What’s the frequency, um, Kenneth?

Last night, I pulled into my driveway and pressed my garage door clicker...nothing. Clicked again, as my next door neighbor watched from his driveway, appearing a little too amused at my frustration. Click, click, click...nada. Stepped out of the car and clicked again until my neighbor told me that it's not gonna work. His doesn't work and neither does the neighbors' across the street.

Get this...apparently, military bases have taken over the transmission frequency of some garage door openers. My neighbors saw Robert Mak (our local citizen-advocate-news-dude) on TV a while back explaining the problem. Here's an explanation via CBS news. My questions is how many frequencies are available? Could they have picked another frequency? Ooops, channeling Chandler there, sorry.

Any guesses how much new garage door openers are going to be going for? I know, I can pay to get my frequency changed, but many people will take this opportunity to replace the GDO instead of putting more money into an older one. And I probably need to replace my garage door anyway. It's going to cost me how much? And I didn't even have the pleasure of breaking it myself. Sheesh!

Comments (13)

  1. Jeff Parker says:

    Actually changing the frequency is not too difficult depending on the type of controller you have. Some allow you to do it with some simple dip switches. There would be Dip switches in the remote and in the opener itself you would need to change those both to be identical and that should fix you right up. Some have a chip that controls the frequency but usually it is just switches. That’s in case you come home with a brand new opener and you find out it opens your neighbors door.

    I found this out the hard way, when I was a young kid 6-7 or so I loved to take things apart. Well I got a hold of mom’s garage remote I had to fix it though, but later in life I also learned why and how this all worked when about 12 I got a remote control car, a real one not like one you buy at the local toy store. But this had a full manual on the different remotes so that way if you raced your car against others your frequencies wouldn’t cross.

    Now lets just hope you get this changed before you forget one day and come home and press the button and it launches a missile.

  2. Jeff Parker says:


    Here found this for you, picture on this page showing the dip switches, however it does state like I said the older ones used dip switches, most of the new ones use a chip. Still I would think this would be a fairly cheap fix.

  3. I kind of hope it starts launching missles. That would make your remote worth a lot of $$$.

  4. HeatherLeigh says:

    Jeff-thanks for the info…I’m not too technical, but Dip Switches makes me giggle wildly. Why is that? Anyway, I’ll check out the link. I’ve been known to geek out over DIY stuff so I guess it’s possible I could fix it myself. I’ll tell ya, there’s a great business there for someone!

    Mattwar-if I end up on some kind of government list because you said that, you are in big trouble (hee!). For the record, my garage remote is not for sale ; )

  5. Jeff Parker says:

    Well I could guess why "Dip" switches make you giggle. However, aren’t you surrounded by literally thousands of geeks like me. You could also ask one of them for a hand. Us geeks are known to work for a good home cooked meal or per one of our previous conversations a Cheeseburger Pizza, of course you would have to eat it too. http://blogs.msdn.com/heatherleigh/archive/2005/04/13/408005.aspx

    There would be Drawback to having a geek fix your garage door.

    1) We would figure out a way to make it nuclear powered. (It has to be really fast)

    2) We would set up wireless antenna to see if we could pick up the military signal (Its your house not ours, we just need a relay point)

    3) We would leave it with a .net logo or pocket pc logo or maybe even a Halo 2 logo painted on your garage door

  6. HeatherLeigh says:

    Jeff-no, I just see the tech folks (I still feel uncomfortable calling people geeks…it’s just me) in the cafeteria (which I probably eat in about once every 3 months). I’m surrounded by HR/recruiting/training people. But I’ve been located in buildings in the past full of “geeks”. It’s definitely a bit of a different sub-culture. Guess I am just geeky in a different way. Honestly, I have to say that I don’t know one well enough to invite them to my actual home ; ) Afterward, I’d probably have to do an algorithm to get the door open. ; )

  7. Jeff Parker says:

    Well, I am a geek and proud of it. Most of us know we are geeks, but like the old movie revenge of the nerds everyone is one in their own way. While I agree however we definitely are a different culture. Where I work our floor is split in half all the corporate IT and all the corporate HR/Recruiters. I am proud to say I have been to ever one of their houses for a home cooked meal, that’s my price anyway and me putting some time in on their techy needs. I even get invited to the HR parties or group get togethers. So to me it is nothing for me to think of someone in the office asking me for tech help. However they say I am dangerous to go out partying with. Oh the stories I can tell about our HR people when they get some alcohol in them.

  8. Barry Bond says:

    Before leaping to conclusions about the military, there are other sources of garage door opener "jamming" worth considering. I have first-hand experience with a car that had a malfunctioning distributor. While the car was running, neighbors several houses down were unable to use their garage doors or use key fobs to disable car alarms.

    A simple (but expensive) repair to the car solved the problem.

  9. HeatherLeigh says:

    Barry-don’t you think that the fact that it was on the local news makes it a little different than "leaping to conclusions"? I mean when someone credible tells you something is going to happen and then it happens, isn’t it reasonable to assume that it happened for the reason they said it would? Or should I call the closest military base to check? Yeah, like they want to have a chat with me about my garage door. Right ; )

  10. John says:

    …wow…what worries me is your use of a three letter acronym (TLA) to describe the garage door opener (GDO)…stop the insanity…LOL (laughing out loud)…john

  11. HeatherLeigh says:

    Glad you caught that, John…it’s nice to know that someone gets me ; )

    Seriously, a strategy to make people linger over your posts a bit longer as they figure out your TLAs? Not bad, huh?

  12. mortz says:

    Just went through this whole nightmare in Maryland, with a Genie Garage door opener.

    Starting in December of 2004, this was an intermittent problem, but since May 2005, it is continuous, with the opener not working at all, about 50% of the time. The other 50% of the time, you had to be within about 4 feet of the door, and press the remote 12-20 times.

    Bought the conversion kit from Genie (145.00), installed it and garage opener finally responded like it used to, for the first time in about 18 months.

    Two days later the screw broke on the Genie, and no one wanted to repair that "POS", as the repair people I talked to, called it.

    I am now the proud owner of a new, belt driven, 1/2 HP, Overhead Door garage door opener, that uses 410 frequency. Quieter than the old Genie, and works every time!

    It was 400.00, installed. Genie agreed to take back the conversion kit, so that was good.

    Genie and Craftsman continue to sell the same garage doors that they KNOW are a problem in large areas of the country. So, no use in replacing one bad Genie/Craftsman with another that will require a conversion kit to work.

    BTW, I don’t live within 50 miles of any military base – at least not one that’s on any map!

    Good luck to you all.

  13. HeatherLeigh says:

    Mortz-good shopping advice if I end up having to replace mine ; )

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