Home Old garage door, need suggestions.

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by chasonstone, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. chasonstone macrumors regular

    chasonstone

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #1
    My dad has tasked me with a mission of figuring out if there's a way he can effectively 'upgrade' an old garage door he has that doesn't have remote capabilities. The only way to currently open the door is to press a button on the wall. I've shown him some of my smart plugs that I have set up with home kit and that's what sparked his curiosity on essentially retrofitting it to be remote controlled. Does anybody know of a way to do this?

    He's not interested in spending the money on an entire new garage door opener system. It's a single car garage that he stores his 'baby' (Trans Am) in. So he doesn't take it out very often, but when he does he hates having to get out and go inside to shut/open the door.

    I was thinking someone probably made something that would help in this situation. Say something that is wired where the existing button is and it itself can be controlled by remote or phone. Heck, even something that goes over it and presses the button like a robot would work. It doesn't have to be home kit compatible, but that would be a bonus. My dad is much more hands on and technical than me, as he works in the coal mines and holds his electrical card, so even if it's a solution that requires new wiring/work like that he would be able to do it. We just don't know if a product exists that would do what he's needing it to. I don't participate in many online forums, but I thought maybe someone here would have suggestions.
     
  2. anzio, Nov 30, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016

    anzio macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Location:
    Innisfil, Ontario, Canada
    #2
    We did this with a Raspberry Pi. We control our garage door through a web app we made and Apple HomeKit. If you don't mind a fun little project with some wiring, this is pretty cost effective and easy.

    We just split the wires going into the wall switch into a relay and use HAP-NodeJS to toggle the relay which completes the circuit and acts as a button push. You can just ask Siri to open/close the garage door and hook up a magnetic sensor to determine if it's open/closed and Siri can inform you of the status (including on your Apple Watch). We were able to make ours for about $70 CAD

    Someone on YouTube has probably made a tutorial by now if you don't want to create it from scratch.

    HAP-NodeJS: https://github.com/KhaosT/HAP-NodeJS

    Simpler:
    If you want something even easier, there are plenty garage door opener remotes that you just plug into an outlet and wire into the transmitter, such as Universal Garage Remote Kit (disclosure: never used, but should work well in theory)
     
  3. chasonstone thread starter macrumors regular

    chasonstone

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #4
    Thank you for this, may see if he wants to try one of these methods out!
    --- Post Merged, Dec 1, 2016 ---
    I may be wrong, but doesn't this require your garage door opener to already accept remote signals? He has a garage door that can only be opened via the wired button on the wall. Essentially he just needs this button to be pressable, with the added benefit of accepting a remote input to the button to remotely 'press it.' This way the garage opener doesn't even 'know' the difference.
     
  4. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #5
    The typical way to accomplish what he wants is to install a simple garage door opener keypad on the outside of the garage.

    A wired keypad runs two wires to the contacts on the opener (the same two contacts that the existing button uses). You also run two wires to an AC adapter to power the keypad, but the wires are very very long so don't worry if you don't have an AC outlet right near where you want the keypad to be.

    A wireless keypad sends a radio signal to a module inside the garage that is connected to the two contacts on the opener. The advantage is that you don't have to run wire from the opener to the keypad, connect the keypad to power, or drill holes through the wall for the wires. The disadvantage is that you have to change the batteries in the keypad.

    I think a keypad is way better than a Homekit solution because you just need your finger and power (the opener itself needs power anyway). You don't need wi-fi, networking, servers, or to physically have your smartphone. For a keypad you just type in the code.

    A homekit solution would be better for truly remote opening (nowhere near the garage). But I wonder about the usefulness of that--for me that would be an exceedingly rare use case.
     
  5. anzio macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Location:
    Innisfil, Ontario, Canada
    #6
    You're very welcome! Let us know how it goes!

    I don't know. We always have our Apple Watch's on our person, so just lifting our wrist and saying "Hey Siri, open the garage door" is great, not to mention it does communicate encrypted over Wi-Fi which is arguably much more secure than those wireless transmitters. HomeKit is also zero-config, so there's no servers to maintain other than the Pi or other device (which we haven't touched since initial implementation).

    Since we've made sure our Wi-Fi network reaches outside, there's no need to have our phone on us to activate the garage door through Siri on our Watch. So in our case, I'd argue that HomeKit is better than a keypad.

    HomeKit also allows for notifications of open/close alerts, even if the opening/closing was done outside of HomeKit.

    A wired keypad (if it really does use the two wires the button already uses, and extends that to the outside of the garage door) sounds like a silly idea. I could contact those two wires and open your garage door without issue.
     
  6. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #7
    There are two modules, one inside and one outside. The outside module is literally just a keypad and a ribbon cable going to the box inside. The inside box does the work (validates the code and closes the contacts on the wire).

    You clearly have a setup that works well for you. I'm just offering another solution that OP may not have thought about, in case it might be better for his particular use case.
     
  7. anzio macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2010
    Location:
    Innisfil, Ontario, Canada
    #8
    Ah, I gotcha. That makes more sense.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 1, 2016 ---
    Oh I understand, I wasn't disputing your suggestion or trying to discredit it. I just wanted to clarify that HomeKit solutions don't necessarily fall to all the caveats you mentioned.
     

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