Garage door opener opens automatically

jjgarden_z5aNovember 22, 2006

I have an old garage door opener. The one requires changing jumper on the remote and the opener to change the frequency. So, the opener does not have any optic eyes.

In the past year, sometimes it reopens 10 mins or few hours after being closed. I was shocked sometimes when I get home from work and realized the garage door was wide opened. I moved to this house for 5 years and I didn't make any changes to the opener recently. I don't think it was from a thief or neighbors' similar opener. Is that an easy way to diagnose the problem? I am not that handy but I may try.

Thanks in advance.


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try changing the code.

another thing to check is it may be the wall button's wires are bad and intermittently shorting.

it is hard to find any problem when it only happens occasionally.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 1:32PM
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You have a very old outdated opener. It would be best if you just replaced it with a new state of the art opener.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 2:11PM
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Thanks for your replies. I may try to change the code but I have never done that and check the button's wires. Since I will be selling the house soon, I don't want to change the opener.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 3:17PM
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Be aware that code in many places requires an updated opener with the electric eyes and reversing mechanisms and all.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 4:32PM
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JJ Garden

If this is a Stanley machine, your problem is normal and it's a relativly simple fix. Is it a Stanley?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2006 at 7:57PM
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I finally got a chance to check the opener. It is from Stanley. Could you please tell me how to fix it? Greatly appreciated


    Bookmark   November 23, 2006 at 4:51PM
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The normal symptom is.... you shut the door, and for no reason at all, the door opens by itself and the light bulbs on the motor unit are flashing, or if they're burned out, you can hear the selonoid klicking.
This is caused by a loose part on the logic board, and when the wind rattles the door, the vibration is transferred up to the motor unit, the motor starts to move, the safety reverse kicks in and up goes the door.

Push the button on the wall and move the door to the half way open position, and stop it there. UNPLUG the opener from the house electricity. Loosen the 4 screws that hold the cover in place, and lower the cover straight down.
Set up your step ladder so that your looking straight at the logic board.
There is a slot in the board about 3 inches high and a quarter of an inch wide. Two white fingers move up and down in that slot. Both of these press against a 3 tong metal strip. That's what your problem is, that 3 prong metal strip is secured to the logic board by 3 little solder joints on the back side, and the solder has broken loose. Grab the prongs with your two fingers and gently wiggle them up and down. You can see the base of it move. It's not supposed to move.
Remove the 4 small phillips screws, pull the logic board towards you and unplug the white plastic wire plug on the top right. Now you can take the board down to your workshop and re-solder the 3 joints. Make sure you don't leave any flux on the board.
Re-install the white plastic wire plug on the board and press the board back into place, securing the 4 screws.

Plug the unit back into power, wait a few seconds for it to do it's self diagnostic thing, then push the button and close the door. Because you may have soldered the fingers on a slightly different angle than what it was set up for, you may have to re-adjust the limit switches.

Pull the two plastic plugs out of the bottom of the cover, secure the cover into place, re-install the two plastic plugs (black closest to the door) and your done.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2006 at 8:26PM
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Thanks GDS for the details. However, there is some difference to the symptom. The light bulbs did not flash when the door opens at no reason. I am sure the light bulbs are working fine.

I will try to open the box to check as your described.

Thanks again.


    Bookmark   November 23, 2006 at 9:16PM
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A number of years ago I had the same problem. Turnes out the neighbor had a new driveway poured and the cement trucks shortwave? radio was on the same freguency as our opener. Never had a problem again after that.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 12:15AM
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It could also be an adjustment thing, if the overlimit sensor thingys are out of adjustment, a very small movement, like the wind, might be enough to make the door think it's hit an object, and reverse (open)

Or it could be sunspot radiation, if it's an old opener.

I guess the alternative is, you could lock the thing - if there's a provision with buttons to do it, then it can't be opened with the remote til it's "unlocked" (don't confuse this with using a physical lock on the door, you'll burn the opener out)

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 6:34PM
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Well, the problem happens quite sporadically over the last few months. Therefore, there must be something in the opener that is going weird.

pjb999, could you please explain more on the remote lock? Is it something add-on to my existing opener or the power switch to the opener? I was thinking to buy one of those remote light switch that you can use to turn on the lights in the house while driving to the drive-way and convert it to turn on the switch to the GDO instead.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 9:32AM
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In my experience most of the time its the bell button, buy a now one for 2 bucks at the local hardware store. Also I have found that the button on the remote control is so worn if you put it down face up the door will open. You can buy after market remotes at HD.....As far as local opener codes the home inspectors only checks the reversing sensor, if it reverses easily your covered.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2006 at 2:56PM
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Fast forward to July 2008.

I have a Stanley garage door opener approx 23 yrs old. It opens spontaneously, usually between 3am and 5am. The security light flashes. I can't associate the opening with any kind of weather event or human/animal intervention. I will look at the circuit board as suggested and re-post when/if I discover anything. As to a cause, I have been leaning to spurious radio transmission (RF) of some sort - perhaps a CB, ham, or taxicab radio. A nearby neighbor is a taxi driver.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 4:44PM
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If the opener is 23 yrs old. it is time for an upgrade to a new opener with the rolling code transmitters and the optical sensors that reverse the door. that will solve your problem of the door opening. then you have peace of mind when you leave home you know the door isn't going to open by itself

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 6:45PM
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The solution posted by GDS above was right on.

When you come home and find your door open and you know it was closed before you left earlier, then depending on whether the light (clicker) is flashing or not, you have a good idea where to start looking for a solution.

No clicking means that the door was ordered to open while you were away either by a stray radio signal with concidental code, a faulty manual push-button switch wired directly to the opener, or stray electro-static/magnetic interference causing an overly sensitive circuit board to behave eratically.

A clicking light means that the motor came on by itself without any 'real' external command and attempted to push the closed door even harder against the garage floor and this triggered the overload protection which caused the door to open and the warning light to flash.

GDS explains perfectly why the motor would spontaneously come on by itself without any remote command. The reason as reported above is that there is a double-throw,single-pole metal leaf switch (3 thin metal strips riveted together) which gets activated only when the door moves to its fully open or fully closed position. One switch, two roles to play, thanks to two plastic wands that move up and down with the motor to trigger a stop at either the upper or lower pre-programmed positions.

This leaf switch is soldered to the circuit board by 3 joints, and over 16 years in my case, the constant pressure on this leaf switch (several inch-ounces of torque) can cause the solder joints to crack. And so they did in my case, as you need a magnifying glass to see these hairline cracks, but they were apparent to me, having worked in electronics for over 40 years.

When wind vibrates the garage door, the vibrations feed back into the circuit board and the bad solder joint(s) temporarily opens the circuit which makes the motor think that it still needs to continue closing the door. Since the door can't be physically moved any more in the down direction, the safety micro-switch gets triggered by the overloaded motor and the door gets re-opened.

To repair the bad solder joint(s), you need a 50 watt electronic technician's pencil shaped soldering iron and some thin solder that is designed for electronic work and not for copper plumbing.

Overheating the solder tabs on the board will cause delamination. Better to let an expert do the work. Cheaper than replacing the whole board and in my case, I only needed an hour to solve this problem, which would have been impossible without this thread.

Thanks GDS. All problems in life should have a posted solution like this one.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 12:06PM
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Wow, that post was from three years ago and I didn't think anybody took advantage of it.
It's nice to know that your efforts have been appreciated.
Thank you.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 10:38AM
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gds I have been searching for the answer to my GDO problem for a couple of hours and can't believe I found it just as I was giving up for the night! I can solder to mil spec MOTU stds so not a problem for me! Thanks os much for leaving this post up whomever is in charge of it and mostly to gds for supplying it!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 2:24AM
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I've got the same issue, and I work in electronics too. I'll be fixing it tonight...

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 5:18PM
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If you have an older fixed code unit at least look into upgrading to a rolling code system.

You can replace the remotes and hook up a rolling code to just about any existing system.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2011 at 10:07AM
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Mine was mostly opening by itself, but Monday when I was taking out the trash it closed by itself leaving me outside. Could this still be from the loose board? Sometimes its only half open when I come home. Any suggestions?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 12:47PM
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Hi! My solution has been to plug the garage door opener in to a remote switch like you have for Christmas lights. I turn the power to the garaged door opener off when I leave and turn it back on when I return home, then use the garage door opener. I also use the remote to turn off the power to the opener before I go to bed at night. I had hoped that turning the power off to the opener would reset the cycle but it didn't. My unit is less than 5 years old and was professionally installed.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 12:18AM
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GDS was right on. The 3 little solder joints on the back side had broken loose. I resoldered them and fixed the garage opener that had been opening without notice. Your instructions were very precise and clear to follow. THANKS for your help. bill

    Bookmark   December 23, 2011 at 7:34AM
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