At Neighborhood Garage Door Service of Houston, Texas, we sometimes get questions about garage door opener remotes not working properly. Sometimes this can be caused by radio frequency interference, or RFI.
What is Radio Frequency Interference?
All day, there are radio frequency transmissions whizzing around us. We don’t notice them because they’re outside our range of perception. We can’t see them or hear them, thankfully. Radio frequency interference occurs when two or more of these signals come into conflict with each other. Somewhere between the signal transmitter and receiver, multiple signals can interfere with each other.
Possible Sources of RFI
Sometimes radio frequency interference is the result of multiple RFI producing devices. Other times it can be the result of radio noise. Radio noise is the unintentional transmission of radio frequencies by electrical devices. Radio interference with your garage door can be caused by:
- Wall outlet transformers that might be used for security systems, sprinkler systems, and power tool chargers
- Cordless phones
- Clock radios
- Appliances close to the transmitter
- Wi-Fi routers
- Wireless doorbells
- Fluorescent or halogen lights
- Personal ham radios
- Desktop or laptop computers
- LED Christmas tree lights
- Poorly shielded electrical wiring in the home
- Circuit breaker boxes
- Automotive battery chargers
- Landscape timers for lights or sprinklers
- Motor homes
- Office equipment like fax machines or copiers
- Motion detectors
- Large facilities nearby utilizing radio such as airports, concert arenas, or military bases
- Ships traveling nearby
- Television or radio transmission towers
- Cell phone towers
- Power lines
Identifying Possible Radio Frequencies Interfering with Your Garage Door
With all these possible sources in mind, the first step is to identify the problem source of your RFI. Start with the easier to identify sources, particularly those closest to the garage door opener. Begin with basic trial and error by either removing or unplugging any devices you suspect are causing the radio interference.
Only remove one device at a time so you can isolate the cause. As you move to each new device, leave the previous one off or removed to help with the next possible. If this process reveals the cause, move to the next steps to fix the problem.
If this process does not reveal the problem, try this test. Look on the back of your garage door opener for the “learn” button. Locate the LED indicator nearby. This is found on most newer overhead doors. Push the learn button without pushing the button on your remote opener. If the LED light flickers, it means it is detecting a radio frequency. This means your problem is not with any of the devices you removed or unplugged.
If it doesn’t flicker, you know the problem is one of those devices. Reverse your earlier process, by reintroducing each device one by one and pressing the learn button. Once it flickers, the newest device is the source of the RFI.
Removing Radio Frequency Interference
Now that you’ve identified the source of the problem, it’s time to fix it. If you determined the problem is a device within your garage, consider moving it further from your receiver, or better yet, out of the garage altogether. If the source is outside your garage, you need to explore other options.
Adding RF shielding to wiring or circuit breakers near you garage door opener can help if wiring is the issue. Surge protectors can also help this problem. Try upgrading your remote control to a higher quality model with a narrower radio frequency band.
If the radio frequency interference source is outside your home completely, you can consider buying and installing an RFI filter. There are also coaxial antennae that can be installed away from the interference source and connected to the receiver via a heavily RF shielded coaxial cable. These antennae must be installed further from the RFI source, or the problem may worsen. Lastly, it may be time to purchase and install an entirely new garage door opener system.
As with all garage door installations, installation by a professional technician is always the best way to go. Garage Door Service of Houston, Texas can help you purchase and install the right remotes or opener systems for your needs. Don’t wait! Call our professionals today to get your repairs started.