Garage Door Remote Control Repair

Garage Door Remote Not Working?

Radio Freqency Interference, or RFI, is a growing problem in the garage door industry. We field many calls a week concerning interfence issues or limited remote control range. We have become quite good at addressing this issue; however, it is not always possible to completely eliminate or overcome it. Before you address this issue it is vital that you understand some very important facts that relate to this issue.

FCC Radio Regulations

The FCC regulates radio transmitters and has generated rules regarding radio transmitters. The complete set of rules can be found on their main site but Part 15 is the section that affects garage door remotes. Part 15.1 defines what devices fall under this rule. If a device does not comply with this section, then an individual license must be obtained by the FCC to operate the device as a transmitter.

Garage door remotes are unlicensed transmitters and therefore must comply with Part 15.5 which essentially states;

This device complies with part 15 of the FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions:(1) This device may not cause harmful interference, and (2) this device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation

What does this mean?

FCC licenses are expensive. In order to operate a transmitter one of two conditions must be met. The transmitter must be licensed, which means each remote control would have to have a license to operate. This is expensive and impractical. The other option is to operate as an unlicensed transmitter, which doesn’t require an expensive license. However, as an unlicensed transmitter, it cannot cause interference and it must accept all interfence it encounters. This protects whoever actually has a license to operate on that frequency. Essentially, unlicensed transmitters must be very weak transmitters.

Garage door remotes operate in the 300-400 mhz band. Older openers operated on 390 mhz, as this was a little used government channel that was fairly free of interference. In 2005, all new garage door openers moved to 315 mhz. This was in response to the Federal Government’s deployment of the Land Mobile Radio System (LMRS), a very powerful communications network that overpowers all communicators on the old 390 mhz frequency. As the actual license holder, they don’t have to worry about causing interference.

Since 2005, all garage door remote controls are on 315 mhz. What this means is there is increased radio traffic by unlicensed transmitters on this frequency. And the source of interference is not limited to garage door remotes. Many of our household appliances are wireless. We have cell phones, cordless phones, wifi networks, bluetooth devices, etc. All of these devices are capable of transmitting radio interference. In our modern, wireless lives, we generete an enormous amount of radio traffic, and this traffic drowns out the weak transmitter inside your garage door remote.

In fact, any electrical device can cause interference. This is type of interefernce is called EMI, or electro-magnetic interference. Often, defective electrical inverters (devices that increase or decrease voltage) can create strong electrical fields that travel along the ground wires in your home. Devices as small as alarm clocks have been known to create fields strong enought to block radio transmissions. Sometimes, the inverter may not be in use all the time, causing intermittent interference. This can make diagnosing the source very difficult as the problem comes and goes at random.

In closing, as our lives become more and more integrated with advanced electronic and wireless devices, the problems associated with RFI and EMI are only going to grow. Discount Garage Doors has many remedies available to customers suffering from reduced remote control range. While we can’t guarantee that we can eliminate the interference or improve the range of your remotes, we do typically see an improvement. It is vital that the you, the customer, understand that this a difficult issue to address and requires a good deal of patience and understanding. It can often require multiple visits to isolate the source of the interference. Also understand that new sources of interference can appear daily. An opener that worked fine for years may suddenly stop working. Also, sometimes the source of interference can go away on its own, either by being turned off or inadvertently replaced.

For more information about this issue, contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained technicians.

You can call us direct at 1-866-420-3667 or click here to contact us via e-mail.

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