Forum Thread

Light in garage door opener not working

Dr. J 25,038 3,353 January 19, 2016 at 08:15 AM
Had a breaker trip last weekend in the garage which controls all power in the garage including the door opener. Could have been a compressor, I just don't know, but I reset the breaker and everything is OK except I noticed the integrated light in the opener wasn't working. (the opener itself works fine, just not the light)

I replaced it with 2 bulbs this AM and it still doesn't work. I'll check it with a MM later but the likelihood of 3 bulbs being burnt out is slim.

When I press the light switch (on the wall there are options to open/close the door and turn the light on/off) I can hear a "click" like a relay is connecting, but obviously there is no power.

Just wondering what this could be.... bad circuit board?

Model is a Genie pcg700ml. 1/2HP chain drive.

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#2
Quote from Dr. J View Post :
Had a breaker trip last weekend in the garage.

Just wondering what this could be.... bad circuit board?

Model is a Genie pcg700ml. 1/2HP chain drive.
So it seems that you had a transient power surge that flipped a breaker and after resetting the breaker the garage door lights are out. I am inclined to believe that something happened inside the garage door opener that burned out the light or blew out a fuse in the garage door opener and flipped the circuit breaker.

I would check the garage door opener before looking somewhere else.
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#3
Quote from dale_101798 View Post :
So it seems that you had a transient power surge that flipped a breaker and after resetting the breaker the garage door lights are out. I am inclined to believe that something happened inside the garage door opener that burned out the light or blew out a fuse in the garage door opener and flipped the circuit breaker.

I would check the garage door opener before looking somewhere else.

It may just be coincidence, FWIW, just noting in case it isn't; regarding the breaker trip and the light issue. No other breakers in the house were affected; the breaker couldn't have been tripped more than 10-12 hours (it worked the PM before). The compressor kicked on when I reset the breaker, so I assumed that it may have been the compressor that tripped the breaker to begin with. There's nothing else in the garage that uses that much power. Wondering if I had a leak in the hose (has happened before), I immediately turned the compressor off and it's been off since.

Looking online it seems that the sockets "go bad" (although I can't fathom how such a simple device can suddenly "go bad") so I will check power @ the socket for sure, and I also have a wiring diagram (crude one) of the circuit internals so I can see if the board is indeed sending power to the light. Otherwise it might be a bad relay. I DO hear a "relay-typical" click noise when activating the light by the switch, which should mean the relay is working, though.

I hope it isn't the board as it seems I'd have to reprogram the unit which is something I don't really want to do....
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#4
Quote from Dr. J View Post :
Looking online it seems that the sockets "go bad" (although I can't fathom how such a simple device can suddenly "go bad") so I will check power @ the socket for sure, and I also have a wiring diagram (crude one) of the circuit internals so I can see if the board is indeed sending power to the light. Otherwise it might be a bad relay. I DO hear a "relay-typical" click noise when activating the light by the switch, which should mean the relay is working, though.

I hope it isn't the board as it seems I'd have to reprogram the unit which is something I don't really want to do....
The sockets in garage door openers "go bad" for two main reasons, compared to most devices, they're made of cheap plastic and people often over tighten light bulbs to the point where the spring contact looses it's spring.

Try screwing in a light bulb to outlet adapter and checking it with a multi-meter. It can be tricky to safely test the socket directly. Vibration from the opener is also a factor causing incandescent bulbs to burn out and bulbs to loosen. Some led and cfl bulbs physically don't work well in certain garage door openers.

A problem internal to the opener is certainly possible, but it doesn't sound like you really want to diagnose/fix that type of issue.

Simple fix: ignore it and install a motion sensor light switch. Add a Y adapter to existing lights and an extra cfl/led bulb. I always put garage door openers on surge protectors.
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#5
I forgot to turn a compressor off once and it blew the breaker to my garage, and I didn't have a key to get in. After a 12hr work shift, I was unable to gain entry to my house. Usually I leave a 2nd story window open, but for some reason they were all locked. I had to go back to work, steal a wire coat hanger, and with much patience while in the rain, pop the garage door from the opener track and manually raise the door. Since then I have left 2nd story windows open, hidden a key, and remembered to turn my compressor off.

Anyhow, I had the same problem with the light on my opener, except it would sometimes flicker when the opener was operating. Sometimes I could hit the opener and the light would come on. Then it finally stopped working. I got no voltage to the wires that fed the socket and couldn't figure out what the problem was. The opener has 2 lights, and one of them always works, so I gave up on troubleshooting it.

Months have gone by and now both lights are working consistently. I hate when problems that should be simple to solve remain elusive.
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#6
Quote from redpoint5 View Post :
I had to go back to work, steal a wire coat hanger, and with much patience while in the rain, pop the garage door from the opener track and manually raise the door.
You deserve some added rep for this :-)
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#7
I often keep a spare key and emergency $20 in my shoes under the insole. Any pop up sprinkler head also works well as a hide a key, just put a plug in the bottom. I've had to force my own way in a few times without actually breaking anything via windows with poor security or making a bump key on the laser cutter.

More surprisingly, I've had neighbors (or people claiming to be) ask to borrow tools to break into (or hot wire) their houses and cars 5 or 6 different times. The first time this happened, the guy was really persistent and I was in a hurry after seeing his drivers license and registration I let him borrow a few tools, which he more or less destroyed. At my parent's cabin, a neighbor who actually stole a bunch of tools from them about 10 years earlier (which she used in a string of about 30 burglaries, and seemed to have little memory of... drugs are bad m'kay) asked to borrow some tools to break in to her property.

Back to the topic of the garage door opener:
Relays can fail intermittently. If you're willing to take it apart you might be able to fix it, but for many people it probably isn't worth the time. Around me, wall outlets and ceiling outlets in garages are often on different circuits.
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#8
Quote from jkee View Post :
The sockets in garage door openers "go bad" for two main reasons, compared to most devices, they're made of cheap plastic and people often over tighten light bulbs to the point where the spring contact looses it's spring.

Try screwing in a light bulb to outlet adapter and checking it with a multi-meter. It can be tricky to safely test the socket directly. Vibration from the opener is also a factor causing incandescent bulbs to burn out and bulbs to loosen. Some led and cfl bulbs physically don't work well in certain garage door openers.

A problem internal to the opener is certainly possible, but it doesn't sound like you really want to diagnose/fix that type of issue.

Simple fix: ignore it and install a motion sensor light switch. Add a Y adapter to existing lights and an extra cfl/led bulb. I always put garage door openers on surge protectors.
My point was.... it's a physical piece with no movement. IT shouldn't just one day.... loosen contacts or something.

I dont use CFL or LED in the opener simply because it isn't on often enough - would probably kill a CFL in short order, and and LED is an expensive replacement for little benefit.

Would a PC battery backup have enough balls to act as a battery backup for a door opener?

Quote from jkee View Post :
I often keep a spare key and emergency $20 in my shoes under the insole. Any pop up sprinkler head also works well as a hide a key, just put a plug in the bottom. I've had to force my own way in a few times without actually breaking anything via windows with poor security or making a bump key on the laser cutter.

More surprisingly, I've had neighbors (or people claiming to be) ask to borrow tools to break into (or hot wire) their houses and cars 5 or 6 different times. The first time this happened, the guy was really persistent and I was in a hurry after seeing his drivers license and registration I let him borrow a few tools, which he more or less destroyed. At my parent's cabin, a neighbor who actually stole a bunch of tools from them about 10 years earlier (which she used in a string of about 30 burglaries, and seemed to have little memory of... drugs are bad m'kay) asked to borrow some tools to break in to her property.

Back to the topic of the garage door opener:
Relays can fail intermittently. If you're willing to take it apart you might be able to fix it, but for many people it probably isn't worth the time. Around me, wall outlets and ceiling outlets in garages are often on different circuits.
we have a back door into the garage and also a front door as entries... keys hidden in a couple places.
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Last edited by Dr. J January 19, 2016 at 03:13 PM

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#9
Quote from redpoint5 View Post :
I forgot to turn a compressor off once and it blew the breaker to my garage, and I didn't have a key to get in. After a 12hr work shift, I was unable to gain entry to my house. Usually I leave a 2nd story window open, but for some reason they were all locked. I had to go back to work, steal a wire coat hanger, and with much patience while in the rain, pop the garage door from the opener track and manually raise the door. Since then I have left 2nd story windows open, hidden a key, and remembered to turn my compressor off.

Anyhow, I had the same problem with the light on my opener, except it would sometimes flicker when the opener was operating. Sometimes I could hit the opener and the light would come on. Then it finally stopped working. I got no voltage to the wires that fed the socket and couldn't figure out what the problem was. The opener has 2 lights, and one of them always works, so I gave up on troubleshooting it.

Months have gone by and now both lights are working consistently. I hate when problems that should be simple to solve remain elusive.
Apparently some openers have a light for when the door activates and a second light for when the safety circuit (photo eye) is tripped. Troubleshooting for the 2 is different since the "switches" are different.


How the hell were you able to catch the track release without seeing it? It's pretty far away from any of the door's edges.////.....
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#10
Quote from Dr. J View Post :
My point was.... it's a physical piece with no movement. IT shouldn't just one day.... loosen contacts or something.

I dont use CFL or LED in the opener simply because it isn't on often enough - would probably kill a CFL in short order, and and LED is an expensive replacement for little benefit.

Would a PC battery backup have enough balls to act as a battery backup for a door opener?
The whole garage door opener shakes/vibrates quite a bit, add high temps, time, and people overtighening bulbs and the socket can fail. On some openers the light socket is connected with some simple pressure fit terminals that could come loose inside the opener. More likely, a fuse or relay is to blame. Personally I like using a small cfl or led bulb in the opener, they last a lot longer and cfls are $0.25 with subsidies, ge "bright stick" led bulbs can be $2-3 and fit most openers. I think the problem is more likely on the circuit board, not the socket. Hearing a click doesn't necessarily mean a relay is functioning correctly. Most chamberlain / craftsman openers flash the bulbs a different number of times to indicate different problems.

I would just focus on making the lights that are part of your building wiring work better, eg add a motion light switch.

regarding a UPS, motors can have a pretty big spike in current when they start that could be problematic. Also, most UPS are modified sine wave and don't play well with motors. So if you got one with a true sine wave inverter, it might work. However, you'd be better off just buying a new opener with a DC motor and built in battery backup when it's on sale (set a deal alert).
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Last edited by jkee January 20, 2016 at 10:29 AM
#11
Quote from Dr. J View Post :
we have a back door into the garage and also a front door as entries... keys hidden in a couple places.
Ditto!Smilie
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#12
This exactly has happened to me a few years ago. Started with a clicking sound as you're describing and ended up with the whole opener ceasing functioning. The internet suspected a failing relay. I just ended up replacing it with a belt drive genie that I caught on sale. Hope your experience is different from mine though!
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#13
It's not worth your time. Replace the opener.
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#14
Quote from Dr. J View Post :
How the hell were you able to catch the track release without seeing it? It's pretty far away from any of the door's edges.////.....
The much patience part was spending 45 minutes in the rain trying to catch the release.

I finally wised up, went to the side door that has a window, and used a flashlight to see how close my wire was getting to the catch. I'd bend the wire and insert it where I thought the catch should be, run around to the side window, and see what direction I needed to go.

If I had been in the rain a little longer, I'd have given up and spent the afternoon at the bar until my wife flew in that night. She had a key in her purse.
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#15
I would like to recommend a Key Safe [amazon.com] similar to this one.

Also based my my own fiasco write down the combination and put it in your walletnod You don't want to open the safe a month later and then realize you forgot the comboMad
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