Does Getting Into Your Garage Really Need To Be Difficult?

Probably the last thing anyone wants when coming home from a long day at work or a trip is to be hassled at the last possible moment — gaining entrance to your house. But for some home automation enthusiasts, that’s just what happened when they suddenly learned that their own garage doors had betrayed them.

The story basically boils down to this: Chamberlain, a US company that commands 60% of the garage door market, recently decided to prevent “unauthorized usage” of their MyQ ecosystem through third-party apps. Once Chamberlain rolled out the change, users of Home Assistant and other unauthorized apps found themselves unable to open or close their doors with the apps they were accustomed to.

Those of us with custom smart home setups can relate to how frustrating it is when something disturbs the systems you’ve spent a lot of time tweaking and optimizing. It’s especially upsetting for users who both Chamberlain hardware specifically because it was supported by Home Assistant, only to have the company decide to drop support. This feels like false advertising, but we strongly suspect that buried in the EULA users must have agreed to at some point is a clause that essentially says, “We can do anything we want and tough noogies to you.” And if you read through the article linked above, you’ll get an idea why Chamberlain did this — they probably didn’t like the idea that users were avoiding their ad-spangled MyQ app for third-party interfaces, depriving them of ad revenue and the opportunity for up-selling.

We feel the frustration of these users, but rather than curse the darkness, perhaps this will light a candle of righteous rage that leads to a clever workaround. The Home Assistant blog article mentions a dongle called ratgdo, which should allow any door with plain old dry contacts to work via MQTT or ESPHome. It’s extra work that users shouldn’t have to put in, but maybe getting one over on The Man would be worth the effort.

Thanks to [KC] for the tip; please keep us posted on your workaround.

3D Printer Recognizes Third-Party Build Plates, Just Make Your Own ID Codes

The Bambu X1C 3D printer is a machine known for its speed, and it has a number of useful features like automatic build platform recognition. Factory build platforms are marked with an identifier code, and thanks to [elumspe] it’s now possible to make your own identifiers to stick onto third-party platforms and have the printer recognize them as though they were factory offerings. There’s even a super handy 3D-printable alignment tool that ensures the identifier goes in the correct spot, which is a nice touch.

These codes aren’t DRM so much as they are used by the printer to automatically verify that the installed build plate matches the slicer settings before a job begins. Printing one and sticking it in the right place is an easy way to get third-party plates recognized the same as factory offerings.

The identifier codes aren’t DRM so much as they are a way for the┬áprinter to verify that the installed build platform matches the slicer settings before a print begins, and throw up a warning if it doesn’t. The printer is perfectly happy to use third-party build surfaces, but since they lack an identifier, the printer will throw a warning each time. One solution is to simply disable checking the build platform before a print, but for those who would prefer to have the printer see what it expects to see, printing a small 2D barcode to stick on is an easy way to do it.

We see these sometimes called QR codes, but they look more like AprilTags. Both are types of 2D barcode, but while QR codes can encode a variety of information types, AprilTags are simpler and usually represent identifiers. In this case, they’re an appropriate way to let a camera-enabled printer know what kind of build plate is installed.

AprilTags are common in computer vision applications, and even relatively modest hardware can detect and decode them almost in real time. AprilTags are convenient and easy to use, as this gate access system demonstrates.