Beginner’s Guide to Garage Door Safety Eye: How to Diagnose and Repair


The photo eye is an important safety feature in a garage door opener. The safety sensor can detect various obstructions along path of the garage door, be it objects or pets. This prevents any damages or injuries to pets or objects that might get run over by the garage door.

The safety eye has two sensors, one at each side of the garage door. These are usually placed a few inches from the ground and directs a beam toward the other. When an object disrupts the beam, the sensor prevents the door from closing.

Here are some tips on how to repair and diagnose common garage door safety eye problems:

Diagnosing the Issues

If your safety eye is not working properly, do a little test. Press the button on your remote control to close the garage door opener. You will only hear clicking sounds and blinking of the opener. To ensure that it’s definitely a safety eye problem, hold down the wall button of your garage door opener. The garage door will start going down but will come back up in a few seconds while the opener light will blink.

How to Repair It

• Manually release the emergency cord. Release the emergency cord on your garage door opener. This allows you to pull your door down so it completely closes.

• Check the safety eye. Once you’ve closed the garage door, inspect the safety eye on each side. One sensor, the sender, has a yellow light, which is correct. The other side, the receiver safety eye, should have a solid green color. If something is blocking the connection between two sensors, the light on the safety eye should go off. You would know that there’s a problem with the safety eye if this specific sensor keeps on blinking.

• Secure the sensor. Loosen the safety eye and adjust it accordingly. Manufacturers have different ways in adjusting the safety eye, you might need to loosen a wing nut, lock collar, or just bending the bracket. Ensure that it is focused and pointing towards the other sensor. Tighten the nut and test it. Try shaking it to ensure that it is secured in place and will not move with the fluttering movements especially as you operate your garage door. If done successfully, the sensor will stop blinking. Instead it will have a solid color.

• Clean up the safety eye. Dirt and cobwebs also affect the performance of the safety eye. The sensors are not able to send the signals correctly if there’s dirt in the safety eye. Just clean the sensor with a soft cloth and you’re good.

• Remove objects near the sensors. Oftentimes, it’s the little things that block the safety eye. Since these are located at the bottom part of the garage door, it can be easily bumped into or knocked off. Brooms and those little knickknacks in your garage can block the beam which prevents the door from closing. Other times, large garbage cans can knock over the sensors which leads to misalignment. So, ensure that the area is clear from these objects.

• Other factors that cause issues to safety eyes. Heavy doors can misalign your safety eyes, especially if these are operated frequently. If these doors don’t work properly, these can also shake the track which affects the safety eye. Water pressure from power washes can also wet the safety eye which causes it to short. Broken wires also prevent the safety eye from operating.

• Test it out. Test if your repair has been successful. Push the wall button for it to realign and connect to the opener. This reengages the garage door opener so it will work as it should.

Call a professional. If you’ve gone over those steps and your safety eye is still not working, call a certified technician to help you.

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