Hot Topics: Garage Door Opener Mod

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Most of us have a garage door opener now. Back in the old days, you stopped in the driveway, got out of the car, opened the garage door, got back in the car, pulled into the garage, turned off the car and finally closed the garage door. But this is the 21st Century. Who has time for that? When the range of one reader’s remote dropped to just 10 feet, the members of the forum hit on a low-tech/high science solution.

Original Post: Increase My Garage Receiver’s Range?

bonoz Member

I currently have a complex scenario where my garage motor's receiver does not work. Instead, Chamberlain sent me a separate receiver that plugs into a power outlet and then connects to the garage opener. The small receiver also has a tiny antenna wire sticking out of it. It works well. The only problem is the range. I had to position the wire so that I can get the maximum range out of it. My question is: Is there a way to increase the range somehow by increasing the length of the wire or making certain changes to the receiver itself? Right now, I have to be in a range of 10 feet from the garage. This is okay but I would prefer just a bit more range.

Please advise. Thanks.

Highlights from the Thread:

Pilot Dane Group Moderator

I would not lengthen the wire. Properly done the antenna length should be a function of the frequency so lengthening it might actually shorten your range.

Below are some parabolic reflectors I made for my computer's wireless router. Granted the pink construction paper was not a wise color choice but it does work very well at extending the range in the direction it's pointed. You could make something similar and run your antennae wire through the center and aim it towards your driveway.

parabolic reflectors on wireless router

You can download the pattern here. Just print it out to whatever size you want, paste it to a sheet of construction paper. Turn the construction paper over and glue aluminum foil to the other side. Cut it out and assemble.

The instructions I linked are just a cheap & easy way to get something into that parabolic shape. Here is a link to a page showing the pattern of energy (gain) created by that silly little reflector.

Make one and play with it a while. It's a stupidly simple thing that really works. Hold your car's key fob at the focus and aim the reflector at your car and see how far away you can unlock the doors. And of course it can give a real boost to the range of your home's wifi network.

RickyEarl Member

Pilot Dane, thank you!!!!!

To Dane and all who suggested a parabola. Suddenly today my garage door opener stopped responding to the Homelink in both cars. Don't know why - maybe the 107F heat? Yesterday it worked fine from the end of the driveway. Now nothing even with the bumper touching the door.

Since we use Homelink, we haven't put a battery in the remote since we moved in last December - and it was dead. So we had to park in the front, go in, open the garage, then go back out and drive around back. Tested and Homelink worked fine once we were inside the garage. Not happy. 107F, remember?

After a ridiculously long google search I was getting ready to either by a $100 "logic board" or maybe spend $160 on a whole new opener.

Then, purely by chance, I clicked on this link. I had seen people do the parabola for their routers, so I spent 30 minutes with a manilla folder and some scissors (with which I am not good at all), and fashioned a parabola using the template Dane linked to. A little tape to hold it to the antenna (and a lot of frustration getting the tabs to fit in the slots), and now my Homelink works from THREE HOUSES AWAY!

I know the template was linked nearly a year ago so it's unlikely that Dane or anyone else still cares, but that post saved me at least $100.

So I literally joined the forum to post a thank you. Figured it was the very least I could do.

tpage Member

Foil is a winner

Pilot Dane’s miracle tinfoil project works well. Mine looks like a 3rd grader made it but it easily doubles or triples the effective range. Thanks for the help

Find out more parabola particulars, and how to move your antenna to a better location at: