Do you use ST to automate a garage door?

After consideration, @JohnRichard , who originated the other thread, asked me to move these posts to a new thread, so they don’t get mixed in with the discussion of his campaign suggestion. So here we are. :sunglasses:

4 Likes

Thanks, @JDRoberts !

2 Likes

One thing I wanted to add to the safety considerations is that I strongly recommend to friends who are considering automating a garage door that they add an inexpensive camera inside so that they can check the garage before doing a remote close. I think that solves many of the safety considerations, including the unfortunately all too frequent issue of a car parking partway out of the garage while unloading, and then having the garage door close on it When someone away from home issues the close request. There have been multiple reports of this problem in the community over the years. :disappointed_relieved:

In my case, as a wheelchair user, I’m more concerned about someone having fallen with an arm or leg crossing the threshold of the garage door. That’s typically low enough that it won’t break the IR beam that stops the garage door from closing. :scream::scream::scream:

So, just in terms of my own needs, I am all in favor of getting a notification that the door is left open. But I want to check it with a Camera before issuing the close. :man_shrugging:t2:

4 Likes

Thanks @JDRoberts @HalD @bthrock @Barkis @ONI1013 !!!

4 Likes

All very good ideas. I actually have a camera in my garage, but haven’t really thought of family members using it for safety check before closing/opening the garage door.

I do, however, use a very simple safety mechanism by just blocking the IR sensors with a box or bucket or something - whenever I’m working in garage and don’t want any automations. :grinning:

2 Likes

Short answer, yes. I use some garage door automation. They are all centered around ensuring nobody leaves the door open at night. The first is to close it at 10pm if it is open and there is no motion in the garage. The second closes it between 10pm and 7am when the garage motion sensor goes to no motion.

I don’t do any open automation. I tried setting up a “coming home” with the presence sensor but found it would randomly trigger to open even when I was miles away.

1 Like

FWIW, I had same problems at first. All depends on the accuracy and reliability of your Phones’ presence sensors. If have a iPhone and can integrate your Smart Home Hub with HomeKit (for ex., Hubitat HomeKit integration), I found the HomeKit Presence sensors have been the most reliable. That paired with some conditional automations, my Open Automations with Presence have been super reliable and safe since then.

Wow … lots of neat ideas and implementations in this thread.

I have a Chaimberlain / MyQ garage door system. The WiFi-based MyQ has been working quite well for me via their app. But, like others, I’ve wanted to integrate it with Smartthings, and that hasn’t been as straightforward as I might have wished.

However, I don’t really care too much about being able to open and close it from Smartthings as, for my purposes, the MyQ app works well. I do, however want a reliable way for Smartthings to know if the door is open or closed. Most notably, I want to automatically change our location mode from Away to Home when the door opens.

I started with a Smartthings tilt sensor (Zigbee), which seemed like a good solution. But, although it works most of the time, it doesn’t work all of the time, and that’s caused some significant frustration.

For a while I used IFTTT as a go-between to get information about the door status from MyQ to Smartthings. That worked quite reliably until a few weeks ago. Actually, even when “working” we’d sometimes have a disruption because one of the systems would update an require us to re-authenticate – that also resulted in some frustrating moments.

Upon giving up on IFTTT, I acquired an second tilt sensor, although this one is made by Ecolink and is based upon Z-wave.

It seems a bit silly to need redundancy for this, but I now have both active, with either being able to toggle a virtual switch. (I also have a routine to notify me if the two tilt sensors are out-of-sync for more than a minute.) That virtual switch is now what is used to change our location mode from Away to Home when we enter via the garage door.

I’ve only been using this for a week, but thus far it appears to be working very well – and quite quickly! Notably, it doesn’t look as though one sensor (i.e., the Zigbee or Zwave) is always quicker to detect the change of state, so having both active appears to, on average, detect the change more quickly than would either on its own.

Again, utilizing two sensors seems silly / inelegant… and means yet another battery to replace periodically, but at least it’s inproved my confidence in Smartthings knowing the open / closed status for our garage door.

4 Likes

It doesn’t need an integration between the ST hub and Apple Home. It also does not require Hubitat’s HomeKit integration. You can use it but seems overkill.

All that is required is a device that connect to ST and Apple Home. One device as an example would be a Meross HomeKit smart plug that connects to both platforms. There are other brands that can also work on both platforms. With Matter, you can now use those in both platforms. An Apple TV, HomePod are needed.

Most users do not need Hubitat as a middleman between ST and Apple Home for simple presence. If an integration is wanted, there is a direct integration from the ST api and homebridge using a plugin.

2 Likes

Yep. :sunglasses:

I wrote a how to on that method in this forum a couple of years ago which has all the details:

How to Use a Meross or Matter Plug to Use HomeKit Presence to Trigger ST Routines

3 Likes

Correct. Not needed at all. I only integrated HomeKit with my other systems bc I wanted a reliable Presence sensor functionality with my iPhones, and I found HomeKit was the best one so far (compared to native ST, Hubitat, WebCore, Life360, Google, Alexa, etc— I tried them all).

And I also did not want to use the Home Bridge api.

1 Like

I guess I am old-school… scratch that, I know I am!

For my dumb garage door opener, I just MacGyvered it.

I used a smart outlet with a routine that turns it off after 2 seconds of being on (i.e. mimicking a momentary button press). I plugged in a 12v adapter to the smart outlet, and wired that up to a 12v automotive relay/switch. I hooked up the other end of the relay/switch to the button terminals on the opener.

It works from my phone, Alexa, Google Assistant, and via a button on my watch or voice activated via Google Assistant on my watch or earbuds. Very convenient for opening the garage door when my hands are full… and it was cheep to make, as I had all the necessary parts just gathering dust. It has been working great and has been rock solid for at least 7 years now.

This method may not work for some garage door openers that use a digital code between the button on the wall and the opener (I’m talking about you MyQ, can’t even add a second remote button) instead of a simple on/off/open/close button press. The easy way to test this is to short out the 2 button terminals on the opener and see if it triggers the door.

I should mention that I do have an open/close/tilt sensor on the garage door.

I also have a camera in my garage so I can see if there are any obstructions/people before remotely initiating a close command. This is especially useful when my kids leave it open or the pets break the beam while we are driving away and it should be closing.

Like others here, I also have routines that notify me during the day if any doors have been left open for 15 minutes or longer, on 15 minute intervals. At night, the notifications are set at the 5 minute mark. It could get annoying when unwanted, so I also have a virtual switch that can pause all of the notifications for a set amount of time (used as a precondition for the notification routines), for example if I have the garage door open while doing yard work.

5 Likes

My personal preference is to keep automation away from my perimeter security.

Saying that, though, I have MyQ garage doors, and integrated with HomeKit via HomeBridge they magically started to appear as buttons in my CarPlay when I drove home.

I enjoyed having the magic button in CarPlay greatly, until the plugin died.

Whilst I’m happy to have integration, I am way too wary of exposing myself too much, and would rather monitor the perimeter rather than actuate. I compromise a bit though, by automating some close/lock actions. The only other thing i considered was automating opening if CO2 levels reached a high level.

3 Likes

I’ve used Meross MSG100 for about 4 years now. It’s rock solid. I use it for opening and closing based on presence.

While I understand being wary about ST controlling the doors, I’m not concerned with it, and in 4 years can’t recall a single issue.

The MSG100 uses a hardwired contact sensor which is great for reliability. I have an ST automation to close the doors 30 minutes after they open, and then the Meross has its own automation to close the doors after 35 minutes. I’m confident one of those will work if the other fails. Meross to ST IS cloud based, so having the backup closure automation on the MSG100 itself is a nice failsafe.

2 Likes

Since I was just getting started setting up my smart home about 4 years ago, I found a product called iSmartgate to integrate with SmartThings. It works well and has it’s own tilt sensors and controller. I use presence detection from our Galaxy phones and some virtual switches to use the geofencing option in SmartThings. I’m not as concerned about the security for a couple of reasons, I live in a very rural area and my garage is not directly attached to my home. That being said, if I had to do it again, I’d probably just use a Zooz relay on each door and some Zooz tilt sensors and keep it all local. I do enjoy the feeling when I’m coming down the driveway and the door opens as I approach.

2 Likes

I just completed an install using the Zooz ZEN16 relay, a 953Ev chamberlain remote and two Ecolink tilt sensors. You can see my full write up here.

Note: I only have automations that close the door ether based on presence when everyone leave or at night to close at a specific time - I do not do any ‘auto-open’ automation.

3 Likes

I also added a ZEN16 to my garage door opener along with an Ecolink contact sensor for open/closed detection. It’s wired so that the original hardwired button is still part of the system and the lockout switch on that button also locks out the smart relay so we have a hardware override at all times (plus the deadbolt on the door itself for vacation use).

Our use cases are as follows:

  • Phone notification if the door is open for more than 10 mins (which for us usually means we forgot to close it, but not always so we don’t have it close automatically)
  • Using Google Home devices in the house to close the door if we forgot it
  • Being able to close it from the road if we forgot to close it when we left the house (this is probably the #1 benefit)
  • Phone notification if the door is opened while the Location mode is Away or Night
  • Automatic close if it’s still open when the Location mode switches to Night
  • Open using Google Assistant on my earbuds when I’m arriving home on the bicycle (I can neither confirm nor deny that I set the voice command to “open the pod bay door”).

I’m comfortable with the automatic close because the door already has an IR laser across it that cuts out the motor if anything is obstructing the door.

I wouldn’t consider any autonomous open routines, and while allowing Google Assistant to open it is not without risks, I’m mitigating that by setting the open routine that Google can access to only operate if the security mode is in the disarmed state. I figure that should prevent anyone from yelling at a Google Home through a window. Personally I feel better about it than the PIN code keypads that a lot of our neighbors have on their garage doors.

The only real downside is that recently the ZEN16 has been locking up unexpectedly and depending on when it locks up it can also keep the control circuit closed which locks out the hardware button in the garage until I power cycle the relay. It’s more of an inconvenience than anything else but I’m working with Zooz support to see if it needs a firmware update or replacement (it’s an original v1 model and has very early firmware on it since SmartThings doesn’t have a function to let us push OTA updates).

3 Likes

I haven’t read this yet but it seems likely to be useful to folks on this thread

1 Like

It’s an interesting article, but it feels dated, and it doesn’t mention the UL 325 issues.

It also leaves out several of the most popular models which have manufacturer – provided smartthings integrations:

Genie Aladdin Connect

Meross

——

To be honest, it looks to me like they just updated their 2019 article with a few new details, rather than doing current research. :man_shrugging:t2:

1 Like

Thanks, @JDRoberts ! Your take on things like this is always on point and knowledgeable!

2 Likes