Garage doors open, but mystery remains

By | September 4, 2009

Garage doors open but mystery remains

by Chris Sikich

The remote garage door openers began working this Saturday in Roudebush Farms — just as suddenly as they had stopped two weeks earlier.

The trouble started Aug. 15, a Saturday. When Rick Ingram came home from work that day, his remote control wouldn’t open the garage door.

At first, he didn’t think much of it. But he and his wife soon realized about 20 homeowners on and near his street in the still-developing Noblesville neighborhood had the same problem the same day.

Some keyless car door openers also stopped working.

Strangely, the hard-wired buttons within garages opened the doors just fine. Deepening the mystery, neighbors elsewhere in the neighborhood or in adjacent Roudebush Woods had no problems. Hundreds of homes are within the two subdivisions.

Corey Frost, vice president of Garage Doors of Indianapolis, suspects electrical interference along the same frequency used by most garage door openers: 300-433 megahertz.

“It’s rare, but it does happen. You run into a neighborhood once in a while, or isolated incidents.”

His company sometimes sends workers with signal locators to track down the problem for their customers. Sometimes, the culprit can be as simple as an alarm system or an electronic tool recharging in the garage.

It’s a problem that’s puzzled people across the country.

When keyless car door openers stopped working for a time in Portsmouth, Va., earlier this year, The Virginian-Pilot reported some suspected a radio signal. When remotes fizzled out in 2008 near Baltimore, The Baltimore Sun reported a new radio system at a nearby military facility was to blame.

Neighbors within Roudebush Farms called their own garage-door manufacturers, but no one came out to find the interference. They called Noblesville city offices, but no one there had any ideas. Over the two weeks, some folks tried ideas such as changing their remote batteries.

But no luck.

Intermittently, the remote controls would work. Most of the time, they would not.

Then this Saturday, the garage doors began opening again.

via Garage doors open, but mystery remains | IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star.

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