Garage Door Remote Hack for Z-wave Control?

I know much has been said in this community about garage door openers, but I can’t seem to find anything I am looking for in my particular situation.

I have a gate for our complex that opens with a simple Linear garage door remote like this:

Rather than install something in to the gate’s control box, I was hoping to hack some kind of Z-wave relay (perhaps the Remotec ZFM-80?) in to the remote itself and placing the remote in a window, as I have the closest unit to the gate.

I don’t need to close the gate, it does so automatically. I don’t need to monitor it. I just want my phone’s presence to trigger it open when I arrive home. Any ideas?

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Should be doable. It might take a bit of soldering, but in principle it should work.

When you physically push the button on your remote you are closing a circuit which sends the single out to the opener. If you wire in a relay in parallel with that button, when the relay trips it will, just like the button, close the circuit and send the signal.

A couple of things to be aware of…

  • Depending on what the remote looks like inside, soldering up your relay in parallel may or may not be easy to do. Sometimes those buttons are pretty small and self contained inside. I’d probably take it apart myself first and try to make the connection with a bit of wire first to make sure you can identify where you’d need to solder and make sure it’s accessible.

  • Relay like the Remotec or Linear REQUIRE main power. That is, they have to wired into your home wiring in order to run. They won’t push that power down the circuit when you connect the relay as long as it’s a DRY RELAY (ie, the two circuit… one for power, one for action… don’t touch each other). But you’ll need to power it somehow. I have a Remotec that I use for my gas fireplace. I stripped off an electrical cord from an old lamp that was busted and wired the power side of the relay to that so I could plug it in rather than physically connect it to my house wiring.

  • Relay’s are usually momentary. What that means is they only connect the circuit for a brief second. This is fine when the relay is hard wired to the motor, but may pose an issue when connected to your remote. When you use your remote to open the gate, do you need to hold the button for a couple of seconds before the motors sees the signal and starts opening? Or can you just tap it once and have the gate reliably open?

Hmmm… I find the opposite. Most relays hold the condition as long as power is applied, and if power is a switched value, then it remains open or closed (off or on) continuously.

Guess it depends on the configuration. A relay project via SmartThings ZigBee based Smart Shield and Arduino is rather inexpensive and fun project.

[quote=“tgauchat, post:3, topic:24584, full:true”]
Hmmm… I find the opposite. Most relays hold the condition as long as power is applied, and if power is a switched value, then it remains open or closed (off or on) continuously.[/quote]

Are you talking about a “home made” relay, or a z-wave relay like the Linear LFM-20?

Guess I was talking “generically” … it seems the LFM-20 must be able to have a non-momentary mode, as it can be used for continuous lighting, no? Or am I confusing with “micro-relays” like that from Monoprice or Aeotec, which, indeed, hold closed and hold open a 120v circuit…

If we can rely on a custom SmartThings Device Handler, then simulating a sufficiently length of “momentary” press, then any of these relay could work if they have a source of power…

I don’t know if anyone is still interested in something like this, but I wanted to have control of my ceiling fan and light light which has one of the RF canopy modules plus a wall and handheld remote. Since there was no compatible SmartThings products I decided to make my own. I used an Arduino Uno and a Thing Shield and paired them with the handheld remote which I opened up and “sacrificed” for the project. It sounds similar to the original question in that I had the arduino “press” the button for me on the remote when I press the button in the SmartThings app. It has been very reliable so far. Although I haven’t been able to use it in any routine just yet. I think my device handler code needs some tweaking,