Why your standing desk wont go up how to fix it

1. Object is in the way

You may have something that’s mounted above the desk that’s stopping it from traveling upwards. The typical culprits are mounted shelves, cabinets, or artwork.

As a safety measure, many standing desks have a collision detection feature that prevents the desk from hitting another object. When it detects an object in the way, the table will stop moving upwards and then slightly move down, giving you room to remove whatever is in the way.

How to fix this

Check for any items above your desk that may be getting in the way, and remove them.

2. Standing desk lost power

This typically happens for one of two reasons: the desk was temporarily unplugged and plugged back in OR the outlet lost power.

In many cases, when a standing desk loses and then regains power, it automatically goes into reset mode. While being in reset mode, a sit stand desk can only travel downwards.

How to fix this

To get your table to move up, you must complete a manual reset on the table.

3. The legs are uneven

Over time, the legs on a standing desk with two (or more) motors can become a bit uneven.

If the motors don’t have a good self-locking mechanism, the motor and spindle can turn when it’s supposed to maintain its height position. While one motor may turn, the second will either remain still or turn more/less than the first motor. Now, the motors are out of sync and your desk is uneven.

Once the desks become uneven, one of two things can happen.

1.) The desk’s control box (the brains of the desk) finally recognizes that the legs are at different heights and it will stop moving up to prevent any more damage to the desk.


2.) The control box isn’t sophisticated enough to recognize the issue, and the desk will continue to move up and down until there’s too much friction within the leg columns, get stuck, and stop moving.

How to fix this

The desk must do a complete reset in order for the leg to be realigned and even.

4. Too much weight on the desk

Every height adjustable table has a maximum lifting capacity. If your desk is trying to support too much weight, an overload can occur. The desk is saying “this is too much work for me to go higher,” and to protect its components, it shuts off.

How to fix this

To fix this, just remove some of the weight from your desk. Once you take off enough weight, the desk should automatically turn back on and begin functioning as normal. There’s typically no need for a manual reset.

To help prevent this from happening again, research the lifting capacity of your standing desk. Pay special attention to whether that number is base only or base + worksurface. For example, if the manufacturer states “Total Lifting Capacity Base Only: 325 lbs,” that means whatever you put on top of the base (worksurface, monitors, keyboard tray, etc.) cannot exceed 325 lbs.

5. The control box cycles out

A table’s control box can only go up and down so many times before it needs to rest. This is something that’s referred to as the Duty Cycle. The Duty cycle tells us the maximum amount of time the control box can be active (moving the desk up or down) and how long it needs to be inactive (in its rest stage).

If the control box reaches the maximum amount of active time, it will turn on a mandatory rest period to prevent overheating. So, when you’re desk stops working all of a sudden, don’t panic.

Below are two different control boxes – one made by JDR and the other by Jiecang. The duty cycle for both of them are 10%, 2 minutes on and 18 minutes off.

Standing Desk Control Box by JDR

Standing Desk Control Box by JDR

Standing Desk Control Box by Jiecang

Standing Desk Control Box by Jiecang

How to fix this

First, just wait and give your standing desk about 18 minutes of rest (the average amount of time required by most control boxes). Your desk may turn on before 18 minutes has gone by.

Often times, the table will turn back on once it’s had a break. You can then go on using it as normal.

If you’ve tried that and it doesn’t work, complete a manual reset. A manual reset can override the cycle time resting period that’s currently turned on. Even after you complete the rest, you should still allow the desk to rest.

6. Desk has an upper container stop

An upper container stop is a setting a user creates to reprogram the desk’s maximum height. So, instead of being able to go to 48”, you can set the max. height to 40”. They’re used to prevent collisions between your sit stand desk and another object, like a cabinet or shelf.

How to fix this

You will need to either change or delete the upper container stop to make the table go up past the current setting. To do that, follow the instructions provided by the desk’s manufacturer.