How Garage Door Openers Work?

How Garage Door Openers Work? Calgary Garage Door Fix

Garage door openers provide unmatched convenience and are essential for safe garage door operation. But how garage door openers work, and what’s so special about them? Overhead garage door openers have existed for many decades, and they went through dozens of improvements over the years. Now even an average garage door opener offers a range of safety features and some extra bells and whistles like the magnetic lock, security camera, and even Wi-Fi Connection. As with all electronics, the more complicated it is, the more chances for failure there are. Therefore garage door repair companies often have to deal with different garage door opener issues.

All basic garage door openers work on the same principle. First, the Receiver Logic Board gets an open signal from the remote or the control panel. Then the motor get’s the initial power boost from the capacitor, which puts the door in motion with nylon gears that rotate the sprocket. The sprocket rotates the chain, and when the garage door opens up to a preset height limit, the limit switch turns off the motor. This is the most basic explanation of how garage door openers work. Below we’ll get in more details…

What Are The Main Components Of A Garage Door Opener?

The garage door opener consists of 8 main components.

  1. Receiver Logic Board
  2. Travel Module
  3. Motor With Travel Module Assembly
  4. Capacitor (AC motors)
  5. Gear and Sproket Assembly
  6. Safety Sensors
  7. Remote
  8. Control Panel

Garage Door Opener Receiver Logic Board.

The logic board is the “brain” of your garage door opener. It plays an essential role in how garage door openers work. It has a receiver module that is responsible for remote operations and radio frequency setup. In addition, electronic travel limit adjustment is managed through the logic board, and even the Wi-Fi connection module lives in it. The logic board manages every aspect of your garage door opener operation. Therefore it is arguably the most critical component of any garage door opener. 

An issue with the logic board can completely disable your garage door opener.

Common Symptoms for Logic Board Failure.

  1. Remotes don’t work, or the range significantly decreased.
  2. Wi-Fi connection failures.
  3. Failure to stop the door at the set limits.
Garage Door Opener Receiver Logic Board

Garage Door Opener Travel Module.

The travel module is responsible for shutting off the motor at the programmed spot when the garage door is completely open or closed.
This module allows you to adjust how far your garage door travels up and down and save the set limits through the logic board. The easiest way to damage the travel module is by running the garage door with a broken spring. Your garage door opener will keep pushing the door down or up past the set limits when the module has failed completely. This will turn your opener unusable, and you will need to hire a garage door repair company to fix it for you.

Garage Door Opener Travel Module

Garage Door Opener Motor.

The garage door opener motor is the most durable internal component of the entire garage door opener. For that reason, most manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty for the motor itself. The garage door opener motor does the “heavy lifting.” It rotates gears and sprocket that actuate the chain and move the garage door up and down. However, an AC garage door motor needs an initial energy boost that comes from our next component- the capacitor. 


While garage door opener motor failures are very rare, the replacement parts are available on the manufacturer’s website. Make sure you pay attention to the exact model of the opener you need to repair, otherwise the replacement motor might not fit properly.

Garage Door Opener Motor With Travel Module

Garage Door Opener Capacitor.

Garage door openers that operate on AC motors require the use of a capacitor. It provides an initial boost to allow the motor to pull up a heavy garage door. The most common symptom of the capacitor failure is the inability of the opener to lift the door without your assistance. 


If your garage door springs aren’t broken, and the door is balanced, your opener should have no issues with raising the door. Otherwise, you might have a blown-up garage door opener capacitor. 

The best way to verify and repair this issue would be by hiring your local garage door repair company.  They should be able to diagnose and repair your garage door opener in no time. However, in some cases, if the garage door opener is pretty dated, there may be no suitable parts available for replacement. 

Garage Door Opener Capacitor

Gear and Sprocket Assembly.

Garage door gear and sprocket assembly transfer the motor’s motion to the chain. It can often get damaged if the door is used with a broken spring. Most garage door opener manufacturers use nylon gears, which can be stripped or broken if the garage door is extremely heavy. In addition, the garage door sprocket often falls off entirely after years of friction and too much tension on the chain. A replacement gear and sprocket assembly is available for most garage door openers. However, gear and sprocket replacement might not always be wise if the unit itself is pretty old. Having the whole garage door opener replaced might be a much better decision.

Garage Door Opener Gear And Sprocket

Garage Door Safety Sensors.

Garage door sensors should be located at the maximum height of 15cm from the floor on each side of your garage door. This will ensure your garage door won’t close on someone standing underneath or walking through it. If the been is interrupted and the receiver sensor doesn’t get the right signal, the logic board will not allow for your garage door to close. You can override this safety feature by pressing and holding the button on the wall control panel. As a garage door repair company, we often receive calls with complaints that the garage door won’t close, and in most cases, misaligned sensors are at fault.

Garage Door Opener Safety Sensors

Garage Door Opener Remote.

Clicker, opener, button, or garage door opener remote is a small device that signals your overhead garage door opener to open or close the door. The garage door remote should be paired with the opener and operate on the same set of frequencies. If your remote lost its range, check the battery and remove the LED lightbulbs that you might have inside your garage. Those often emit radio interferences that impact the remotes. Keep your remotes in a safe place and never leave them inside the vehicle. If your remote is lost or stolen, call your local garage door company and ask to reset the garage door opener. Otherwise, your lost remote may be used to steal your belongings.

Garage Door Opener Remote

Garage Door Opener Control Panel.

A control panel can either have the most basic functionality like opening and closing the door or have sophisticated electronics built into it. For example, some control panels come with a motion detector light switch, a screen to display error codes, and other functionalities. For example, some garage door openers have very sophisticated control panels, and if they fail, the whole opener stops working. In some cases, a failed control panel may cause your garage door to open up by itself, leaving your belongings completely exposed. There was a factory recall on LM 880 garage door opener panels and all homeowners were encouraged to replace their LM 880 wall control panels with LM 889 insted.

Garage Door Opener Control Panel

At Calgary Garage Door Fix, we strongly suggest hiring a professional garage door repair company if you need assistance with your garage door opener. However, we do realize that some homeowners may be interested in a DIY garage door opener repair guide.