Raspberry Pi Garage Door Automation

Like many of us, [Felix] sometimes wonders if he actually closed the garage door. I know I’m always double-checking my car locks! So, he decided to automate his garage door to give him some peace of mind!

He’s been working on a pretty big Raspberry Pi home automation series, and in this final segment he shows off his new GarageMote board which, as you can guess, lets him wirelessly control the door. It’s a very simple board complete with a small relay, a diode, and 2 resistors. The 8 pin header provides connection to two hall effect sensors that detect the status of the garage door, and the original door opener. He then connects this to an open-source wireless Arduino clone of his own design, dubbed the Moteino. A pair of these communicate to the Raspberry Pi which acts as his secure home automation gateway server.

The whole project is extremely slick, and very well documented – so if you’re looking at automating your home, [Felix] has a wealth of knowledge to share — well at least if you want to use is Raspberry Pi!

Stick around after the break to see the web-server controlled garage door in action.

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Water heater controller automates garage doors


The black box mounted between two garage doors is actually a water heater controller. The entire assembly is a conglomeration of hacks which [Simon] added to his garage over the last four years. We’ll give you a quick rundown, but the entire story is told in his blog post.

Back when the house was built [Simon] was approached by the contractor who offered to throw in remote control for the garage door rollers for just 1500 Australian Dollars (about $1350 with today’s rates). That sounded quite steep to him. He managed to add his own remote control for about a third of the price. But there were a few missing features. Notably, a lack of a light that comes on when the doors open. He also didn’t like that the button inside the garage was on the motor, which is mounted quite high.

Years later his water heater controller needed a firmware upgrade from the manufacturer. Check this out: they replaced the entire controller rather than flashing the PIC 18F2321 inside. What a waste! But in this case [Simon] snagged the old unit, which included several mains rated relays. He connected one up to a light socket seen above, and outfitted several illuminated buttons on its original enclosure. Now he has the satisfaction of a light that comes on with when the door opens,  and shuts itself off after a preset delay.

Now his daughter wants smartphone control. But that’s as easy as hacking a Bluetooth headset.

Garage door opener using Siri and Raspberry Pi

Screenshot from 2012-12-11 09:54:36

[DarkTherapy] wrote in to tell us about his garage door opener that works with Siri and a Raspberry Pi. It’s pretty hard to find a picture that tells the story of the hack, but here you can see the PCB inside the housing of the garage door opener. He patched the grey wires into the terminal block. On the other end they connect to a relay which makes the connection.

On the control side of that mechanical relay is a Raspberry Pi board. This seems like overkill but remember the low cost of the RPi and the ability to communicate over a network thanks to the WiFi dongle it uses. We think it’s less outrageous than strapping an Android phone to the opener. To make the RPi work with Siri he chose the SiriProxy package. We’ve seen this software before but don’t remember it being used with the Raspberry Pi.

There is certainly room to extend the functionality of a system like this one. It would be trivial to add a combination lock like this one we build using an AVR chip. It would also be nice to see a sensor used to confirm the door is closed. Even if you don’t need to control your garage this is a great reference project to get the RPi to take commands from your iOS devices.

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Super Serious Garage Door Opener

Tired of cheap plastic garage door openers? [Yetifrisstlama]’s is probably the most serious garage door opener that we’ve seen. The case is an old emergency stop switch, which has plenty of space for the circuitry and features a big red button.

This build log starts with details on reverse engineering the original door opener’s protocol. It’s an amplitude-shift keying (ASK) signal that sends a 10 bit code to authenticate. The main components inside are a PIC16LF819 microcontroller, a MAX7057 ASK/FSK transmitter, and some RF circuitry needed to filter the signal. There’s a mix of through hole and surface mount components mounted on a prototyping board, requiring some crafty soldering.

[Yetifrisstlama] says that the next step is to add a power amplifier to increase the range. The code and project files are also provided for anyone interested in working with ASK. While the hack looks awesome, it might make bystanders think you’re doing something more sinister than opening a garage door.

Garage door opener used to automatically lower a game table top

[Lou] is at it again, and this time he wrote in to let us know about his automated ping pong table topper. With no good spot to stash an entire extra table [Lou] decided to take a two in one game table approach and fit the top of the ping pong table to his pool table. A ping pong table top is no small thing though and it turns out the best (or maybe coolest) place to store it is above the ceiling! At the flip of a switch a garage door opener pulls away a section of ceiling tiles and a winch motor lowers the table top into place with two cables.

The system works very smoothly using some pretty easy to find parts. [Lou’s] instructional video (embedded after the break) shows the system in action and explains the concepts behind the automation. We aren’t sure how the winch stops lowering the table, but the ceiling section uses a light switch and spring combo as its limit switch. The only thing really missing is the flashing red light, industrial klaxon, and fog machine needed to compliment the screeching nightmare-howl of that winch motor.

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Garage door opener now a bedroom door closer

[Roy] had an extra garage door opener on hand and decided to put it to use as a remote control closing mechanism for his bedroom door. We gather he has some noisy housemates as the inspiration for the project came from not wanting to get out of bed to close the door when the ruckus interrupts his TV watching.

The image above shows the hinged system which translates the linear motion from the garage opener track to the rotational force necessary to swing the door closed. We’d say he really nailed it because the system matches the angle of the door jamb perfectly, and when the door is fully open the angle bracket is almost flat against the wall. We certainly don’t have the same need for closing doors, but the mechanism is something to keep in mind.

The motor for the opener is hidden beneath his desk. You won’t be able to see it in the video after the break because he built a matching enclosure around it. Now he just needs to add some WiFi connectivity and he can ditch the uni-tasking RF remote for a smart phone app.

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An Even Simpler Smartphone Garage Door Opener

We have seen smartphone garage door openers in the past, but [Lou’s] Hack is beautiful in its simplicity. His door opener tackles the problem without using computers, Arduinos, wireless modules or even any smartphone based applications. For this project all that is needed is a Bluetooth headset and a single transistor. The door opener uses the Samsung HM1100 Bluetooth headset, which [Lou] has done significant testing on to show that his creation is quite secure and will not open the door unexpectedly.

When this headset connects to a phone it produces a beep from the earbud, so [Lou] removed the speaker and replaced it with a transistor. Now he can use the voltage spike produced by the amplifier before the beep as his switching signal. By wiring the transistor in parallel with the door button inside his garage he is able to open the door wirelessly by connecting then right away disconnecting from the headset. This setup is apparently perfectly secure as the only way to initially link your phone with the headset is to be inside the garage. Check out the video after the break for build instructions and a demonstration.

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