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A much easier take on an Android garage door opener

[Andy] is taking the complexity of a smartphone-controlled garage door down a notch with this project. He’s not interested in checking on the state of the door (open or closed) using a video feed, or in controlling the thing from anywhere in the world. He just wants to use his Android¬†as the remote control and we say amen to that.

The circuitry in the garage is pretty simple. A relay is used to simulate a button press on the in-garage wired opener. This relay is driven by an Arduino which uses a Bluetooth shield for connectivity. Since his Android phone has a Bluetooth modem the rest of the project is just app development. As you can see in the video, the app automatically connects to the Arduino when it is launched, then waits for the button press to send the electronic equivalent of ‘Open Sesame”.

The project covers a series of posts so if you want to see how he got the app up and running make sure to browse through his archives. The next iteration for this app needs to be a background widget that enables Bluetooth, connects to the Arduino, and send s the open command all with one press.

Comments

  1. Colecago says:

    I would have liked to see a clever use of the tx pin from the bluetooth module to control the micro and eliminate the arduino, but still cool. Can’t wait to see his Android program write up.

    • Colecago says:

      Not micro, relay, not sure how that snuck in there like that.

    • Andy says:

      Hey Colecago,

      Interesting take on the project. I didn’t think about that, but the reason I’m using an Arduino is because I plan on expanding the project. Including a notification that the garage is open. Thanks for the comment!

      • lwatcdr says:

        I was going to suggest an position switch since you have the IO to spare. It should even be pretty easy to make a Bluetooth to wifi bridge if you have happen to have a home server if you wanted to add internet control too it as well.
        Another option would be to have the door to automatically open for you when you get home at night. Something like this logic could work.
        IF door=closed and Datetime>=x and bluetooth in range open door. You could get even smarter with GPS location to automate it some more.

  2. anon says:

    I remember seeing this on Hak5:

  3. Bogdan says:

    If all you want is a simple switch and no feedback, buy a cheap router capable of running OpenWRT and use one of the LEDs(which can be software controlled) to drive the relay.

  4. zeropanic says:

    After finding out that both Craftsman and Chamberlain want $20 a year for a service that could potentially disappear, I’m building a similar setup over Ethernet and with a reed switch for door status. Also ther is no sense in paying $300 for a new opener when the old one works just fine.

  5. NewCommentor1283 says:

    smartphone?
    openwrt?
    the INTERNET ???

    lol sanity? its a garage door…

    personally… im usually WAY too tired for internetting or smartphoning when i want to open my garage door (coming home tired)

    and if a crashed server is the reason my door doesnt open, the server is going out the window i came in from!

    an idea i just came up with now…

    have garage constantly emit freq. #1 (infared)
    have car detect freq #1, then emit short burst of freq #2
    have door detect freq #2
    freq #2 make door open!

    hide circuits in baseball cap and it is automatic and noone would think to take your hat from the hallway on their way out so they could rob you…

    i mean keys, typical garage opener, yes,
    hat? no! XD
    no microcontroller needed!
    but still highly substitutable :)

  6. Vonskippy says:

    So what prevents his neighbor, or anyone with a smartphone from opening the garage door?

  7. spiralbrain says:

    I’ve been working on something similar using android bluetooth module and a PIC, it unlocks and controls my Motorcycle though.

    I use an app featured on Hackaday a while ago, it is called Blue Scripts.

  8. Whatnot says:

    Fiddling with a phone for a garagedoor seems inconvenient to me somehow.
    But it’s not meant for me of course :)

  9. anon says:

    We park one car just outside the garage. With two ping sensors, or just one with a servo controlled swivel, the pings can identify door status, and car status just based off of distance. Even minor vehicle size differences, might can tell who is home. The outside car can be seen/measured if the door is open.

    Light sensor can tell which light is on, daylight/garage-opener-light/overhead-florescent. CO sensor and maybe another gas detector depending on need just to round out for safety.

    The door opener would also be tied to a knock sensor on the door, with a pattern editor built in. Knock twice if you know what I mean, once to start over.

    In case of power outage, backup lipo battery kicking in with servo to release garage door from chain drive with knock password.

  10. Bubba Gump says:

    Having worked in that industry for 20 years and being very familar with UL325, all I can say is if you activate your door and do not have a video feed, you just gave a lawyer somewhere a chubby when someone gets hurt from it.

    The rule always has been you have to be within visual distance of the moving door to activate it. Without a video feed, you could be halfway around the world and butt dial your door.

    This is an example of an idiotic hack. Just like the CO sensor did not work (Stanley Stangard circa 1985). Door open indicators, etc etc etc. Most people have simple washing machines and if they have a garage door opener, they want to push a button and have it move up and down. Not turn on lights, not be internet ready and so on.

    • buzzed says:

      You sure sound like a bitter old man out of touch with technology. I work with a lot of people like you at my company who like “things the way the always have been.”

      Trying to convince these old men to change things around the workplace is like pulling teeth. Either they are too comfortable with how things work or they are just lazy (even though things can be improved ten times over).

      It’s time to pass the baton old man. Just because you’ve been doing things for 20 years doesn’t mean it’s still the best way.

  11. joewildeco says:

    Very cool! It’s amazing what technology offers in this day and age.

  12. Kalin Nakov says:

    There is a factory low cost solution ($20) with tiny dimensions (5cm x 2.3cm) that can also open garage doors. It can also disarm alarm systems, turn on lights. The device operates on 85-265 VAC and 7-35 VDC. Has a nice Android app with sliding switches and uses Bluetooth. Check it on Indiegogo

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