Common Problems with Genie and Overhead Door Garage Door Openers

The Genie Company used to make legendary screw drive garage door openers that would last generations. Their openers were so popular that many homeowners would only want another screw drive opener installed once their older unit needed replacement. They were so adamant about having another screw drive opener that many times it took thirty minutes to convince them to install a new chain drive opener.

The reason many garage door pros moved away from Genie openers is because they phased out their legendary screw drive units and brought in newer units that were designed to be installed at a price point for home builders. Yes, you could get a screw drive opener offered by LiftMaster, Chamberlain, or Sears Craftsman, but the design seemed like an afterthought. Every time we have run one of these units, they sound like they are falling apart.

All brands of garage door openers have issues, just like all brands of vehicles have issues. In this article, I will discuss some of the more popular issues we have come across with Genie openers in our area. I will also be linking to a few other articles we have written about Genie opener issues that go into greater detail.

Genie vs. Overhead Door Openers

It’s important to first mention that Overhead Door branded garage door openers are manufactured by the Genie Company, which is a subsidiary of the Overhead Door Corporation. They purchased the Genie Company in 1994. The model numbers and branding will be different, but the looks and functionality will be very similar. The Overhead Door Corporation also owns Wayne Dalton garage doors, which is why you see these products installed together in so many new homes.

Newer Genie and Overhead Door Openers

Solid red light on newer Genie opener.
Solid red light on newer Genie opener.

The most common issue we see with newer Genie and Overhead Door garage door openers today is a solid red light. When you see this, the limits will need to be re-programmed, so the unit knows how far to go up and down. If reprogramming doesn’t work, the circuit board will most likely need to be replaced. Let’s take a closer look at some other issues we have with popular models in our area.

Genie 2024 and Overhead 2026 Openers

Genie 2024 chain drive garage door opener.
Genie 2024 chain drive garage door opener.

The Genie 2024 garage door opener is also branded and sold as the Overhead Door 2026 opener. In all my years of installing and servicing garage door openers, this one takes the cake. This might be the most temperamental, cheaply built unit we have crossed paths with. So much so, it takes the crown from Marantec. With this model of opener, Genie has managed to drag their name through the mud for quick profits. Allow me to explain.

The most popular issue with the Genie 2024 opener is the top sprocket will break. The first time we came across the issue was a few years back, and it was on a home that had two basic 8×7 lightweight garage doors with two Genie 2024 openers. The top drive sprocket was broken on both units. My next step was the same for most repairs we didn’t have parts for, and that was to contact the local distributor.

Now, this is not the first time a garage door opener has had a broken drive sprocket, but it was the first time I had seen it on a unit that was under two years old. Most drive sprockets go out around the ten-year mark if they fail. I contacted the local Genie distributor to get the replacement sprocket, and they informed me that the sprocket on this model of opener was sold with the complete rail. I said ok, how much is the rail? They proceeded to tell me the rails were no longer available, and they were recommending homeowners replace the Genie 2024 opener once it breaks. It was a throw away unit.

I have seen this throwaway garage door opener installed on homes that cost 200K all the way up to 2 million. Because most home builders are on the Genie/Wayne Dalton national program, they get this product installed dirt cheap. If you have one of these models, my opinion is to first try to reset the unit and reprogram the limits yourself. If that doesn’t work, do not put any money into the unit. Call your local garage door company and have it replaced with a more reliable model.

Genie 2024 bent carriage will not disengage.
Genie 2024 bent carriage will not disengage.

Another issue we see with Genie 2024 garage door openers is the carriage will not disengage when you pull the red rope. This usually forces the homeowner to pull harder, which ends up bending the metal tab the rope is tied too. The rope that is provided with the unit is also weak, which often causes it to break when pulled, leaving the homeowner with no way to disengage the garage door from the opener.

Genie PowerMax and TriloG Openers Recalled

Image credit: The Genie Company
Image credit: The Genie Company

The Genie PowerMax and Trilogy garage door openers are a step up from the 2024 model. From what I hear, their premium line is doing good today, but for a long time, they had severe circuit board issues. At one point, we were receiving calls daily regarding units that had lost their programming. The most common issue with these units is the red lights would come on solid on the bottom of the unit because the circuit board lost the programming of the travel and force limits.

Some homeowners would get lucky after re-programming the limits and the unit would no longer have any issues. Most others weren’t so lucky and would have to have the circuit board replaced. Genie did send many homeowners replacement boards at no charge due to a circuit board recall.

Genie IntelliG and ReliaG Openers

Genie ReliaG 850 garage door opener
Genie ReliaG 850 garage door opener

We have also seen these issues with the Genie IntelliG and ReliaG openers, but I don’t think these models were ever recalled. We have come across many units with a solid red light that need reprogramming. Usually reprogramming the limits works fine, but if it doesn’t hold, you will need to replace the circuit board or the whole unit.

Genie Chain Glide and Overhead Python Openers

Genie Chain Glide garage door opener
Genie Chain Glide garage door opener

The Genie Chain Glide garage door opener also known as the Overhead Door Python is a one-of-a-kind design that did not have the best history. This model used a chain that slid down a groove in the center of the rail, with an inner slide attached to the end. When the unit would go up, the chain would wind up inside the motor head like a snake, hence the names Chain Glide and Python.

Because the chain slides down the center of the rail, the opener sounded like plastic was breaking while it was running. While some units were quieter than others, most did not sound great. The design itself was its worst enemy. As far as we know, there wasn’t another garage door opener designed this way, and for good reason.

Inner Slide Goes to Far

Inner slide went to far and came out the end of the track. Common issue on Genie Chain Glide and Overhead Door Python openers.
Inner slide went to far and came out the end of the track. Common issue on Genie Chain Glide and Overhead Door Python openers.

The Chain Glide and Python openers were notorious for having the plastic inner slide that is attached to the end of the chain jammed up against the motor head. If the opener was on the down cycle, the inner slide would come out the end of the rail. This only happens when someone pulls the red rope to release the door from the opener and runs the unit. Because the unit uses plastic limit switches that hang down, there is no carriage to hit the limit switch while the unit is running. Genie screw drive openers utilized the same limit switches, but the carriage and inner slide were integrated on that unit, preventing this issues from occurring.

Chain Glide and Python Openers Fall to the Ground

Motor cover fell to the floor once the housing cracked and separated. This is common on Genie Chain Glide and Overhead Door Python openers.
Motor cover fell to the floor once the housing cracked and separated. This is common on Genie Chain Glide and Overhead Door Python openers.

Yes, you heard me right. The Genie Chain Glide and Overhead Door Python garage door opener cover will fall to the floor when the housing cracks. The reason for this is the main cover is held on with one screw. The main housing on these models is known for cracking down the middle, which releases the cover, which ends up on top of your vehicle or on the floor. Due to the design of this model, this is the only opener we have ever seen this issue with.

Genie Screw Drive Openers

Genie Pro Screw Drive garage door opener. This was a legendary unit that many garage door installers wish was still manufactured today.
Genie Pro Screw Drive garage door opener. This was a legendary unit that many garage door installers wish was still manufactured today.

The Genie Pro Screw Drive garage door openers were legendary and they had a loyal following. The design was simple and the one-piece rails would hold up against heavy garage doors. The older design was so popular that many garage door professionals were buying as many as they could once Genie announced it was being discontinued.

As good as the old school Genie screw drive openers were, they did break down. The two most common issues we faced were stripped carriages and couplers. The limit switches would sometimes fail as well, but that was a simple fix anyone can do.

Stripped Genie screw drive carriage.
Stripped Genie screw drive carriage.

The main plastic carriage that runs down the rail has metal teeth that can strip out over time. When this happens, your garage door opener will sound like a machine gun when you press the button to open the door. This can be easily replaced by sliding the carriage off the end of the rail, up by the header.

Genie screw drive coupler
Genie screw drive coupler

If you press the button and your garage door doesn’t move, you may have a stripped coupler on your Genie screw drive garage door opener. Genie screw drive openers have a small coupler where the rail meets the motor head. Over time, this small coupler can strip out, causing the motor to run, but the long screw drive going down the rail will not spin. Fortunately, this is an easy fix, which requires separating the rail from the motor head and reaching in with needle nose pliers and removing the bad coupler.

Genie Excelerator Opener

Screenshot credit: Genie owners manual cover
Screenshot credit: Genie owners manual cover

The Genie Excelerator garage door opener was a very popular unit installed by home builders. The opener earned its name by running at a higher speed when opening and closing the garage door. Many homeowners we spoke to over the years did not understand why the higher speed was needed. Unfortunately, this higher speed would cause the garage door to generate cracks sooner due to the garage door opener too fast when making the radius.

A couple of popular issues with the Genie Excelerator are the unit may run slow or stop running altogether. When this model starts to run slow, this is usually a sign the unit will need to be replaced. If you are experiencing these issues, try unplugging the unit for a few minutes and plugging it back in. Occasionally, this will reset the unit and everything is fine, other times the issues will resurface, and the opener will need to be replaced.

Genie Pro Max and Overhead Legacy PMX Openers

The Genie Pro Max garage door opener also went by the name Overhead Door Legacy. This was a large, heavy-duty unit that had a good service history. We didn’t see many problems with these units until they got up in age. The most common issue was probably a blown capacitor, which can happen in any older opener with an AC motor.

Genie PMX units have a unique travel limit configuration that is located on the back of the unit. It features a couple of slots that allow access to the limit adjusters with a small flathead screwdriver.

Round gear has limit adjusters that rotate around and hit the buttons on the limit switches at the bottom.
Round gear has limit adjusters that rotate around and hit the buttons on the limit switches at the bottom.

These small adjusters are attached to a gear under the cover, and they are what make contact with the limit switches to stop the unit. If you have a PMX opener that is going up or down too far, one of the limit switches has most likely failed and needs to be replaced.

Safety Sensors Misaligned

Genie garage door openers use a red and green light on their safety sensors. The green light is the sending unit that shoots the laser beam across to the receiving unit, which features a red light. If the sensors are misaligned, the red light will blink, letting you know you need to align the safety sensors or remove any obstruction in the way.

On some Genie and Overhead Door openers, the red light on the receiving sensor will blink when the circuit board is faulty inside the motor head. We have seen this more often on older openers. Two blinks from the red sensor can also mean the sensors are defective, and three blinks usually means the sensors are receiving interference.

Genie Opener Goes up 6” and Stops

Broken torsion spring on garage door
Broken torsion spring on garage door

If your garage door opener goes up six inches and stops, you most likely have a broken spring on your garage door, no matter the brand of your opener. The reason your opener stops is that the up force adjustment is activated due to the amount of weight the opener is trying to pull. If you experience this issue, stop using your automatic opener and wait until a qualified garage door technician can replace your broken spring. If you keep running the opener, you will most likely damage it, especially the newer Genie and Overhead Door opener like the 2024 and 2026. We have seen on many occasions where the drive sprocket breaks when attempting to open a garage door with a broken spring.

Force adjustment dials on left side of PMX opener
Force adjustment dials on left side of PMX opener

If you don’t have a broken spring on your garage door, you may need to increase the up force on your automatic opener. This adjustment tells the opener how hard to pull the garage door up. When increasing this setting, do it one click at a time and then run the unit. You want to avoid maxing out the up force setting because it could damage your garage door the day you do have a broken spring. If you have to max out the up force setting to get your opener to run up, then the main circuit board is going out inside the motor head.

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Genie Remotes are Not Working

Genie three button remote
Genie three button remote

If you have one remote not working, you may be able to save the issue by replacing the battery. If all your remotes are not working, you could be having circuit board issues due to the receiver portion of the board failing. If your remotes work, but you have to get really close, you might be having remote interference issues.

Genie Opening By Itself?

Its good practice to disconnect your wall button to eliminate it as a culprit for your automatic opener activating on its own.
Its good practice to disconnect your wall button to eliminate it as a culprit for your automatic opener activating on its own.

One of the most annoying and scary issues you can have is your automatic opener activating on its own. If you wake up or come home to an open garage door, you may be having intermittent issues with your circuit board. You could also be having intermittent issues with a faulty remote or keypad. The most common reason why this happens is someone recently programmed a remote, keypad, or new vehicle and the neighbor’s remote was accidentally programmed into your opener when you had it in program mode.

The first step is to clear the circuit board. Afterwards, slowly start adding back accessories over the course of a few days to see if the issue goes away. If so, your issue is most likely resolved. If you are still having the issue, you need to try to narrow it down to one of the remotes, keypads, or circuit board. If you clear everything out, and it does it, one last thing to check is your wall button in the garage. We have seen on many occasions where wall button will activate openers as they start to wear out.

Genie Light Bulb Not Working?

If the light bulb is not working on your Genie or Overhead Door opener, first try replacing the bulb. If that doesn’t resolve your issue, it could be a bad light socket. If you try all that and still have no success, the relay on the circuit board that activates the light could have gone out. You would have to replace the board to resolve the issue.

Genie Opener Beeping?

Genie Battery Backup Opener
Genie Battery Backup Opener

If your Genie or Overhead Door garage door opener is beeping, it is most likely equipped with a backup battery. Automatic openers with backup batteries are designed to run around twenty cycles in a twenty-four-hour period during a power outage. This allows you to open and close your garage door with the press of a button when there is no electricity.

If your opener is beeping, this means the backup battery needs to be replaced. The average lifespan for these batteries is 2-3 years. Replacement of these batteries is easy and can be done by most homeowners. If you choose not to replace the battery, you can simply disconnect it to get the beeping noise to go away.

PLEASE NOTE: Battery Backup garage door openers are required in the State of California, so you must replace the battery if it is beeping to stay current with local laws. It’s best to check regulations in your state to find out what the requirements are, especially if the home is being rented.

Conclusion

Having issues with any garage door opener brand can be inconvenient and annoying, especially since we rely so much on our garage doors today. The issues discussed in this article will help address the most common problems we see with Genie and Overhead Door openers. Hopefully, these tips will steer you in the right direction, so you can get your issue resolved in a timely manner.

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