My wall-mount garage door opener was pretty beat up when I moved in and has only gotten worse to the point the open/close button is cracked and is difficult to operate for my kids.

I would like to install a surface mount momentary switch for open/close functions as well as separate switch(es) for light control, and opener lockout (if it is necessary to have - otherwise omitted). How can I do this? I searched and haven't found details on how to do it yet, but suspect that it has to do with resistance value for each function. Would I just need to measure resistance changes as each switch is operated and put the corresponding value on the switch I want to replace?

I will run everything in conduit to the opener and safety sensors since I will be wiring the garage for new lighting and power circuits (separate conduit from low-voltage). I will also be installing a relay that will change state when the opener light circuit is turned on to power 1-2 shop lights instead of on-board lamps on the opener. The power for these will be fed from the sub panel with the lighting circuit on the opener causing the relay to open/close.

  • 2
    This is a bit of a hobby question as opposed to home improvement, but you should start by revising to mention what opener and control we're talking about.
    – isherwood
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 22:15
  • Where are you on this planet for that matter? Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 0:02
  • More information is needed. Model of opener? The information that the remote has multiple buttons suggests that it "may" be an electronic coded controller in which case a diy solution might be more hassle then it is worth. Best idea is order a replacement. Aside from that , take it apart and see if some crazy glue might repair the cracked buttons. Come to think of it, get another remote control and Velcro it to the wall.
    – user68386
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 22:30

2 Answers 2


You may be overthinking this.

For controlling the switched-with-door fluorescent/LED lights, the opener already has a sophisticated way to do that which works with the remote. Start at the opener itself. Screw a NEMA 1 to Edison adapter into the lamp socket. From there, 2-prong plug and cord up to metal conduit, where you either have an inlet or strain relief. From there, the conduit goes to each lamp location. You also run a ground wire to a viable grounding point since the source has no ground.

If you don't like that plan, consider the GE RR7 relay, which takes a 24V momentary pulse to throw the lights on or off. It is specifically made and listed for lighting. However if that is not the same voltage your garage door opener runs on, you will need more relays.

For the garage door opener buttons, contact the factory. Since garage door buttons are low voltage wiring, you are free to improvise. Also if you count your buttons and there are one more wires than buttons, it is not using resistance etc.


As you've noticed, the door opener works by shorting the doorbell wires, but the "commands" for "lockout" and "lights" work over the same 2 wires - somehow. It could be resistance, OR it could be encoded signals.

1st option: replace the wall unit. :-).

2nd Option: replace the wall unit with a single "momentary switch" (could be a garbage disposal type, or anything rated for at least 24v) HOWEVER this means you let go of the dream to control lockout and lights, since the momentary switch

If you REALLY want to externally control these opener features, then 3rd option:

  1. first obtain a replacement wall-mount door controller, unless you're 100% certain the circuit board is OK (and the issue is just broken plastic shell)
  2. remove the controller front panel
  3. Examine circuit board, note the metal contacts for each of the garage door buttons.
  4. With power off, solder 24 gauge extension wires to 2 of the button's circuit pads (there may be 4 pads, but you need one per "side" of button. Figure out if the flow is L-R or up-down).
  5. Wire these to external momentary switches
  6. Power on, test it ALL works without touching the factory panel anymore.
  7. (Yes, this is a TON of work)
  8. A microcontroller attached to the remote switches may provide additional smart control.

As for your "relay to turn on shop lights", that's complicated. Shop lights may draw too much power to actually plug into the opener's light socket (and even if not, may be inadvisable with regards to your insurance policy). But you may be able to plug something low voltage into that outlet, to act as a trigger switch (or Arduino) which then activates the shop lights..

Personally I'd just put an Alexa hub in there with voice controlled switches for the additional lights.

UPDATE: A "standalone garage door relay/controller" sounds like it might work. You'd disconnect the garage opener's radio/controller, and use this to manage the door. These radio relays can control more than one circuit and are under $80, some cheaper. They're used in DIY remote management, for example driveway gates. I don't want to drop specific product links, but I found more than one in a quick search.

  • Are you sure that shop lights would draw too much power for an opener that has sockets for 40-60W bulbs, especially in the age of LED? Commented Aug 11, 2020 at 23:12
  • @ThreePhaseEel - I'm not a sparky, but I wouldn't. Doesn't the NEC or UL prohibit chaining outlets and extensions? (Or maybe not "prohibit", I mean some other language invalidating applicable testing). If that's a gray area, an insurance company could deny a claim. You're probably right, a 50W shop light's no different (assuming it doesn't have an initial draw spike). If code's not an issue, it might be more robust to bypass the flimsy socket and hardwire the shop light directly inside the opener. Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 0:10
  • 1
    Cordage is explicitly permitted to be used to feed luminaires in 400.10 point 2; also, see 410.62 for details, and this isn't really "chaining" in the sense of "plugging an extension cord/portable power tap into another extension cord/portable power tap" Commented Aug 13, 2020 at 1:23

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