Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Mysterious Door

     It wasn't so much the door that was mysterious.  It was the way it kept opening uncommanded.  About a month ago, the overhead garage door here at Roseholme Cottage kept opening itself for no reason.

     At first, I thought it must be old leaves, caught in spiderwebs, fluttering in front of the floor-level safety photocell that keeps the door from closing on objects, people and other critters.  I cleared out the corners and checked if breaking the beam would open the door when it was fully closed and in "lock" mode.  Nope.

     And yet it kept opening.  There's a green led in the middle of the big "open" switch on the hard-wired control panel, and it flickers in a particular way when you have the remote opener disabled.  I finally noticed that while it was indeed flickering, the speed of the flicker had become very different.  Odd.  There are three buttons on it, a great big one with a led to open and close the door, one to turn the lights in the opener on and off, and one to lock out the remote.

     Our control panel has been missing the cap on the lockout button for years.  When I bought the house, the previous owner warned me to "be careful with that panel.  They're fragile, and really expensive to replace."  So when the button popped off, too worn out to stick back on, I just used the tiny switch it had actuated -- carefully.  Maybe I had broken it?

     I went online, identified the make and model of our opener, and priced out a replacement control panel.  They were not expensive.  And they're connected with only two wires, to light up one led and perform three functions.  This seemed like something that could go wrong.  So I bought one.

     The thing showed up and I looked it over.  The parts count was very low: three momentary switches, two capacitors, one resistor, one light-emitting diode.  It kind of makes sense; I can think of a couple of ways to do what they're doing with those parts and there's probably an even simpler answer.  But whatever; I shut down the power,  took the old one off the wall (a bit tricky) and installed the new one.

     When I plugged the system back in, the led flickered the right way, the garage door opened on command, and after a week of careful watching and unplugging it when away or asleep, it hadn't randomly opened.  Weeks later, it still hasn't.  I'm hoping it's solved --but I'm going to go have a look before I click on "Publish."


Cop Car said...

Like beauty, expensiveness is in the eye of the beholder. Happy that you found a reasonably priced solution to your issue.

Robert said...

Good for you, doing the DIY fixit thing.

I grok "Waiting to hit publish".

Customer: Is it fixed?
Me: Yeah, for now.
Customer: ???
Me: See, all fixes are temporary as everything breaks eventually...
Customer: It's working now. Get out.
Me: Sign here.

ETA: Took me three (or was it four?) tries to prove I'm not a robot. I'm just a poor meat sack with insufficiently functioning sensors. WTH will we do when the AIs can pass the Captcha test?

Anonymous said...

"WTH will we do when the AIs can pass the Captcha test?"

Sometimes I think they already can, and do.