Garage Door Opener interference comes in various forms. We have seen many different issues over the years that have caused problems with wireless accessories for garage door openers. One of the most recent culprits is one many people don’t know about… YOUR LIGHT BULB!
Recent changes in technology have brought us the CFL light bulb and the long lasting LED bulb. While these options offer superior longevity, most people don’t know these lights can emit a frequency that will interfere with your garage door remote. We first saw this issue with CFL “pigtail” light bulbs and now we are seeing it with different types of LED bulbs.
60 Watt or Less LED Bulb
If you are using an LED light bulb in your garage door opener, check to see what wattage it is. We have found and confirmed that many LED light bulbs over 60 watts will emit a frequency that will interfere with garage door remotes. We have seen this issue with many 75 watt rated LED light bulbs. The only thing we have gathered from light bulb manufacturers is the larger wattage LED light bulbs have computer chips in them that emit a stronger frequency that will reduce remote range.
We have been on countless service calls for remote interference issues where the range was so bad you had to stand right against the garage door to make it open. Once we remove the larger wattage bulb (usually rated at 75 watts) and installed a 60 watt rated LED bulb, all issues go away.
If the standard 60 watt rated LED bulb does not fix your issue, you can try the new Genie LED Garage Door Bulb we discuss below.
Genie LED Garage Door Opener Bulb
Genie Company has released a new exclusive radio frequency friendly light bulb that will help eliminate or reduce opener remote interference. The light bulb is designed specifically for garage door openers and is compatible with most remotes. This will eliminate interference between your remote and garage door opener so as to ensure you have the best range from your garage door remote.
It is rated to last 25,000 hours and carries a 3 year warranty while only drawing 10 watts. This energy efficient 800 lumen bulb is made specifically for garage door openers and is vibration and shatter resistant and designed to withstand 5G of shaking force. Standard light bulbs don’t have a long service life in garage door openers due to the negative effect the vibration has on the bulb filament. This results are the home owner having to replace bulbs frequently.
Moisture and temperature can have a negative effect on light bulb performance. The new Genie Garage Door Opener LED Bulb is rated for damp environments and temperatures down to -22F. This will guarantee great performance in cold damp locations. The new bulb will work in any brand of garage door opener.
The base of the bulb is narrow enough to sit all the way down in the light socket eliminating the issues found with wide base energy efficient bulbs. Operation is limited to the standard on and off… the bulb is not compatible with a dimmer.
Reduced Garage Door Remote Range
You’re garage door opener remote might have a reduced range due to interference or it could be another issue. If the range is getting worse, try replacing the remote battery. Try several different batteries to make sure the first battery isn’t a dud. This will eliminate the most common problem with range being limited.
If you are still having issues after changing the battery, your circuit board could be the problem. Some garage door openers have the remote receiver built into the main logic board and others have a separate receiver board. If you see two boards and one has a long wire hanging down, this is the receiver board. When this board goes out, all remote accessories including your outside keypad will not work.
Remote Interference Issues We Have Seen
Most Common Interference Issue
Energy efficient light bulbs contain circuits that can emit a frequency that will reduce the range of your garage door remote. The first thing most homeowners do after having a garage door opener installed is put in an energy efficient light bulb. What they don’t realize is the new bulb could be reducing the range of their remotes.
Next is transformers installed on water softener power cords. These small transformers can sometimes emit a frequency that causes interference with your garage door opener remote. If you feel this might be your problem, some homeowners have had luck with installing tin foil around the transformer so the interference would be contained.
MAKE SURE THE TIN FOIL DOES NOT WRAP AROUND THE FRONT OF THE TRANSFORMER AND MAKE CONTACT WITH THE PRONGS
Craziest Interference Issue
A Minnow bucket aerator motor was emitting a constant frequency that would prevent the remotes from working. A customer had a minnow bucket in the garage that was constantly running. The motor was causing interference with the garage door opener. Crazy!
Conspiracy Theory Interference Issue
The NSA building was emitting a frequency that affected Genie garage door openers in a large part of the city. External receivers had to be installed that used a different frequency to solve the problem. Homeowners would come home and their garage doors would be wide open with no explanation. The NSA was not only triggering the opener to open and close, it was causing interference with remote range as well.
Most Common Seasonal Interference Issue
With the growing popularity of LED Christmas lights, some homeowners are seeing issues with their garage door opener around the holiday season. This is due to the fact that many LED lights emit a frequency in the range that most openers use to communicate with wireless remotes and keypads. If you think this is the problem, unplug your LED Christmas lights and see if the issue goes away.
Ding Dong Issue
This issue took second place for the most difficult to diagnose at a customers home. The homeowner had recently installed a new wireless doorbell on their home and they had the wireless button laying on their work bench in the garage. The work bench was piled high and there were some tools laying on the button causing it to output a constant signal.
The constant signal was blocking the garage door remote signal from reaching the opener circuit board. We used a sniffer to find where the signal was coming from. As we started to move some tools around on the work bench, the signal stopped. Laying underneath we found the culprit. A wireless doorbell button.
Most Difficult Interference Issue to Diagnose
A customer had a remote down in the bottom of a Christmas decoration box that was emitting a frequency because a decoration was laying on the remote button. We had to find the problem with a frequency sniffer which took some time. We originally had thought the circuit board had gone out on the unit which is usually the case when you have to put the remote 6 inches from the circuit board to get it to activate the unit. The funny part is the homeowner had been having this issue for two weeks and the battery in the Christmas remote did not die. Give it another week and the problem would have probably gone away on its own as the battery expired.
How To Find What’s Causing Remote Interference
Linear Solutions, who makes Linear garage door openers, makes a “frequency sniffer” that goes by the model name: FT-1 Radio Interference Field Tester. This is a small handheld device made by Linear that is designed for testing the RF environment around 318 MHz. We have used it with several different brands of garage door openers to find interference in garages with pretty good success. It is not the best made accessory as it has been a little inconsistent, but for the most part it has solved some difficult problems for us.