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View Full Version : OT: Garage Door Opener - Real Circuit Modification to Disable when Door Is Locked



Paul Alciatore
01-20-2013, 03:59 PM
Well, my garage is my shop so it is sort of related.

I seem to be having a problem with my garage door openers. They are Sears, 1/2 HP and at least 20 years old. Recently I started to have a problem with random(?) attempts to open while the doors are locked. This happens at random times at least several times a week. I find the door raised about 1" where the door locks stop them. The opener stops when the door can not go any further, but this is slowly tearing my older, wooden doors apart: I have already had to repair one of them.

I have changed the codes, but it still keeps happening. I have two doors and it happens on both of them, but is more frequent on the "first" door (the big button on the remote). This is an older system so it does not have any "learned" codes, just the DIP switches which are manually set.

I fear that someone has some kind of scanner and is driving by looking for doors that are opened by it. There are only 6561 possible combinations (8 three position switches / 3^8 = 6561) so a scanner would not take too long to run through all of them.

Anyway, I want to add a control switch that disables the opener. It would be tripped by the bolts that lock the door to the track. I could just turn the power off to the opener, but I would like to do this at a low Voltage point in the circuit so I do not have to run 115 Volt wiring. An ongoing internet search has not yet turned up any schematics for these openers.

Has anybody done anything like this or does anybody know where I can get an actual circuit diagram for these older openers? The circuit diagram would probably have to include a schematic of the control board.

Rosco-P
01-20-2013, 04:14 PM
Normally closed Microswich contact, opened by the action of "throwing the lock bolt", deactivates low voltage coil on contactor, contactor opens, cuts 110VAC power to the door opener.

wierdscience
01-20-2013, 04:36 PM
The last one of those I fooled with had no low voltage exactly.Everything was 110vac except for a small corner of the board which contained the receiver and a small power supply most likely 24vdc.
I opted to use a low voltage coil relay to cut the 110vac main as the board was epoxy encapsulated.

You could if you wanted to replace that antique transmitter with a home brew Blue tooth based one-

http://www.instructables.com/id/Bluetooth-Garage-Door-Opener-Car-Starter/

Black_Moons
01-20-2013, 04:36 PM
Normally closed Microswich contact, opened by the action of "throwing the lock bolt", deactivates low voltage coil on contactor, contactor opens, cuts 110VAC power to the door opener.

Yep, Exactly how I would do it. Except I would use a normaly open microswitch, So that should the LV fail or the switch fail, the door stays locked. (Since you nodoubt have other key'ed doors to get in, Fail locked seems better then fail open)

Funny thing, I had a dream just last night that someone had torn my garage door down -_-

projectnut
01-20-2013, 04:41 PM
We have similar age door openers, but never had a problem with someone trying to open them. However when the light circuit on one failed (light wouldn't come on when the door was opened or closed) I went online with the model number to see if I could find parts. To get the light to work I had to replace the circuit board. The replacement circuit boards are rolling code. For about $40.00 I was able to replace the board and have the peace of mind that it couldn't be easily opened.

The outlets that operate the door openers are on a dedicated circuit that's switch controled from inside the house. When we leave town for extended periods (more than a day) we just disable the door openers by shutting off the switch.

Toolguy
01-20-2013, 04:47 PM
Sometimes on the older door openers planes flying over can activate them when they call the control tower or talk to another plane.

Uncle O
01-20-2013, 06:17 PM
I had the same issue with my very old sears opener. It would open at random times, middle of the night, day, while I was in it or out in the yard.
Not being the handy type with electronics, I opted to just replace the system.

Jaakko Fagerlund
01-20-2013, 06:24 PM
Could be some interference (walkie talkies, radios, EDM in the neighbour) that operates it randomly OR there could be something funky with the controls wiring or contacts. My money is on the first one.

Probably best to renew the controls or probably more easier to update the whole system.

rock_breaker
01-20-2013, 06:27 PM
Sometimes on the older door openers planes flying over can activate them when they call the control tower or talk to another plane.

A long time ago my uncle and I were working on car wheel bearings on our driveway. We noticed the neighbors garage door opening and closing. Every time the door would move we would look due to the noise, ultimately the lady of the house came to the end of her driveway and asked us why we were messing with her garage door. We told her that we were just on-lookers and suggested she call the local radio station as they were probably the most knowlegable in the area. As it turns out a neighbors boy had received walkie talkie radios for his birthday-- same frequency as the garage door.

The station manager suggested shortening the antenae which worked. It also stopped the lady from opening the door a block away and making a 25 mph turn into her driveway.

Have a good day

Ray

mayfieldtm
01-20-2013, 06:32 PM
You could if you wanted to replace that antique transmitter with a home brew Blue tooth based one-


I did something similar once. I liked to activate my door from a couple of blocks away so that it would be open when I pulled into the driveway.
I used the "X-Bee" type transceivers. That is if your into building some electronics. (sparkfun.com)
An I.R. setup (TV Remote Control) might work also.
Look to hire a Pimple faced teenager in your neighborhood. They could probably build something for you while standing on their head.

I used to open (and close) garage doors all the time, whenever I would key a commercial mobile 2-way radio. My boss never cared to have it repaired or looked at. The garage door units probably don't have much selectivity or shielding and can be easily swamped.

Tom M.

alchymist
01-20-2013, 07:06 PM
Does your door have sensors on the bottom? If so, does the door not operate when the wire is disconnected? These are low voltage circuits and a simple toggle switch could be used to disable it.

Bob Fisher
01-20-2013, 07:14 PM
Get a remote switch, like the ones used on dust collectors and such. I even have one for my Christmas tree. Plug it in, done! Bob.

darryl
01-20-2013, 07:34 PM
I ended up wiring the ac side of mine to a wall switch. It was not intuitive to figure out the spot in the circuit where a low voltage could be interrupted to disable operation. I think on some it would be fairly easy to determine this, but without at least a picture of the innards it wouldn't be possible to find this low voltage point, if it does exist.

Paul Alciatore
01-21-2013, 12:57 AM
I'm glad to hear I am not the only one who has seen this. This is a really old one and it does not have the sensors on the bottom of the door, just detects slow down before completely closed and reverses on that.

There are two extra, unused terminals next to those for the buttons. I have no idea what they are for. Perhaps they do nothing.

I know I can put a relay/contactor in the AC supply. That is my back-up plan, but I was hoping not to have to as it would consume power all the time. Perhaps I can work around that and only have it activated when the door is unlocked. I am not worried about getting in if it fails as we usually enter by the front door and I have two other doors.

I also sent a message to Sears service asking the same question and am awaiting their reply.

danlb
01-21-2013, 03:34 AM
Mine is a 30 year old Sears 1/2 HP. It has a "vacation" setting on the hardwired switch. When in vacation mode the door will not open.

The switch has 5 wires that go to numbered terminals. It seems this can be leveraged to shut off the receiver when a microswitch is actuated by the bolt.


Dan

dp
01-21-2013, 04:12 AM
I would bet they are not random events but attempts by drive by thieves to gain entrance, or less alarming, a neighbor with a similar opener with the same code as yours. Realize I know nothing about your particular opener, so that is speculation, however it is a repeating problem here. My solution was to put a wireless power switch on the outlet the opener plugs into and when I leave the garage I turn off the opener with that switch. The power switches can be enabled from a vehicle though my doors have not had a car pass under them in 20 years :). This is not a helpful solution of you have external keypads, of course, and that isn't a problem I have.

I did this after coming home from vacation and finding one of the doors open. Not going to happen again.

Arcane
01-21-2013, 11:10 AM
Years ago a couple of times I found my garage open and since the opener had a short antennae on it I figured snipping it off close to the unit would make it much less sensitive. It did and I had to be right up close to the door (it wouldn't open from the street for me) before the signal strength was strong enough to trigger the opener and I never had any more issues with it opening on it's own. Later on I rewired it to a switch so I could shut the power off to it "just in case".

Jon Heron
01-21-2013, 11:37 AM
FWIW, I had the same thing happening to me a couple years back, I live out in the country and thought it improbable that someone was trying to crack my code.... Turns out the spare remote in the kitchen junk drawer had something sitting on one of the buttons, just enough weight that it would randomly actuate it. I figured it out one day when my wife opened the drawer and the door opened. :rolleyes:
Cheers,
Jon

Paul Alciatore
01-21-2013, 12:20 PM
A good arguement for removing batteries when storing things.

I have checked all known remotes. But thanks for the suggestion.




FWIW, I had the same thing happening to me a couple years back, I live out in the country and thought it improbable that someone was trying to crack my code.... Turns out the spare remote in the kitchen junk drawer had something sitting on one of the buttons, just enough weight that it would randomly actuate it. I figured it out one day when my wife opened the drawer and the door opened. :rolleyes:
Cheers,
Jon

Black_Moons
01-21-2013, 01:20 PM
Years ago a couple of times I found my garage open and since the opener had a short antennae on it I figured snipping it off close to the unit would make it much less sensitive. It did and I had to be right up close to the door (it wouldn't open from the street for me) before the signal strength was strong enough to trigger the opener and I never had any more issues with it opening on it's own. Later on I rewired it to a switch so I could shut the power off to it "just in case".

While this sounds like a good idea, realise that drive by crooks will likey be using a much higher power transmitter and may still be able to trigger your door from the road.

michigan doug
01-21-2013, 05:57 PM
Even if you manage some sort of workaround, I wouldn't invest too much time or effort into something that old. New ones aren't that expensive.

You could do an experiment to see if your transmitters are spontaneously emitting the "open" signal. Take the batteries out of all the transmitters except when you open/close the door. That at least tells you if it's your transmitters causing the problem or something else.

doug

Bob Fisher
01-21-2013, 06:25 PM
Sommer, a German manufacturer, has a really nice unit. Quiet, and decelerates at the end of travel.I still think a remote power switch is the easiest solution. No power, no opening. Bob.

outlawspeeder
01-21-2013, 11:38 PM
Well we are on the subject; the bad guys usually don’t use a code to open the door. Here is what happens.
One guy walks up and tries to open the door, if the handle is not lock he’s in. The next step is to push in the top of the door. He then starts to fish with a coat hanger for the code with the handle hanging down. That right the emergency release. Normally this is in the center of a two door and with the door closed, it is about 16 inches from the top of the door. After he hooks the handle, he gives it a pull, the door opens. The bad guy jumps in, closes the door, and starts to shop inside your house. He’ll move everything he wants into the garage. When ready he calls his buddy with the truck. He’ll back in, the bad guy will open the door with the same handle, throw it all in the back close the door and drive away.

The no cost fix cut the handle off.
I post this hoping no one here uses this information the wrong way.


As far as the problem with your door being an inch open. Check clean the limit switches for being bad???? just saying?

Paul Alciatore
01-22-2013, 02:26 PM
Well, everything I am doing to set up my garage/shop is "not that expensive". But overall, it is. Unlike the US government, I can not just spend the money and not worry about where it comes from. IT ALL COMES FROM ME! I really will need completely new doors at some point and I did spend a few minutes carefully evaluating the situation and decided to go with the present doors for a bit longer. I did repair the one door that showed signs of damage and I am remounting the glass windows as they were in danger of falling out. I plan to add some insulation to them and a coat of paint on the inside. The outside has already been recently repainted.

I am experimenting with the remotes. Currently only one is set to the current code and it is very much under control.



Even if you manage some sort of workaround, I wouldn't invest too much time or effort into something that old. New ones aren't that expensive.

You could do an experiment to see if your transmitters are spontaneously emitting the "open" signal. Take the batteries out of all the transmitters except when you open/close the door. That at least tells you if it's your transmitters causing the problem or something else.

doug

Paul Alciatore
01-22-2013, 02:44 PM
First, my handle is always locked except when we are going to open the door. So the door is mechanically locked down. Even if the emergency release is activated, it will not open.

No one is coming up to the door. On at least one occasion, it started to open while I was in the garage. No one and no vehicle was in sight. If it is crooks, they are driving by and continuing on their way. I suspect they would return in 5-10 minutes to see if the door is open. It would be a lot safer for them that way.

Any coat hanger used to "fish" the door open would have to be bent to go up, then over, then down, then hooked to operate the handle. I have opened some locked doors, but would not even contemplate doing it this way for a single second.

Next, he will not get inside the house this way. The connecting door is a steel door with triple dead bolts and it opens in so the hinges are not accessible. My only worry is the tools in the garage.

Finally, as for the door being an inch open, this has NOTHING to do with the limit switches. I have had to replace the gears in both units recently and the limits are adjusted properly per the service procedure. It does fully close when operated normally. This "inch open" is when someone or something tries to open it WHILE I?T IS LOCKED. The locks only allow about one inch of upward movement and when it reaches that point, IT JUST STOPS THERE.

Cut WHAT handle off? The one that allows me to open the door from the inside? No thanks! The emergency cord handle? Also no thanks! You seem to be referring to a newer system, mine is at LEAST 20 years old! It has fewer of the modern features but it still works.




Well we are on the subject; the bad guys usually don’t use a code to open the door. Here is what happens.
One guy walks up and tries to open the door, if the handle is not lock he’s in. The next step is to push in the top of the door. He then starts to fish with a coat hanger for the code with the handle hanging down. That right the emergency release. Normally this is in the center of a two door and with the door closed, it is about 16 inches from the top of the door. After he hooks the handle, he gives it a pull, the door opens. The bad guy jumps in, closes the door, and starts to shop inside your house. He’ll move everything he wants into the garage. When ready he calls his buddy with the truck. He’ll back in, the bad guy will open the door with the same handle, throw it all in the back close the door and drive away.

The no cost fix cut the handle off.
I post this hoping no one here uses this information the wrong way.


As far as the problem with your door being an inch open. Check clean the limit switches for being bad???? just saying?

danlb
01-22-2013, 05:13 PM
What is your model number?

They come with a "vacation mode" that allows you to turn off the receiver when you are away. That is probably what the two unused terminals are for. If you wires those terminals to an appropriate switch it will disable the receiver when you throw the bolts.

After enabling a lot of javascripts, I found manuals and such at this site.
http://www.searspartsdirect.com/partsdirect/brands-products/Craftsman-Parts/Garage-door-opener-Parts

You need the installation instructions for the hardwired controller. Mine has 5 wires. It might be the "deluxe model" .

I can try to determine if those extra terminals are NC or NO if mine's the same model as yours. I suspect it's NO since you have no wires on yours.

Dan

outlawspeeder
01-22-2013, 05:16 PM
Forget anything I told you. Please continue with your closed mind to any input.

Thank You for reading.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMz1tXBVT1s