Opening your garage... ideas to pursue

(Kris Linquist) #1

This is just sort of a brain-dump post :).

As I see it, there are several ways I’ll be able to open my garage with my SmartThings:

  1. Use a Evolve LFM20 or other similar big honkin Z-Wave relay.  These are designed to switch full 120vac but should work fine to close the circuit to the garage door opening button.

  2. Use a big ZWave outdoor module:  to power a relay.  I’d have to tell my SmartApp to turn it on then immediately turn it off.

  3. Use this ZWave MIMO device made to control garage doors and other small devices:  (Any of you SmartThings guys have an ‘in’ at Fortrezz?  I can’t find one of these for sale anywhere yet).

  1. Use a Zigbee device made to control garage doors and such:  (This thing is like $150-200, ouch!!)

  1. Use an Arduino and the SmartShield (wish I would have picked one of these to get with my kit, kicking myself now) and a little relay.

  2. Use an Arduino  with the Ethernet shield.  SmartApps can interact with services over HTTP (using HTTPGET) so I could easily have it send a command to the arduino to toggle the relay for a second.  Since the SmartApps run in the cloud, I’d have to poke a hole in my firewall (I’ve got static IPs and all that)…  I could probably restrict the incoming connections to SmartThings’ cloud.



I’ll probably do #6 until I can get my hands on a SmartShield or a MIMOlite.


(Chrisb) #2

I picked up a couple of Intermatic outlets and $10 relays from Radio Shack.  I’m going to hack these up soon in my garage.  So, kinda an option 2.

(Jason D) #3

Look at Eric Shuld’s project. Seems easy to do. Im not sure how much the arduino shields will cost, but the rest of it can be had for about 60 bucks on Amazon.

(Cory S) #4

Could you not just wire it up to a zwave light switch and make a smart app to turn it off and then on?

(Kris Linquist) #5

Cory, yes, that’s sort of a variation on #2.  I’m looking for something a bit cleaner.

(Limitless Led) #6

ouch so #6 relies on the internet being up, to get into your garage? what if your router needs restarting that day? or the internet is offline for 5 minutes. Can you take the internet out of the loop?

(Limitless Led) #7

how quickly can a smartthings presence sensor detect you are at home? i.e how long do you have to sit in your driveway before the garage door opens?

(Jason D) #8


Really when it comes to Smart Things, 5 and 6 are no different since access to all SmartThings will require internet access to the hub. They have not claimed to have any “offline” solution yet for a stand alone hub, etc.

And these things use relays to activate the existing garage door opener, so you know you can always just use the garage door opener in your car or in the garage if you happen to need to open the garage the exact second your internet goes out for some reason.  I use a Global Cache IP2CC contact closure now in my current home automation system. I will likely dump this for the arduino/SmartThings shield though.

If you go the Z-wave route it would be smarter to use a relay since the operation of a garage door is momentary, not on/off. You hit the switch and it closes the circuit for a second which activates the door.

(Kris Linquist) #9

@LimitlessLED, the presence sensor is pretty quick, but not quick enough to open my garage door for me.  I simply want to be able to close it remotely if I accidentally leave it open.  Like Jason mentioned, your internet has to be open for most of these things to work.  I’ve got business class internet at home, it stays up :).

I will likely also have a twilio phone number that white-listed friends could send a text message to that would open the garage.

@jason3fc, indeed - that’s why the Fortrezz MIMOlite looks perfect, it’ll do momentary.

(Eric Schuld) #10

@jason3fc - actually - I put about $65 in costs on there - assuming that the SmartShield will run about $25. The arduino - relay - and power adaptor are less than $40 on Amazon I believe. Pretty cheap setup. :slight_smile:

(Kris Linquist) #11

I reached out to FortrezZ and they are going to sell me a MIMOlite directly.   Should have it in a few days, I’ll update with how it works!

(Jmejeur) #12

I like the MIMOlite idea.  Has both a relay and a sensor that you could hardwire a door sensor to.  Mind sharing how much it cost?

I also saw their full-sized MIMO.  Looked interesting to maybe control two garages.  Depending on the cost, I might go that route rather than using an Arduino/shield.

(Kris Linquist) #13

@jmejeur, $75.

(Kris Linquist) #14

Update: I received my FortreZZ MIMOlite today.  The SmartThings recognized it as a Aeon Multisensor.  I edited the device online and said it was a ZWave Momentary Contact switch and success!  It opens and closes my garage.   Awesome.

(Eric Schuld) #15

@LimitlessLED - I never saw this answered - but the Presence Sensor checks in every 30 seconds. So at the VERY MOST you would have to wait 30 seconds for the system to know you are there.

(Bambam) #16

@klinquist   Question about the FortreZZ MIMOlite do you have it setup with a wired door sensor. As per this document.

(Kris Linquist) #17

Hi @bambam,

I do not have it set up with a wired door sensor.  I am just using a Smart MultiSense door sensor.

(Bambam) #18

Hi @klinquist

I understand that you don’t have it hooked up the same way as the document but do you think it could work that way?

For me I live in a colder climate so a wired sensor would not have any battery issues and then from a cost point of view I could use my MulitSense somewhere else.

(Kris Linquist) #19

bambam, the SmartThings didn’t identify the device as the right type so I set it as a ZWave momentary contact and it worked.  In order to read state, you’d have to tell SmartThings that it is a device with a momentary switch and a sensor.  I don’t know if there is a device that works like that in their ‘arsenal’ today (there may be, I haven’t gone through them all). If not, you’ll have to request that they support all the features of the MIMOlite.

(Brianh) #20

@Kris Linquist Did you have to do anything special to get the SmartThings hub to recognize the MIMOlite? I can’t get it to see either of them.