[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!
[Scott Prints] had a familiar problem. His garage door opener was boring, and rattled around annoyingly in his car’s center console. This was obviously a major issue that needed to be dealt with. His solution was to install an ejector seat. Er, well, an ejector seat button. At least, that’s what it’s labeled. (That’s sure to be a great conversation starter for passengers.)
The end result looks slick and combines several build techniques. He started by taking measurements and 3D-printing a test piece for the center console nook. Turns out, that’s a more complicated shape than it seems. Rather than try to measure the exact angles and radii, Scott turned to the tried-and-true method of fiddling with the parameters and printing a second test. Close enough.
The coolest and most challenging element of the build was engraving and cutting the aluminum plate that forms the visible part of the build. Turns out, the online recommendations for milling aluminum are laughably optimistic when you don’t have an industrial CNC machine. Slower, shallower cuts got the job done, albeit slowly. A red paint-filled marker made the letters pop. The guts of the donor garage door opener are fitted into a 3d-printed shell, and then a Big Red Button threads into the print, holding the whole build together. A bit of solder later, and the project is done. Simple, effective, and very stylish! We approve. Come back after the break for the build video.
Continue reading “Garage Door Opener Ejection Seat”
If you live in a home with a garage door opener, you may have experienced one or more inevitable moments. You pull up to your home, you press the button on the garage door opener, and… nothing. Or you can’t find the garage door opener. Or you have to mash the button repeatedly to get a response. Or… you get the idea. Thanks to [Core Electronics] however, you now have the basis for using a much better device to control your own garage door: Your phone. You can see the tutorial on the web or in video format below the break.
[Michael] at [Core electronics] was tired of dealing with the inconsistencies and inconveniences of a poorly built remote for his garage door opener. When he inspected the controller board on the garage door opener itself, he found that it was already configured to allow three buttons to be connected: Up, Down, and Stop. Continue reading “IOT Garage Door Opener Makes For Excellent Beginner IOT Project”
A few years ago, [Gregory Sanders] aka [Dr Gerg] had one simple wish in mind when he started what is now the PiNet project — to know whether his garage door was open or closed. Instead of searching out off-the-shelf solutions, he looked at the project as a learning opportunity. After picking up Python, he built a system from a Raspberry Pi, a 12V gel cell battery, and a power supply / charger circuit. Thus project Overhead Door (ohd) was complete (see the ohd GitHub repository) and [Dr Gerg] was done.
Or so he thought. After getting a swimming pool installed, he got the itch again, and started a new project called Pool Controls, because:
The controls for your average backyard in-ground pool are pathetic. I felt like I could do better with a Raspberry Pi, a relay board and some Python. And so I did, and frankly, it’s awesome.
Then he built his own weather station to replaced a commercial one which had died twice in as many years, followed by his own web-based UI framework. Next was the integration of an outdoor security camera system. And finally, although we don’t believe it’s really final, he ripped out the cloud-based controls from his shop air conditioner and added his own Raspberry Pi-based solution. All of these projects are available on his GitHub page.
[Dr Gerg]’s goal in posting all this work is not necessarily so people can duplicate it, although that is okay as well. Instead, he hopes that people will realize that they can build these types of projects on their own, perhaps leaning some things and picking up new skills along the way — have fun doing it. We like the way you think, [Dr Gerg]. Do you know of any small projects which grew and grew and took on a life of their own?
[TheStaticTurtle] built a custom controller for automating his garage doors. He wanted to retain the original physical button and RF remote control interfaces while adding a more modern wireless control accessible from his internet connected devices. Upgrading an old system is often a convoluted process of trial and error, and he had to discard a couple of prototype versions which didn’t pan out as planned. But luckily, the third time was the charm.
The original door-closer logic was pretty straightforward. Press a button and the door moves. If it’s not going in the desired direction, press the button once again to stop the motor, and then press it a third time to reverse direction. With help from the user manual diagrams and a bit of reverse-engineering, he was able to get a handle on how to plan out his add-on controller to interface with the old system.
There are many micro-controller options available these days when you want to add IoT to a project, but [TheStaticTurtle] decided to use the old faithful ESP8266 as the brains of his new controller. For his add-on board to work, he needed to detect the direction in which the motor was turning, and detect the limit switches when the door reached end of travel in either direction. Finally, he needed a relay contact in parallel with the activation button to send commands remotely.
To sense if the motor was moving in the “open” or “close” direction, he used a pair of back-to-back opto-couplers in parallel with the motor terminals. He connected another pair of opto-couplers across the two end-limit switches which indicated when the door was fully open or closed, and shut off the motor supply. Finally, a GPIO from the ESP8266 actuates a relay to send the door open and close commands. The boards were designed in EasyEDA and with a quick turnaround from China, he was able to assemble, test and debug his boards pretty quickly.
The code was written using the Arduino IDE and connects the ESP8266 to the MQTT server running on his home automation computer. The end result is a nice dashboard with three icons for open, close and stop, accessible from all the devices connected to his home network. A 3D printed enclosure attaches outside the original control box to keep things tidy. Using hot melt glue as light pipes for the status LED’s is a pretty nifty hack. If you are interested in taking a deeper look at the project, [TheStaticTurtle] has posted all resources on his Github repository.
Garage doors can be frustrating things, being a chore to open manually and all. Many people opt to install a motorized opener, but for some, even this isn’t enough. Hooking up a garage door to the Internet of Things has long been a popular project, and [Simon Ludborzs] decided to give it a shot. Naturally, there were some obstacles to be overcome along the way.
[Simon]’s build is relatively straight down the lines, using an ESP-12 as the brains of the operation, which connects to the internet over WiFi. However, robustness was a major goal of the project, and being reliant on shaky cloud-based services wouldn’t do. This opener is set up to work independently of an internet connection, too. There’s a nifty control panel with glowing buttons to operate the opener, in addition to the webpage served up on the network.
During the development, [Simon] ran into several roadblocks. A set of roller door motors were inadvertently killed, and there were issues in getting the web interface working as expected. None of these were showstoppers, though, and with a little work and some new parts, everything came together in the end. The project was then given a proper commercial-grade case, sourced from AliBaba. This is a great step to take for a project expected to hold up to daily use for years on end. He also took the time to document his tips for easier ESP8266 development, which may prove useful to those just getting started with the platform.
Garage door openers remain a common theme around here, but every project has its own story to tell. If you’ve developed a particularly unique solution to your garage access problems, you know who to call.
[yoyotechKnows] built an Alexa-controlled garage door opener after his Liftmaster stopped working. Now all he has to do is holler at his mobile phone and he can raise and lower his garage doors at will.
His project is based around a Photon WiFi kit, with a pair of LCC 120 digital relays triggering the two doors, reed switches, and a serial-equipped LCD to display door status, with Alexa, IFTTT, and OpenHab to process the commands. You can find his code in the project writeup.
Currently he has a LCD display informing him of the status of each door, hot glued a reed switch to keep track of whether each one is closed. This might seem a little bit extraneous since he can also just look at the doors from within the garage. However, he’s thinking about putting the display inside his house. But couldn’t he just ask Alexa?
We love us our home automation here at Hackaday, with everything from swimming pools to chicken coops rigged for app control and datalogging.
Continue reading “Have Alexa Open Your Garage Door”