What’s the best suggested solution from the community for automating a garage? Using the Evolve Relay with tilt sensor or using a Linear GD00Z-4?
Using the Linear GD00Z 4 with the custom device type from @garyd9 preserves the safety features that Underwriters Laboratories considers essential for any garage door that will be operated in “unattended mode,” that is, with the person out of sight of the garage door. Linear is justifiably very proud of their UL listing in this category.
And this topic has GaryD’s device type for it:
In contrast the evolve relay is UL listed only to control an appliance as a switch, not as a garage door controller. Using it, or any other simple relay, the way some community members do essentially hotwires the door circuit, bypassing safety features already built into the control panel, and obviously not adding safety features specific to unattended operation.
Obviously a personal decision (as long as this isn’t a property you’re renting to someone else), but speaking for myself, I’d go with the Linear or another device that was purpose-built as a garage door controller.
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I have been using the Telguard GDC1 and it works perfectly. It comes with everything you need. I mainly use it with IFTTT automations on the SmartThings Channel (I tie it to my car’s ignition state), but I use the SmartThings App a my opener on occasions.
It is UL listed also like Linear’s but it uses the Binary Switch command class.
the issue is that the Telguard identifies itself as a binary switch, while the linear gd00Z identifies itself as a secure barrier operator. This allows for the five device statuses: open, opening, closing, closed, and unknown. The binary switch only has two: on and off. Telguard is using on for open and off for closed, but has no way of notifying the “in motion” statuses.
While they do meet UL 325 requirements, and I commend the manufacturer for that decision, I don’t quite see how SmartThings could be expected to pair it as something other than a zwave switch since that’s what it self identifies as. Otherwise you’d open the door to requiring that ST publish official custom device types for many third party devices, exactly what an open platform with third party certifications is supposed to not need.
There are also some security features built into the Linear that are absent from the Telguard (not safety, but security having to do with encryption), but not everyone cares about that.
All true, but given this thread is comparing the GD00Z with a Relay & Tilt, the GDC1 compares favorably to those two options.
- Works with any generation of Z-Wave controller that support switches whereas the moving barrier is still only sporadically supported.
- Direct wired sensor. This means that the state “Unknown” is never needed because the sensor doesn’t ever disappear.
- No battery in the system. One less thing to remember and one less thing to die when I am actually away from the home and now can’t close the door because a tilt sensor battery is dead.
- It can be connected as a sensor into a security system.
- UL Listed
- Shows up as a switch (on=open; off=closed); The UI can easily be changed to show it as a Garage Door.
- I lose the knowledge of a temporary (~15 second period) where I won’t know if it is opening or closing. I mainly use the GDC1 with automations so I would never see this anyway.
- The Security Command Class (but it can still be wired to a security panel.)
On balance, the only consideration for Garage Doors should be the GDC1 or the Linear unit. The Relay & Tilt approach is just clumsy by comparison.
Different people will have different priorities. I do certainly agree it’s nice to see more UL listed options.
As to the “unknown” status, its purpose isn’t immediately obvious, but it is important.
It’s specifically intended in the context of unattended operation to address two situations:
when The door itself has been damaged. This happens more often with garage doors then other entry doors, simply because, on occasion, cars do run into them. So even a wired sensor may lose contact.
when there has been a power outage at the time that the door was in the process of either opening or closing. Because a garage door controller operated by a network may be initiated by a human who is out of sight of the door, they will not know what the door was doing. It’s possible that since the power outage occurred something has partially blocked the entry, even possibly an unconscious person.
This is similar to another situation, that of two consecutive door close failures. I see Telguard says that it does meet the UL 325 standard of suspending unattended operation after two consecutive close failures. What status does it send at that time? Just “open”? That meets the UL standard, but in fact it may be less informative then “unknown”. This is particularly true for cases where the close is failing because the door has become entangled with something.
The purpose of the “unknown” status for a barrier controller is to notify the human operator that they should go and visibly examine the door for any possible damage or obstruction. So it does have a purpose beyond that of open and closed.
Well I did some digging and it looks like the Linear product reports “Unknown” in five cases:
- No Tilt Sensor is paired with it
- No message from the Tilt Sensor since power up
- No message from the Tilt for the last 4 hours
- Tilt sensor is tampered with
- The garage door failed to close twice in a row.
So, the first four of those conditions are related to the fact that the tilt is wireless (and by extension battery powered).
The fifth is the UL lockout condition. When this occurs the Telguard says “open” and the Linear says “Unkown.”
Well I personally think that seeing that the door is “Open” (which it is) is more informative than “Unknown” which must then be interpreted as Open or Closed because the state is mapped to conditions that could be both. Sure it may mean something is entangled, but it could also mean that the battery died in the tilt sensor and the door is actually closed.
I see the status as a confirmation of the secure nature of the garage. What I like about the Telguard “open” state is that I at least know if the garage is secured or not (“Closed”) regardless of the various things that could go wrong. But again, that is a personal preference.