Are garage door sensors universal?

Garage door sensors represent one of the several essential safety features of any overhead garage door opener. Days are gone when manufacturers could choose whether to add them to their product or not.

In 1992, Safety Commission published their final rules for automatic garage door openers, and since then, manufacturers have been mandated by law to implement this critical safety mechanism. Sensors add an extra layer of protection for your guests, family members, and valuables inside your garage. And most don’t even know about their existence until their garage door won’t close and they think they need a garage door repair service.

Homeowners often go for a DIY garage door sensors replacement, ordering the parts online, but are garage door sensors universal? The quick answer is NO, garage door sensors aren’t universal, so read on to find out which sensors will work for you.

Like many mechanical or electronic parts in any vehicle, most of them aren’t interchangeable between different manufacturers. You can’t just buy a starter from Ford and expect it to fit or work properly on a Dodge vehicle. Same with most garage door openers. Sensors from Marantec won’t work on a Liftmaster opener and vice versa. However, as you probably know, some car manufacturers that operate under the same umbrella, like Chrysler and Dodge, KIA, and Hyundai, share many components between them. This is the case with the Chamberlain Group.

Interchangeable garage door sensors.

All garage door sensors produced by Chamberlain Group will work for all openers manufactured by the daughter companies.

Liftmaster, Chamberlain, Raynor, and Craftsman garage door openers will all work with a set of standard Chamberlain sensors. In some cases, you can even get away with installing Chamberlain sensors on a Linear opener, but that is a hit and miss. Some models will work fine with a foreign set of sensors, and some won’t. Therefore, hiring a professional garage door company is essential if you need your sensors replaced. Otherwise, do proper research before buying a set of sensors for your garage door opener unit to avoid returns and loss of time.

Are garage door sensors universal?

Will garage door work without sensors?

The answer is NO, at least not the way you expect it to work. Garage door sensors must “see” each other for your door to close safely. If the sensors are misaligned, the lens is dirty, or the wiring isn’t 100% sound, your garage door opener will refuse to close the door, as it will “think” something is in the way that blocks the sensor’s beam.


It can be frustrating for the homeowners who don’t like this feature for some reason. Maybe there’s not enough space on the sides of the garage to fit in a pair of sensors. Perhaps you want to be able to walk out of your garage while the door is closing. There is a workaround you can do, however, no garage door company or opener manufacturer will approve or recommend this.


Some homeowners simply tape the sensors together lens to lens and connect them to the opener unit. In that way, the opener “sees” no issue with the sensors’ alignment and closes the door as usual.
If for any reason you decide to do it, please understand that you are responsible for any damage or potential injury it might cause.

Can garage door sensors be bypassed?

The answer is Yes, you can bypass garage door sensors and close the door, and here’s how you do it. First, you need to be 100% sure your garage door won’t close because of the sensors and not any other issue.

So let’s see what are the reasons the garage door won’t close besides the alignment of the sensors.

  • One of the cables snapped, and the door comes down crooked. All garage door openers will feel excessive resistance on the way down and will reverse the door. Before blaming everything on your sensors, check if the cables are fine.
  • The cable fell off the drum. Sometimes one of the cables rolls off the drum and wraps around the torsion shaft, preventing your garage door from closing. In this case, forcing the door down by overriding safety sensors can cause serious damage.
  • Physical obstruction. See if there’s nothing that physically prevents the door from closing. We’ve seen things like brooms and shovels get stuck between the door and the track, causing the garage door to reverse and bounce up. Even a loose screw inside the vertical track can cause your door to reverse if one of the rollers hits it.

If you see that there is any kind of torsion cable problem, and that’s what prevents your garage door from closing, find a reputable garage door company in your area and get your cable professionally fixed

If you’re 100% sure there’s no cable issue and there’s no physical obstruction, all you need to do is press and hold the wall station button until your garage door goes all the way down. It overrides or bypasses your garage door sensors, and the door will close. However, this trick won’t work with your remotes. You need to be inside your garage and hold down the wall button in order to close the door by overriding the garage door sensors. Therefore this is only a temporary solution, and you will still need to get them fixed, either DIY or by a local garage door company. If you opt to go with a DIY solution, you might save some money, as this is a reasonably easy-to-fix problem. Let’s start from the basics.

Where are garage door sensors located?

If you’re trying to troubleshoot the garage door not closing issue, this will be an important question to ask. Garage door sensors are located at the bottom of the vertical tracks, one on each side of the door. Usually, they are mounted 10-15cm from the floor and look like a tiny black box with LED indicators. In order to start troubleshooting, you will need to understand which sensor sends the signal and which one receives it.

where are garage door sensors located

How to know which garage door sensor is the receiver?

Depending on the garage door opener manufacturer, sensors may have different LED indicators that will offer you an answer to this question. However, this technique will only work if the sensors are functional and the only issue is misalignment. For example, with Chamberlain, Liftmaster, Craftsman, and Sears openers, you will usually find one sensor with green and one with orange LED light. In this case, the sensor with the orange light sends the signal, while the one with the green light is the receiver sensor. With other brands, you might have a combination of red and green or green only LED lights. In this case, do the following. Get close to one of the sensors with an LED indicator on, and try to cover the lens with your hand. If the LED shuts off, this is a receiver sensor. If the LED stays on solid, this is a transmitter sensor.

which garage door sensor is a receiver

Why is the green sensor flashing or flickering?

If one of the sensors flickers, there’s a poor signal reception on this receiver sensor. There are typically three reasons for that.

  • Dirty lens on one or both sensors.
  • Sensors are not perfectly aligned.
  • Wiring issue with a poor connection.

First, clean both sensors. Then have a quick look and see if one of them is not facing sideways. It is easy to accidentally bump into one of them and get them out of alignment. If all looks fine, grab the receiver sensor and twist it gently towards the garage door while looking at the LED indicator. If the light changed from flickering to solid – there’s a good chance you just fixed your issue. If that didn’t help and the light still isn’t turning solid, inspect the wires and look for damage or poor connections. Finally, if nothing helps, this is the time to pick up the phone and call your local garage door repair company. They will be able to troubleshoot, repair or replace your garage door sensors if needed.