Infrared Light & Your Garage Door Opener
A perfect example of great use of infrared light that not only makes life much more convenient but also a lot safer is the utilization of it in your garage door opener. Since the early ’90s, 1993 to be exact, safety sensors on garage door openers have been a mandatory regulation. Many don’t realize the actual weight of a garage door and the potential safety hazards the door can present should there be a malfunction. While some garage door openers are mechanical and use physical force to open and close the door, others are photoelectric and use infrared light to act as the physical force like that of mechanical doors, to maintain optimal opening and closing of your door. The photoelectric or automatic garage door openers are often the most used and come with a lifespan of between 10-15 years, depending on the number of open/close cycles and maintenance received.
How do automatic garage door openers use infrared light to operate?
Automatic garage door sensors work when electricity is transformed into infrared light and is moved between a sending and receiving unit. The sending unit is located on one side of the garage door about 4 inches above the floor and the infrared beams are sent across to the receiving unit located at the other side of the garage door. Once received by the receiving unit the door has the signal to open. However, if the sending or receiving unit is misaligned the sensors will notify the wall control that there is a problem. If a problem is detected the door will automatically reverse as to prevent serious injury should the door come crashing down?
What Causes Sensor Misalignment?
Most misalignment or sensor issues are caused by human error. If the sensors are hit in any way it can cause photocell system misalignment. Other causes of sensor or infrared beam misalignment include:
- Dirt- Should dirt be on either the sending or receiving sensor the infrared beam can be broken, which in turn affects the operating system
- Sunshine- Although rare sunlight can fool the mirror in the receiving sensor into reading that the infrared light beam has been broken
- Repeated Use- Repeated use of the garage door along with mountings that are not adequately secured can cause the sensors to vibrate out of alignment
The great thing about misaligned sensors is that they can be fixed with a few simple tools. Although infrared sensors might not seem to be too difficult to fix they are often a part of operating systems for heavy items that need to be handled with care to prevent injury. It is best to speak with a professional before attempting to fix the sensors in your garage door opening system yourself.
The infrared light technology in a garage door opening system has continued to revolutionize as more insight into this technology is developed. As we can see from self-driving vehicles, the future of infrared light just keeps getting better.