Why Does My Wall Opener Work But Not My Remote?

If your garage door remote is on the fritz, the first thing to do is test the wall button and keypad. If they aren’t working either, there’s likely a general problem with the opener system. However, if these devices are functioning, then you know that the problem is likely with the remote itself. Here are some of the potential reasons why your garage door remote isn’t working and some tips to help you fix the problem.

1. The batteries are dead

Sometimes a malfunctioning remote control simply needs new batteries. Try replacing them and see if that resolves the issue. Most newer remote controls take 3-volt lithium batteries. Depending on the type of remote you have, you may need to reprogram the remote control after replacing the batteries.

2. The lock feature has been activated

The wall button for your opener system may have a “lock” button. When it’s turned on, the opener no longer accepts signals from the remote control. Generally, a blinking LED light on the wall button indicates that the lock feature is activated. The feature can usually be turned off by pressing and holding the lock button. Check your user’s manual for more precise instructions about activating and deactivating the lock feature.


3. The remote needs to be reprogrammed

If a garage door remote is malfunctioning, sometimes reprogramming it can resolve the issue. It’s a bit like when a computer freezes up and needs to reboot. The method for reprogramming a remote depends on the model, and the process sometimes involves updating all remote controls and keypads used to operate your garage door system.

If you have a LiftMaster remote, the process for reprogramming remote controls and keypads is simple. First, locate the LEARN button on the opener unit and press and hold it until the LED turns off (it takes about six seconds). This will erase all previous codes. You can then proceed to reprogram each remote control and keypad. To reprogram the remote control, press and release the LEARN button on the opener unit, then press the button on the remote control within 30 seconds.

Reprogramming a Genie remote follows a similar procedure. First, erase previous codes by holding down the LEARN button on the opener unit for about 10 seconds (look for a small red or black circular button). To reprogram the remote, press and release the LEARN button then press the remote control button within 30 seconds. Wait a moment and then press the remote control button one more time.

If you have another brand of opener and remote control, check your user’s manual for reprogramming instructions.

4. The remote needs to be replaced

Sometimes a malfunctioning remote is damaged or brokens. If you’ve recently dropped your remote or if it’s at the end of its lifespan, you may be due for a new one. Fortunately, garage door remotes aren’t too pricey. Check your garage door user’s manual for product recommendations or purchase a universal remote.


5. There’s interference

Interference occurs when there are electronic appliances or devices in your garage or home emitting radio waves on the same frequency that your remote uses to communicate with the opener. Typically, interference issues don’t prevent your remote from working altogether, but instead markedly decrease its range. As a rule, a garage door remote should be able to open and close your garage door from at least six metres away. If your remote doesn’t work outside of this range, or works only intermittently, there may be interference.

One of the main causes of interference with garage door openers is LED lights, which can emit a strong enough electromagnetic signal to disrupt the radio waves sent by your remote. As it happens, many garage door openers have built-in LEDs that cause interference (this problem has only recently come to the industry’s attention). If you have an LED light in or near to your opener, consider replacing it. Genie has developed a high-efficiency LED light that doesn’t cause any radio interference.

If an LED light isn’t what’s causing the radio interference, there are tests you can perform to find the source. You can learn about these in our blog post about Troubleshooting Opener Remote Range and Interference Issues.


Your Garage Door Opener System Is Outdated

If you’ve tried all these troubleshooting steps and still haven’t been able to remedy the problem, there’s a good possibility that the issue is not with the remote but with the garage door opener system. It could be a wiring issue, such as a short circuit that has locked out the remote controls, or there could be an electrical malfunction in the opener unit. In any case, your best bet is to call in a garage door technician to perform an inspection and get to the root of the problem.

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