How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask David L. Your Own Question
David L.
David L., Handyman
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 140
Experience:  22 Years experience. Have taught nearly every project to homeowners in the past as well as having done them myself.
Type Your Home Improvement Question Here...
David L. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

how to reprogram an old Chamberlain garage door opener, prior

This answer was rated:

how to reprogram an old Chamberlain garage door opener, prior to 1995

Hello! I believe that people can fix nearly ANYTHING themselves with a little guidance! I'll help you, and you will pay only if you are satisfied.

Hi, David here!

To give you correct instructions I need the model number of the garage door opener. It is usually found on the motor housing either on the back of the motor or under the plastic light bulb cover. Sometimes it is found on the side of the unit. There is a model number on every single chamberlain garage door opener ever manufactured.

I'll give you here the instructions for a model 1000, and these will work for several other models as well. Please get back to me if it does not work, and give me the model number, and I'll give you the correct instructions for your model.

This type of instructions works for garage door openers with a smart button. The smart button is usually a green square button with a small L.E.D. light next to it, and it is near the force control knobs on the motor housing, The force control knobs are very small knobs that can be turned either with thumb and forefinger or by screwdriver.

1--Make sure the battery in the remote is fresh or that it works. Also make sure that the light bulb in the opener is fresh or that it works.
2--Locate the smart button.
3--Erase the old codes by pressing and holding the smart button until the indicator LED light goes out. Now no remote will work, so even if you have lost one you are secure.
4--Reprogram each remote using the following steps:

5--For each remote, press and hold the button that you use to open the door. Hold it.
6--While holding the button on the remote, press the smart button. As soon as the light bulb on the opener flashes, which should be almost immediate, then let go of the smart button, and quit pressing the remote button.

That remote will be reprogrammed.

Good luck, it is just that simple!


Please do not press "accept" unless I have helped you enough so that you would feel comfortable leaving positive feedback for me. Instead, please tell me why not. That said, when you are happy, please press "accept" so the site will pay me, and please leave feedback for me, it really helps me on the site. Bonuses of ANY amount are also greatly appreciated, but optional. More questions? Please continue to ask me about this issue either before or after you press "accept" and I'll stay with you!--Thanks!--David

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Somewhere I gave the modal # XXXXX It is a Chamberlin Lift Master. It does not have button. I also stated that the door opener was made before 1995. The Chamberlain compay will not give me information on the older modal. If it had a button than the Chamberlain would give me the information FREE. When I started this the amount was $7 and then grew to $24 and I still do not have the correct information.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Inaccurate answer.
Hello, David here.

I said I would stick with you, and I will, if that is what you want. I know from your post that you must be frustrated, but I have so far been able to get to the bottom of all of the garage door opener problems presented to me. Some have taken a bit longer than others. I obviously did not have the model number before.

If you want to continue with me, then I need for you to check some other things out. If you do not want to continue with me, then just let me know and I'll politely step aside, and you can speak with another expert or our customer service team for the site, who are not experts but deal with the financial end of it.

If you wish to continue with me, I need for you to check for some other numbers on the opener, and I need for you to look at the inside of the remote.

Please look at all 6 sides of the opener for additional letters or numbers. By all 6 sides I mean left, right, top, bottom, front, and back. The model number you gave me could be correct, but may not be. It might be a different number that is not the model number we need. I have a lot of information about some of the older models, and all of the 38 model numbers that I have that were used 1995 and prior are different than your information so far. If you want to solve the problem, I need you to look for the information. Even if it seems like a model for the motor or whatever, if there are letters or numbers on it write them down and tell me all of them.

I need to know if there are any model numbers of any kind on the remote itself, even inside the battery compartment. Please check that and write it down.

On the remote, if you open the little access door, you will find a battery, of course. Do you also see a series of tiny switches? Look to see if there is more than one access door as well. If you do see a series of tiny switches, then your opener is very old. It does not probably have some of the important safety features that new ones now do. You should replace it if that is the case, but if you still want to reprogram it then all you do is find, inside the motor housing by a circuit board, the same set of tiny switches, and you flip them on both the remote and the opener to make them match.

There are also some relatively inexpensive ways to change out the remote device so that a new remote will operate the door, but before we go down that path, are you trying to add remotes, or can someone else get in now, or did you lose a remote? In other words, why does it need reprogramming? If I know that I might be able to offer an inexpensive plan "b" if reprogramming fails.

Please let me know how you want to proceed, and if you do want to proceed with me, please get the information that I asked for.

Thank you,

Please do not press "accept" unless I have helped you enough so that you would feel comfortable leaving positive feedback for me. Instead, please tell me why not. That said, when you are happy, please press "accept" so the site will pay me, and please leave feedback for me, it really helps me on the site. Bonuses of ANY amount are also greatly appreciated, but optional. More questions? Please continue to ask me about this issue either before or after you press "accept" and I'll stay with you!--Thanks!--David
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Okey, on the ldft side of the box next to the light it says Volts 120, motor amp 4.5, H z 60, Hp 1/3, aux amp mex 1.0, serial # XXXXX modal 65474nc,system g6474nc. On the outside of the box it says Lift Master 1020c. The inside of the old remote control is the #14LG217C. It has 12 on and off switches. Next to the box with the lights is a small black box that is screwed on to the board. I have not unscrewed that box and looked into. I have already bought a Genie 912 that works for pre-1995 doors. I programed it to match the old remote, but have a feeling that I triped one or more of the switches on the old one when changing the battery. This garage door works very well and came with the house when I bought it in 2002. I hope that you can help me.
Yes, I can.

Before we go on, just to make sure, it is my understanding that the opener works with the wall switch, is that right? Only the remote does not work?

The model number we needed was the 1020c. The on/off switches are the way to reprogram if all you have is the old one. The old remote would have the same on/off switches, and you would make them match the switches in the opener, in whatever pattern you choose. The two should look exactly the same, such as

Example: opener pattern on, on, off, on, on, off etc, should match the remote pattern on, on, off, on, on, off.

You will need to hold the new remote up to the controls in the opener and make them match.

The model number of the door opener puts it at pre-1984, a very old survivor! The 1040 was made in 1984 for the first time, and the 1020 was prior.

The frequency of your replacement remote is 390mhz. Unfortunately the opener is too old to have information about it online, and my private stash of owner's manuals does not include it.

Can you see on the circuit board for the receiver any mention of a frequency? It might be on the remote as well (the old one). The remote (the old one) would need to be opened up to see if that is mentioned, or it could be on a sticker or nameplate on the outside. All radio devices generally have the small warning label telling of the power used and the frequency. I believe that the old one should be the same 390, but I do not have it in my hand to check.

If it does have the same frequency, and you make the switches match up, and it still does not work, then there are a couple of possibilities. First check batteries and electrical connections. Second try to flip the switches in reverse order so that it would match upside down. Third, you may have a defective remote for the new one.
If the remote is defective, or broken, you'll need a new one. One way to check this is if you have another remote that works, compare the two. If they match, and one does not work, and it has good batteries, then the non-working remote is bad, and needs replaced.

I know it is frustrating, but it really is a process to go through all of the possibilities. Most service people would stop at the age of the unit and immediately recommend replacement of the whole unit. You may be able to replace the remote for only about 20.00 if it the remote, so checking these things could save a bundle.

Good luck, and let me know how it went, and I'll stay with you until it is solved.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I have not succeded in fixing the new remote garage door opener yet. I am a 71 year old women who is working in a detached garage with the tempeture around frezzing. Yesterday I had to go out and get new batterys for my electric screw driver. By the time I got home I did not have time to finish the job. I am now waiting for the garage to warm up to 30 some degrees before I work at the problem again. David you keep telling me to do things that I have already done. Now I am trying to unscrew the black box that is attached to the wood next to the garage door opener. Since the old garage door works verry well except the remote. I am reltant to replace it. New items seem to break down faster than old ones. I will get back to you after I attack the little black box. Janet Brice
No problem, Janet!

I am impressed that you are tackling this project. Most people at 71 would not, especially the ladies. I think that it is great that you are willing. You must be tough! I do not think that you should just call the repair guys, if you are willing to keep at it. I believe that they would generally not want to fix it anyway, and you probably can install a new one yourself with a little help from a friend or neighbor, if it comes to that. The last one I installed was with a guy who had no experience at all, and I would rather have had you there. It is just easier when you have an extra pair of hands, and someone to hold the ladder. Just be careful if you are working by yourself, especially in isolated and cold areas. I would feel better about it if you did the repairs with a friend or neighbor or family member watching, though. I do not do these totally alone myself, just in case something happens like a fall off the ladder or a shock or a cut. I always have the homeowner or a helper or my son with me.

There is no hurry on my side. By all means, if this is not completely urgent then let's continue with the troubleshooting until it is solved! If we get to a point where you do not want to continue, you can always call a tech to fix it then.

If you have a portable heater, you might want to get it going out there and let it run for a few hours before going out again. It will take a good while for even a powerful heater to make a difference in a garage. If your garage wiring is sufficient (two circuits there), and you have or can borrow two portable heaters, then use two. Just unplug them before testing the opener or you might blow a fuse or trip a breaker when the opener motor finally comes on.

Let's take it step by step, and if I tell you to do something and you have done it, we'll move on to the next step. This is actually how repairmen do it, but they normally are not asking for instructions at each step, they just go on to the next one as they eliminate possible causes.

I am not at the computer 100 percent of the time, but I check in as often as I can, so I'll wait for your response before posting another answer for you.

Thanks for the response back, and take your time.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi! Well I attacked the black box and it is the problem. Every thing else works fine, so I am leaving it to the kids when they come on the 16th and have them rewire it. For future inquires, if the garage door opener is old, look for a box some where near the opener. That is where you reprogram the remote or program a new remote.

Thank you for your help.


Yes, sometimes the old openers have been retrofitted with the new controls. This is fairly common, and new controls like that are relatively inexpensive as these things go--around 60.00. If you want to buy a new receiver (the box) I can supply you with the site where you can get one.

In the meantime, have a great day, God bless, David
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Yes, please give me the address of where I can buy a new receiver if the kids can not get the old one to work.

Here is the site. You would purchase the unit, remove the old box, connect the 3 wires to the garage door opener, plug it in, and it is done. Pretty simple.

Good luck, thanks, David
David L. and other Home Improvement Specialists are ready to help you

Related Home Improvement Questions