Garage Door Opener Light Not Working? Here’s Why

The garage door opener light has become a convenience you rely on every day. Being able to pull into your garage and have a courtesy light for 5 minutes allows you to see where you are walking as you enter your home. When that light doesn’t shine, you notice right away. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why your garage door opener light may not be working.

1. CFL Light Bulb Base Is Too Wide for Opener Light Socket

Base is too wide on CFL light bulb... this prevents the bulb from making a good connection in the light socket
Base is too wide on CFL light bulb… this prevents the bulb from making a good connection in the light socket

Compact fluorescent light bulbs have a wider base than traditional incandescent light bulbs. The wide base will hit the light socket housing and prevent the light bulb from going all the way down and making a good connection with the brass contacts. This will cause the light bulb to flicker or not work at all.

The solution to this problem is to find a CFL or LED light bulb with a narrower base, or go back to using traditional incandescent light bulbs. There are some brands of CFL bulbs that have a base that tapers down to the threaded portion of the bulb. These seem to fit better and make a good connection. This has become a very common issue since the introduction of CFL and LED energy efficient light bulbs.

Another option is a garage door light bulb manufactured by Chamberlain or Genie Company. Both companies have release new LED light bulbs for garage door openers that are compatible with all brands, and they are designed to help reduce remote interference caused by regular LED light bulbs. They also have a tapered base which allows the light bulb to make good contact in the light socket.

2. Light Bulb Needs to Be Replaced in Opener

If your garage door opener light is not working, the fix might be as simple as changing the light bulb. More and more products are being produced at a faster rate and that leads to reduced quality. We have observed brand new light bulbs that don’t work right out of the box. Many are surprised by this, but we aren’t. The filaments in the light bulbs are getting thinner to reduce costs. Because light bulbs are so cheap, most people will trash the new bulb and grab another.

If your light bulbs are burning out too quickly, it could be due to vibration. You can find “rough service” light bulbs at your local home store that have a thicker filament. These bulbs are designed to have an extended life when used with garage door openers that have a lot of vibration. If your opener has a lot of vibration, it probably has an AC motor versus a newer DC motor. AC motors are copper wound motors that been around for years, and they usually make a louder hum when operating.

Like we mentioned earlier, you can try using an LED light bulb that is specifically designed for garage door openers. Chamberlain and Genie Company who both manufacturer garage door openers now offer LED light bulbs made for their openers with similar specs.

They feature a 25,000-hour rating and are designed to withstand the vibration from a garage door opener motor. They are universally compatible with most garage door openers on the market and are specially designed to help eliminate or reduce interference with remotes commonly seen with many other LED light bulbs on the market.

PRO TIP

  1. If you are purchasing an LED light bulb to use in your garage door opener, do not install a light bulb higher than 60 watts. We have found on many occasions that LED light bulbs greater than 60 watts used in a garage door opener will create interference with remotes.
  2. If you intend to use a standard incandescent rough service light bulb, try to keep the wattage at 75 watts or less. Many garage door openers will state on the motor housing they are rated at 100 watts. That might be true, but we have found on many occasions that 100 watt incandescent light bulbs will get so hot, they will melt the motor housing or light cover.

3. Brass Contacts in Opener Light Socket Are Smashed

Brass contacts in garage door opener light bulb socket
Brass contacts in garage door opener light bulb socket

There are two brass contacts in the light bulb socket of a garage door opener. One contact runs down the side of the socket and the other is at the bottom. Over time, these brass contacts will flatten, causing the connection with the light bulb to be intermittent. This will result in the light bulb not working at all, or it may flicker from time to time.

WARNING! You need to unplug your garage door opener before trying this next step. Failure to do so may cause electrical shock. If your garage door opener is equipped with a battery backup, disconnect it.

You will need a small flathead screwdriver or a pair of needle nose pliers. First, remove the light bulb. Next, grab the brass contact at the bottom of the light socket and pull it outwards, so it will make a better connection with the tip of the light bulb. Screw the light bulb back in, plug the opener into the outlet and give it a try.

You can also bend the brass contact on the side toward the center of the socket. This will make the light bulb have a better connection with the brass contact. While looking down into the socket, make sure there is no corrosion. If you see corrosion on the contact, take the end of your flathead screwdriver and scrap the contact to expose fresh metal. If this doesn’t work, move to the next step.

4. Opener Light Bulb Socket Is Bad

Wiring connections on back of the light bulb socket.
Wiring connections on back of the light bulb socket.

If bending the brass contacts in the light socket doesn’t resolve your lighting issue, you might have a bad light socket. Unplug your garage door opener and plug it back in. If you hear the unit click, but the light doesn’t come on, then you most likely have a bad light socket. This is an inexpensive part that can be replaced by any homeowner.

WARNING! Unplug your garage door opener before trying this next step. Failure to do so may cause electrical shock. If your garage door opener is equipped with a battery backup, disconnect it.

Most garage door opener light sockets will pop straight out by pinching the tab that is holding it in the motor housing. After you have it out, you will see two wires. Disconnect both wires and install them on your new light socket. The terminal ends on the power wires are different sizes, so they can’t be reinstalled incorrectly. They only go back one way. After reconnecting the wires, pop the light socket back into the motor housing, and you’re all done. This should solve your problem. If not, proceed to the next step.

5. Circuit Board Needs to Be Replaced in Opener

Garage door opener circuit board
Garage door opener circuit board

Unplug your garage door opener and plug it back in. When power is restored to the unit, it will click when the light bulb activates. The clicking noise you are looking for is the sound that comes from the relay on the circuit board. If you do not hear a click coming from the motor housing, then the relay on the circuit board is bad. The circuit board on your garage door opener will have to be replaced if you want your light to function properly.

Some homeowners will continue using their garage door opener without a light due to the high cost of circuit board replacement. Many have used their openers for years after the light bulb relay went out. You can choose to replace the circuit board yourself or hire your local garage door company. This will have to be a decision only you can make.

Light Doesn’t Activate When You Cross Safety Sensor Beam

Receiving safety sensor on LiftMaster garage door opener. The opener light will activate on some LiftMaster models when the beam is crossed.
Receiving safety sensor on LiftMaster garage door opener. The opener light will activate on some LiftMaster models when the beam is crossed.

Chamberlain Group manufacturers LiftMaster, Chamberlain, and Sears Craftsman garage door openers. Many of their models have a feature where the opener light will turn on if you cross the safety sensor beam shooting across the opening of your garage door. This is a feature that is exclusive to Chamberlain Group openers.

If your light no longer activates when crossing the safety sensor beam, then you most likely have an issue in your circuit board. There isn’t much you can do apart from replacing the complete circuit board. We have had many customers who have decided to continue to use their opener with this feature not working because everything else was working properly, including the door reversing when the safety sensor beam is broken.

It is important to note that recently the Chamberlain Group has made this a feature they only include on premium models. You will need to check their website to find out if your garage door opener is equipped with this option.

LED Light Bulb Compatibility with Garage Door Openers

LED light bulbs are gaining in popularity as pricing comes down. Many homeowners are slowly acquiring them as they retrofit existing lighting in their home. The garage door opener is no exception.

CFL and LED light bulbs can cause wireless interference with garage door opener remotes. This interference will reduce range and sometimes make the remote unusable. The electronics used in these light bulbs can emit frequencies that will interfere with remotes, keypads, and gateways connected to your system. If you are experiencing this problem, you can try a different brand of bulb or go back to using traditional incandescent light bulbs.

Another option is to try the new LED garage door light bulbs offered by Chamberlain and Genie. You can find them easily online by searching “garage door light bulb”. They are designed to reduce interference with your opener remotes. The bulbs are vibration and shatter resistant and designed to hold up in cold, damp environments. They are rated to generate 800 lumens of light for an estimated 25,000 hours.

Many manufacturers have released compatibility charts to show which light bulbs are approved for your specific garage door opener. What’s interesting is most of these charts have disappeared online and become really hard to find. I can only assume this is because Chamberlain and Genie now offer an LED garage door bulb they want you to purchase. Either way, we have the charts you can download below.

Click link below to view PDF or Support Page:

Genie LED Light Bulb Compatibility

LiftMaster LED Light Bulb Compatibility

LiftMaster LED Light Bulb Product Bulletin

LiftMaster Support Page

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