Garage door photo eye

The Whys and Hows of Photo Eyes

Why won’t my garage door close?” It might just be your photo eye!

One of the most frustrating issues you can experience with your garage door is a photo eye issue. You might be on your way to work or to take your kiddos to school or just trying to secure your home at the end of a long day and all of a sudden your garage door just won’t close! You’ve tried the remote and the door starts to go down and seems to decide part way.

“I have better things to do”

“Maybe it’s the batteries” you think to yourself, so you go to the wall button and try to close it primed like an olympic sprinter to bolt out the door as soon as it begins to close… No dice. The door begins to move giving you a false sense of success. Then the door opens back up and stands agape like it doesn’t understand what it is you want to happen. 

It can be tempting at this point to give your trusted garage door professional a call, who has time to deal with such a stupid issue! But wait! We of course are always happy to help but it is possible this is a very simple fix. One that just about anyone can perform. 

Step 1: Determine if your issue may be a photo eye issue.

Each photo eye has a light, the sending eye will always be lit up as long as it is receiving power. The receiving eye will only light up when it is receiving information from the sending eye. Note the receiving eye needs to get a constant signal from the sending eye. If the receiving eye is flashing this means it is getting an intermittent signal and needs adjustment. 

Do not pull the release cord!

If the spring is broken or there is a larger issue at hand this could lead to injury or damage to your door. If you suspect an issue with the springs or another mechanical part of the door please call a garage door professional! We want to make sure you and your family are safe!

Typically you can still close a door with a photo eye issue by holding down the wall station button. By applying constant pressure to the wall station button you can override the photo eye sensor and force the door to close safely. If you can close the door in this way it is certainly a photo eye issue.

Step 2: Adjusting your photo eye:

With the door open take note of the indicator lights and note whether one is blinking or off completely. Then take a look at the photo eye bracket. Some will have a screw on the back side allowing you to tighten or loosen the photo eye bracket. From there ensure that your two photo eyes are mounted at the same height and then determine if they are both pointed straight at each other. 

The nice thing about photo eyes compared to some of the other components of your garage door is that they can easily be adjusted by hand. Adjust the photo eyes by applying a small amount of force up or down or side to side depending on what will get it to line up in your case. 

Once you have made your adjustments take a step back and admire your handiwork. If things have gone to plan both eyes should be illuminated constantly. It is worth noting occasionally if the receiving eye is blinking very rapidly it can appear to be lit. Give it a close look just to be extra sure!

Step 3: Test your photo eye!

Hopefully with these steps your photo eye issue has been resolved. Give your remote and wall station a test run to make sure your garage door system is now working properly. If your remote and wall station work correctly: Congratulations! You’ve done it! Pat yourself on the back and make yourself a cool lemonade as a reward! 

If your door is still giving you grief give us a call! We can always take a look with you and see if there might be something more going on with your garage door or opener. Our 20 point inspection and lubrication is a great way to ensure your door is working properly! 


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