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Terry Gaus  
the view from above  


Genie Garage Door Opener repair

When it was new, the convenience lights on your garage door opener would stay on for about 4 minutes after opening or closing the door, giving you enough time to safely enter your house.  Lately, however, you have noticed that the lights don't turn off automatically.  Further, when you attempt to control them with the wall-mounted pushbutton, you can hear a clicking noise but the lights stay on.

What has happened is that the miniature power relay has aged and is sticking in the "closed" position (lights on) even when it has been de-energized by the control circuit.  You might have also noticed that you can temporarily un-stick the relay by rapping the side of the opener with your knuckles.  This fix, however, is temporary, very inconvenient, and hard on the knuckles as well as the opener.

What are your options?  One solution is to simply remove the bulbs from the opener and use some other form of illumination for the garage.  While effective, it hardly addresses the root of the problem and defeats the very purpose of having the timed lights on the opener in the first place.

Should you attempt to fix your opener or simply replace it with a new unit?  If you are handy with tools and have a soldering iron, you can cost-effectively repair your old unit, allowing you to get more years of service for little out-of-pocket cost.  Also, forgoing the purchase of a new unit keeps your old unit out of the landfill.  Finally, the sense of accomplishment is personally very fulfilling!

Here is a 9-step list of instructions to effect this repair.  However, before you start, it is wise to have the replacement part in-hand.  This means that you'll have to do steps 1-2-3 and 7-8-9 at least once in advance to examine the circuit card and ensure that you purchase the proper part.  Tools required for disassembly include a long-shaft #1 Phillips head screwdriver and a 1/4" nutdriver.  You'll also need a low-wattage soldering iron and some solder wick to remove the old relay.  A bottle of Isopropyl alcohol and some cotton swabs will allow you to clean the residual flux off the circuit board after replacing the relay, resulting in a very professional look to your repair.

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Laying the Groundwork ...

These procedures describe the process I followed while repairing my Genie Excelerator Model ISD1000.  The faulty relay is located on the Motor Drive Board (one of two circuit boards inside the opener), and is/was supplied by Song-Chuan as their part number 801H-1A-C-24VDC.  This is a high power single-pole normally open miniature surge cube relay with a coil operating voltage of 24 volts dc.  Unfortunately, an exact replacement was difficult to find (on back-order by the supplier), so I elected to replace it with a part number 812H-1C-S-24VDC.  This is nearly identical to the original, except that it is a double-throw relay and has an extra pin on the bottom (the normally closed terminal) that must be cut off before soldering it to the circuit board in place of the original.

This part was less than $2 in single-unit quantities from Mouser Electronics ( in Mansfield, TX, and standard UPS shipping added another $5 to the cost.  It arrived in just a few days.

Step 1 - Kill the power to the unit

You definitely don't want to work on the opener while it is "hot", so make sure that you unplug it from the outlet or turn off the circuit breaker to the unit.  While you are at it, you might want to rig up a worklight so that you have a clear view of the "business end" of your opener.  Remember, unless you un-mount the unit from the ceiling of the garage, you will be working on the unit upside down, while on top of a ladder or step-stool.

Step 2 - Remove the light bezel

The frosted white bezel unsnaps from the electronics cover with two tabs located in the rear of the unit (on the side opposite the screw drive).  After releasing these tabs, swing the bezel downward to release it from the front mounts.  Place the bezel in a safe place away from your immediate work area.

Step 3 - Remove the electronics cover

The Electronics Cover contains the two light sockets and is attached with four machine screws, one in each corner of the cover.  Loosen all four screws two or three turns, then remove the two front screws (those located closest to the screw drive) completely.  The two rear screws should then be removed while supporting the Electronics Cover with one hand as the screws disengage from the chassis.  Genie has a very clever design that forms some hinge points between the cover and the chassis even when all the screws have been removed so that the Electronics Cover does not come crashing to the floor; still, you don't want to be surprised when that last screw releases.  I don't recommend totally removing the Electronics Cover; you can simply leave it dangling from the hinge points while you perform the rest of the steps described herein.

Step 4 - Remove the Motor Drive Board

The circuit board in question is one of two mounted under the Electronics Cover.  It is mounted vertically, perpendicular to the plane of the garage ceiling, while the other board (Board #2 - the Controller Board) is parallel to the ceiling.  It has two electrical connections (a cable connector and a flex-strip) and two screws that mechanically hold it in place.  Disconnect the flex-strip from Board #2 by grasping the strip and gently pulling directly downward; this flex-strip is soldered to the circuit board you are removing, so make sure you are pulling on the right part and in the right direction.  The cable connector pulls away from the pins mounted on the circuit board you are removing, and may require rocking the connector from side to side while you are pulling.

Once the electrical connections are free, you may then use your 1/4" nutdriver to remove the two screws that hold the heat sink / mounting bracket to the chassis and remove the circuit board after both screws are off.

Step 5 - Replace the Light Control Relay

The Light Control Relay is a black cube idenfied as K1 on the circuit board and is mounted at the edge of the circuit card near the connector to which the power wires were attached.  It should not be confused with the other two black cubes, which are similar relays (K2 and K3) mounted on the opposite edge of the card.  K1 is attached to the circuit card with four solder terminals.

Using your soldering iron and solder wick, remove the solder from each of the relay's wire terminals.  If you are successful, the relay will simply pull away from the chassis with a gentle tug.  If too much residual solder remains, you'll have to use an incremental approach to removing the relay which involves heating each terminal from below and gently pulling the relay away from the board from above.  After three or four trips around the terminals, the relay will have been distanced from the board enough so that it can be totally removed.  In any case, use your solder wick on the empty circuit board holes to ensure that they are free of solder and ready to accept the new replacement relay.

Remember that if you purchased the double-throw relay, it will have an extra wire terminal on the bottom that must be cut off.  Take extra care to ensure that you cut off the correct terminal, as it cannot be re-attached if you mess up this activity.  Solder the replacement relay onto the circuit card via the four wire terminals, and use the alcohol and cotton swabs to clean the solder flux off the circuit card.

Step 6 - Re-install the Motor Drive Board

Re-installing the circuit board onto the chassis is the reverse process to its removal.  Feed one of the mounting screws (the one closest to the center of the heat sink / mounting bracket) into the threaded hole in the chassis and turn it a few times.  Loosely thread the other mounting screw, and then ENSURE THAT THERE ARE NO WIRES TRAPPED UNDER THE BRACKET.  The white and black power wires naturally want to get piched under this bracket - this must be avoided at all costs.  Once you have ensured that there is nothing under the heat sink / mounting bracket, you can tighten the screws.

Re-attach the wiring harness to the power connector, and re-connect the flex-strip to circuit board #2.

Step 7 - Replace the Electronics Cover

Swing the Electronics Cover back up into position, and use your Phillips head screwdriver to insert one of the four machine screws into one of the two rear holes in the cover (the two holes furthest from the screw drive).  Once you get the threads to engage, loosely attach the other three machine screws before attempting to tighted any of them.

Step 8 - Replace the Lighting Bezel

Snap the lamp bezel in place, engaging the front two tabs first and locking the two rear tabs later.

Step 9 - Re-apply power

Re-energize the garage door and test the proper operation of the lamps using the button on the wall.  Then open and shut the door to ensure that that automatic function works as intended.  Remember that the speed of door travel will be significantly slower during the first few cycles after initial re-application of power.

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