Step by Step Tutorial: Making a Dakota Alert DriveWay "Smart" Using SmartThings Dry Contact Sensor

Quick background:

I’m new to SmartThings / home automation, but am a seasoned IT professional with a computer science degree. So to get started, I used this forum to learn about home automation and am very appreciative of the information. However, there is not any step by step guides for exactly what I was looking for, though there were several others wanting to know and only received high level answers. So I figured I will return the favor by doing a step by step tutorial… enjoy!

NOTE - I’m using a Dakota RE-4k Driveway Alarm Receiver, however, it can be done with any driveway alarm (or really ANY device for that matter) that has external dry contact terminals available. Mighty Mule and Dakota Alert are the big two out there for long distance driveway alarms. There are of course ways to make it happen even if there aren’t dry contact terminals, but I will not be covering that. The Dakota Re-4k model also has a 12v relay available which provides another option, but I will not be covering that either.

Products Required:

  • Driveway Alarm which has dry contact output terminals (or whatever device you’re wanting it to trigger from)
  • A dry contact smart sensor which has dry contact input terminals.For a list of dry contact sensors available, visit the community page here:
    FAQ: List of devices with dry contact input from external sources
  • A small amount of thin wire
  • A Z-Wave / Zigbee smart hub

Exact Products I used including prices and links at time of this writing:

Steps:

  1. Setup your SmartThings hub and create a login to the IDE (online interface / aka website): https://graph.api.smartthings.com/

  2. Ensure your hub is properly showing up in the My Hubs tab of the IDE. Mine did not show up at first and it appears to be a common problem. Go to the My Location tab, click on one of the locations (sometimes it will ask you to log back in), and scroll down to where it says “Hubs” and click the active hub listed next to it. Now log out and back in at the top right of the screen. Your hub should now be appearing in the My Hubs tab.

  3. Take the cover off your Aeotec Door/Window Switch 7 (here-forth known as DWS7) and slide the wires through the cover first and into the right most terminals (terminals 3 and 4). It doesn’t matter which wire goes into which terminal. Leave the cover off.

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  1. Insert the wires into a dry contact relay on the driveway alert receiver. One wire (doesn’t matter which) goes into NO (Normally Open) and one wire (again, doesn’t matter which) goes into COM (Common).

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  1. In order to get the advanced options for the DWS7 sensor in the SmartThings Connect app, you must setup a Device Handler in the SmartThings IDE. To do so, follow the instructions located here:
    https://aeotec.freshdesk.com/support/solutions/articles/6000226217-aeotec-door-window-sensor-7-with-smartthings-hub

  2. On the same page as above, it goes into setting up the DWS7 sensor in the SmartThings Connect app. Continue to do so, but note the following:

  • Keep the cover off the switch
  • I did both the Enabled state for the dry contact sensor and I did the Reverse state for the status
  • On the last step of their documentation when they mention the tamper switch, they are referring to the switch circled below:

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  1. You can now close the cover of the DWS7 sensor and add the adhesive strip on the bottom and stick it to the driveway alarm if you wish. The finished product should look like this:

Google Photos

Google Photos

  1. To ensure my driveway alarm was working (i.e. is now “smart”), in the SmartThings Connect app I went to the automatons section and setup an IFTTT which states: If the contact sensor is open, send a text message to me.

Google Photos

3 Likes

Good post Dustin!

I did very similar with Guardline drive sensor and a Fibaro door/window sensor, and it’s been working flawlessly since :slight_smile: I posted about how I did it on my blog here : http://pwwtech.blogspot.com/2019/02/integrating-guardline-with-samsung.html?m=1

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Thanks @madmarko - Excellent write-up yourself - wish I had came across that when I was looking at doing mine.

Thanks for posting / sharing!

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I forgot to thank you for this - I did it, oh, last November I think. Still working well!

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