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HomeLink Analysis and Troubleshooting

Overview

HomeLink is the brand of universal garage opener system offered on many vehicles. HomeLink technology is basically identical to all brands and vehicles.  It has a maximum of 3 recording slots in the HomeLink hardware. If you need more slots, the only way is to add an external HomeLink system for another 3 slots.

Homelink logo

HomeLink only sends one “toggle” signal to the door opener. It has no knowledge of the current state open or closed – it just sends the signal “change door state”.

Compatibility

HomeLink is compatible with most garage openers, gates and a few other simple devices.  It can handle rolling codes commonly used in most openers made in the last 20+ years and handles a wide range of frequencies from 26 MHz to 868 MHz, depending on the country and module.  In North America the most common frequency is 433.92 MHz and the Tesla module handles 288 MHz to 434 MHz. Europe commonly uses 868.3 MHz

List of compatible openers in the UK/Europe

HomeLink is not supported in all countries. For example, HomeLink is not supported in Australia. Likely it has more to do with frequencies used and/or regulatory approvals needed in a country not supported.

Tesla Enhancements

Tesla has added a few clever enhancements:

  • Built in step-by-step instructions to setting up HomeLink shown on main display.
  • Each of the 3 slots can be labeled with a description, such as “Home”, “Gate”, “Work”, etc.
  • Buttons can be associated with a GPS location – to highlight the correct choice when nearby.
  • Auto-open – A specific slot signal can be automatically sent when you enter a GPS coordinate, such as arriving at your home.
  • Auto-close – A specific slot signal can be automatically sent when you leave a GPS coordinate, such as leaving your home.
Antenna Location

The HomeLink unit is behind the front facia a few inches to the passenger side (LHD cars).  The Tesla on-screen instructions will also describe the location for your vehicle. You’ll need to place your original opener remote near the HomeLink module during the learning process.

Troubleshooting

1. HomeLink has never worked

Replace the battery in the remote with a new one (even if your original remote works). Erase the setting in Tesla and reprogram it. Surprisingly, this often works.

For some openers you may need a compatibility bridge. From HomeLink: The HomeLink Compatibility Bridge Kit is designed to allow compatibility between a newer Chamberlain, Sears Craftsman, or LiftMaster garage door opener fitted with a yellow antenna wire and the HomeLink system in your vehicle. These garage door openers were manufactured in 2011 or later.

Liftmaster 855lm Chamberlain OEM HomeLink Compatibility Bridge

From Homelink: If your opener does not have a yellow antenna wire or is not one of the brands listed above, please consider purchasing a Universal Receiver to ensure compatibility.

Universal Dual Frequency Radio Conversion Kit for most Door Openers

2. Genie opener doesn’t work

New Genie openers have two modes, where the default “Green” mode doesn’t work with Homelink. To switch to “Red” mode that works with Homelink, press the learn button on the opener (mounted in the garage) and hold a button for 10 seconds until both red and green lights are lit, then quickly double tap the button. It should change to red. Proceed with the normal process of teaching the Tesla your remote and have the opener learn the Tesla signal.

3. Sommer Opener doesn’t work

The Sommer Direct Drive (blue buttons on the transmitter) and 310MHz Sommer (TX03-310 on the back of the transmitter) garage door openers are not compatible with HomeLink. Sommer has a fix available (extra cost). Contact Sommer support at 877-766-6607.  The issue is 310 MHz is non-standard whereas 315 Mhz is the industry standard. The fix is a new radio receiver that works at 315 MHz, where Homelink can also work.

4. Manual activation no longer works

a. If the physical remote that came with the opener works.  In the Tesla, erase the slot and relearn the remote. Don’t forget to have the opener relearn the newly saved HomeLink slot.

b. On some openers, they only have a small number of memory slots to learn remotes and vehicles. If this fills up it may not allow new ones, or old ones are dropped for new ones. Check your opener manual – there may be a way to clear all the slots and have it re-learn your remote and vehicles that have Homelink.

5. Only work sometimes

If you press the manual open and it requires multiple presses to get it to open, but it does open after 3 to 8 presses (with 5+ seconds pause between presses). The fix is to erase the recorded signal and start over. The rolling code has likely gotten out of sequence with the opener and the slot should be relearned from the remote and saved by the opener.

6. Opener range seems minimal or has reduced since using LED/CFL bulbs

Some bulbs interfere with the opener RF signal. Confirm the issue by removing the bulbs from the opener. If it starts working better, try a different bulb manufacturer. Your opener manufacturer may also have a list of bulbs that work with their opener.

7. Works closing the door, but not opening

A metal garage door may be reducing the signal or the opener antenna has an issue. Move the car close to the door and see if it works manually. If so, back up to see how far it still works.  If it only fails for auto-open, you may need to reset the GPS location closer the door.

See the next section “Opener Antenna Fixes” too.

See prior section on LED/CFL opening range reduction.

8. Opener Antenna Fixes for limited range issues

Most openers (but not all) have a 18 inch wire antenna. It should be positioned straight down. In rare cases, someone has cut off the antenna, not realizing what it is, greatly reducing the sensitivity. Some newer units no longer have this visible antenna.

If you have a metal garage door, you might try to add a wire to the antenna so that it reaches to above the door. Avoid routing the wire near metal or power lines. Thanks go to Pnajar for this fix.

9. Works opening the door but not reliable auto closing the door

Is there any chance you stopped the vehicle before the close signal was sent? As a safety measure, if you stop your car while backing out, but before the close-door signal is sent, the auto-close is terminated and you’ll have to manually tap the Homelink button to close the door.

Technical

This is a recent Homelink Module used in both the Model S and Model X. It is made by Gentex, and other than the label, looks identical to ones used in various Audi, Porsche and VW models.

module

It only uses three wires – two for 12v power, and one connected to the low-speed LIN data bus 2. Here’s an inside view:

Inside module

The FCC ID is NZLJCIBUSHL4.  The output transmitter power is specified as 47.5 uW. This FCC id was registered in 2014, so it is possible older cars use a slightly different design.

8 thoughts on “HomeLink Analysis and Troubleshooting

  1. Franck says:

    Hi,

    I am having trouble setting up homelink with my home garage. Basically when I hold down the button remote, my garage starts going up and down for about one second then stops (as opposed to just pressing the button without holding it down). When I program it into the Tesla Homelink, it does the same thing, i.e. it opens the garage for about one second then stops.

    Does anyone have any advice on this? My garage uses a Linear LD050.

    thanks!

    franck-

  2. milleron says:

    If I set my HomeLink for any distance greater than 30 ft., it starts to open the door, but after rising 6″, it stops. I then have to come to a complete stop, manually activate HomeLink to close it, then manually activate it to raise it.
    If set to 30 ft or less, it works properly, but, then I have to come to a complete stop to wait for the door to rise.
    Clearly, the door gets the signal outside of the 30-foot range, but why does it malfunction?
    The opener’s own remote works from any distance up to 70 feet.
    I’ve tried extending the antenna with 16g wire all the way to the front of the garage, but it makes no difference at all.

    • Moderator says:

      That’s really strange. If you turn off auto-open/close does the manual opening/closing work fine from various distances? If not, I suspect the Homelink recording of your door has two “presses” per activation. Not really sure if that is possible, but I’d start by erasing the homelink entry in your car and re-record your opener. I don’t think the antenna extension is necessary, but I doubt it hurts anything either.

  3. LighteningRod says:

    I had a defective HomeLink module replaced and notice the maximum distance setting was increased from 70 feet to 100 feet.

  4. Mchevrier says:

    Hi,
    I live in a condo and I do not need to close the garage door when I leave, the garage door system does it automatically. (MS85D December 2015)
    Before the last update everything was “ok”, not fine just ok. Comming in, it would sense when I was getting close to the door and would trigger. Often triggered too early, I had to come in maybe a little fast for it to open the door. Many manual interventions were necessary. When I was getting out from the garage it was ok. It would sense that I was getting close the exit and sent the signal.

    Now comes the update (or should I call it a downgrade)

    I was happy to see that the new version offered the distance feature. With it, it works a little better when coming in, but when I am going out it does not even show the green icon nor does it send a signal. I have to do it manualy, and then it works, from quite a distance should I add.

    Reading all the complaints about it, I guess that all I have to do is wait for the next firmware version. Unless someone found a workaround.
    Thankx,
    Michel

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