Ridiculously automated garage door - Closing on my wife's van issue

OK, I’ll see what I can come up with this weekend that will be sans sensor

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Install a tennis ball on a string. Hang it from the garage ceiling such that when it touches the windshield, the TIRES are fully blocking the beam. The door won’t close in that state, and all the driver needs to do is either pull all the way in, or stop when the ball touches the glass.

Honestly though, having the door shut (or even open) based on any event that’s not “some monkey pressed a button” isn’t ever really going to be fool proof.


Personally I find it helpful to have the door close automatically when I leave, not so much when I return and this is a good example why. Is the button not in a good spot where you can close it on the way in? I have ours set to close when we go to bed just in case we forget to close it manually.

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I may sound like I am 100 , but why not just push the door close button and find something else to RUBE GOLDBERG ?



20 chararcters

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I second not using garage door automation apps. ST isn’t nearly reliable enough for it. I had numerous issues with my door opening while I was gone, or failing to close because the multi sensor didn’t properly update the door status when opening. Perhaps the must amusing was never opening the garage door at all, and then having it open as my presence sensor left because the multi was still reporting an open status erroneously.

What about this project built by @twack

It shouldn’t be too expense and would allow you to incorporate the distance from the wall to the car .

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Parking spotters can be helpful in many situations, but I’m not sure how that solves the OP’s problem. Here’s his situation.

  1. He installed the “ridiculously automated garage door” code. This code opens the garage door when his wife arrives home, and then closes it again. He wasn’t sure of what triggered the close. It may be the interior door opening.

  2. In the situation where his wife arrived home with kid and groceries, kid would run into the house while wife was unloading groceries, and door would often start to close before she finished. The problem was that the unloading usually required her standing behind the van getting things from the back with the lift gate up, so the door starting to close was very dangerous (garage door hits uplifted Van door, Van door might then hit wife. (It is very common that a lifted Van gate will NOT block a garage door’s obstruction detector beam. Or it can simply be a case of the person walking back and forth. )

  3. So his wife had come up with a temporary situation. She parks the Van sticking out into the driveway. This blocks the obstruction beam so the garage door won’t close. She unloads the car. Then gets back in the car and drives the rest of the way in. Which works, but creates a new danger of kid running back out of the house into the garage while car is moving. Plus is annoying and inconvenient. So OP asked for a time delay for code.

  4. At that point, per usual, the community spun off into 12 different creative directions. Including suggestions to not use this particular app at all and just close door on command, not automated.

Anyway, just wanted to make sure we didn’t get too far off the original request, which is that the wife doesn’t want to stop car, unload groceries, then get back in and drive forward some more. That’s what she’s doing now.

So the OP is looking for solutions where the car drives fully into the garage, wife gets out, and then doesn’t have to get back in.

Later in the conversation he indicated he would like to solve this without adding an additional device.

Personally from a safety standpoint I don’t like any scheduled closure, I think closing should always be an intentional human operator decision. But that’s just me.

I thought the wife needed to pull in partially due to a physical limitation of the garage. The door hits the top of the garage?

In this case the parking spotter would work. You could essentially say only betwen x and y distances should the garage automatically close.

@newtbd Can you clarify?

@JDRoberts I read it differently. The way I read it, she has to park like that to unload the car regardless of any automated solution in order to avoid damaging the trunk hatch. In that case, a spotter is a valid solution that could be done

My bad, then, I misunderstood. I thought she only had to start parking twice because the app was closing the door too soon.

But, yeah, if she’s always parked twice a parking spotter makes sense.

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for a guy who gets it right so often you’re allowed one every once in a while :wink:

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Oh gosh – whatever automation you add, please make use of an electric eye to interrupt the process if something or someone is in the way. Otherwise – yikes!

In the US, most garage door closers have an obstruction beam about 14" off the ground (a little under half a meter). The door won’t close if that beam is broken.

The problem with hatchback vehicles is it’s quite common for the lift door to open well above the obstruction beam, while leaving the area below it clear.

Most garage door controllers are only engineered to process one beam, so life gets tricky.

Plus there’s the bounce back safety feature which works based on the door detecting resistance and then reversing the travel path.

The problem is when the garage door hits the hatchback, the hatchback gives way and starts to close, and many garage doors won’t implement the bounce back because not enough resistance is detected.

The usual advice is if you need to leave your garage door open while you unload, don’t use automatic closing, and for safety’s sake park far enough back that the car breaks the obstruction beam. But it does mean you have to move the car twice.


I think I will just disable the interior garage door triggering the garage door to close automatically after she arrives because its just as easy to hit the button on the way in. Maybe at some point in the future I will add a spotter or something. Thanks for all the thoughts/suggestions!


@newtbd. I have automated my garage door and have created my own guid if you look it up. In addition to what I done, I added a motion sensor in the garage which has enough of an angle to see a few feet out of the garage and will stop my garage door from closing if it is in the process of.

Here are some products on Amazon. Balls as well as the Chamberlain laser parking assistant.

Liked the comment for the sarcastic tone, however. I have been using Smartthings in conjunction with a presence sensor in my car, to open and close the garage door automatically, and it has worked flawlessly for six months. I have Linear garage door with FortrezZ MIMOlite switch and a Smartthings presence sensor. I would recommend anyone to try this combo as it works well.

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Best guide I have found on how to set it up… Just beware…
The first code paste is for a Device Handler… not a Device… Other then that it works like a charm… although my Samsung Arrival Sensor doesn’t trigger it until I am in the house… needs some bridging…