clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Five neighbors' garage doors fall victim to wireless interference

New, 25 comments

Five neighbors on one cul-de-sac outside of St. Louis all had their garage door openers go haywire since Christmas. It looks like wireless interference is to blame, and the effected families have entered reports to the FCC to try and have the matter investigated.

Lifemaster Garage door opener (Flickr)
Lifemaster Garage door opener (Flickr)

It all started on a cul-de-sac not far from St. Louis, Missouri a couple of days after Christmas: five families' wireless garage door openers started acting screwy. Some would only work when the remote was pressed very close to the door, and others wouldn't open at all.

Four of the five affected homes were using Liftmaster garage door openers, and, eventually, the neighbors noticed that they were all having issues. The likely culprit? Wireless interference. Spectrum is a limited natural resource, and as we continue to use bands and fill them with more and more traffic, interference is going to occur. While it is rare for all five to have issues at the same time, the CTO of The Chamberlain Group (which owns Liftmaster) told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the company deals with outages of this size about a dozen times per year across the United States.

The affected neighbors took to action: they discussed their recent electronics purchases over a cup of coffee at a local Starbucks, and when they found out the only new item was an HDTV, they scoured the neighborhood looking for wireless troublemakers, to no avail. Now they've taken the investigation one step further: they have entered reports to the FCC, hoping the commission will figure out what is going on. The bad news for the neighbors is that they're going to have to replace their openers unless the troublesome wireless device is discovered, and one was told that a change to equipment that operates on a different frequency could cost $400.