Programming the Garage Door Opener: Tips on How to Do It Right

When you come home, you expect your garage door to open and close just as it always has in the past. However, you might come home one evening and find that it’s simply not working. You click the remote and nothing happens. It has a new battery, so that’s not the problem. It’s something else. However, it’s not a problem with your door opener remote. Instead, something has gone wrong with the programming of the LiftMaster or Chamberlain garage door opener, and this means you need to reprogram it.

A garage by night, with 2 single garage doors. Their design is North Hatley LP, Their color is  Moka Brown, and they have 8 lite Orion windows

This is a lovely, comfortable-looking home. The garage doors are especially nice. They are North Hatley LP Design, in Moka Brown color with 8-lite Orion windows.

Reprogramming is probably not something you thought you would have to do with your garage door opener. However, here you are, and you want to know the easiest and safest way of getting it done. The tips below will help, but you need to ask yourself a very important question before you get started.

An image of man holding a "Be Aware" memo

Should You Reprogram the Garage Door Opener on Your Own?

Reprogramming the garage door opener needs to be exact. It’s not an area where you can afford to make mistakes. It’s better to make sure you are prepared and can handle the job. Otherwise, it’s best to work with a professional who can do the reprogramming of the LiftMaster Chamberlain garage door opener quickly and easily. Keep the following in mind.

  • If the adjustments you make are not correct, it could cause issues with the garage door’s safety reversal system.
  • If the garage door sticks, because of dirt or ice, for example, it could require too much force to close. This can also cause problems with the safety system.
  • If you have a door that sticks, and it’s an older model, you never want to use the force adjustments.
  • You have to test the safety reversal system after you’ve reprogrammed the garage door. Check to see that it’s working properly.
  • If you have tall vehicles, such as SUVs or lifted trucks, make sure that the door opens enough after reprogramming that it can get into and out of the garage.

The safety reversal system is not just a good idea—it is essential. This is especially true for those with pets and children. If the system is not working properly, there is a risk of injury or even death from a closing garage door. If you don’t have the skills to handle reprogramming the door and ensuring the safety system is working, you shouldn’t attempt to do it on your own. Get in touch with certified LiftMaster Chamberlain installers and technicians near you. A professional in your area can take care of it.

The garage door is large and heavy. It’s the biggest part of your house that moves, and because of these factors, it has the potential to be dangerous. After all, the springs are under a lot of tension. Motors can be complex, too, and if you don’t know how they work, it’s better to work with the professionals.

A picture of a certified LiftMaster Chamberlain installer reprogramming a garage door opener.

Here is a professional working on reprogramming the opener.

Programming the LiftMaster Chamberlain Garage Door Opener in 12 Steps

  1. This is an easy step. Close the garage door if it isn’t already, but don’t disengage it yet. The trolley should be near the garage door.

    A picture of a garage door opener trolley and emergency release cord

  2. Locate the adjustment buttons for the opener. The location varies depending on the make and model. The image below can help you find the buttons.

    A picture of different garage door opener models with the emplacement of their adjustment buttons

  3. Find the rectangular black button, press it and hold it. The UP arrow button will either beep or flash. You can set your opener in the Open Position.
  4. You will then press and hold the UP or DOWN arrows until the door is open all the way. This is the preferred UP position.
  5. Next, you press and release the rectangular black button again. The garage door opener knife will flash twice, and the DOWN arrow will flash. This means the OPEN position is now locked, so you can then move on and set the CLOSE Position.
  6. Press the DOWN arrow until the door is entirely closed.
  7. >Now, you once again press and release the black rectangular button, which lets the opener know that the garage door is in the DOWN position that you want. The opener lights will flash twice, and the up arrow will start to flash. This means that the DOWN position is locked. It’s time to set the force programming mode.
  8. Press the UP arrow and release it. When the door is in the UP position you programmed, the DOWN arrow will start to flash.
  9. Press the DOWN arrow and release it. The door will now move to the DOWN position you programmed. At this point, the basic programming is complete.

    Take Note of the Following:

    • In case the opener lights flash five times when trying to program the travel on a MyQ opener, it means that the programming timed out. You will need to start again.
    • When you see the opener lights flash 10 times during this process, it means that the safety reversal system sensors are not correctly aligned or that something is blocking them.
    • If that’s the case, align the sensors and remove anything that might be obstructing them. Perform an open/close cycle of the door. At this point, the programming should be finished.
    • Note the round, yellow button. This is only used for programming accessories. You do not use it when programming the opener travel.
  10. We’re almost there, but not quite. Whenever you make adjustments, you need to check the safety reversal system to be sure it’s working correctly. Read on and learn how US Inspect recommends to do it.
  11. Close the garage door using the remote, keypad, or smartphone with an obstruction in the way, such as a 2x4.
  12. The door must reverse when it hits the 2x4. If it doesn’t there’s a problem with the safety system.

Maybe It’s Better to Get a New Opener. If You Have an Old One, It Could Be the Best Decision.

Although no one likes the idea of spending more money if they don’t have to, you don’t want to take risks with your garage door opener. Older door openers don’t have the same tech that newer door openers have. There were some important innovations made in 1993 and 2012.

An image with the quote "Focus on facts, not fears".

Do you have a LiftMaster or Chamberlain door that was made before 1993? That’s essentially the stone age when it comes to garage doors and openers. You don’t want to try to reprogram something this old if it even has an opener. Instead, you must replace the garage door opener. Using it as it is will be a major safety risk.

It was in 1993 that all garage door openers manufactured in the US and Canada have been required to include two safety reversal systems. In the years leading up to ’93, there weren’t any safety requirements.

The Safety Mechanisms

  • The first system is mechanical. When the door touches an object that is in the way of it closing, it won’t continue trying to close. Instead, the motor will feel the resistance and will reverse, making the door go back up.
  • The second system is photoelectric. There are two units, an emitter and a received. The emitter is placed on one side of the garage door and shoots out an infrared beam to the receiver, which is located on the opposite side of the garage door. They are installed about six inches or so from the bottom of the door. If something breaks the beam, the door will reverse direction and open.

An image of 2 little girls breaking a garage door opener photo-cell safety beams, causing the garage door to stop closing and reversing its direction.

These little tykes are kept safe from the lowering garage door thanks to the garage door safety systems. You can see the photoelectric system located at the bottom of the door.

Still trying to figure out if you should get an upgrade. You can check out some added info on photocell safety beams and even check out the urban legend about planes opening garage doors. Just how true is it?

Just because you have a LiftMaster Chamberlain opener made after 1993 doesn’t mean you are out of the woods. You might still need to replace it. There was another important change that happened in 2012.

An image of The Security+2.0 label you should look for on your garage door opener

You will want to make sure your door has this label, which means you have rolling code technology on your garage door opener.

What was the big innovation in 2012? Rolling code technology, which was introduced in Security+2.0. It helps to keep your garage safer from incursion by thieves and other criminals. Each time you use the remote to open and close the garage door, the code changes. There are more than 100 billion potential codes, and your opener will only respond to new codes each time. This means that a remote control that has been stolen won’t be able to open the door.

So, When Was Your LiftMaster or Chamberlain Garage Door Opener Made?

An example of a garage door label and where it can be found on different garage door opener models

In the image, you can see models of LiftMaster and Chamberlain openers along with indicators of where to find the stickers.

Look for the sticker on your garage door opener. This sticker includes various types of information including your model and serial numbers. You will want to have this information when you contact your local garage door specialist.

You will also find the manufacturing date on the sticker. This lets you know the year your opener was made, so you can see what tech it has.

Maybe you have a Chamberlain, but not a LiftMaster opener. If that’s the case, use this FAQ.

What Do You Need to Know When Replacing the Garage Door Opener?

Below are a few of the things you’ll want to keep in mind when you are choosing a new garage door model. The type you choose will vary based on whether you have a high or low ceiling in the garage. Do you need to have storage space over the garage door? Does the design of your garage have windows over the door? All of these are important factors.

A picture of house with a garage door in the Vog Design, 9' x 8' size, Black Color, with the Left‑side Harmony window layout

Here is a Vog Design door with windows over it. In this case, a wall-mounted LiftMaster 8500W will be a good option. You can mount it on either side of the wall, and it has a remove and a 1500-lumen light that you can place anywhere in the garage. The extra light is always nice.

Do you have a bedroom or another room over the garage or near it?

A picture of a garage with bedrooms over it and a single garage door in the Prestige XL Design, Chocolate Walnut Color, with Pinhead windows

When you have a room over or near the garage door, you want the door to open and close as quietly as possible. You should stay away from chains and instead opt for a rubber belt opener. It will keep the sound to a minimum, so you don’t have to worry about being woken up late at night when the garage door opens. In the image above, you can see the Prestige XL Design, Chocolate Walnut color, with Pinhead windows, which has a room above the garage door.

You will want to check out these two rubber belt-driven models from LiftMaster.

A picture of the LiftMaster 87504-267 garage door opener, belt operation, with integrated camera and 2-way audio, Wifi, and a battery backup

The LiftMaster 87504-267

This is a popular option, and it serves as an update to the LiftMaster 8550. You will find that this garage door opener uses a belt system, and it even features a battery backup. Some of the other technological features with this garage door opener include two-way audio, the MyQ app, and a built-in camera. The camera is a great feature. When you operate the door on your electronic devices, like your smartphone, you SEE what happens in your garage. The audio system even lets you communicate with people in your garage.

Of course, you might not need to have this level of technology in your garage door opener. If that’s the case, you can choose the LiftMaster 84501. It is another rubber belt-driven model that operates quietly. Although it has the MyQ app, it does not have a battery backup.

An image of the  LiftMaster 84501 garage door opener

Speak with the Professionals About Your Garage Door and Openers

You still probably have quite a few questions when it comes to getting the right garage door opener and a new garage door. It’s not something that you have to do very often, so, naturally, you don’t have much context. This is a major investment, and you want to be sure that you get it right. Therefore, you need to get in touch with the pros.

The right door and opener can last for a long time. A great garage door will help to beautify your home’s exterior, and it could even help boost the value of your home if you sell. It’s time to contact the professionals about making your choices.

The pros at Car-Wal Garage Doors know overhead doors and garage door openers. It’s our job, as well as our passion. Let us share our experience with you. We can help you make the right choice that works for the look you desire, along with your budget.

Contact us at one of our 5 locations!

London: 519-685-9797

Mount Pleasant: 905-304-9700

Guelph: 519-821-4400

Goderich: 519-482-3251

Toronto: 647-492-4739

If you already know what you want, simply ask for a quotation by email.

Maybe you need some inspiration. We can help there, too.

Spend some time going through our residential photo gallery. You can even virtually try out some garage door colors and designs on your garage thanks to our amazing app, the Design Centre.

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