eye" up on the rail the owner was having issues with the sun. A hood hwould of been much easier ;)

Jay Markanich Yeah I have seen them in some funny places.

As for a child death. There was a case just a couple of years ago.

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Small-Girl-Dies-in-Garage-Door-Accident-in-Charles-County-201698951.html

Oct 22, 2015 12:35 AM #3
Rainmaker
2,295,489
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

I have not seen any sensor at the end of the tracks, but I suppose they want to be over cautious..

Oct 22, 2015 02:46 AM #4
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Donald, who knew? You always bring to "light" issues that none of us ever know or figure out! And your posts are so comprehensive.

I've been guilty of knocking my low sensor out of whack while taking the garbage out. I did figure out what I did all by myself, tho! 

My only issue with it now is when the cat sneaks into the garage as I'm closing the door and it trips the sensor, making the overhead lights flash. PROBLEM! 

Oct 22, 2015 06:28 AM #5
Rainmaker
1,864,688
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

That door had all the sensors.  Very unfortunate.  Now I have heard of one.

 

Oct 22, 2015 08:43 AM #6
Rainmaker
499,719
Donald Hester
NCW Home Inspections, LLC - Wenatchee, WA
NCW Home Inspections, LLC

Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Realtor (503)755-2905 Thank you. In the case of the senor it is nice the cat is not a flat car :)

 

Jay, So true.

Oct 24, 2015 10:15 AM #7
Ambassador
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John DL Arendsen
CREST BACKYARD HOMES, ON THE LEVEL GENERAL & FACTORY BUILT HOME CONTRACTOR, TAG REAL ESTATE SALES & INVESTMENTS - Leucadia, CA
Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & Contractor

Boy I love your thoroughness Donald Hester Another very deserving reblog.

Nov 20, 2016 03:04 AM #8
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Rainmaker
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Donald Hester

NCW Home Inspections, LLC
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