Garage Door opener

I’ve started a garage door project using a photon, a relay shield, an internet button and an iPhone (or several).

Technically the project is pretty simple, the most “risky” part (for unexperienced people) would be connecting the relays (connection to the garage door button is straightforward, since it’s low voltage, but connecting the garage light requires a bit more caution, obviously).

I use the internet button on the door itself, to determine the position of the door. That part is the less trivial, and requires experimenting with the embedded accelerometer. I plan to switch to a simple accelerometer shield since I don’t make any useful use of the lights and buttons on the button.

It’s also my first incursion into iPhone apps, but so far so good, the app seems to communicate well with the photons, thanks to the Spark iOS SDK.

Also, the latest firmware version for the Photon makes it even better, thanks to threading, since the WiFi connection doesn’t interfere anymore with the other features - although obviously WiFi is required when you want to open/close the door or switch the light :wink:

That’s a work in progress, and I plan in a next step to just photonize the whole house on the screen of my iPhone :smile:

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Sounds like a cool project. Depending on what you’re planning on doing with the garage door position, you could get away with a simple reed switch. That should be easier than an accelerometer.
Then, you could re-purpose the button shield as a parking sensor. Stick it to the wall with a distance sensors, and have the LEDs light up the closer you get. That should give you an indication on how much room you’ve got to spare.
As far as the UI goes, why not make a responsive web-app? That allows you to control it with any internet enabled device, rather than iOS exclusive.

Looking forward to see how this ends up :smile:

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I have a garage door “is open” reporter to my smartphone.
For liability (injury lawsuit) and safety reasons, I chose to have the phone tell me if the car left with the door open. Two car garage. Sometimes it’s OK to leave the door open.

But I didn’t want automatic, or remote door closing such I can’t see if it’s safe to close the door.

For door open, I used a commercially available battery powered sensor the size of a book of matches. Using magnetic lines of the earth, it reports wirelessly when the door moves from fully closed or from fully open. That goes to an IoT server and on to my phone where it comes to me as text to speech.


Cool suggestions, guys.

@Moors7 regarding the reed switch I’d have the issue of not knowing if the door is in its final position (fully open/closed) I guess, the benefit of the accelerometer is, I know the door is still moving. Now that doesn’t give me the precise position but I can always consider the opening/closing time… My idea with using the button was to avoid requiring any wired sensor (IR or other) on the wall or door. I want it to be the simplest possible for someone with no particular skills to install it - like “stick the box on the door and done”.

@stevech I used notifications too in the app, so that if someone in the family opens/closes the door or switches the garage lights on their phone everyone else receives the notification (good to switch off the light after the kids left it on…) I also don’t plan to have any automated move of the door. Too risky, I’d have to detect if something/someone is in the way, and that will start being a costly system then… I like the idea of the position sensor, do you have any reference?

I forgot to mention I have a wireless webcam in the garage and the picture is updated in the app when the door moves. Unfortunately the configuration is harder since a different URL has to be accessed whether outside or inside the house (local wifi or remote), still trying to figure a way to make it universal, but then I may need some device in the house (beaglebone?) to push the pics to some server outside… then I’ll have to deal with bandwidth issues when generalizing the solution (and offering it to the public). Not sure which way I’ll take with the cam…