No Motor garage door opener (HomeLink button integration?)

Ok so here is my idea and I am new to this Home Automation. Since I do not have a “garage” since it was converted to a In-law suite. But I want to use my Subaru HomeLink rear view mirror buttons in conjunction with my smart home. I have looked around but I have not found anything that would be the connected relay device.

I have three buttons in my Subaru that are dedicated for the garage door. I know I can purchase add on devices to the door opener that will relay to the smart hub via Zwave or Zigbee. Is there a device that will receive the signal from my car then down convert to “Z”? And not taking signal from the Garage motor to the add on. Just a stand alone device.

The idea would be to have each button do a certain function. Like the first button would turn on my outside lights for 5 minutes. Or second button could turn on my in side lights. And finally the third would turn off lights.

If anyone could point me in the right direction, that would be great. I just purchased a Google Home and started falling down this new money pit hobby.

Thank you

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Actually…every SmartThings device is “RF.”

“RF” just means “radio frequency.” But there are many different frequencies and protocols in use. Zwave is RF. Zigbee is RF. Bluetooth is RF. Wi-Fi is RF. Ademco/Honeywell is RF.

None of these can talk to each other.

So you need to know the exact frequency and protocol being used by the RF device before you can figure out whether or not it can talk to SmartThings.

In this case, the OP mentions homelink. That is a standard garage door controller protocol used with many different cars.

There is a Z wave device made by Wayne dalton which can bridge home link to Z wave. Which sounds great, but unfortunately that specific device is a scene controller which will not work well with smartthings. There’s just no good way to program the scenes into it.

There are a couple of options, one of which is to use a vera as a secondary controller (it works just fine with the Wayne dalton device) and there is even a community member who completely hacked the Wayne dalton device and shifted it over to Zigbee. But that requires physically manipulating the device and adding a new radio.

My suggestion instead would be just to use a different device which can communicate well with SmartThings and ignore The existing home link buttons.

The Remotec 8 button device is about the size of a single gang light switch. It’s battery-operated and works well with SmartThings. Each button can be pressed, double pressed, or long-held so you get a total of 24 different codes from the one device. It should fit well on a car flap.

You can read about this device and other battery operated devices, including a couple of key fob options, that could work well in a car in the remotes and buttons FAQ:

But the Homelink frequency is not a frequency that SmartThings can receive, so if it were me, I just wouldn’t bother trying to use those.

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Yeah…you need to stop doing that. People are going to think you’re in marketing. :wink: {engineer joke}

Seriously, though – – compatibility is always about the specifics. There are lots of methods that can bridge SmartThings to other specific systems. It’s just that some are a lot more trouble than they’re worth. So the details always matter. :sunglasses:

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The problem with using a different device is, of course, that you already have a device with 3 buttons! And you want to leverage that!

I followed exactly that path some months ago in trying to use an android phone as a Bluetooth virtual presence sensor. It did OK half the time, but not the other half. I eventually gave up and just got myself an ST presence sensor. But it feels like a waste to have those buttons sitting there, doing nothing… lol

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If it’s just a “this drives me crazy” issue, you can use the Homelink buttons. But you’ll need to use one of the methods in the Homelink thread that I’d linked to above. And it’s probably going to be more expensive than just using a different device.

The simplest way is to get the Wayne dalton device and a vera and run it that way. But then you’ve paid for two pretty expensive devices just to be able to use those three buttons.

Alternatively, you can hack the Wayne Dalton and put A zigbee radio in it, but again, you’re paying for two new devices (The Wayne Dalton and the zigbee radio). Plus that method is way more work.

You could even get a Homelink receiver and then add a Mimolite to that. But, hello – – two new devices again.

But different people have different priorities. If you just can’t have stand to have the buttons in the car and not use them, read the Homelink thread I linked to. It can be done.

But it’s going to be both simpler and easier to just buy a different button device and use that. :sunglasses:

Choice is good.

Hi JDRoberts:

I have been Googling and reading because I was also interested in trying to use the Homelink buttons in the car to turn on or off a light controlled by a GE Z-Wave switch that is integrated into my SmartThings network. It looks like you have researched more and accomplished more than anyone else working on this problem. I like your Zigbee hack of the Wayne Dalton gateway and I may proceed with that - it sounds like a fun project but within my capabilities (since you have done the heavy lifting).

I wanted to ask you if you had investigated writing a device handler for the Wayne Dalton gateway? I think the code from one of the other button devices (like the Minimote) my be hackable to get the results I am looking for. In my searching I hadn’t seen any mention of anyone tackling a device handler . . .

I can pair the Wayne Dalton with the SmartThings hub (V2) but it appears to pair as a generic Z-wave Remote device. When I look at the code for the generic Z-Wave Remote in the development environment and compare it to the device handler for something such as the Minimote, it appears to be just a shell of a device handler. I don’t see where any functions are actually coded into the handler.

I’m stuck on how you find out what codes the device sends if you can’t find it in any documentation. I think I need a way to sniff the Z-Wave protocol to see what the device is sending when, for example, I press a button.

Anyway, just curious if you went down that path - if you did and found it to be a dead end, I think I will just do your hardware hack to add the Zigbee. If you haven’t, I may take a stab at it . . .



There a a round about method I used, but you need the original garage door motor and take the receiver module and connect those wires to a Zwave relay. That should work if the relay is low voltage. I originally did it with the two wires to the lamp, but it timed out and went off.

Thanks for the shout, but the zigbee swap wasn’t my hack, I just linked to the project report from the community member who’d done it. (In the other thread I linked to)

As far as the Wayne dalton gateway device, you can find out what command sets any certified Z wave device uses by checking its conformance statement on the official Z wave products website.

It’s really important to understand that with zwave, you could have two Devices that look physically identical on the outside, but that use completely different methods to communicate with the network. And that method is set in the firmware of the device, there’s no way for us to change it.

In the case of devices with buttons, there are three typical methods and it’s really important to know which one the particular device you are considering is using.

  1. Association. This is what the minimote uses. There’s a whole bunch of technical stuff I’m not going to go into in this post, but the main point is that you can set it up so that when you press a button on the minimote, the hub gets told about it. From there, you could have a smartapp that can capture that button press and then do something. Turn on a switch, change the mode, run a routine, whatever. But this only works because the hub knew about the button press to begin with.

  2. Central Scene Commands. Love this. :sunglasses: This is the newest method of this type and it only came in a couple years ago. With this, when you press a button on the device, it sends a scene number to the hub. ( that’s what the “central” means – – note that this is different than the older “scene controller” command sets.) It’s then up to, again, a smart app to decide what to do with that scene number. But again, you can do pretty much anything SmartThings can do, turn on a switch, change the mode, etc.

Why is this so much better than association? Again, a couple of technical reasons, but mostly because it gives you much more precise information. It’s what enables a homeseer wall switch, for example, to do single tap, double tap, and triple tap for both top and bottom of the switch.

Three) Basic commands without Association. This is the oldest method and it is what the Wayne dalton device uses. As soon as you see “controller replication” on a handheld remote but you don’t see Association, you can be pretty sure it’s not going to work very well with SmartThings. Why?

Because devices using this method don’t tell the hub when the button is pressed. They tell some other device directly to perform its “basic” command. (That’s a Z wave term in this context). There’s no way for the hub to know that the message was sent.

The other device must be zwave and must have a basic command which is useful to you. That’s pretty limited. So, yes, You can use it to get toggle a nearby zwave device on and off–but when you do, the SmartThings hub won’t know that you did it, so your statuses will all get out of sync.

Anyway, all of that is to say that you cannot make the Wayne dalton device work like a minimote. They don’t use the same Z wave command sets. In fact, you can’t really do anything with the Wayne dalton device at all from SmartThings except add it to your network. After that, depending on the capabilities of the device, you might be able to set it up to toggle some nearby Z wave devices on and off, but if you do, SmartThings won’t get the status of them. And you might not be able to set it up at all, there’s some complicated technicalities regarding that.

So… It’s basically a third-generation device and we’re now in the fifth generation of zwave and on top of that SmartThings is a multiprotocol platform. There may be some people who will find a use for it, but you won’t be able to make it work like a minimote or other button controller, it just doesn’t do the same things.


Thank you. Great answer. I suspected there might be something more to it and you explained it beautifully.

It sounds like it would be a waste of time to pursue a device handler. I may pursue the Zigbee modification . . . not sure yet. But it I won’t waste any time on the device handler idea.

Thanks again!


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I’m curious about your response. And why everyone (including the manufactures) have all poo-pooed the homelink system or trying to integrate to it (Hobbyists and manufactures alike!). It is a user interface driving around in over 200 million cars in North America and would be a great jumping off point for people interested in getting started with home automation. And yet homelink bridges (rolling 315Mhz) are few and far between and those that do exist are plagued with terrible documentation and hit and miss integration.

As for your observation that you could get a homelink receiver and then add a mimolite… but that garage door receivers are “expensive”. Really? Homelink (315Mhz or 390Mhz) receivers are easy to find and are cheaper than a mimolite. One example is a Liftmaster 312HM ($35 retail… almost half the price of a mimolite). That turns a button push on your car’s rear-view mirror into a momentary 12V AC signal; that could be easily used to trip either a mimolite, or even a Z wave or a zigbee door/window sensor. Which in turn could trigger a scene a automation Hub.

In fact doing it this way, means that you can upgrade your automation system in the future and maintain the integration with your car for only the cost of a door/window sensor since the garage/gate frequencies are grandfathered in hundreds of millions of car and homes and are unlike to be replaced anytime soon.

It is a real curiosity that none of the Automation Hubs have included a 315/390 Mhz rolling interface… They integrate with everything, except the one thing that most of us use to enter the house every day.


Good point: I’ve edited my post above to remove the cost mention under the receiver option.

As for why most multiprotocol home automation systems don’t include the homelink frequency, I don’t know. As you mentioned, there would be a big market for it. So my guess is there’s a technical issue just in adding yet another frequency, as well as a cost issue for hubs trying to stay under $100.

Many of us have asked for years why SmartThings didn’t include a Lutron radio, for example, or a 433 MHz transmitter. But it doesn’t, and the upcoming Lutron integration (yay!) Will require the Lutron Smartbridge.

The Wayne dalton zwave/Homelink device exists. It works fine with Vera. But it hasn’t been a big seller as evidenced by the fact that it’s never been updated and isn’t carried at very many of the specialty home automation retailers. And that there is an any competition. It’s annoying that it doesn’t work directly with SmartThings, but as mentioned above there are ways around that.

You might want to contact linear (who make the gocontrol devices) and ask them if they’ve considered adding a homelink bridge option to their very popular gocontrol Z wave garage door controller. It would certainly be nice if they did!

BTW, if it was me, I would just get the $45 remotec 8 button device and put that in the car. Each button can be tap, double tap, or long hold so you get 24 functions from the device. It’s battery-operated, zwave plus (which will give you a longer range then either zigbee or Homelink, at least on clear days), and there’s no soldering or wiring required, which could be important for those who have leased cars.

Again, choice is good. :sunglasses:


I made a thread about how I solved this problem, which was inspired / guided by many of the posts in this thread.