Garage door open-ness detection alert?

(Nicolas Bourbaki) #1

I hope this is the right place to ask this. I don’t have a SmartThings system yet, but am looking at getting one for a specific purpose. So I wanted to see if folks here who know the system, can tell me if this is possible with SmartThings.

What I want is to have some kind of alert-- preferably a phone call-- to my and my wife’s phones, if the garage door is left open for any length of time. (Like, more than a couple minutes.) That way if we accidentally leave it open we’ll be alerted to it.

I don’t want to automate the opening and closing-- I’m just too nervous about possible bugs that could lead to it being accidentally opened. I just want to detect open-ness.

The specific part of this that feels tricky, is I don’t want to always get that phone call. I only want it if the door is open too long. I couldn’t figure out how to handle this aspect on IFTTT, for instance-- it’s not a simple “if trigger, make phone call” because the trigger is more than one condition, and that condition includes a timer (1 minute, etc.)

From the reading I’ve done, I get the impression that I can do the basic detection with only two parts: (a) SmartThings hub plus either (b1) SmartThings Multi Sensor (unavailable), or (b2) an Ecolink z-wave garage door tilt sensor.

However, I’m not sure about the triggering and the time delay logic.

Is something like this possible on SmartThings? Thanks!

(Gary D) #2

yes. not a phone call, but a push notification and/or an SMS message.


In fact, you can take it farther and have the notification only occur if the door has been open longer than a specified amount of time AND it’s a certain time of day, or a light is turned off, and so on.

(It would require a smartapp, but that’s not a big deal.)

(Nicolas Bourbaki) #3

Thank you-- sounds promising!

I was thinking for the phone call I could cc the SMS to IFTTT as well and then trigger a call there, so it could be both a text and a phone call. I don’t know what’s involved in writing a SmartApp but I am a programmer so hopefully it’s something I can deal with.

I’ve never used ZWave devices. To use a ZWave sensor with ST, do I need some kind of ZWave hardware as well (besides just the sensor)? I remember reading something about ZWave “repeaters” but not sure if that’s needed.

(Ideally I’d prefer to use a SmartThings Multi Sensor, but they seem to be quite backordered.)

Thank you!

(Jason) #4

To use any of the products you’ve mentioned, you simply need the ST Hub. As for the SmartApp - when you get everything setup, look for the “Notify Me” app, that should do the trick for you!

( co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #5

Yes… You can integrate with IFTTT through the official channel SmartThings has established.

I think the cleanest way to do this IFTTT “technically” is to create a Virtual Contact Sensor Device in your SmartThings location that triggers only after the time delay you desire. IFTTT recipe to watch a single contact and telephone you is trivial with that approach.

(Nicolas Bourbaki) #6

This sounds great, and thanks especially for the suggestion with the Virtual Contact Sensor Device tactic. Thanks everyone!

(Ron) #7

You could use a tilt sensor instead of a contact also. If you door is of the type that rolls up that is.

I have the GD00Z garage door controller and I love being able to close it remotely if left open. I have it set to notify me when opened and to notify again in 30 min if not closed. Works like a charm. I know you said you are afraid to have the control also but I love having it so I can close if left open without the return trip.

(Nicolas Bourbaki) #8

Yeah, I agree, in theory I really like the idea of being able to close it remotely. I think I’ll eventually want to add that, but need to build a little more confidence in the system first! The GD00Z does look like a good way of doing it.

(Ron) #9

One issue with the GD00Z is when it loses power it stops reporting it’s position. It becomes “unknown” this is a feature required for them to get UL certification since the tilt sensor only sends a signal when the sensor moves. If the power is out and the door is manually opened or closed the sensor would send it’s signal and the device wouldn’t receive it. It would not send the signal again when power is restored because it can’t be “polled” it only sends when moved. I solved this by attaching a low cost UPS ($40) to my GD00Z so it never loses power.

(Richard Kovach) #10

I’ve been using SmartThings with a simple ST multi sensor on my garage door flor well over a year, and it’s worked very well. It sends me an alert after 15 min of being open.
I also followed another developer’s example of using an Arduino board, ThingShield and relay to allow me to control the door opener remotely through SmartThings. It has worked flawlessly, although I haven’t used the remote open/close function more than a half dozen times - mostly when the batteries were too low or cold in our normal remotes.
One nice thing about the multi sensor is it also gives me an idea of the temperature of the edge of the garage door where the sensor is mounted.



I’m relatively new to home automation (~ 4 months using a wink hub) and finally wisened up and switched to smart things.

Can you explain exactly how you got the notification configured to include a 15 minute delay? Ideally, I’d like to only get notified if I leave the door open during certain times of the day, but after a delay will work too.


(Ron) #12

Here is how I do it in Android…Not sure if same in iPhone
From Dash Board
Select - "Door & Locks"
Tap Gear upper right
Tap Door you want to alert on in my case "Garage Door"
Tap "Alert me if it’s left open or closed"
Setup your alert


Thanks Ron! It’s exactly the same on the iPhone

(Greg) #14

One thing to know about this alert is that if you open the door, then change modes, the alert will not work. You need to add @tslagle13 “is it secure” app to know for sure

(Ron) #15

Why would this approach not work when you change modes ? I didn’t know that.
Or do you mean if you want only during certain times and you configure for certain modes ? I don’t have this configured for specific modes, I always want to be alerted. So perhaps I don’t have this issue ?

(Greg) #16

It just doesn’t. Example - you open the garage door and drive away. Your mobile presence changes the mode to away. You will not get notified that you left the door open using the built in alert. At least it didn’t before. I haven’t tried it again since Tim wrote that app.

(Ron) #17

That’s terrible…OK time to install “Is my home secure”

I think this was one of the only things I have configured in my phone that I didn’t have to write my own custom device and/or app for LOL, I don’t know how non-programmers deal with this device, just glad I can code.

(Greg) #18

We count on nice people like Tim who post their own apps to share and will even write apps for others!

(Ron) #19

Yea, I share my stuff also and have made modifications for folks. Still seems like the out of the box stuff really needs more flexibility and improvement. It should be interesting to see what ST2.0 looks like.

(Sam) #20

Hello. In the context of a garage door, what useful data does the tilt sensor tell you that a contact sensor doesn’t already tell you?

After some reading in several garage threads, why is a tilt sensor required or preferred? Using a smart relay or smart momentary switch, I answer my own question by saying a tilt sensor is not required, and only a $30 contact sensor (open/close) is needed.

The reason is all you want to really know is the door open or closed. The contact sensor is perfect for the partial-open scenario of the door. The tilt sensor cannot suffice for the partial open scenarios. (the day will come when you care about this). If it is a matter of catering to an app that is limited to using a tilt sensor, we can write a new app that has the appropriate logic.