My garage door opener works up, but not down

Morning folks,

I’m finally getting around to futzing with our new home’s garage door opener, which was advertised as non-functional when we bought the house. But it’s non-functional in a very unusual way: it will go up with no problems, but it doesn’t go down unless I hold down the button the entire way. Otherwise, if I just press-and-release, the door goes down maybe an inch and stops.

If I unlock the door from the track, I can lift it up and down with no problems at all. I adjusted the power dials on the opener itself, but it doesn’t seem to be a “power” issue; lifting the door’s harder than dropping it, right? And why would it work fine when I hold the button down?

Hmm…when I saw the thread title I immediately suspected something was wrong with your (assuming you have them) photocell “eyes” that prevent the door from going down if there is an obstacle breaking the beam of the photocell (like a child, a dog, a car, etc)…but…
You mentioning that it does in fact work when you “hold down” the button on the remote is strange. Perhaps there’s an issue of connectivity between your remote and the door’s remote sensor. I would at least check your failsafe eyes though, to ensure they work and that the lenses are clean.

Does the light bulb on the opener itself flash on and off when the door stops going down because you just pushed and released the button?

Sometimes it does, yes. Without a manual, I was led to believe this is the opener’s generic “Something’s Wrong!” signal. Does it mean something more specific?

Mine is doing the same thing. When I press down on the remote, I get a clicking in the motor unit, so I don’t think it is a transmitter/receiver issue. I have to get out of the car and hold down the button on the wall. Pressing up on the remote works with no problems.

I believe so. When my failsafe eyes are blocked, the door stops going down and the light bulb flashes on and of (I believe just a set number of times, not continuously).
What I would do is find your eyes, usually located towards the bottom of the door rail/frame on either side and block their signal beam with your hand while you hold down the remote button to fully close the door.
This will accomplish two things: it will ensure that your safety eyes are functioning properly (because they should stop the door from coming down regardless of how the button is pushed) and it will likely determine whether or not the eyes are the problem.
Have you put fresh batteries in the remote?
If it’s not batteries or the eyes (ensure that your photocell eyes have power, are aligned properly and have clean lenses), I suppose it’s possible that there could be something along the tracks inhibiting the door from closing properly(an object, a couple wheels that won’t turn?) that’s strong enough to cause the door’s safety mode to kick on.

I forgot to mention that when you’re blocking the eyes with your hand or leg and holding down the remote button to initiate the door closing, the door should stop closing.

Automatic door operators are just assists. They should not be expected to overcome a defective or improperly installed door. (I know-it seems obvious, but a customer told me she kept pushing the button after hearing the loud bang of a torsion spring fracturing, and killed the operator motor, too.)

With the operator disengaged, does the door balance in various points of open/closed? If the door wants to run open or closed, the spring(s) is/are improperly tensioned.

Next, look at the vertical tracks with respect to the door sides. Is the spacing even top to bottom on both sides? Sometimes, a structure will settle and the originally square opening isn’t, any more, resulting in the door impacting and dragging on a side track. Look at all of the panel rollers and pulleys. They can become loose, drop bearings, and bind.

I’ll check the rail alignments when I get home. I’d examined all the wheels and didn’t see any obvious problems.

The door will stay still in various positions (half open, 2/3 open) - I think it slides downward a little bit, though that should only help my cause, if anything.

Will also check my “eyes” but, like somebody said, if they detected an obstruction then the door should flat-out refuse to shut, right?

Correction to a couple people: I’m pushing the button on the wall, not the remote. Lemme know if that changes any of your answers.

This is almost certainly an electronics problem. There is a “latch” in the circuit that keeps the down motor on until the lower limit switch is tripped. Now, it may be the lower limit switch itself, but it’s more likely to be a relay or IC problem.

If your garage door stays up for more than 12 hours it may indicate a serious medical condition. Please contact a medical professional immediately.

Which leads to the obvious, cringe-inducing question: if that’s the case, is there anything to be done besides getting a new opener? Such a thing as DIY circuit replacement in these things?

First of all, can you do basic electronics troubleshooting? If not, call a garage door repair shop, they will come out and fix it for you. If yes, test the upper and lower limit switches, and see if their “state” makes sense (switches should be “open” when the door is between them). If no obvious problem, look for any problems with relays on the controller board. You can probably buy a brand-new controller board for $100 (or maybe get a used one for even less). There is no need to replace the entire unit.

Ah…I assumed you meant the remote. Does the remote produce the same result? If it does, then I would suspect an “eye” (or as beowulff called it, a lower limit switch, which is what it really is) issue.
But, if this only happens when you use the button on the wall, then reference beowulff’s post above once you exhaust all your other options that take only a little time to resolve, like checking the functionality of the limit switches, that the guide rails are free of obstructs/bockety guide wheels, etc. Then I would look towards an electrical issue.

If you have a multimeter you can check voltages on relays/switches. Most of these that I’ve ever dealt with use 24V power. Also I suppose there could be a fuse blown, although that seems unlikely given that the door still closes.
I haven’t ever done it, but you can remove the control box’s cover and check for loose connections/wiring there as well, even if you do not have a multimeter.

Assuming you’ve got the newer model Garage Door Opener and Closer does the motor engage at all when you want it to close? Other people, if you cover the obstruction sensor does your motor engage and then shut quickly off or does it not engage at all?

I see this possibility - No minus voltage for motor to go in reverse or defective relay not engaging reverse.

You need to purchase a garage door closer.


Two things stop the lower direction travel of an overhead door. One is the lower limit, and the other is an obstacle. Said obstacle can present as an optical blockage of a safety beam, or a physical resistance to downward force. These devices aren’t space shuttles. Having serviced many door operators, the control board is the least likely item to fail, in my experience.

When my garage door stopped working, I considered repairing it myself…briefly. My mechanical ability is severely limited but there is one thing I did learn in reading up on it: the spring has enough stored energy to kill you.

True, but IMHO, an obstacle would prevent the door from moving at all, and the OP says that the door moves with the switch held down.

From Genie.

bolding mine

If you google ‘garage door opener wont go down’, you get many links that seem to agree that holding the button down overrides the optical sensor.