Garage Door Openers Stop Working On Entire Missouri Block

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP/KMOX) — It’s a puzzling phenomenon: On one street in St. Charles County, garage door openers have stopped working.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that no one knows what exactly is going on at Westhampton View Court. The garage door openers at all five homes on the court stopped working shortly after Christmas.

“It’s a weird, weird thing,” Joe Sullivan told the Post-Dispatch. “And the timing for it all to go haywire for everybody at the same time can’t be coincidence, right?”

Garage door companies say interference problems are common at individual homes — they blame what is known as “frequency pollution.” But experts say having the issue extend to multiple homes is just plain weird.

“There is so much radio frequency pollution now,” Butch Martin, owner of Martin Door Co., told the paper. “Everything is wireless, and the more wireless stuff we get, the bigger the problem is going to get.”

The Post-Dispatch reports that the Westhampton View Court residents filed complaints with the Federal Communications Commission over the issue. There is no word on how long it will take the FCC to conduct an investigation.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • electrical engineer

    “frequency pollution” is a lie. garage door openers use Pulse Amplitude Modulation and are required to have a wide input bandwidth so homeland secruity can jam them. Jamming ability is also required of cell phones.

    You can prevent this from happening by designing and putting a very narrowband filter on your openers antenna (typically around 315MHz).

    • RF eng

      EE here, thanks for the comment. The ignorant don’t understand and the NAY sayers are clueless. I design RF based products in the 434 MHz range and have had to deal with the same issue, although, I think you’ve uncovered a mystery as to why a whole block can be affected simultaneously by a federal security method.

      • kmrod

        the “mystery” is his tinfoil hat is too tight.

      • RF ENG 2

        All someone would have to do is to broadcast a signal that is 1) strong enough 2) broadband enough, and 3) near the center frequency of the garage door openers. This would compress the receivers front-end amplifiers and would not allow the garage door opener to work. Period. Someone in the center of the block with just enough know-how could easily transmit this type of signal into an omni-directional antenna that would shut down the entire block.

      • jerrykregle

        but it is possible to send out some kind of pulse that can disable semiconductors
        That Is why I prefer Tube Ham radio over carbon semiconductors

    • m jenn

      Check out Arvada, CO for recent similar occurence, KUSA.COM.
      It was a local interference with an antennae effect combined with large lightiung display hooked to same outlet as the opener. All homes in the neighbirhood had the same brand, builder installed.

      • Gaby

        Hello. I’ve added the cmoment reply feature to my blog. However, the issue I’m having is on my other pages that you can create through blogger, when the cmoment feature is set to enable for them and click on “reply” it brings up a “We’re sorry, but we were unable to complete your request.” message.By any chance could you tell me what I am doing wrong? I mean it’s working properly on the main blog page. But doesn’t work properly on the other pages, for example about me, and etc.Any help with this would be highly appreciated. Thank you!!

    • Jason Rahall

      The FCC only responds quickly if a nipple is shown on tv. I would claim the children will be traumatized by the openers not working.

      • Dana

        Take off the cover on the front part of you graage door opener. The part facing the door. There is a series of 10 to 12 switches. very small, they will be set in a certain order. Remove the back of your opener, sometimes the front. You’ll see the same number of switches. You need to set these so they match you switch series on the door opener itself. My dads had 12 switches. They are very small and you’ll need a ladder and good lighting helps. Hope this has helped you.

    • Ross

      Wouldn’t it be easier for Homeland security to just kick down a door or pick a lock? Garage doors open slowly and noisily so you lose the element of surprise if you break in that way and it takes a while. I like a good conspiracy and would love to see Homeland Security abolished but I don’t see any motive here.

      • tyrone

        Hey Nimrod, has it ever occurred to you that a garage door remote can be used to trigger an explosive device?

      • kmrod

        Beez, “While the “tinfoil hat” part is correct, the “wide input – harder to jam” part is not”……………. the wireless equipment we build would ignore the input that might tie it up. In other words, if all it takes is injecting junk in one part of the band to jam it up, the equipment sucked.

        EE, “wrong einstein”……… everything I said, from tinfoil hat on down, was correct.

      • electrical engineer

        No, as a matter of fact a local armed standoff proved my point. No one in the area could open their garage doors because as the cops were surrounding the armed assailant they jammed the doors.

      • Tom

        Tinfoil hat people are less and less crazy every day. I think it is most likely the result of solar flares, but why only a particular block in one place? Whatever it is, I do not trust the government reports and I am just stocking up for the eventual apocalypse all signs are pointing that way. Do you have everything you need to survive the apocalypse? I have everything on this list but I do not know if that will be enough?

      • beedogunami

        LOL, tyrone, you cant be serious. Do you live in fear 24/7??

      • Bob

        Chainsaw like fbi

      • kmrod

        No, as a matter of fact a local armed standoff proved my point. No one in the area could open their garage doors because as the cops were surrounding the armed assailant they jammed the doors.

        ………WHERE? Link to this or you’re a pathetic liar.

    • MrLawless Antipc

      The real problem is the what the government is hiding from everyone they know exactly why these garage doors are not working. People better get prepared for whats coming.

      • Mech Engineer

        Sad, sad monkey.
        Government can’t jam your garage door shut using radio.
        If my electric garage door opener stops working – for whatever reason, aliens, gubmmint spys, pranksters, etc. – I merely pull the release cord to raise or lower it MANUALLY.
        Geeeeze. How hard is that to figure out?



  • electrical engineer

    Another thing to look out for unless you put a filter on the opener is the new LED in home lighting. That stuff sprays all over the EM spectrum and will jam your garage door immediately until they’re turned off.

    • RF eng

      Yep you are right again.

    • Bill

      How did you learn all of this?

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  • jnsesq

    Good to know, EE, especially since I plan on replacing my annoying Chinese CFL bulbs (including the garage’s) with LEDs eventually. Thx.

    • electrical engineer

      I found that one out when a guy i know asked me to trouble shoot his garage door. I put a corcom filter on the lighting switch even took the opener off the same circuit and it still jammed which pointed to radiated emissions. Put an EM meter near the lights and viola !! found the problem.

    • Ereny

      rich nailed it, most lkleiy a problem with the door. springs do lose tension over time and need to be adjusted. disconnect the door from the opener. lift the door about half way up. at this point, the door should stay put or drift down VERY slowly. if it slams down, you need the springs to be adjusted. if you are in a cold climate, check the door for grease. grease freezes and gums up causing friction on the door and opener. use oil to lubricate rollers, pulleys (if you have them), and hinges. you can adjust the up sensitivity on the opener to force it to lift the door, but if you don’t correct any door problem, you will end up causing potentially irrepairable damage to the door or opener. to adjust the sensitivity on that model, i believe there are 2 knobs on the side or back of the opener, sometimes under the light cover. look for the antenna (a small black wire hanging down), the knobs will be above that. turn the knob labeled up clockwise. they are usually labeled 1 to 7 or 8. 1 is the lowest setting and will cause the opener to shut off at the slightest pressure. the highest number represents the highest amount of pressure the opener is capable of exerting. make adjustments in small a cautionary note, if you need to adjust spring tension and are unsure of how to do it, DON’T. find somebody who can or find the proper procedure. i personally know of 3 people who are no longer on this earth because they messed up while playing with springs. good luck and ask any more questions you have.

    • RocketMan

      Total BS. I replaced my lights in the garage door openers and ceiling lights 6 months ago with the CFL bulbs and it has no, zero, nada effect on the garage door opener, even if they are left on on the time. It is completely false to say it does! I am a nuclear engineer and I know some of these statements that are being made are just made up, make believe. Stop it!!! The leds will last much longer and is a better choise but the CFL bulbs WILL NOT cause a problem with your opener.

      • Chris, Kentucky

        I forgot a /she in there. Remind me why we went on a crusade against gendered terms. I was taught ‘he’ does not mean the subject is male, however ‘she’ is reserved for female use only. Instead of changing firemen to firepeople (man was originally short for human and did not mean the subject is implicitly male) they should have just taught kids that the terms ‘she’ ‘her’ and ‘woman’ were gendered and therefore sexist.

      • Chris, Kentucky

        electrical engineer said LED bulbs are the EM terrorists.
        jnsesq said he/she was thankful for EE’s information, as he/she will soon be replacing his/her CFL bulbs (which are annoying) with LED ones and now he/she knows he might need a filter.
        RocketMan is a nuclear engineer who either doesn’t know how to read or is having relationship problems.

      • RocketMan

        Sorry it’s choice not choise.

  • Mr Lawless

    Its solar flares, we are being bombarded by them… the gov isnt telling us the full story on it. they have a write up at our whole power grid could go.

  • Bruce

    Several years ago, there was a controversy in the door business. The frequency band that is used by the industry is a problem because the military has primary control over the band9even though they haven’t used it in decades), and they had a new communication system that they began to use between their bases. It was not necessarily a secure thing-just a closed radio system for the depots to use. It became an issue and was a problem for some time, but if memory serves, the military backed down due to the immense impact of millions of homeowners potentially complaining.

    • Bill

      You are Correct Sir!
      And that system was known as SGT YORK.

      Yours truly,
      IEW Elec. Eng. US Army 1986-1998

  • Mo Res

    The story doesn’t appear to be very well written. When they say the openers stopped working I assume they mean the machine that actually opens the garage door no longer would open the garage door. Not that the remote wasn’t able to trigger the garage door opener any more. There shouldn’t be any interference between the button on the wall the opener itself. If it is indeed the opener that no longer works and not just the remote interference then I am betting some thief shortly after Christmas tried out one of those illegal code senders and accidentally fried the boards for the whole block.

    • Dave Engineer

      So which is it, the control button inside the garage/residence won’t open the garage door or the remote control won’t open the garage door? I agree more facts are needed to make an intelligent decision.

      • RF eng

        The RF receiver is saturated “near” frequency radio interference at some transmission power level. I’ve been dealing with the same issue for a product I designed. Although there is minor rf pollution, this case describes a more intentional method of interference. I would not be surprised that there is a federal department with federal authority to be able to “block” public domain low power receivers such as garage door openers and in some cases, car doors using 315 ~ 434 MHZ range receivers.

  • Maobama

    There have been several instances of entire towns in England having things like this happen lately. Not just garage doors but anything wireless. TV remotes, radios, garage openers, etc…

  • denver bill

    Search all the basements on the block. ET’s in one of them.

  • Michael Gene

    LED lighting is subject to the same regs as anything thing else, we meet all EMI and EMC standards. Stop hating the cleanest and most efficient lighting source available today.

    • AA in VA

      Not all LED bulbs are the same. I installed a new one in a multi light fixture that already had one LED bulb and a CFL. I quickly found out that when the lights were on, my TV reception failed (over the air HD antenna). I moved the new LED bulb to the basement and the reception returned.

      If it matters, the 1st LED bulb that caused no interference was from Lowes. The 2nd (bad) bulb was from Home Depot.

      • electrical engineer

        The LED lighting in question I spoke of was the under the counter lighting that had a phase chopper for a dimmer. I didn’t mean to condemn all LED lighting. Although I would be highly surprised if they didn’t all use some sort of phase choppers in them.

  • GarageDOORGUY

    The problem here is related to RF interference. Somebody with in those five homes plugged in an electronic devise shortly after the holidays. The device is now emitting RF near 315MHz (most GDO manufacturers are in the 315MHz range right now) which is jamming the radio reciever on the garage door opener. The only solution is to find the RF source and stop it. If the RF source can not be found or eliminated the home owners will have to change the garage door opener reciever and transmitter frequency.

    • Joedrumma

      Could it be that a remote is stuck in the on position? This could be a pin pad or one built into a vehicle (some of the folks in the cul-de-sac are retired and I believe one person works from home, so the cars could be home most of the time, although I find this less likely). The range is linited to almost the exact range of a garage door transmiiter. Houses only a few hundred yards beyond the circle aren’t affected, which makes me think it’s a stuck pin pad – one of those units mounted to the outside of the garage on the front of the house, broadcasting into the circle.

    • Bob Riddell

      That is correct. Find a local Ham Radio Club that could assist in locating the source of the interference. The ham’s would most likely enjoy a good “Fox” hunt.

  • Red Cloud

    The Aliens are responible! lol

  • John

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can pull a cord on my opener to release the mechanism and pull the door up manually. Not sure what the point of jamming would be?

    • jerrykregle

      the problem is most people don’t know the answer to a doorbell
      let alone what the red chord is for in the garage

      • Bunky

        loved your comment!!

  • Tommy

    Interesting that someone brought up Homeland Security. It sounds like an absurd suggestion to most people, but that does not mean it is not possible. My first question would be why? What purpose would they have for doing it? Is it to keep people from opening their garage doors in an emergency? Maybe to avoid having a massive number of cars on the road at the same time in some sort of catastrophic event? Nah, people could just pull the red cord on garage doors and lift it themselves right. Those things are pretty easy to lift right.

    • kmrod

      “…but that does not mean it is not possible…” ………….. ahh, the mating cry of the conspiracy theorist.

      It also sounds absurd to say Kenyan elephant farts are causing a disruption in the local EM fields but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible!!

      • Skeptical

        What I think he’s saying, is “Yes, it would be possible for someone to build and deploy an RF jammer that blocks GDO frequencies, but why would they?”

        As noted in many of the postings above, it is possible to accidentally jam a GDO already, so obviously a purpose-built device would be possible. The better question would be “why”? Why build such a thing in the first place, when as noted you can easy open the garage door manually. And why would they leave it running for more than a month, if this started right after Christmas?

        I just had a thought. They do make jammers for this – they use them in Iraq and Afghanistan to defeat IEDs – look up “Warlock jammer”. Insurgents were using GDO’s as triggers for some of the IEDs. But that gets back to the question – why leave it running for month? We have means, but no motive.

        I’ve had to use the emergency release on the door before during a power outage, and it’s doable. Not so much fun when you have a busted spring -that happened as well.

    • James Bamford

      Here’s a potential scenario. You’re TSA and your are doing questionable surveillance of a target residence. The target drives a car with tinted windows and they always pull up and into the garage without ever opening the car doors. You don’t know who is inside and you want to be able to snap some photos and get some video of the target. Disabling the garage door is an easy way to force the target out into the open so you can get the data you need.

      • kmrod

        If someone doesn’t want to be seen that much then he’d call inside to have someone open the door.

        You conspiracy people read too much Robert Ludlum. HAHAHAHA

  • Matt

    Could this simply be some guy getting a cell phone, WiFi, etc. repeater/relay antenna for Christmas (i.e. problem started right after Christmas), installing it incorrectly (i.e. putting repeater/interior antenna too close to source/exterior antenna), creating a ton of oscillation in the RF spectrum? I know this is a frequent mistake made by consumers of such repeaters. It can be devistating to RF based products w/in a sizeable area.

  • Snitch-in-Time

    Garage Door Openers are RF systems with a transmitter in the car and a receiver near the opener motor. Last time I looked, they are FCC Part 15 Class B devices with the following requirement: “Must not interfer with licensed services and must accept interference from licensed serices.” Depending on the frequency used for the opener, these things could be interferred with by WiFi access points, or even baby monitors. It is also possible that there is a “mixing product” where two signals mix and happen to produce a signal the garage door opener’s receiver finds to be yummier than that produced by the sender. Now, before resigning people to the tin foil hat table, there have been numerous credible reports from main scream media sources of new military and emergency managment RF equipment interferring with garage door openers. These reports go back to 2004 and have been reported in diverse places in the US and Canada.

  • Ryan

    Yea, the apocalypse is coming haha better get prepared!

  • Chad S. Andrews

    We had something similar happen out here just before Christmas.

  • Jim

    I can see law enforcement having an interest and/or capability to jam. Wireless devices are frequently used to trigger IED’s. Seems unlikely the govt is involved with this particular story however.

  • Scott

    It’s probably some CB’er with a couple of KW’s workin’ the SKIP. Probably on Ch. 6!

  • See nano quadcopter robots swarm (video) - Page 2

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  • mike

    It’s called a jammer. My 14 year old neighbor makes them. Just shows you how lame the news today.

  • Rocky

    Let’s not complicate this fella’s. Did anyone have the thought that it might just be some wise a-holes that picked up a bootlegged jammer on the streets ?
    That market is in avery major city.
    They are very good to jam the obnoxious and phony cell users while you are having dinner in that expensive restaurant with your wife on your anneversary.
    I can’t wait to see what happens when the solar storms start to trickle down !

    • John

      If you have a typical ggarae door that rolls up a set of tracks, it won’t fall off. However, the door will be much heavier, and could be dangerous because the springs aren’t there to assist in holding it open, or slowing it down as it closes. It could slam shut. It will also put additional strain on your ggarae door opener (if you have one) and could break the carriage.

  • Tom Genin

    Lightning strike in area. Simple.

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