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View Full Version : How can I REDUCE the range of a garage door opener?



winchman
03-04-2017, 10:25 AM
The new Chamberlain Whisper Drive opener I installed can be activated from over two hundred feet away despite the fact that it's installed in a metal building with no windows. I cannot see the door from my house, so I'm concerned the door might be opened inadvertently, and I'd have no way knowing without walking over there.

There are two antennas hanging down from the opener, one short and one long. I assume the short one is for the MyQ function, which I don't use because it's beyond the range of the wifi in our house.

I've tried coiling the long antenna tightly, and putting it inside a metal tube that's grounded to the building frame, but that didn't significantly reduce the range. I'd like to get it down to around thirty feet. I don't want to cut the antenna off, though.

A.K. Boomer
03-04-2017, 10:31 AM
can you remove it? by unscrewing or whatever?

WM I have the same problem with not being able to see the door from the house, was actually thinking of either installing a mirror or a micro switch that lights a little led when it's open or closed...

winchman
03-04-2017, 11:13 AM
If it's like other openers I've had apart, you cannot remove the antenna without unsoldering it from the circuit board.

I've got most of what I need to install an indicator light on the side of the building I can see, but I thought reducing the range might be easier.

Maybe there's something I could do to the remote, other than run the battery down, of course.

Dave C
03-04-2017, 11:25 AM
How about a wireless video security system with a camera aimed at the door? Horror Fright sells a 2 camera set for $245 that got good reviews.

duckman
03-04-2017, 11:26 AM
they sell a remote signaler that tells you in your house that the door is open 1 part attaches to the door and the receiver mounts in the house , it has 2 lights 1 green, 1 red, when red is lit door is open, IIRC it was about $30.00 USD.

Arcane
03-04-2017, 11:41 AM
Years ago I had the problem of my garage door opening on it's own. I cut the antenna completely off and it still worked with the remote but I had to be a few feet in front of the door.

I'd start snipping the antenna off until you got it down to the distance you want it to work at.

A.K. Boomer
03-04-2017, 11:56 AM
How about a wireless video security system with a camera aimed at the door? Horror Fright sells a 2 camera set for $245 that got good reviews.

ouch that's kinda an expensive fix, but the thought crossed my mind to just wire up a dummy camera that's already got the red LED in it, make it so it's viewable from the house, Led is on when the doors shut, so you know at a glance and also have a little fake security to boot, all for something like 12 bucks, might be a good way to go.

lakeside53
03-04-2017, 12:11 PM
Try shorting the end of the receiving antenna to ground. Radical but hey, might work. To do it right you need to put a pad (couple of resistors) after the antenna on the pcb, but...

And the other way is "detune" your remote. It might have an adjustable coil; if so - just move the slug slightly. Pad the output antenna.. remotes are cheap or.. drop the battery voltage to "almost flat"... with a few series diodes. etc etc. My remotes are good for 100 feet with new battery, 10 feet with almost flat.

Bob Fisher
03-04-2017, 12:13 PM
they sell a remote signaler that tells you in your house that the door is open 1 part attaches to the door and the receiver mounts in the house , it has 2 lights 1 green, 1 red, when red is lit door is open, IIRC it was about $30.00 USD.
Ditto that. I believe that Chamberlin sells one. My neighbor used to call me to tell us our door was open. I can see mine from my Lazy Boy. Bob.

Black Forest
03-04-2017, 01:17 PM
Or do as I did. Take the doors off. I don't have a door on my shop. I drive in and out of it with equipment all the time. Of course I live out in the country with no neighbors and I have security cameras and dogs that know no one is allowed in my shop without me. I can't say exactly how they learned that but they did. I can be in the shop with someone and the dogs are there with us. If we leave and that person goes back in there they will come running out really fast! Every once in a while I test my "security" with an unsuspecting poor soul. Yeah I know, I am bad!

Noitoen
03-04-2017, 01:55 PM
My garage door was built by me. As a security measure, the remote opening signal only activates the system if held stable for at least 3 seconds. This prevents accidental opening and also sequence scanning attempts to open the door by brute (electronic) force. If a scanner had to go through all the codes holding each one for 3 seconds it would take some serious time.

ahidley
03-04-2017, 01:58 PM
The length of the antenna determines the frequency that it WORKS at. So shortening it will reduce range.

On my door opener, after 220v went into it due to an ice storm knocking the neutral wire off the pole in front of my house, the 12v transformer burned out. That little transformer is not available for purchase. It is soldered directly to the board. So I measured the wire size and counted the turns and rewound it. Now mine had about a 25 foot range and I wanted more so I added a few more turns to the transformer thus increasing the voltage about 0.5 volts and this gave me about 75 feet of range. That being said you could remove some winds from the transformer and that would lower the voltage and reduce the range. Lower aprpx 0.5-0.7v.
There is always more than one way to skin a cat...

Boostinjdm
03-04-2017, 02:05 PM
they sell a remote signaler that tells you in your house that the door is open 1 part attaches to the door and the receiver mounts in the house , it has 2 lights 1 green, 1 red, when red is lit door is open, IIRC it was about $30.00 USD.

I have a couple of these Winchman. Cover shipping and they're yours. They worked a few years ago. Been sitting in a box since. No guarantees.

Otherwise, a roller micro switch on the track and an outside indicator light would be simple and reliable.

dave_r
03-04-2017, 03:50 PM
I've got a large external garage with a Chamberlain garage door opener, that would occasionally not close properly (something would trigger it to go back up), so I got their MyQ setup ($100), includes a sensor on the door and a wifi device, and now I can tell on my phone if the garage door is up or down, and if the door is being opened or closed.

And, eventually, I did figure out the problem, it was the rag used to plug the hole we put in the door for putting an exhaust tube through, it was just close enough to the safety sensor that the rag would sometimes trigger the sensor. And then sometimes snow would stick to the bottom of the door to do it was well.

Paul Alciatore
03-04-2017, 03:58 PM
I don't know how your antenna is constructed, but mine are just pieces of ordinary wire that hang off the terminal strips on the openers. If yours are like that, you could just fold them back instead of actually cutting them. I would fold back in 1" increments until the range is decreased to what you want. Tie them up with plastic cable ties or string or electric tape.




Years ago I had the problem of my garage door opening on it's own. I cut the antenna completely off and it still worked with the remote but I had to be a few feet in front of the door.

I'd start snipping the antenna off until you got it down to the distance you want it to work at.

Evan
03-04-2017, 04:20 PM
if possible wind the antenna through a small ferrite core, then slide the core down to control the range.

darryl
03-04-2017, 08:46 PM
I gather that there isn't a control pot in there to set the sensitivity-

winchman
03-05-2017, 12:10 PM
There's no pot to control the sensitivity, and all of the info I could find elsewhere on the internet about range of GDOs was about trying to get more, not less.

Anyway, it's a moot point now since I just finished installing the low-voltage power supply, switch, and lights for the monitor. Everything was something I'd rescued from the scrap pile or had left over from other projects. The lights are on the north side of the building just under the roof line, so it's easy to see day or night from the window in my house. The difficult part was pruning the right branches on the trees to get a clear line of sight.

sarge41
03-05-2017, 08:27 PM
My apologies if it seems like I am trying to hijack this thread, but I have just the opposite problem. Got a 30 year old Craftsman opener that lost its antenna after a new door installation. It was there, but gone now. I have examined the board for evidence that a wire was soldered to it, but no dice. It still works, barely, but when the garage door is shut, you have get real close for it to open, the sometimes it doesn't. I have looked over the original schematic that came with it, but it is for a slightly different model. Sears is no help. Anybody got any suggestions ?

Sarge

Evan
03-05-2017, 11:16 PM
Look for an open wire coil on the board that ends up near the edge of the board that would be near the end the antenna comes out. If it exists then one end of that coil is the likely point to attach an antenna. The length of the antenna matters somewhat but it should work better regardless if it is correct or not. If the schematic shows a coil to the antenna then that is what you need to find.

Alistair Hosie
03-06-2017, 07:56 AM
Forest it is true most Germans are scrupulously honest .Not like when I was in Venice .They say in Germany the waiters will always give you the correct change. Every time my friend and I went into a restaurant in Venice we were ripped off, repeat every time, It was always small change but very annoying afterwards when I pointed out to them the gave me short change I then refused to leave them a tip. So it was not smart after all in Austria also everyone was very honest. Just shows you eh. Just so this does not spark of an anti Italian argument I like the Italians fine Alistair

Paul Alciatore
03-06-2017, 06:56 PM
Sarge,

I also have a couple of 25 to 30 year old Craftsman Door Openers. The antenna is soldered directly to the board and is routed out of the enclosure through a hole in the back. If yours is similar to mine, perhaps these photos will help:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v55/EPAIII/Web%20Post%20Photos/Misc%20Web%20Posts/Craftsman%20Garage%20Door%20Opener/P3060001_zpsul0pmx66.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/EPAIII/media/Web%20Post%20Photos/Misc%20Web%20Posts/Craftsman%20Garage%20Door%20Opener/P3060001_zpsul0pmx66.jpg.html)

With the cover off. The arrow is pointing to the antenna connection.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v55/EPAIII/Web%20Post%20Photos/Misc%20Web%20Posts/Craftsman%20Garage%20Door%20Opener/P3060019A_zpsj5thdi7n.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/EPAIII/media/Web%20Post%20Photos/Misc%20Web%20Posts/Craftsman%20Garage%20Door%20Opener/P3060019A_zpsj5thdi7n.jpg.html)

A closeup; again the antenna connection is illustrated with a circle and arrow.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v55/EPAIII/Web%20Post%20Photos/Misc%20Web%20Posts/Craftsman%20Garage%20Door%20Opener/P3060017A_zpshioauvag.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/EPAIII/media/Web%20Post%20Photos/Misc%20Web%20Posts/Craftsman%20Garage%20Door%20Opener/P3060017A_zpshioauvag.jpg.html)

Another close up from a different angle. This one is a bit blurred as I was on top of a ladder and at an awkward angle.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v55/EPAIII/Web%20Post%20Photos/Misc%20Web%20Posts/Craftsman%20Garage%20Door%20Opener/P3060005A_zpsapat6qd5.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/EPAIII/media/Web%20Post%20Photos/Misc%20Web%20Posts/Craftsman%20Garage%20Door%20Opener/P3060005A_zpsapat6qd5.jpg.html)

Although it is not completely obvious in the photos, I did visually ensure that the antenna wire is soldered to the rather wide foil trace that is indicated in the photos. If yours has the same circuit board as mine, I suspect you will find a broken stub of wire that goes nowhere in that circuit board hole.

I hope this helps. If not, I tried.




My apologies if it seems like I am trying to hijack this thread, but I have just the opposite problem. Got a 30 year old Craftsman opener that lost its antenna after a new door installation. It was there, but gone now. I have examined the board for evidence that a wire was soldered to it, but no dice. It still works, barely, but when the garage door is shut, you have get real close for it to open, the sometimes it doesn't. I have looked over the original schematic that came with it, but it is for a slightly different model. Sears is no help. Anybody got any suggestions ?

Sarge

mikem
03-07-2017, 12:11 AM
Wow, Paul you are a generous fellow! Taking the opener apart and taking pictures....you must be a great guy.

Evan
03-07-2017, 12:39 AM
If the board isn't the same then look at the middle pic. Next to the grey wire is what is most likely the coil I mentioned (brown colour). That is what you need to look for and it is clearly connected to the antenna based on the solder pads on the board. Find a coil like that and that is the antenna connection. In this case it isn't open wound from what I can see but still the coil.

Paul Alciatore
03-07-2017, 03:51 PM
Of course I am a great guy. Just ask me.

Actually I brought my camera out to the garage/shop thinking the wire was connected to a terminal board on the outside. Surprise, surprise! So I went to the agony of removing all of eight screws. The hard part was getting the camera angles. Anyway, I hope it helps.




Wow, Paul you are a generous fellow! Taking the opener apart and taking pictures....you must be a great guy.

Paul Alciatore
03-07-2017, 03:55 PM
This makes me wonder if I could build some kind of camera periscope to make photos of this type easier. Perhaps a first surface mirror on an extension rod.

bollie7
03-07-2017, 04:12 PM
This makes me wonder if I could build some kind of camera periscope to make photos of this type easier. Perhaps a first surface mirror on an extension rod.
Finally a decent use for a "selfie stick"

peter

Paul Alciatore
03-07-2017, 09:11 PM
I will check them out.




Finally a decent use for a "selfie stick"

peter

jamby
03-08-2017, 05:15 PM
When I had the house and shop built I ran a conduit from under the house to the garage/shop I needed this for a number of things but mostly a network connection to my shop computer that supports my mill. So a while back I went out one day and found the garage door was open all night ... errr. So I found an old logitech webcam in a drawer and connected it to the shop computer with some free linux webcam software and now I can see the inside of the garage on my browser in the house plus another chunk of software stores video of any movement. I have Misterhouse running on another computer and with it I can turn on a light in the garage at night so its not a black view.
Zoneminder stores the video and mjpg-streamer handles the webcam the two together form a security system. It also requires mysql and probably a few other I've forgotten.

Jim