Ultimate Garage Door Control Does The Job Brilliantly

[Stephen Carey] had previously relied on an Insteon garage door controller, only to have it perform poorly and fail at integrating with Alexa properly. Thus, he did what any good hacker would do, and built his own system instead.

The garage door was first outfitted with a pair of reed switches to sense when it was fully open or fully closed. The drive sprocket of the garage door was also set up to be monitored with magnets and Hall effect sensors, essentially creating a rotary encoder. This allows a ESP32 to monitor the door’s direction of travel, it’s position, and when it has hit the end stop in either direction. Using Micropython, [Stephen] whipped up some code to tie the garage door controls in with Home Assistant, complete with a neat visual display of the current door position.

There are millions of home automation products out there, many of which make annoying compromises that frustrate the end user. Sometimes, doing it your own way is the only way to get satisfaction!

21 thoughts on “Ultimate Garage Door Control Does The Job Brilliantly

  1. What about the cat under the closing door sensor? Mine knows if it hasnt hit the stop verification switch it better not be drawing more than typical downcurrent else something is stuck underneath and motor reverses. Think that is a mandatory OHSA requirement

    1. My thoughts exactly, I believe in the US an IR safety laser is required ~18in above floor level at the door as a safety interrupt.

      The one in my house as a kid had relays that would audibly click when something broke the laser beam, perfect for pretending to be a secret agent sneaking into a villain’s lair

      1. Mine is about 4-6″ (somewhere in there) or so above the floor. So a cat would ‘probably’ interrupt the beam! Now the cats tail…. all bets are off. Might be enough to ‘reverse’ though as door wouldn’t be able to fully close.

    2. I didn’t disable the built-in optical and auto-reverse safeties so hopefully the cats will be safe. I’m interested to get more details about your setup. You added the current detection because your control didn’t have the auto-reverse or you thought that wasn’t good enough?

    3. Doubling as an evil cash cat crushing contraption would add extra value, as long as your baby isn’t impersonating a cat. I’ve had too many neighborhood cats poop or pee on my car windshield and bbq’s (different bbq’s in different neighborhoods) or sneak into my home on the way out of town to want them to survive any possible method of extermination! They are mobile speedbumps and the bane of civilized existence! People who let them roam free are selfish, sinister neighbors, and deserve to have their beloved tabby relocated “to a farm upstate”.

      Oh, yeah… Cool hack. And no, i would never intentionally succumb to the temptations of relocating a neighbors cat to where it truly belongs. I like my neighbors way too much.

      1. What is it with neighborhood cats and defecating on my car?!??! What’s the matter? Rest of the world not big enough for you to use as your litter box? You have to use my car?!!

        1. While I’ve had cats leave paw prints on my cars, I have never seen them mistake a car for a litter box, they usually use my mulch or the kids sand box. Are you sure it’s not a squirrel or a raccoon?

    4. Well he didn’t modify the garage door opener at all. He just augmented it. In the video demonstration the first thing he does is roll a scooter under the door while it’s closing to show the safety features still works.

      He literally stacked two magnets on the door’s exposed drive chain sprocket and mounted two hall effect sensors above it to detect motor direction, he attached the relay to the contacts you’d normally have a push button attached, and he mounted two reed switches.

      There was no modification to the door or how it operates, just sensors and a relay to short the door button contacts.

  2. If you have a Chamberlain opener, look into MyQ. For under $50, I have both my doors status and control on my iPhone. Not for everyone,but worth looking into. Protip: replace the cheap wall wart in the box with a decently regulated 5V supply…or risk intermittent loss of wifi connection to the MyQ hub.

    1. That is pretty cool and it looks like it would work with my controller. My setup costs ~$15 plus wire and lots of time :). I’d guess mine can tell the position of the door more accurately, can integrate with Alexa, and doesn’t need any batteries. But for most people the MyQ seems like a good solution.

  3. I used a meross/refoss wifi garage remote, with contacts in parallel to the in garage button. The mini Alexa from garage closes the door consistently;opening is more secure though and I never set it up.

    1. Magnetic prox switches are great for this purpose. These a often used as vehicle ABS sensors. They are recognizable by the fact they are magnetic. Inductive proxs will work too provided they are similar in size to the individual sprocket teeth.

    1. You’re right, that would work well for this. I have a plan to add position sensing to my awning and an AS5048 wouldn’t work well for how it’s setup so I went with the hall effect sensors here to try them out.

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