Sensor Edges: How Do They Work?

Sensor edges play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and smooth operation of garage door openers, automatic gates, and industrial machinery, preventing accidents or damage. They’re designed to detect obstacles and trigger the door to reverse or stop immediately. Understanding how they work and ensuring they’re replaced, repaired, and maintained properly is essential for optimal performance and safety. Here’s what you need to know about sensor edges.

garage door sensor maintenance

Understanding Sensor Edge Technology

A sensor edge consists of a flexible strip containing pressure-responsive sensors whose operation is based on the commonly used principle known as a Normally Open (NO) electrical configuration. Here’s how it works.

Two electrically conductive, flexible contact elements are housed within an outer covering and separated by a soft, perforated foam cushion. When the sensor edge is touched or compressed, the two elements come into contact, completing the electrical circuit and triggering a signal to the motor control unit. This signal prompts the control unit to stop or reverse the machinery motion, protecting people, vehicles, and property from harm.

Depending on the specific application, the sensors can be made of various materials, such as conductive rubber or air pressure tubes. They’re typically located horizontally along the bottom of a garage door or vertically along the closing edge of a sliding gate. On garage doors, the sensing edge often replaces the weather seal.

Sensor edges have been mandatory for garage door openers since the early 1990s, reducing the risk of accident and injury due to closing garage doors. Before this rule was established, garage doors could have mechanical methods like springs. These systems weren’t as reliable or precise as sensor edges, whose electronic sensors can keenly detect obstacles and instantly trigger a stop or reversal.

creative door technician performing maintenance and installation work in a residential garage

Sensor Edge Installation and Replacement

When it comes to installing or replacing sensor edges, following manufacturer guidelines and safety standards is crucial. The replacement process typically involves disconnecting the existing sensor edge or weather stripping, removing it from the mounting brackets, and installing the new one. Proper alignment and positioning are critical for effective obstacle detection. To ensure correct installation, contact a professional technician to handle the job.

Sensor Edges Repair and Maintenance

Over time, sensor edges are subject to wear and tear from environmental factors and mechanical stress. Conduct routine inspections and check for signs of damage, such as cuts, abrasions, or loose connections. If you notice any issues, call a professional garage door repair company to get the sensor edges working as soon as possible.

Additionally, you can conduct your own testing to ensure your sensor edges are operating correctly. Carry out these four simple steps to do a periodic safety check:

  1. With your door fully open, lay a piece of lumber flat on the floor where your door will touch down when it closes.
  2. Use the remote or keypad for your garage door opener to close your door.
  3. When your door strikes the wood, it should automatically stop and reverse.
  4. If your door doesn't reverse, schedule a service call with a certified technician. Avoid using the door until the problem is resolved.

Your ultimate safeguard against malfunctioning garage doors is regular professional maintenance. When you sign up for the Planned Maintenance Program from Creative Door Services™, a technician will keep a close eye on your garage door opener with pre-scheduled service calls. Regular maintenance catches issues early on before they develop into costly repairs and safety hazards.

using a remote to access home driveway

Other Garage Door Safety Features

Sensor edges are just one of several garage door safety features that you should incorporate into your garage door opening system. Other safety devices include:

  • Photo eyes. These tiny sensors use infrared beams to detect obstacles and stop and reverse the door.
  • Pinch-resistant panels. Add this feature to reduce your risk of hand and finger injuries.
  • Mechanical release. This rope makes it possible to open the door quickly in an emergency or during a power outage.

Garage Door Opener Installation, Maintenance, And Repairs Across Western Canada

At Creative Door Services™, safety is our top priority. Our experienced, qualified team is trained to keep everyone safe around garage doors. We provide installation, inspection, maintenance, and repairs for your garage doors. Visit us to view our unrivalled selection of garage door openers equipped with the latest safety features and technology.

Contact us today to talk to a garage door expert and request a quote. You can find us in Kelowna, British Columbia; Vancouver, British Columbia; Calgary, Alberta; Edmonton, Alberta; Fort McMurray, Alberta; Regina, Saskatchewan; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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