How To Program Garage Door Remote Controls

It is important that you know how to program garage door remote controls if you ever need to replace one. Chamberlain, Liftmaster and Sears Craftsman brands are among the most popular types of garage door openers. These brands use a “smart button” or “learn button system of programming. These operators have a color coded learn button corresponding to the frequency of remote needed.

Before buying or programming a garage door remote control you will first need to find your program or learn button. These buttons are made in a variety of colors. All learn buttons are found on the side of the motor or possibly under a light cover. You may need a step ladder to find these buttons at eye level.  Learn buttons are usually square and about the size of a thumbnail. Identify the color and location of your learn button as you will need it to purchase or program remote controls.

Purple Button 315 mhz

Most garage door openers purchased from 2003 to 2011 will have purple colored smart buttons. This corresponds to 315 mhz frequency and a specific types of remote control models (371LM, 371 AC, 373p, 895 MAX, 375LM). Purple learn buttons are the most common colored buttons on the market. Any opener installed over the last 10 years will likely be 315 mhz and have a purple button. These openers have rolling code technology where a new code is automatically issued with every use to prevent unauthorized entry.

Red/Orange Button 390 mhz

Garage door openers installed from the year 1997 to 2002 usually have red colored learn buttons. This corresponds to 390 mhz frequency and uses specific types of remote control models (971LM, 971AC, 895MAX, 375LM). Red learn buttons are the second most common color of learn buttons. Any opener installed before 2003 will likely use 390 mhz frequency and a red smart button. These openers have rolling code technology where a new code is automatically issued with every use to prevent unauthorized entry.

Green  Button 390 mhz

Found on many old garage door openers, green learn buttons also use 390 mhz frequency. These operators are fairly rare and use a specific remote control (81LM). These machines were commonly installed from1993-1996. It is recommended that these machines be replaced instead of repaired as controls can be difficult to find.

How to Program Garage Door Remote Controls

  1. Press and release the “learn button” on your garage door opener. It is important that you DO NOT hold the button down as this will erase all memory. After pressing the smart button your glow light should turn on for about 30 seconds.
  2. Within 30 seconds press whatever button on your remote control that you would like to use. You may need to press the button a few times for it to accept the remote.
  3. You should here two clicks or see two light flashes if the remote has been successfully programmed. If nothing happened, test your remote control to see if your door moves up or down. Repeat these steps for each machine you would like programmed to your remote.


If your learn button doesn’t match up to any of the colors described above you may need to consult your nearest Chamberlain, Liftmaster or Sears Craftsman dealer. Take a picture of your learn button and consult a professional door technician. Black and yellow smart buttons are commonly found on Genie and Overhead brand garage door openers. If you have followed these steps and cannot get your remote to program make sure your remote control has fresh batteries and is working. Lastly, consider replacing your circuit board if remotes will not link to your machine.

Garage Door Guide Cal
Hello, I’m Cal – owner of Garage Door Guide LLC    

I write tutorials about garage door repair, installation and maintenance. With over a decade of experience in the overhead door industry I’ve learned a lot and I’d like to share my knowledge with you.

19 thoughts on “How To Program Garage Door Remote Controls

  1. Mel Trudeau says:

    I’m about to go crazy. I have a Precision 800 (Overhead Garage Door). I believe it is made by Chamberlain. I am trying to install a Chamberlain Keypad. Your directions above are great except my garage door opener does not have any of the colors on the learn button you listed. My button is just plane black and I cannot find the MHz to know whether to use 1,2,3 or 4 entries after I code the keypad. PLEASE HELP. thanks,

  2. maris boyd says:

    I bought a purple 315 MHz garage door remote door opener It has only 4 buttons marked abc and d
    nothing else either on front back or side It came without instructions.I bought the same last year (with instructions)lost it it was excellent but I don’t know how to program it.

    • Garage Door Guide says:

      What color is your learn/program button?

      If its 315mhz that would match up with a purple learn button on the back of your opener. You would need to find that purple button, press and release it, then press whatever button on your remote you want to use.

  3. Tom says:

    Hi, I have a Craftsman garage door opener with a orange learn button. I cannot program more than one remote or keypad at a time. I see this is a common problem on all the blogs but no one seems to have a resolution. What I am trying to program is my Ford factory remote two new Craftsman remotes and a new Craftsman keypad. No matter what I try I can only get one of the to program. As soon as you get one to program the next one you try is not excepted. Any ideas?


    • Garage Door Guide says:

      “Ford factory remote”…are you talking about the homelink/car2u system built into the dashboard/console? You might need whats called a 855LM “repeater” to program that.

      Are you programming the remotes/keypads exactly how the instructions say…1 remote at a time…wait and then program the next remote?
      Holding down the learn button erases remotes linked. Pressing and releasing (quickly) puts the unit into “learn mode”. Be sure you aren’t holding them down too long.

      Could also be a bad/corrupted circuit board since the orange button series is pretty old already…

      What model remotes and keypads are you attempting to program? Make sure all devices are compatible with 390Mhz…971, 972, 973LM remotes and 977LM,. 877max keypad only.

  4. Tom says:

    Yes to all your questions. I can program all the devices except it will only allow one of them to program any attempt to program any further ones fails. What have read one line if the circuit board is bad you can’t program any remotes. The Ford I can program no problem.

    • Garage Door Guide says:

      Just called up a 30 year craftsman/chamberlain liftmaster service technician I use to work with for a second opinion. He also said he thought it was a circuit board related issue. He recommended replacing the board or buying a new opener. There should be a part number on the back of the board for identification.

      • Christi says:

        If the learn button on the opener was held down too long and the memory is erased, how is this remedied so a remote opener can be programmed?

        • Garage Door Guide says:

          Holding the button down for more than a few seconds erases all linked devices. Pressing and releasing the learn button puts the unit into learn mode. The length of time the button is pressed down for determines if it resets or enters learn mode.

  5. John says:

    I bought house with a red learn button Chamberlain opener (390 MHz). Somehow the previous owners used Marantec remotes (315 MHz) to open it. I earased all the codes on the opener and I can’t program it anymore. Any suggestions?

    • Garage Door Guide says:

      No idea how they programmed a mismatched brand & frequency remote to open it “out of the box”…now if they installed an external receiver maybe they could accomplish that. If you can’t locate a receiver the easiest thing to do is to purchase a new liftmaster remote like the 375UT. Are you 100% sure they used a 315mhz remote on a red learn button? and….What is the model of the remote? What is the model of the opener?

  6. Teresa says:

    Hello, I have an old garage door from the 1980’s and we lost the remote. I purchased a chamberlain universal remote but it says it only works with garage doors that are build after 1997 . What would be the best remote to purchase and how do I program such remote. Thank you and happy new year!

    • psonline says:

      The Liftmaster universal remote is the the most compatible remote I have ever come across. It even works on some of the older openers that rely on “DIPSWITCHES” that you move up or down to match up. If that remote doesn’t work for your there is a chance nothing will.

      Here is a link to the 375LM –

  7. Ciarra says:

    I have a Craftsman model 139.53976SRT and have been unable to get a wireless keypad to work. Our remotes work just fine. When we try to connect after pressing learn button, doing pin on keypad, pressing enter, the light will blink on garage receiver making us think it has recognized and set the pin but it will not open or close when we try to use pin code we just set. We tried this with genie universal keypad and a craftsman keypad as well. The same issue occurs with both.

    • psonline says:

      Order a 387LM universal (Liftmaster) keypad. That is the most compatible keypad made. If you can’t get the 387 to link up to the opener than nothing is going to work.

  8. Erzsi Gemzsi says:

    I have a craftsman garage opener manufactured in 1999. It had a green learn button. My opener stopped working. I have bought a universal and a draftsman and nothing works. I have watched at least 30 different videos and tried about everything. Any suggestions.

    • psonline says:

      Assuming your garage door opener works with the wall button, but not a hand held remote control….The cheapest troubleshooting option is to try extending your antenna with (copper) bell wire…connecting the bell wire to your current built in antenna and running it through the punch angle holes to the ceiling and then up to the front of the door….hanging down towards the opening.

      If that doesn’t work its probably time for a new opener….23 years is a long time for an opener and getting to the end of its lifecycle.

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