Only during summer and only when the sun is close to the horizon the light from the sun confuses my garage door opener and in order to close the door I have to hold down the wired button which is a real pain if I'm leaving.

A friend suggested I use toilet paper rolls (or maybe some PVC) to shield the sensor from the sun and direct the beam to the other sensor and that's a good idea but it'll mean I have to change how the sensors are mounted to the track and move them out a bit. Just moving them back might solve the problem (since they'll be blocked by the walls).

Any other suggestions? Is this a common problem?

  • Is it an IR sensor, or is it RF? Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 18:47
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    I believe he's talking about the safety sensor beam at the bottom of the door opening, which is always IR. Not the sensor that actually receives the remote open/close signal, which is always RF. Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 19:03
  • I have this problem as well, only it occurs when the sun is brightest, for the few hours around 1pm on the brightest days of summer.
    – Portman
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 19:10

8 Answers 8


You probably only have to shield the sensor just enough to put a shadow over it (and not let the sun hit it directly). I would think a small piece of cardboard taped to the side or top (or both) of the sensor that is getting hit with the sun should do it.

Another way would be to block the sun from outside of the garage by maybe planting a shrub (test it out by putting your garbage can in line to block the sun when it is low in the sky and see if it works).

  • 1
    My door has this issue, but even cleaning the glass on both sides after putting a solid cardboard piece in the way of direct sunlight so the sensor is always shaded, the door still won't shut when the sun is at a certain angle in the sky!
    – Michael
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 4:45

You could swap the emitter and detector units so that the emitter is on the sunlit side. It doesn't matter if the emitter is being blasted by sunlight; only the detector needs to be protected. Of course you might just be changing the time of day of your problem if the other side of the door is sunlit at a different time. :)

Don't forget to swap the wiring at the opener unit as well of course.

  • What's interesting is that it happens in the morning or evening at just the right time so I'm not sure the emitter/detector swap would help. That said, how can I tell which is which? They look the same. Can I just switch it at the opener itself? Just curious as it wouldn't help anyway.
    – tooshel
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 21:25
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    On mine anyway, the detector has a little LED light that goes either off or on (don't remember which) when the beam is blocked, and the emitter doesn't. You couldn't just switch wires at the opener, since the emitter & detector aren't the same hardware. Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 23:55
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    I purposely installed the emitter on the sunny side of mine to avoid this problem, yet I still get this once in a while. Either the installation instructions erroneously identified which is the emitter, or the glare off the emitter lens is enough to confuse the detector. Grrrr! Even more annoying is you can't just shade the device once it's confused, it's "blown out" some how, and takes many minutes before it recovers.
    – bcworkz
    Commented Nov 18, 2012 at 0:34

I had the same issue. I tried shading both the sensor and the emitter with card board and toilet paper rolls. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. Today it wouldn't cooperate at all. I even tried re-aiming the sensors. I was able to prove that it was the sun causing the issue by closing the door, disengaging the door from the opener, and activating the opener. It worked fine with the door closed. So....after giving it some thought..... I decided to find some glass cleaner. I cleaned the sensor and the emitter. After that it worked fine even in direct sunlight without any type of shading. Hope this idiot fix helps!!!!

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    This would be a more concise answer if you simply stated your solution, to clean the sensor and skipped the background story (basically says what the OP already said)
    – Steven
    Commented Nov 19, 2012 at 17:48
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    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I've been in an epic battle with these stupid sensors for the last few years and your simple fix - wipe them off - worked great! The sun can even be shining on them like you said and the door can still close. Genius!
    – trousyt
    Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 0:27

I used an old pair of polarized plastic safety sunglasses that were $6.00 new. I cut one lens off and slid it behind the sensor so that it covers the lens: no more sun problem stopping the beam so the door now works.

  • Just in time for this to drive me crazy again! I'll try that out.
    – tooshel
    Commented Jun 3, 2012 at 1:41

Placing a tube around the sensor/emitter might work, but it sounds like that would easily break if kicked or struck by something passing by.

Perhaps a polarized filter for a camera would be taped or somehow fixed to the unit.

alt text Amazon has this one for $11.99.

  • Now that's a good idea! $11.99 is a bit much but maybe I could make something out of some old sunglasses. Mmmmm..
    – tooshel
    Commented Jul 29, 2010 at 21:28
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    It might fit nicely on the end a toilet paper tube :)
    – Chris Noe
    Commented Jan 19, 2011 at 18:12
  • Tube sounds good to me, but I wouldn't be sure about the IR properties of the filer.
    – UpTheCreek
    Commented Jul 10, 2011 at 12:09

What a pain that must be. Could you raise or lower the sensors a few inches up or down to make it less inline with the sun? I agree with Jeff, all you need is just enough to make a shadow.

Really not much else you can do, other than disable the sensors which would obviously dangerous and not recommended.


I placed a semiclear plastic food service glove over the receiver has worked so far.


I placed a piece of black construction paper around the receiver. This helped me to solve the problem.

  • I used toilet paper tube on both sensors and it works great. Spray paint it black and it won't look silly anymore =o)
    – user15421
    Commented Oct 4, 2013 at 2:15

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