TL;DR? Is your garage door remote working intermittently? Did you recently switch the built-in lights to LED bulbs? That might be causing the problem…
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
Before LED lights were popular, my house had mostly CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) bulbs. One thing I liked about CFL bulbs was the warm-up time, they’d come on a little low and get brighter as they warmed up. This was especially welcome for any late night bathroom trips.
For the garage door opener, I did something different. I installed a “fancy” GE CFL bulb that had an instant-on feature. Here’s an example dual halogen/CFL setup. I don’t remember if my bulb was a hybrid, or if the ballast would just overdrive the bulb to achieve full brightness right away, then back down as the bulb warmed up. 💡
It worked OK, but I noticed my garage light wasn’t staying on for the couple minutes it was supposed to. Finally, in 2021, I got tired of 20 seconds of light in the garage and thought to change the bulb to see if my fancy one didn’t agree with with our Craftsman 3/4HP opener.
I went to Menards and got a couple of 100-watt equivalent LED bulbs. They looked great and the lights stayed on for the full timer.
The next day I noticed something. The garage door wouldn’t close using the keypad remote. Hmmm.. I had never changed the battery in it, so maybe that was it? It didn’t help.
Maybe I needed to put the opener into learning mode again to pair the keypad after I changed the battery? While I was re-programming the remote, things seemed a bit fussy. Finally I got it to pair. I went up to the opener and noticed the antenna was hanging down when it wasn’t previously. I moved the antenna and then things seemed to start working again. Was my antenna loose? Was I going to have to replace it? 🤔
Then I recall bumping into one of the door sensors while I was reorganizing the garage (which is when I decided to replace the bulbs). There were some cobwebs, so I cleaned them off and made sure the alignment was good.
In the past I’ve occasionally had problems with the door sensors when sunlight shines directly on one of the sensors which blinds it from seeing the actual signal. I thought maybe sunlight had something to do with it because the door always seemed to open, but not shut.
Brand Name LED Bulbs
My garage door opener had been functioning flawlessly for a decade – surely it was something I did. On a hunch I searched for “Garage Door LED Bulb Interference” and wound up at this article: https://blog.lightingsupply.com/blog/do-led-bulbs-interfere-with-garage-door-openers
Was it that simple? Was radio interference causing my issue? The antenna is right next to the bulb. I unscrewed the one bulb near the antenna – just enough to turn it off. And then everything worked. 💪
For the record I originally was using these FEIT Electric 100W bulbs:
I wanted a working garage door opener and working garage door lights. So I went back to the store and bought a set of General Electric 100W LED bulbs:
These work – I can open the garage and close it! The lights stay on for the prescribed amount of time. Even though both brands of bulbs have the same FCC messaging on the box, in this case it paid to go with the bigger brand name.
Weird to think that this was the cause the whole time – it was hard to wrap my brain around it. The garage would open because at that time the lights are off. When the door opens the lights stay on for a couple minutes and come on again if the door sensor is tripped. When the lights were on, there was enough radio interference (right next to the receiver antenna) to block the signal.