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Don't you just hate it when...

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  • Don't you just hate it when...

    ... Your gate doesn't survive a nearby lightning strike! :-(
    Looks like it fried the keypad, gate control board, remote receiver and something I haven't identified yet.
    And it is always discovered late on Friday when the fencing company has left for the weekend. Grrr...
    I have a service call in, but does anyone have a good technician-level reference for troubleshooting a Liftmaster sliding gate system (SL585)?

    What is your dreaded surprise?

  • #2
    Oh I am sorry to hear that. Wish I could help troubleshooting but hopefully someone can. Best of Luck.
    The future depends on what you do in the present.


    • #3
      Always late on Friday...


      • #4
        Now you have a gate wide open waiting for repair. Gates not working irk me to no end.
        "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"


        • #5
          You should be able to Google your unit and model number and be directed towards Chamberlain Group where you can download your unit specific manual for free(?).

          You can check a few items on your own - make sure the breaker that supplies the gate motor is 'on' and not tripped. It should be on a dedicated circuit. Since it is not running - turn it to 'off' and back to 'on' - sometimes they trip but look like they are still on. If you plan to do this and the weather is rainy or such - make sure the cover is back on the gate motor. Also, be careful if the breaker panel is outside and the weather is bad. If you have someone to keep an eye on you while you perform this - that would be the best.

          You might also check for any GFI's that may have tripped. They are the outlet's that have the 'test' and 'reset' button on them (like you find in bathroom's). Sometime's they have an outlet for power located near the gate motor. Usually, it would not affect the motor - but you never know how it was wired. You want to check if the 'reset' is pushed out - you can push it back in and it should reset the GFI. You can also push the 'test' to trip it and then push 'reset' to reset it. Just be careful if these are older outlets - the plastic breaks down and sometimes (rare) they do not reset - just so you know.

          There is a reset somewhere inside the motor/circuit board cover. There is usually a motor overload protection - usually a red or yellow button that can be pushed to reset the motor. There might be a small door on your unit that you can lift and flip a switch to 'reset' - wait a few minutes - and set back to 'normal'(?) for normal operation. There is also a small black (square?) on the circuit board - that should say 'reset' that you can push to try and reset that portion.

          If you do not feel comfortable with any of the above actions - then DO NOT ATTEMPT. Just wait for the service tech to show up - when he does - ask if you could shadow him for the repair (your workload allowing). He will do some very basic items to begin with to see if he can get the unit running - and you might pick up some easy fixes for future reference.

          Take pictures and if you have video of the lightning strike - pull it and copy to USB drive. Complete an incident report for your facility - just in case this ends up being an insurance claim.

          Hopefully this helps a little.


          • #6
            We had the same thing happen and it was a relatively easy fix. I don't know the proper names for the piece we replaced but I'll try to describe it.

            From the outlet to the control box there is a little black box that controls the current, that box was shot. It should have been putting out "X" current but was only putting out "A" current. Our guy purchased a new box but the new box had the wrong connector going into the control panel so he had to do some surgery to make it work


            • #7
              I have had that happen twice,. And, to make matters worse, the second time affected the computers in the office too. Had to get new keypads, new gate boards and two new computers.


              • #8
                ** UPDATE **
                Ok, just met the repair tech...

                Just wanted to thank everyone for their suggestions and to share some notes from this incident.

                Gate controller: Liftmaster SL585
                It looks like a nearby lightning strike entered the gate controller through the wireless remote receiver (850LM). The antenna is mounted to the controller case in a way that allowed a voltage spike to enter the receiver, fry it and then travel through it's wiring to the main board (fried) and out to the keypad (25ft away on driveway).
                They keypad still worked, but the relay that energizes when a valid code is entered was fried and stuck on. This state tries to keep the gate open.

                I replaced the gate controller board with a spare that I had on hand. I was able to verify that all other limits and switches (photo eyes, ground loops, etc) were working okay. After disconnecting the keypad and training the new board according to the directions, the gate would try to open but stop after about 1ft and give an error. It was as if one of the safety limits was being triggered.

                The solution: I curse Liftmaster for their poor instructions for replacing the board. You have to train the board to teach it how many RPMs it should expect with your motor. BUT, it tells you to to do it with the gate disengaged. My gate is large enough that the weight slowed the RPMs down enough to trigger the internal safety limits. It thought that something was interfering with the gate's movement so it stops. The repair tech engaged the gate and re-trained the new board to the RPMs under load. Fixed in 10 min! While I'm very happy not to have to shell out $$$ for more parts, I'm very disappointed that I spent about 7hrs trying to troubleshoot this easy fix!

                As for the keypad, I found out that mine can trigger 2 gates. I only have one. My temporary solution until I order a new board was to swap 2 wires and use the 2nd gate relay. This did require me to clear all of the gate codes and re-enter them for the 2nd gate. The upside is that it also removed any old codes that were still active in the keypad, but not my software.

                FYI - According to a Service Bulletin I found, Liftmaster does provide an isolation kit for correctly mounting the remote control antenna. It is a couple of washers that prevent it from contacting the grounded case. this possibly would have prevented my problems. You might want to check your setup!

                May your gate forever run smooth...



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