Have you been experiencing problems with your garage door opener? Sometimes
it works, sometimes it doesn’t? Or, do you sometimes feel like there’s
a phantom opening and closing your door at random; and you can’t
track the problem down? You might look to the type of lights you’re
using in and around your garage to find the culprit.
LED (light emitting diode) lights get their efficiency from something called
pulse width modulation (PWM), which turns the light off and on more than
15 times per second. The energy savings comes from the fact that the light
is actually on for only half the time. You might be wondering why you
don’t realize that the light is off part of the time. That’s
because of the phenomenon of persistence of vision. But long story short,
the heart of your garage door problem may lie in the control circuit that
provides the long life that LED lights are known for.
LED manufacturers work with governmental guidelines requiring control circuits
to operate on frequencies between 30 and 300 MHZ. Coincidentally, most
garage door opener remotes work with frequencies between 288 and 360 MHZ.
A large apartment building we work with began receiving frequent complaints
about open garage doors and non-working garage door openers this past
Christmas. We were able to track the problem down to a Christmas light
display that included a large numbers of LED lights. Every evening when
the Christmas lights were turned on, many garage door openers went haywire.
Similar frequency issues have been reported by homeowners who made the
switch form old school incandescent light bulbs to fluorescent lights
in their garage.
The Federal Communications Commission classifies products like
garage door openers, radio-controlled toy cars and similar low powered devices with limited
range as “license free spectrum or bands.” That means that
they are very loosely regulated and that may be where the problem lies.
When it comes to controlling the frequency emissions of these products,
manufacturers are on the honor system.
But sometimes, signal leakage outside of the range can happen even with
the best-designed products. That’s why gas stations ask that you
stay off your phone when fueling up (yes, even here in Oregon) and why
airlines have such strict policies about keeping cell phones and computers
turned off during take-off and landing.
So, what’s a home owner to do? The easiest and least expensive place
to start would be in trying a different brand of bulb. The less expensive
foreign-made bulbs tend to cause the most issues, so switching to a brand
name bulb could eliminate the problem. If that doesn’t solve your
garage door opener problems, you might have to change the type of lighting
and switch to a less efficient incandescent light setup.
A good garage door tune up can help determine the problems you face are
related to the door and opener system, or a problem with your lights interfering
with your opener signal. It will also keep your system in better operating
condition for a longer period of time. Call the
local garage door experts in Portland, Salem or Vancouver to schedule your tune up today!