Automatic garage doors make our lives much easier. However, the automation of the door can be somewhat dangerous without a proper safety sensor that prevents the door from shutting when something is in the door’s way. Whether you’re curious or planning to install new sensors, you might be wondering “are garage door sensors universal?
Since most garage door sensors work the same way and do the same job, they’re often universal and interchangeable. However, you need to make sure that they’re truly compatible before installing one.
If you want to learn more about garage door sensors compatibility and how to install a new one on your door, keep on reading!
Are There Universal Garage Door Sensors
If by universal you mean that any garage door sensor will work with any garage door opener, then the answer is “depending on the brand and model”.
This is because not all of the garage sensors on the market are universal and compatible with other brands. However, that didn’t stop many third-party garage door sensors from being universal ones, or at least work with a lot of brands.
You see, “Universal” is a very loose term in marketing language despite having a very clear meaning in real life application.
For example, a universal TV remote may not work with all kinds of TVs but will still be dubbed as universal because it’s compatible with many.
This is the same case when it comes to universal garage door sensors on the market. They may not be compatible with every single garage door opener out there, but they’re designed to work with as many of them as possible.
This is why it’s extremely important to check the list of compatible garage door openers before buying any universal garage door sensor and making sure that your door opener is on that list.
For your convenience, here’s a list of the most popular garage door opener brands in the U.S. that most universal garage door sensors are compatible with:
- Chamberlain ®
- Marantec ®
- Lift Master ®
- Genie ®
- Overhead Door ®
- Challenger ®
- Stanley ®
- Wayne Dalton ®
- Craftsman ®
- Linear ®
Another thing you should keep in mind is the year model of your garage door opener. In some cases, universal garage door sensors might be only compatible with a brand model from a specific year up.
For example, Overhead Door models that were made prior to 1995 are not supported by many universal garage door sensors.
How Do Garage Door Sensors Work
The main reason why there are plenty of universal garage door sensors on the market is that they all serve the same purpose and will do the job in the same way as every other brand.
All these sensors were designed for safety and preventing any accidents that might be caused by the automatic shutting of the garage door.
Back in the day, automatic garage doors have caused a lot of car damages as well as injuries to pets and people.
Since the early 90s, these sensors became required by the law for safety, and they work in a pretty simple way.
Types of Garage Door Sensors
There are two types of garage door sensors: mechanical and photoelectric. Mechanical ones are the traditional ones that reverse the garage door movement when it comes in physical contact with an object.
These were quickly replaced by photoelectric ones, which use infrared lasers that are placed about 6 inches above the floor on either side of the door and are aligned so that they create an invisible tripwire.
If anything passes through these infrared beams, whether it’s a car tire, human, or animal, the door will stop automatically, reverse the closing mechanism, and return to its original position.
Can You Bypass a Working Garage Door Sensor
The only way to force the door to shut when the infrared beam is tripped is by pulling the emergency lever.
Do Garage Door Openers Come with Their Own Sensors
In the majority of cases, most garage door openers today come with their own sensors as a part of the entire garage door opener kit.
Once you’ve installed the garage door opener and sensor, you can replace the original set of sensors with ones from another brand, provided that they’re compatible and interchangeable with each other.
Such information is usually included in the instruction manual of the garage door opener, where all the interchangeable garage door sensor models and brands should be listed.
Are Garage Door Sensors from a Specific Brand Interchangeable with the Other
Although garage door sensors are more likely to be interchangeable with other brands than not, garage door openers themselves are not interchangeable in most cases, even if they use the same lifting mechanisms.
How to Install a Universal Garage Door Sensor
The process of connecting a garage door sensor is as easy as it gets. Here’s a quick guide with all the steps to get it done:
- Start by preparing the necessary items, such as the sensors, crimp wire nuts, gloves, wire cutter, and extra wire if necessary.
- Unplug the garage door opener and turn off the house circuit breaker for the garage door opener.
- Disconnect any previously installed sensors by removing the wing nut from the safety sensor, cutting off the connected wires with the wire cutter, and removing it from the bracket.
- Separate the control wires on the new sensor then attach them with the garage door opener wires in respective colors using the crimp wire nuts.
- Install the bracket on the garage door (if there wasn’t one already) and place the sensor inside. (about 6 inches above the ground).
- Secure the sensors with the wing nut, then repeat with the other sensor.
- Reconnect the garage door opener and turn on the house safety breakers.
- Align the sensors so that it steadily glows in green light (or as directed in the user manual).
With that said, you now know that most garage door sensors are interchangeable with third-party products on the market being universal, such as Digi-Code-Universal Sensors.
After installing your sensor, remember to test it out by blocking the beams with an opaque object, and closing the door with the remote. The door should stay open as long as the object is in the way. The lights on the door opener may blink in some models.