Modern garages have garage door openers designed for convenience and safety. To adequately satisfy both roles, these garage door openers come with safety sensors that detect whether the doorway is clear and safe for it to close.
Ideally, the safety sensor will prevent the garage door from closing if it detects an object in the door’s path. This functionality is designed to protect your family and property by preventing the heavy door from shutting on them.
Unfortunately, a malfunction can cause this built-in safety and convenience feature to become irksome, like when the Garage Door Won’t Close Light Flashes 10 Times.
Stick around to learn why your Garage Door Won’t Close Light Flashes 10 Times and the potential troubleshooting tips.
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Why does the garage door opener blink ten times?
Your garage door opener blinking ten times while refusing to let the door close often indicates the safety sensors are likely defective or out of alignment. Damaged garage door sensor cables or blocked sensor eyes also cause the lights on the door opener motor unit to blink ten times.
While these are all possible causes of the garage door opener light blinking ten times, the clue is simply a starting point. You must know what to look for and how to look for it to troubleshoot and fix the problem correctly.
Garage door opener light flashes ten times: Causes and fixes
If your garage door refuses to close and the lights on the opener’s motor unit blink ten times, it typically means the unit has one of four main problems related to the safety sensors.
This section dissects all four problems and discusses the possible solutions for each. Overall, this discussion provides a detailed outline of how to troubleshoot the problem and fix your garage door opener problem.
Diagnosing your garage door sensor problem
Garage door openers have multiple ways of diagnosing their security sensor problems. Among these methods are the error codes from the opener’s circuit board.
Most garage door openers feature a troubleshooting LED light that flashes a specific number of times to indicate the cause of the problem.
The troubleshooting light is located at the back of the garage door opener’s motor unit. Once the failure occurs, the circuit board in this motor unit will send an error code in the form of a LED light blinking the number of times corresponding to the exact security sensor problem.
Understanding these error codes can help you pinpoint the cause of the problem preventing your garage door from closing. This is a handy way of determining why the garage door opener is blinking ten times with less hassle.
Error codes for older garage door opener units
If your garage door opener is an older chain drive model, you can expect to see one of the following error codes to tell you what problem is affecting your garage door opener.
- The LED light blinks once—this indicated disconnected security sensor wires.
- The LED light blinks twice—this happens when there are shorted sensor wires.
- The LED light blinks three times—this indicates slightly misaligned sensors.
However, if your garage door opener is a belt drive type or a newer chain drive model, the circuit board at the back of the motor unit will feature up and down arrows that flash in specific ways to display a corresponding error code.
Error codes for newer garage door opener units
Here is a list of error codes related to the sensors on these models.
- The up arrow blinks once, down arrow blinks once—the security sensor wires are disconnected, broken, or sensors are not installed.
- The up arrow blinks once; the down arrow blinks twice—the sensor wires are reversed or shorted.
- The up arrow blinks once, and the down arrow blinks four times—the sensors are out of alignment and require realignment, or something is blocking the sensors’ field of view.
- The up arrow blinks four times; the down arrow blinks six times—something temporarily obstructed the sensors, or the sensors are misaligned for a brief moment.
If your motor unit flashes its light ten times, the troubleshooting light at the back should send a code in the first or second category, depending on the model,
In any case, here is what to do when you see the various error codes:
- Check the cabling between your sensors and the motor unit for visible damage if you see one of the first two error codes,
- Realign or remove the obstruction if your garage door opener’s circuit board displays any of the last two error codes.
Here is an in-depth look at the various individual problems and how to resolve each of them.
Blocked safety sensors
Any garage door opener manufactured in 1993 or later has a pair of sensors installed at either side of the garage door.
These sensors operate by coordinating an infrared beam, detecting if an object is in the garage doorway.
One of the two sensors transmits the beam while the other receives it. If an object stands between the sensors, the receiving sensor will not get the transmitted beam, and the garage door will not close until the obstruction is removed.
Ideally, this is a built-in security feature intended to prevent the garage door from closing down on pets, property, or children—effectively preventing accidents or destruction of property.
Unfortunately, unintended blockage from a straying object in the garage door’s path will have the same effect, keeping the door from closing.
What to do
Check the doorway for any objects that might have moved too close to the door, including items or boxes inside the garage storage.
Remove any object blocking the sensor eyes, breaking the infrared beam between the sending and receiving garage door opener sensors.
Check the sensor eyes if you cannot see any object in the garage door’s path. Sometimes dirt buildup can accumulate on one or both the sensor eyes, blocking them. Clean away any buildup and try closing the door to see if the problem is gone.
Misaligned garage door safety sensors
If you do not see anything likely to be blocking the sensors, the problem with your garage door opener unit might be related to misaligned sensors.
It is possible to bump a sensor unit or tip it out of position when cleaning the garage. If misaligned sensors are culpable, the light on the receiving sensor will not be on.
Ideally, the sending sensor will have its light on to indicate that it is transmitting, but the receiving sensor will have its light off to indicate that it is not receiving the transmitted beam. This should be a quick indication of misalignment.
The indicator light on the transmitting sensor is yellow, and this should always be on. On the other hand, the receiving sensor has a green indicator light. This light will only be on if the sensor eyes are directly facing one another and unobstructed.
What to do
Check if the yellow light on one sensor is on, and then inspect the other sensor for a green light.
If the green light on the receiving sensor is off, realign the safety sensors until the green light comes on, and then try closing the door.
The flashing light should stop, and the door should close if you have corrected the alignment problem.
How to realign misaligned safety sensors
If the green light is off, follow these steps to realign the misaligned safety sensors.
Step 1. Use a measuring tape or ruler to measure the distance of the sensors from the ground. Each sensor should be six inches from the ground.
Step 2. If any sensor is more or less than six inches from the garage floor, it might be responsible for the misalignment. Target it for readjustment to correct the misalignment.
Step 3. Loosen the sensor’s wing nut using a wrench.
Step 4. Once loose, move the sensor up or down until the LED light stops flickering and stays on.
Step 5. Tighten the wing nut to secure the sensor in the right alignment position.
Step 6. Press the remote to test if the garage door closes properly.
Defective safety sensors
If both sensor lights are off, the problem could be related to damaged sensor wires or defective sensors. A quick way to determine which of the two is the cause of the flashing motor unit is to check the LED troubleshooting light on the unit’s circuit board for an error code.
Alternatively, test the safety sensors directly at the opener’s motor unit. This test is a quick way of determining whether a hidden break in the sensor cables or defective sensors is responsible for the malfunction.
How to test the sending sensor at the motor unit
- Remove the sending sensor from its bracket on the door rail. The sending sensor will have a yellow light distinguishing it from the receiving sensor.
- Cut the sensor wire or disconnect it approximately one foot from the sensor.
- Separate the two strands of the sensor wire and strip approximately half an inch of insulation from each end.
- Remove the sensor wire ends connected to the motor unit terminals and replace them with the one-foot-long strands remaining on the sensor. Connect the white sensor wire strand to the white terminal and the other end to the grey terminal.
- Check if the yellow light on the sensor turns on.
The yellow light turning on means the sensor is good. However, the sensor is defective if the light does not turn on.
If the yellow light does not turn on, meaning that the sending sensor is bad, go ahead and replace the sensors altogether. But if the light comes on to confirm the sensor is working well, go ahead and test the remaining sensor.
Testing the receiving sensor at the motor unit
- Remove the receiving sensor from its bracket on the door rail and cut the sensor cable approximately one foot from the sensor.
- Separate the two attached sensor cable strands and strip about half an inch of insulation from each strand’s end.
- Remove the sending sensor cables from their respective terminals in the motor unit.
- Attach the white strands on the sending and receiving sensors by twisting them together.
- Do the same with the white strands with black stripes to finish connecting identical cable strands on both sensors together.
- Connect the twisted end of the white wire strands to the motor unit’s white terminal. Next, connect the twisted end of the white strands with black stripes to the grey terminal.
- Hold the safety sensor eyes directly together and observe what happens. You want to see if the lights on both sensors turn on to confirm if they are sound.
If one or both safety sensor lights fail to turn on, you have a defective sensor or two. Replace them to fix the problem.
If both sensors’ lights turn on, test the door to see if it closes properly. If the door closes normally, the sensors are good—time to check the wiring.
Faulty sensor wiring
Once the test shows that your safety sensors are okay, the likely culprit is a break in the safety sensor wiring.
Replace the existing cables between the garage door and the motor unit to resolve the problem.
Once you have installed a new set of safety sensor cables, connect them to terminals on the motor unit and the safety sensors.
After that, reinstall the sensors to their respective door rail brackets on either side of the garage door and align them properly. You will know the alignment is complete when the lights on both sensors turn on.
A video demonstrating the possible causes and fixes to a garage door that won’t close but light blinks 10 times
How can you close the door when the opener does not work?
When the garage door opener does not work, pull the emergency release cord often in the ceiling and manually pull the garage door shut. This workaround should help you protect your home by keeping the garage door closed while the opener is out of commission.
You may not be able to prevent your garage door opener from developing a safety sensor-related problem. But that should not keep you from using your opener for its intended purpose.
If the garage door won’t close and the motor unit light flashes ten times, follow these troubleshooting tips to identify and fix the problem.
We hope this guide helps you get your garage door opener working properly in no time. Let us know if you have any questions or additions in the comments.