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Security and Your Garage Door Opener Remote

You’d be right to be concerned about security with your wireless garage door opener and remote. An intruder can gain access to your garage contents, or even your home if you don’t follow some simple security steps.

Different radio frequencies are used for communication between the remote and the opener. Tiny switches known as dip switches are used to adjust the frequency used between the two. It is a wise idea to reconfigure the dip switch settings to make sure your garage is more secure.

A dip switch is a small block of plastic about the size of a dice cut in half. They are usually coloured blue, red, or black with 8 to 10 tiny white switch levers positioned up or down. Only when the up / down switch patterns match on both devices will your garage door opener remote control be able to communicate with the opener unit. By adjusting the switch pattern, you are changing the radio frequency used to communicate between the two.

You should be able to easily locate the dip switch on the opener and on the remote control clicker. But to get access to the dip switch on the remote you might need to open it up if the dip switch isn’t found in the battery compartment. Remove the screws holding the remote together, or carefully pry it apart if there are no screws. Once you have access to the dip switch on the remote, scramble the switch positions, and then match the positions on the openers dip switch block. It does not matter what the pattern looks like, so long as it’s a random pattern that would be difficult for someone to guess.

If you have trouble getting the remote to work after doing this, verify that the dip switch patterns are the same on both units. Then check the remote battery is in good condition, and as usual, make sure the opener has power, and operates normally using the control panel inside your garage. You might have to read the manual if all else fails.

If you are thinking of getting a new garage door opener or have already gotten one, then you will want to change settings, just to make sure everyone is honest. Don’t forget, your installer or anyone working with him knows your frequency switch settings unless you change them. So go ahead and mix up the switch pattern settings and test that it works.

If you have a newer garage door that does not use a dip switch, you should still reset your remote. This can be done by The “Learn” button (see right) on your garage door opener, which is located above the antenna wire that hangs from the motor head, it may also be under a light cover. The “Learn” button will be green, red/orange, purple or yellow.

The “Learn” button has two functions. One is to program accessories to the opener, the other is the clear the memory of the opener. Clearing the memory on a unit will erase all of the accessories that are programmed to the opener.

Even if you are a do-it-yourself type, you’ll want to make the same changes. Don’t just stay with the factory default settings. If you did, then anyone could just drive down your street with a compatible remote until he finds a door that opens and gives access to a home. Make sure that’s not you.

This advice also applies to anyone buying or renting a new home too. Just like you might change the lock to guarantee there are no spare keys floating around that could compromise your home security. You have no way of knowing how many previous residence there might have been. And you wouldn’t want someone to just walk right into your garage or home. -DYH

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