I have had issues with my garage door not wanting to close depending on the time of day. I have a a north facing garage door and depending on the time of year and time of day, the sun can shine on the door sensors and interfere with them.

The door sensors are the little sensors that are attached near the bottom of the door rails. They are a pair and point at each other. If anything is between the sensors, then it will block the garage door from closing. On my opener, the door won’t even try to close or if it was closing and something got between the sensors, it would go back up. The light on the garage door unit flashes three time until the issue is resolved.

One of my sensors.

Sunlight Issue

In my case, the sun will occasionally be shining right onto the one sensor at a low angle. This causes the sensor to get a false reading that an object is present between the two sensors.

Sometimes the simplest fix was to just use a cloth and clean the sensor. It would occasionally become dusty and the sunlight amplified the issue with it. However, this doesn’t fix it all the time.

On occasion I would have to stand a certain way so that I cast shade on the sensor and then trigger the door to close. Extremely annoying.

Shielding the Sensor

I ended up deciding to build something to shade the sensor from the sunlight. I found a few tutorials online that basically used the equivalent of pipe insulation or a pool noodle that was cut off and could slip of the sensor. My sensor isn’t mounted in a way that those would work however.

My Solution

Supplies

  • thin foam sheet
  • electrical tape
  • scissors

I went to the local dollar store and acquired thin foam sheets. These came in a pack of 50 for a couple dollars. Used for arts and crafts.

Taking one foam sheet, I cut it in a rectangular shape. Enough to bend it into a square tube to go around the sensor and long enough to cast enough shade depending on the angle of the sun I get in the morning. I used the electrical tape to tie it together.

Once I had my tube, I positioned it by my sensor to see what brackets were in the way. I marked off on the tube the sections I would like to cut out and then did so with the scissors. You can see in the screenshots what the final product looked like. Quite crude, but definitely works. I positioned it over the sensor and even used a bit of tape to fasten it to the garage floor and prevent accidental bumping or movement even from wind when the door is open.

Tube made from thin foam sheet cut to size.
Looking through tube.