DIY project: garage opener control with photoelectric sensor. Ideas needed

Hi, this is my first post since acquiring SmartThings a couple months ago. I’m not a developer but don’t mind tinkering with some devices and applications. I’ve perused the community regarding connected garage door openers and automation but not found what I have in mind. After reading about available solutions (roll-your-own relay and tilt sensor, go-control/Linear, Garadget, etc.) and looking at safety/usabiliy concerns, I’ve come up with my requirements as follows:

  • would like something long-term reliable (go-control seems to fail regularly after time)
  • would like to use an existing device handler and/or smartapp (no coding by me)
  • don’t want to have to change batteries, so hard-wired open/closed sensor is preferred
  • want to operate on z-wave - trying to keep things simple and off my wifi network
  • want to execute locally, i.e. not via cloud integration and dependent on my internet connectivity

Given the above, wondering if anyone has thought about or done integration of a dry-contact relay, z-wave outlet, and hard-wired photo-electric sensor (ala Garadget where I would mount laser or photoelectric beam with a reflector on the door) so I could open, close, and monitor status.

Would need an ingredients list (though I have some relays and a potential sensor in mind) and rough outline of how these components would be connected along with recommended app(s). Any ideas? Thanks!

This will be the tough one… I am curious how you plan on running this locally on the hub? Is SmartLighting capable of handling a hobbled together Garage Door Control set of devices? If not, even if the devices are able to run locally, the SmartApp will still be cloud-based.

I originally wrote ST_Anything in order to monitor and control my two garage doors. It uses an Arduino + W5100 Ethernet Shield (or you can use an ESP8266/WiFi), along with some magnetic contact sensors, and a pair of relays. It has been rock solid for many years, except for the typical SmartThings issues. I have since moved everything over to my Hubitat hub, where all code runs locally. Now it is incredibly reliable and quick.


Thanks, Dan. Some clarification here: what I wanted to avoid is cloud dependence on another vendor (like Garadget). Understand that SmartThings app may not run on the hub. Does that make sense?

It does, now that you’ve clarified that ST Cloud dependency is acceptable.

You won’t be able to do anything with a photoelectric sensor without needing custom code.

My suggestion would be just to get the Tellguard zwave garage door controller (the company has now been acquired by fortrezz , so you can get it from them through Amazon)

It will look like an on/off switch to SmartThings so should run locally.

It’s simple, it’s UL listed, it’s reliable. Last time I looked it had a two year warranty. Quite a few community members have it.

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Good answer - thanks! Seems to check all the boxes. I’ll pick one up and see how it goes!


We should also mention that just like the go control, the telguard will not work with some myQ and chamberlain controllers. So check this list:

Hi and thanks again for the recommendation,. Installed the Telguard GDC1 today. Unit and sensor seem okay, mounting hardware and other included parts are pretty chintzy, but okay for $75. Paired right away with my ST hub and started working. My only objection is that it seems to take a while (10+seconds) to let you know in the app that it has received your command to close (turn “off”). I kept hitting the button, thinking that it wasn’t working - too bad there isn’t a “turning off” state that let’s you know that it’s working!

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