Garage Door Child Safety.com

Photo Eyes:
Biggest Pain For Garage Door Dealers

They present the single biggest issue for a garage door dealer.

Photo eyes are heavy maintenance and are the biggest single service issue related to garage door dealers at any level, a number of sources concede.

The reasons vary from things as simple as cobwebs, to a bump against a sensor. Dust from cleaning out the garage, or a bit of paint can easy skew the signal beams and cause the door to be inoperable.  And  sunlight on a sensor can be debilitating as well.

In an informal survey with installers and some builders, one company was able to identify 17 different problems customers have encountered with photo eyes.


A Florida boy was killed in a unique garage door accident involving an opener with photo eyes.

The young boy’s father, a contractor, put photo eyes on his garage door up towards the ceiling, in order to avoid the hassle that comes with many photo eye problems.  He could not have foreseen that in moving the sensors, the resulting loss of safety would claim his son.

John Murphy of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, who helped

initiate a more thorough investigation of the fatality, verified the account in an Oct. 15, 2008 conversation with Antone Clark of Martin Door Manufacturing.  There is another other fatality Murphy knows of personally involving a girl, killed when photo eyes were installed more than two feet off the floor, due to high concrete footings.

Proper installation of photo eyes is three to five inches off the floor, according to guidelines provided by Underwriters Laboratory (UL).

Dave Martin, chairman of Martin Door Manufacturing, has argued that installers often over adjust garage door openers on the home, to avoid potential callbacks, or in some extreme cases, even mitigate the potential safety aspects of such a system, by installing the photo eyes close together, up near to the ceiling, etc.

The issue of tampering with photo eyes becomes especially relevant given recent discussion in Congress earlier this year about a potential mandate for photo eyes, at the expense of contact technology, such as Martin Door’s UL-listed soft-touch reverse non-photo eye system.  The mandate was not ratified as part of a CPSC reform act enacted this year.Martin’s new soft-touch reverse technology system has no adjustments, and automatically adjusts itself to the weight resistance of each door.  The system reverses itself on 15 pounds of resistance in the down cycle and stops on 25 pounds of resistance in the up cycle.  It cannot be adjusted or defeated by installers or homeowners.

Photo Eyes Photo Eyes

A properly installed photo eye, as shown at left, is 3-5 inches off the floor as established by Underwriters Laboratory.  The photo eyes above shows a flagrant disregard for proper installation guidelines, and shows them installed above the door opener.

Martin Garage Door Soft-touch Reverse Technology

Briquel Haslam picks up her pink balloon after it  forced a Martin Garage Door to reverse, highlighting soft-touch reverse technology.  The technology cannot be adjusted or defeated by installers or homeowners

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