Garage door sensors have become a standard in today’s industry, yet you can still find doors that provide no protection at all. It is a matter of safety. Whether your kid or a pet decides to go in or out while you put the door down, these sensors will prevent harsh accidents from occurring. They represent more than just a safety feature – an actual necessity.
Garage doors are some of the largest moving objects around your house. For this reason, a set of sensors is more than just an add-on. They will prevent damage and can even save lives. However, just like anything else in life, sensors can malfunction at times. They stop working completely or they never trigger the stopping mechanism – even if something is in the way.
Other than that, faulty garage door sensors can also prevent the door from closing properly. There are times when they try to tell you that they have a problem – their lights tend to blink or go from green to red. But then, there are also situations when they may not show any signs, so you always have to pay attention.
Understanding how to bypass safety sensors on the door starts with learning how they actually work.
How garage door sensors work
Sensors are not new at all. Most garage doors have started getting sensors in the 1990s, yet there are still lots of manufacturers that fail to implement them. They represent a legal requirement in many countries out there. For example, the USA has updated the law in 1993, so all doors require sensors for safety.
When they face problems, sensors no longer function. The utility of your garage door is significantly reduced. Sure, you can still use it. You can still open or close it, but it may not close properly and it will not provide any protection at all. So, why does this issue occur and how can you overcome it to boost your door again?
The photo eye sensor is the most important element in a garage door sensor. There are such sensors on each side of the door. They release an infrared ray that goes from one sensor to another. This way, they can detect potential obstructions – things you may not see, a pet or even a child. What happens when the rays are interrupted?
Simple – the door no longer closes down. Some doors will stop by the obstructive object or close to it. Some other doors will start going back up.
Cleaning, fixing or replacing garage door sensors may take a while. A few spiderwebs and a bit of dust can be sorted out in no time. But if the problem is more comprehensive, you will need to repair or replace the sensors. Meanwhile, the door is partially functional, meaning you will have to open and close it manually.
You can switch the door to the automatic mode, but you can also disable the sensors. It sounds complicated, but it is not. Here is how to bypass safety sensors on your garage door.
How to bypass safety sensors on the garage door
First of all, make sure there is no power reaching the garage door sensors. They work with electricity, so you need to lose the power. Find the associated socket and unplug the sensors or turn it off. Failing to do so may result in an electric shock.
Find the garage door sensors on each side of the door and remove them. They are covered in plastic and usually come with LED lights. You might need a screwdriver if they are screwed in.
Once removed, the sensors will still be attached due to wires. Most of them come with a black wire and a white one, yet different brands may use different colors. Cut the wires around an inch or half an inch from the sensors.
Get the new sensors in by stripping the hanging wires of the casing. Once you reach the metallic parts, simply connect them based on their colors. Put the new sensors back in and you are ready to go.
Less technical solutions to bypass safety sensors on the garage door
The above mentioned solution is perfectly safe if you follow each step. It makes a great DIY project. However, there are less technical solutions as well.
To bypass safety sensors, you can also ruin their alignment. They work best when they are perfectly aligned. You can remove one of them and leave it hanging or just move it up or down. Losing the alignment will cause a malfunction.
It may also work walking above them. Normally, these sensors are a couple of inches above the ground. Step above them and you will be over the infrared ray.
You can go even further. Get some impervious material and throw it one of the sensors. When the lens is blocked, the infrared ray will no longer work. You might as well put some solid tape on top of them.
Last, but not least, you can rely on the emergency release cord. Most doors come with this feature. It is normally red and located close to the motor. Simply pull the cord and you will be able to open and close the door manually.
How to switch your garage door to the manual mode
Bypassing safety sensors on the garage door can also be done by switching your door to the manual mode.
Make sure your door is perfectly closed. Unless you have a jam, you should be able to get it closed. Having it relatively open can lead to accidents, as well as damage. If the door spring is damaged or stiff, you might end up with your door slamming down aggressively. If the door is stuck in the open position, get something heavy and sturdy under it to ensure it is safe.
Get a strut or a wooden prop running through the height of the opening. Get a few shelves and stick them under your door – anything to ensure it stays up. The object you choose must be solid and should be able to handle the weight of your garage door.
Find the manual release cord – close to the motor usually. Pull it slightly down to disconnect the trolley from the automatic system. This way, you will be able to handle the door manually. Once manual, get rid of the props or items you got under the door. You might need some help here. Someone has to hold the door up and someone else needs to remove those items.
When all done, simply leave the door down. Do it gently and make sure you are strong enough to handle it – garage doors can be quite heavy.
As a short final conclusion, bypassing safety sensors on a garage door is not impossible. There are lots of good options out there and most of them do not really require any help. There are, however, a few situations when you might need a friend or a neighbor to give you a hand.
It is important to know that garage doors can be dangerous and even deadly. If you are not sure about something in particular, just call a friend or a neighbor to give you a hand.