House Door closer

Okay, here’s an idea I thought of… what about a house door closer?  I’m envisioning a smallish motor on a rotating arms that would sit on the hinge(s) of a door.  When activated the motor would slowly rotate the arm, pushing the door closed, then rotate back into “resting” position so that it wouldn’t interfere with manually opening the door later.

The beauty of this would be really allowing for automation of closing/locking your door after you left.  Imagine pushing a ‘smartButton’ or triggering the event from your cellphone.  The Event waits 20 seconds for you to leave the house, then activates the door closer.  After the door closer completes it action and reports back that the door is closed, the Event confirms this with the open/close sensor, then triggers the door lock to turn… bam… house is locked and secured.  If anything fails in the process you get an instant alert/text/email/whatever.

And because this just closes the door (doesn’t hold it closed), you don’t need to worry about not being able to open the door if you don’t have a smartphone or if power goes out.  Also, because we’re just closing, not opening the door, we don’t need to worry about finding a way to turn the handle/latch on the door to open it.

Now, obviously some things would need to ironed out: First, the motor would need to have some sensor that if x-amount of resistance was felt, it would stop.  Don’t want to crush any pets or kids after all.  Also have to find a way to generate enough torque to close the door without using much power or the user would have to be changing batteries constantly or hard-wiring the motor into the house electricity.

 

This would be totally cool for opening the hidden bookcase doors i’m making in my upper half story.  Let me know when its done chrisb :wink:

Dave

Wouldn’t a regular spring or pneumatic based door closer (as perfected over the last 100+ years) work better. Combine it with an open/closed sensor and a smart lock, some logic, and you should be done. When you leave, the SmartApp monitors the open/close sensor; when the door is closed, it locks it. If it doesn’t close within 60 seconds, it sends you an alert. Existing mechanical door closers are available in many sizes, some with adjustable force, don’t eat children, don’t consume any electricity and are extremely reliable over extremely long periods of time (years --> decades). They also often have a latch of some sort to prop the door open should you want to.

Sometimes the existing solutions are the best :slight_smile:

For the hidden bookcase door, yes, definitely a nice silent actuator of some sort…here you need it to open and close itself on command for that “Addams Family” effect…but maybe some bump sensors (a la elevator doors) combined with low door speed (control the inertia) to protect little fingers?

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Yeah, i’ve been thinking about the hidden door scenario.  Mine are going to slide (on a track) open/closed.  So I was thinking that having some kind of spring/hydraulic combination to actually control the movement of the door.  Spring to keep the door open, hydraulic to work against the spring so the door doesn’t slam open.  Then all you would need is a servo to control a latch which should be really easy to do.  However, you only get automatic open in this scenario, and a manual close.
Another alternative would be to have some kind of belt driven system that would open/close the door.  But I think you would need a fairly substantial motor/power source for that.  So you’d probably have to rig up an arduino with a relay shield to be able to control the bigger appliance…  Just thoughts for now though.

It seems to me that the COMMERCIAL side of Smart Home Automation has not got it’s head around the fact that there is no point in LOCKING a door unless it is closed.

I want to be able to tell Google home to “Close the back door” and have SOMETHING trigger a movement which I can use to start a mechanical door closer. A SLAM BOLT lock will ensure that once the door is closed then it is locked. I could activate a MAINS WiFi switch, but it needs to automatically turn off again a few seconds afterrwards.

I cannot find ANY (sensibly priced) commercial products that can close a normal door, or even allow me to fit a spring closer, and door holdback, and REMOTELY release the door holdback. A falling wieght and a pulley would close a door, but I need to start the weight dropping.

The closest thing I have found is grenhouse vent motors, but they are £50 plus. The only othe commercial products that seem to be widely available are Garage Door Openers and closers. But at £200 PLUS, it is complete overkill.

I can make a several different designs of door closing mechanism from the scrap - I just cannot find anything to trigger even a 10mm movement of a lever to set the mechanism going.

Any thoughts please…

I myself use a wheelchair. There are several automatic door closers available for wheelchair users, and these days quite a few of them also have Alexa integrations. :sunglasses: So the devices definitely exist.

The issue is all of the needed safety features to keep from crushing a person or pet. They add significantly to the cost. Expect to spend about £500 for the least expensive for an exterior door. For someone in a wheelchair, very much worth it. Others will have to make their own determinations.

Also, again for safety reasons, these doors both open and close quite slowly, about the same speed as a garage door. So that’s just something to be aware of.

Because of the safety issues, I strongly recommend buying a purpose built device, then integrating it. Any model which allows for a button control is fairly easy to splice a smart relay into. (Although these days an Alexa integration is often simpler.)

Olide is a good brand, widely available in both the US and U.K…

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Autoslide, also available in both the US AND UK, is probably best for sliding glass doors.

Dorma is another brand available in the U.K., but they are intended for professional installation and don’t sell all in one DIY packs as Olide does, instead you have to order all the individual parts.

Mantion, Topp, and other EU brands are also intended for professional installation.

(In the US, there are other DIY brands, particularly SkylinkNet’s Ottodoor.)

Anyway, start by looking for wheelchair doors and you should find a few choices. :sunglasses:

(BTW, you are responding to a post which is 7 years old, and a great deal has changed in that time. In the future I suggest you look for more current topics, particularly when it comes to device selection. Or start your own topic under projects and you should gets lots of responses.

https://community.smartthings.com/c/projects-stories

Make sure you put U.K. in the thread title as device selection does vary somewhat.)

I like your idea. The motor would have to have a LOT of torque if you are mounting it on the hinge side. Leverage and all that. It might be better to incorporate a design similar to what commercial buildings use for door closers. Those are hydraulic and keep the door from slamming shut or staying open. Perhaps a design like this would work, but like you said, the batteries would be drained quickly due to the power requirements.

On a side note, years ago when remote controlled ceiling fans were in the design stages, i laughed and said who would be so lazy as to not have to get out of their chair/bed to turn the fan or lights off/up/down. I understand now that arthritis has invaded my body. If i don’t have to move life is good.

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Hi JD,

Thanks for your thoughts and observations.

Whilst I understand your concerns for pets etc, I had no such worries in the past when using a spring closer mechanism on a gate.

I think I can drive a trigger mechanism from a WiFi controlled power socket. My only minor problem is that there is no real routine on IFTTT to have a delayed action. I.e. Power the outlet on, wait 15 seconds and then power the outlet off again.

I will keep searching.

Tim.

This forum is for people who are using the Samsung SmartThings home automation platform, so all of the questions and answers are assumed to be in that context. :sunglasses:

It’s a very active forum, so it often comes up near the top in general Google searches, but it’s not a general forum. It’s quite specific.

SmartThings does have an IFTTT channel, but it’s unlikely that you would be using it for this project. There’s a built-in rules engine and it has delays available. So that particular part of the project is not an issue as long as you are using Samsung SmartThings ™. :wink:

it’s 2020. There is still no wifi smart door closer for the home and even a wheelchair door closer with a button on the wall is still running over 700 USD. I guess technology is not advancing as quickly as we think it is.

I am a wheelchair user. There are multiple door closers with handheld remotes at under $700. You could even hook some up with voice control. While autoslide is still probably the best for big heavy doors, There are less expensive ones for lighter doors. We have discussed These previously in the forum.

One of the main issues with these is always safety, which is why they are more expensive than some other kinds of technology, but they definitely exist.

Skylink’s Otodor series is one of the least expensive, typically under $300, but can be hard to find depending on the country you live in. Still available, though.

Olide has become much more popular just in the last couple of years and it’s usually sold in a kit with a bunch of different accessories, so a typical price is around $550 but you can find it for less if you are looking just for the actuator.

All three of these brands have good safety features.

So it just depends on exactly what you are looking for. The main thing to know is that again, for safety reasons, any of these are going to be pretty slow when they move, which can be annoying to able-bodied people who use the same entrance. About the speed of a garage door. So that’s just another factor to consider if you are looking at these.

Just remember to search for residential swing door openers. These are installed inside the house so they don’t have to be as weatherproof as the ones for commercial doors and so are less expensive.

I am always watching this market, but so far for my own home we use a smart lock but just a rope pull. I can use it if I have to, but most of the time it’s my service dog who is physically moving the door. :sunglasses::dog:

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